Do People Write Love Letters Anymore?

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.

Darling,

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.

Love always,
Charles

Actually, Charles, it was me who was lucky, lucky to have you and the love letters that are your legacy. Thank you.

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  1. Jeannette,
    I was so touched by Charles’ letter and what you wrote.
    You are such a dear and wonderful friend and when we had lunch today, I was reminded what a special and terrific couple you and Charles were.
    He is looking down from heaven to his true love!!
    Always remember that!!!
    Andrea

  2. Dear Jeannette,

    This is the first time that I’ve ever seen what Charles looked like. I heard his voice often over the phone, but I never actually saw how handsome he was. What a glorious smile. And, a romantic too. How lucky you both were to have found true love. I’m thinking of you and I’m sure Charles is as well. Love, Amy

  3. This warmed my heart and made me cry. As I read this I realize I am just as lucky to have my husband in my life. He is my soul mate. Do I or have I written any love letters? The answer is no. Why? Because I never felt I could do the job adequately enough because of my dyslexia. I think I need to get over that. Thank you for sharing this with me. I needed this today my friend. 🙂

  4. Oh Jeannette, how sweet Charles was to write you those love letters. Now that’s a truly exceptional man you had there and I’m so very sorry for your loss. I would have kept them all too, I’m very sentimental in that way.

    I have almost every card and letter ever written to me. Unfortunately, I had a couple sacks of them before I was married and my husband at that time found them and threw them away. He was so jealous that I kept those from everyone that he tossed them and I didn’t learn he had done this until much later. So I don’t have them all anymore and that included cards and letters from my parents too but I have them from that date forward.

    Thank you for sharing this with us and it sounds like he was a wonderful man and husband.

    ~Adrienne

    • Adrienne — yes, Charles was a very special person. I’m so sorry you lost all those precious cards and letters. You’re such a nice person and I feel so badly your former husband was so unkind and thoughtless to you.