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Once Upon A Time In SHS: The Days Of Letter Writing backposted on Fri, 01 Jun at 11:22
“The brightness of the day has given me this opportunity to write you this letter” or “Looking into the skies I saw flying birds with different colours. The colours include red, yellow, gold, green and pink. As I saw the pink colour, it reminded me of you, that is why I decided to write this letter to you, How are you?” Which of these two did you use in the days of letter writing?
Do you remember the days of letter writing? The joy of receiving a letter from your school post boy on assembly grounds coupled with the cheering and shouts of your nick name when you are called more than twice for a letter. Let’s be realistic those days of receiving letters with smiles and name written on it or going to the post office to check your box whether you have a letter has completely died out of the system.
Letter writing in those days was a fun and not only did it bring us close to family and friends who were far from us, they helped improve our English and hand writing. In those days one will not write a letter to a dear one without having a big dictionary on the laps, why? Well because you needed to find a new word that will captivate and blow the mind of your reader and if you were at the receiving end you be sure that you were going to be bombarded with words that dictionary could not explain.
The depth of joy and ecstasy a letter brings to someone is beyond explanation, one could keep a letter from a loved one for weeks or months and even years, and any time it was reread it brought some sort of goose pimples to the body. Aha… I just remembered how I became a victim to that, I can recall clearly the first letter I received from a Junior High School classmate of mine who was in a different Senior High School. No matter how hard I tried to demystify the rationale behind that letter I received from my friend I couldn’t because I received that Valentine Card and letter from someone I least expected.
Trust you me, the perfume in the letter that I received, if they were to spray on my “broni waawu” (second hand shirt) could have taken two decades before it would be out, I hid the letter for more than two years and any time I smelt anything sordid around my neighbourhood I just had to go for my perfumed letter and hang it tightly around my nostrils… how was your own experience like?
It was later on that I got the reason why she sent me that letter. In those days getting more of valentine cards and letters on Valentine’s day in some of the boarding schools was a competition among students, the more cards and letters you received proved you to be the freakiest, so my lady friend sent me that letter just for me to reciprocate so that my reply could increase her chances of winning the “Valentine’s day letter girl”. What a shock!
In everything there is some form of “galamsey” (fast money) and so for those of us that seemed to have some nice handwriting and some “easy- to- concoct” words like “What is the alphabetical construction of your human dignity” simply (What is your name) we were making some small money from the “Ghana is longer than Africa” hand-writers, who start writing from one line and ended on the next two lines beneath.
Reagan wherever you may be, I hope you read this letter. He was my first ever pen-pal I had in school when I was in class three and he was from Canada. Promising me of coming to take me to Canada was all I lived for and boasted of to my friends and now if I could ever meet him again I would have sung to him Becca’s song “You lied to me!". My passion for letter writing grew from my encounter with Reagan, I was always running shift with my mother, just waiting for the slightest opportunity for her to come out of her room for me to enter and pounce on any coin that would mistakenly find itself tied around her strong knotted cloth, if for security reasons my hands were failing the operation, I quickly used my teeth and whatever I got, I used to buy aerogram to write letters to my friends.
I am still enjoying some of the meritorious rewards letter writing had to offer. I had several correspondence with some friends in USA, they sent me free bibles upon request and I sold some of them out to people, something I naively did and I am glad to say that my beloved NIV Bible I am using now is a product of letter writing gifts I received from some a penpal decades ago. I hope you also received something you are still using now?
One Berttina Hoerlin found the love letters written between his father and mother during the World War II and has written a book on these letters entitled “Steps of Courage”, Take a look at one quote from her mother to her father “Why does destiny force me so incredibly close to you? That I have no breath unless I blend it with yours, that your heart beats with mine”. I am just imagining how this man felt after reading this letter.
However the 4-4-2 ball formation or game plan has changed drastically over the years, with the invention of new technologies almost everyday, and by courtesy of social media such as Nimbuzz, Whatsapp, Qute, Facebook, Flickr, skype and a host of many others letter writing is now in extinction. Today you can send hundred messages, pictures, files to your friends and love ones with just a click. Those days that you had to wait for weeks or months for a letter are no more, today, you can talk and message each other instantaneously.
With these latest technological developments, our post offices have less work to do and automatically the revenue level has depreciated. I really miss letter writing days and I wish I could receive a letter very soon, but from who?
You will not end a nice letter to a friend or loved one without giving a nice conclusion and a serious two paragraphed signature, I usually ended mine with Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithful….Joe boy Rosina, today as old as I am and realising now that all was part of fun and youthful exuberance, let me end with…