In France they call it a billet doux – a love letter. I mention this because the French are such romantics. But I wonder if even they write love letters any more.
What has this got to do with business writing? Not much, actually. But I do think writing love letters is a slowly dying art with the advent of short takes in emails and 140-character tweets. It’s a subject close to my heart today, the first anniversary of my beloved husband’s passing. So this is sort of a love letter to him.
For most of his life Charles was a promotion manager with major book publishers, so he loved words, reading them in books and writing them. He was an inveterate writer. Quite a few of his articles were published in literary journals, on serious subjects such as Chinese wood block printing, and in lesser magazines like the one that printed his playful story about his collection of massage parlor handbills. And he loved to send letters to his friends. He was quite the correspondent.
But the real purpose of this homage is to sing the praises of his love letters. Yes, when we were first courting (such an old-fashioned word), he sent me love letters which I saved along with Valentine’s Day cards, birthday cards, and large hand-written signs that greeted me with a “Welcome Home, Sweetheart” on returns from business trips. I took them out to read for the first time a few days ago. They are written from the heart and filled with humor, too. How grateful I am to have them.
One tiny note he wrote to me a few years after we married had slipped to the bottom of the bulging folder where I saved everything. I hadn’t remembered it, but it was so beautiful that I thought I would share it with you.
Just a “little” something on the return of your trip. I always miss you terribly, even though you say, “He has a good time when I’m gone.” How lucky, lucky I am that I have you and someone didn’t come along and pick you out before I met you.
Actually, Charles, it was me who was lucky, lucky to have you and the love letters that are your legacy. Thank you.