As I hopped aboard the hovercraft this morning at Southsea, I chose a fun postcard for my two-year-old, who loves all things ‘transport’ and is about to celebrate her third birthday. As I amused myself looking at the card (literally a photo of a hovercraft!), it made me think how little we actually write these days. Everything is done at the touch of a button, or a screen – rarely do we capture memories by transcribing. Do you remember the days when your hand ached from handwriting, after the summer holidays? Today made me take a step back and reminisce about the beauty of a postcard, a letter, of capturing a special moment.
When I arrived home, my little one took out ‘Mummy’s vintage Ladybird book’ – Pictionary. We came to ‘I’ for ‘INK’ (illustrated with a little boy filling his ink well for his fountain pen). My daughter looked totally non-plussed: “What’s he doing, Mummy?”. Suddenly I was praising the beauty of writing, of writing down your feelings, sending letters and cards (just like we did to Grannie and Grandma on Mothering Sunday)… she still looked confused, so I told her to ask to see Grandma’s fountain pen, with real ink cartidges – while part of me lamented quietly that this young generation will grow up with speedy fingers, not ink stained hands.
I also sat down with my Director, Tina, and discussed the beauty of a surprise piece of post. Her four-year-old gets extremely excited by post arriving too, and together, they discuss what post is. Tina told me of a favourite aunt who always sends postcards and we reminded ourselves of the time it takes to choose a card, the love it takes to handwrite, find the address, put on a stamp, and pop it into the post box.
Although we enjoy all the ease, immediate pleasure and brilliant connectivity of the modern age, let’s also celebrate and practice the art of letter writing and sharing memories on paper. I spent today archiving in the basement under our island store – so many past newletters, customer letters, top product requests and press releases… these ephemeral things need to be lovingly preserved for prosperity. Next time you visit us, do share your story on the ‘Your thoughts’ pads.
And so here I am, preparing my daughter’s birthday gifts and card. As well as the hovercraft postcard, she has a beautiful birthday card, with a special message from Mummy and Daddy and big sister. I’ve added the year and few words about what she’s enjoying so she can keep it in her memory box. I hope she relishes reading this one day – a memory captured in writing. I should do this more.