Clenuar: Love letters: A dying tradition

Alyssa C. Clenuar

TODAY, I decided to write about something light, on a non-politics related topic, and I digress from vilifying the world. In a sea of opinions, this might get drowned and lost so I am writing it down to help me remember how this feels good.

In the era of instant messaging, words that come out from your mouth are transmitted through computers and received faster than panic-drinking an Americano at 2 a.m. Exchanging love letters, giving trinkets, borrowing clothes, and other reminders of romantic love have been nearly forgotten and can now be considered a dying tradition.

I remember writing letters to classmates, neighbors, and cousins using gel pens even if I see them everyday. Jotted in a bond paper or stationery, I send these letters through the post office with a stamp evident on the envelope. Collecting stamps is also another story. The most important letter I had deliberately sent was to the North Pole. I wanted to let Santa Claus know that I needed lots of money because kids are always so damn broke. My mom knew about this request because she had read my letter before she sealed the envelope and mailed it. She told me later that Santa Claus really was my rich ninong in disguise. From then on, I wrote him letters hoping he’d get me what I wanted.

I learned how to write through writing love and angry letters. I also embraced the habit of keeping a diary for everyday ramblings. This diary had a lock and the key is always kept under the many unnecessary things in my drawer. Sometimes, I ended up cutting the lock with a saw because I always forgot where I placed the key when I was itching to write.

Writing love letters is a writer's way to reveal intimate feelings for a loved one that nobody else knows about. There are records of famous historical figures that sent letters to their loved ones like Abraham Lincoln to his first fiancée, Mary Owens. When auctioned in 2002, the letter fetched $700,000 which is now considered to be the highest anybody ever paid for a love letter. Individual love letters of Napoleon Bonaparte or Winston Churchill were also not sold at run-on-the-mill prices. If old and well-fermented wines fetch a thousand dollars, these love letters can also be sold at around the same hammering prices, depending on who wrote them, how famous they were, rarity, condition of the document, and on what the content reveals. Ergo, the more intimate, the higher the price.

A blank paper can be filled by the writer's powerful words driven by immense feelings that disclose a part of themselves. The last time I wrote a love letter was to someone I knew worth every drop of ink, every thought.

I am writing this so I will never forget how good it feels to be able to continue writing love letters. You should, too.