So you can be sure it is a real letter.

November 14, 2014 § 4 Comments

Just then the mailman came by Villa Villekulla.

“Well, sometimes one does have good luck,” exclaimed Pippi, “and meets a mailman just when one needs him!”

She ran out into the street. “Will you please be so kind as to deliver this to Miss Pippi Longstocking at once?” she said. “It’s urgent.”

The mailman looked first at the letter and then at Pippi.  “Aren’t you Pippi Longstocking yourself?” he asked.

“Sure. Who did you think I was, the Empress of Abyssinia?”

“But why don’t you take the letter yourself?”

“Why don’t I take the letter myself?” said Pippi. “Should I be delivering the letter myself?  No, that’s going too far.  Do you mean to say that people have to deliver their letters themselves nowadays?  What do we have mailmen for, then?  We might as well get rid of them.  I’ve never in my life heard anything so foolish.  No, my lad, if that’s the way you do your work, they’ll never make a postmaster out of you, you can be sure of that.”

The mailman decided it was just as well to do what she wished, so he dropped the letter in the mailbox at Villa Villekulla.  It had scarcely landed before Pippi eagerly pulled it out again.

“Oh, how curious I am!” she said to Tommy and Annika.  “This is the first letter I ever got in my life.”

All three children sat down on the porch steps, and Pippi slit open the envelope.  Tommy and Annika looked over her shoulder and read.

DARLING PIPPI,

I SIRTINLEE HOP U R NOT SIK. IT WOOD BE 2 BAD 4 U 2 BE SIK. MYSELF I AM JUST FIN. THER IS 0 RONG WITH THE WHETHER ETHER. YESTERDAY TOMY KILT 1 BIG RAT. YES.

THAT IS WHAT HE DID.

BEST WISHIS FORM

PIPPI

“Oh,” said Pippi, delighted, “it says exactly the same things in my letter that it does in the one you wrote to your grandmother, Tommy.  So you can be sure it is a real letter.  I’ll keep it as long as I live.”

from Pippi Goes on Board by Astrid Lindgren, translated by Florence Lamborn

While Pippi may disagree and etiquette books will instruct you differently, the construction of letters is a wide open field of possiblities.  Having a variety of correspondents means encountering different approaches to letter writing and repeated opportunities to expand my own ideas on what constitutes a “real” letter.

I used to rate long letters as more real than any other kind.  Over the years, I’ve developed an appreciation for compact letters, postcards, and things that are not letters at all.  In part, I think my new definition of what constitutes a real letter has developed as I changed my thinking on whether letters need to be a 1:1 exchange.

In addition to writing to people I know only through letters, I also like to send letters to people who I know in real life.  Not all of those people are letter-writers.  Sometimes I mail a note to a friend and get a text in reply or a Facebook post saying “thank you!”  I think that’s great, because even though it’s a different medium, it brings the connection started by the letter full circle.  And in my book, regardless of length or construction, the realest letters are the ones that create connections.

How do you define a real letter?

Advertisements

Tagged: , ,

§ 4 Responses to So you can be sure it is a real letter.

  • lmstearns says:

    I love letters of any kind, if they are in a text, email, on paper, or of any sort. The ones that are the best are the unexpected kind though. Folks expect letters on their birthdays or other special life events, or at certain holidays like Christmas, but it’s the letters that appear out of the blue that just let you know someone out there appreciates you, or is thinking about you that are the best.

  • Eva says:

    Oh, thanks for posting the quote. I have read Pippi, but I had forgotten this part :D

    For me, there are no clear rules, but I distinguish more or less letters, postcards and “pieces of mail”. Sometimes I exchange mail with strangers (swaps, mail art…). I like all kind of mail. But, honestly, I rather prefer long letters from my friends. Letters in the old-fashioned way.

    Interesting post!

    • Annie says:

      I haven’t done any swaps, though I do sometimes create my own version of mail art. In general, I’m glad to have a variety of options when it comes to writing and sending missives, but old-fashioned letters between friends will always be dear to me, too. :)

Thoughts? Please share!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading So you can be sure it is a real letter. at Scribbling Glue.

meta

%d bloggers like this: