When I left home at 18



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Chuyển đổi dữ liệu27.02.2022
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In our fast world of phones, emails and computers, the old-fashioned art of letter writing is at risk of disappearing altogether. Yet, to me, there is something about receiving a letter that cannot be matched by any other form of communication. There is the excitement of its arrival, the pleasure of seeing who it is from and, finally, the enjoyment of the contents.

Le tter writing has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It probably began with the little notes I would write to my mother. My mother, also, always insisted I write my own thank-you letters for Christmas and birthday presents.

When I left home at 18 to train as a doctor in London, I would write once a week, and so would my mother. Occasionally my father would write and it was always a joy to receive his long, amusing letters.

O f course, we also made phone calls but it is the letters I remember most.

Th ere were also letters from my boyfriends. In my youth I seemed to attract people who had to work or study away at some time and I was only able to stay in touch by correspondence. I found that I could often express myself more easily in writing than by talking.

I  love the letters that come with birthday or Christmas cards. And it’s even nicer


when it’s an airmail envelope with beautiful stamps. My overseas letters arrive from Mangala in Sri Lanka, from someone I trained with over 20 years ago, and I have a penfriend in Australia and another in Vancouver.

Th en there’s the lady who writes to me from France. If we hadn’t started talking in a restaurant on the way home from holiday, if my husband hadn’t taken her photo and if I hadn’t asked her for her address, I would never have been able to write to her. As it is, we now have a regular correspondence. I can improve my French (she speaks no English); we have stayed at her home twice and she has stayed with us.

My biggest letter-writing success, however, came this summer, when my family and I stayed with my American penfriend in Texas.

E veryone was amazed that a correspondence could last so long. The local press even considered the correspondence worth reporting on the front page.

I  am pleased that my children are carrying on the tradition. Like my mother before me, I insist they write their own thank-you letters. My daughter writes me little letters, just as I did to my mother. However convenient communicating by email may appear to be, I strongly urge readers not to allow letter writing to become another ‘lost art’.



A Most of the letters from home contained just everyday events concerning my parents and their friends. 12

B We had been corresponding for 29 years but had never met. 14

It didn’t matter how short or untidy they were as long as they were letters. 9

Notes are appreciated, but how much better to have a year’s supply of news!




Poor handwriting can spoil your enjoyment of a letter.

But instead of harming the relationships, letter writing seemed to improve them.

G She and my son have penfriends of their own in Texas, organised by my penfriend.15

H More important, if she hadn't replied, we would be the poorer for it.




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