I am taking a slight liberty with today’s topic of “letter” and adding an “s” to it. I need to acknowledge right off the bat that I am not and have never been much of a letter writer, at least not in the traditional sense involving written words in cursive on a sheet of paper placed in an envelope with a stamp affixed, addressed, and then placed in a mailbox or perhaps taken directly to a local post office.
Ah, those were the good old days replaced by the Internet in large part by email, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tic Tok, Twitter, and of course texting. Other than the occasional handwritten thank you note I can’t remember the last time I received a personal letter. There used to be Christmas cards and birthday cards but even those are now rare. Facebook has dealt a real death blow to those written forms of holiday greetings and birthday wishes. I must admit though that as someone who does still send birthday cards, I do appreciate the prompts from FaceBook that someone’s birthday has arrived, and thank goodness for the “belated” birthday card, which has gotten me off the hook on many occasions.
My handwriting was never very good despite numerous years of having the Palmer Method of penmanship inflicted on me in Catholic Grade School. As I may have written in the past for this group in the 5th grade I failed a penmanship exercise but was seriously told by the nun teaching the class that I might have a future as a doctor. There were a lot of things in the late 1950s that would not be considered “woke” by today’s standards so Sister “whoever that was” can be forgiven for her advice.
There were two instances of letter writing in my past that stick in my memory. The first was the letter to my father in the mid-to-late 1970s (fuzzy on the exact year) letting him know I was gay. Since I was at the time one of the facilitators for the local men’s coming out group, I really felt a need to practice what I was preaching. That went well with my father and he actually wrote back encouraging me to get in touch with the local Dignity Chapter. That never happened but I truly appreciated his loving advice.
The second notable letter writing on my part that actually transpired over many years was between me and Harry Hay. It was a letter to him that initially got us in touch here in late 1978. Harry was a great letter writer and he would send notes written on all sorts of often scrap paper. I found reading these missives similar I suspect to translating hieroglyphics. All of my responses back to him though are lost I am afraid. The correspondence I received from him though has all been donated to the Denver Public Library and I think is easily accessible to any budding Hayophile.
I would like to close with a call for us to resist. I realize it is a full-time job to try and keep up with all of Donald Trump’s transgressions, but I think one of his most egregious of late is his attacks on the Postal Service. A viable and well-functioning postal service will be vital to a successful election in November. A truly revolutionary act these days is supporting the Postal Service. Buying sheets of stamps is a great way to do this. Write a few letters to friends or maybe buying the birthday cards that require extra postage can be viewed as active forms of resistance. Mail-in ballots require extra postage and for those of you who have not sent a letter for a while, you no longer need to lick the stamps. They all come with adhesive backing. If a trip to the local post office challenges your notion of social distancing most grocery stores to carry stamps. Letters – whoever thought they could be a way to help bring down the orange menace. Though getting tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets are certainly noble forms of resistance so is buying stamps and sending letters.