Letter writer

I spent Saturday night away with all the females from my Mother’s side of the family at our annual Stitch and Bitch weekend. My little sister and I cooked all 14 of us the most delicious pork belly for dinner and afterwards when we were sitting around having a natter and a glass or 4 of wine, my Mum’s oldest sister, and the matriarch of the family made a little speech for me. She presented me with a precious collection of letters that I had written her when I was 13 that she has kept all that time. She read them out to all of us, which was hilarious, and we all sat and listened and remembered that time (it was just after my their Mother, my Nanna, had died). We laughed and cried and I felt very lucky indeed to have been presented with such a special and thoughtful gift. I’m SO glad she kept them all these years!


The letters themselves, weren’t all that interesting, recalling simple things happening in my life at the time: my annoying little sister who wouldn’t stop reminding me it was her birthday coming up. Mum, who was working hard, my older sister still going out with the same boyfriend. The funny thing though was my expression and conversational writing style. Asking lots of questions, telling funny stories and making my own observations about the ways of the world. Not much has changed I suppose. My very favourite paragraph from one of them was “I’m working at the shop (My Mum’s cafe) a couple of days a week. I’m getting some money which is good but I must say that I do my fair share of shopping. I really can’t help myself, especially during the sales. Oh well, when you’ve got the money, you may as well spend it heh?” Yes, not much has changed indeed.


The very strangest thing though was one of the letters fell out of its envelope, onto my plate and into the pork belly remnants. It left a greasy mark on the bottom of the letter and I was cranky that it has left a mark and that I was so careless. I finally read that very same letter, and at the bottom of it I had written “sorry about all the grease marks, it’s from dinner.” IS THAT STRANGE OR WHAT? Same letter. Same messy eater. Same grease marks – just created 23 years apart.


I’m sad that the art of letter writing is over. I’m sad that I never really write a letter anymore, besides the odd card and I can never have those Downton Abbey moments where you sit down and open and read a letter. I’m sad that my hand writing is actually now illegible and I get cramps filling out forms because I so rarely write these days. ย As I said in one of the letters ” You’re lucky that I write letters. I’m the only one in my family that does, everyone else can’t be bothered. I like to because I like receiving them in the mail. Do you? I think I’ll keep it up and have a lot of pen friends over the years.”ย I suppose I do have a lot of pen friends though, right? And I suppose I will keep bothering…

What was the last actual hand written letter you received? I can’t remember…I think it might have been one that Rob wrote me on our wedding day.
Do you still write letters to anyone?


  1. That is beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My last one was last week from Veggie Mama. Only short – but handwritten. I need to do more, I loved that stuff.

    I love your girly weekends. They sounds wonderful. x

  2. What a beautiful memory to have. I’m sad that the art of letter writing seems to have gone too. Maybe we should all bring it back. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Things like that should be treasured (because let’s face it – who prints off an email and keeps it in a nice box?). xx

  3. Bri King says

    I still write letters to my grandmother (she is 93) and she to me. Pretty much the only person I write to and receive letters from nowdays. A few years back a friend of mine was in a no Internet access zone for several months and we wrote letters daily. It was a revelation of sorts to go back to that sort of communication. As a child and teen I used to write to everyone, pen pals on the other side of the world, relatives, friends at a distance and even friends I saw every day at school! Always the letter writer. Now I write emails. And blog posts.

  4. I was a prolific letter writer in my teens and my twenties, as I kept in touch with all my friends and family back in Poland. Back then I could still think and write in Polish. These days, I can barely string two words together. For a long time I corresponded with my old English teacher, but have lost contact with her a few years ago. Sad…

  5. Kimberley Atkinson says

    I am a letter writing nut! I get real letters every week :). I also quite possibly have the biggest stationery collection in NZ with a bookcase full of writing paper and a couple of baskets too… Longest pen friend I have had is since 1986 and we still write to each other. 20 years ago the husband and I bounced around Europe from pen friend to pen friend and on more than one occasion were just thrown keys to these amazing apartments too and told to go for it! Love it. Still rubbish at e- mailing and texting! And have boxes and boxes of letters up in the attic too!

  6. supersarahwhite says

    I love letter writing and still have a few friends that I write to occasionally. But even better than that, I am have created a little letter writing daughter who has a penpal in London, Perth, Brisbane and two in Sydney. She writes to them once or twice a month and the sheer joy when a handwritten envelope arrives for her in the post is incentive enough for her to write back. Its a dying art but I am thrilled to see the next generation carry it on!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Good on you Sarah! I try and get Daisy to send things to her cousins in Melbourne but they are usually just pictures. When her writing gets better I’ll get onto this…thanks for the tip!

  7. The last hand written letter I received came from my mother-in-law in Ireland just this month. Although very tech savvy, she always sends hand written letters with birthday presents and Christmas presents. I still have all the hand written letters that traveled between my husband and I when we were doing the long distance thing between the two countries. I think they’ll be nice for our daughter to read one day. I also have a box of love letters that my grandfather wrote my grandmother when he was stationed on Morotai Island during World War II. They are truly amazing to read and something I’ll always treasure my Nan passing on to me before she died.

  8. Luisa Munoz says

    I still receive letters from my Grandmother from Chile. I’m so grateful I learnt how to read and write in Spanish. Except now, that she is getting older and becoming ill, her letters have become less frequent and her handwriting has changed as she has arthritis in her hand and is very painful for her to write. Without getting too existential, it’s taught me a lot on the fragility of life and that one day, I won’t be receiving any more letters.
    Xx Loved the post – what a beautiful gift to have received. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I know! I feel so lucky and even more so that I have the memory of her presenting them to me and reading them out. Gosh how we laughed x

  9. In high school my 3 best friends and I had a letter book that we took turns writing in. I still have it, it’s so special, even more so now that one of my friends passed away a few years ago. Her mum also kept all of the letters I’d written to my friend and gave them to me to keep, it’s such a precious gift to have, such a beautiful reminder of those innocent years.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      We did that too! I have all the books that I shared with a few of my friends with tickets and all bits stuck in. Best thing ever!!

  10. Oddly I remember having both those same letter sets as a teenager….

  11. Reannon Hope says

    The only person I write letters to is my nan but I haven’t written any in about 6 months because I’ve been a lazy mole! I’m going to get on to that ASAP!

  12. MotherDownUnder says

    My grandmother still sends me letters…little snippets of her life written in her beautiful handwriting.
    I reply via email.

  13. ahoy.jenni says

    Me !!!! I’m a letter writer still !!! I love it and yes, its a lost art!
    I have a couple of friends I write to (and they write back) consistently and every now and then I write letters to friends and send some photos too. Friends love it but then they all apologise for not writing back but I don’t care! I just love writing letters.
    I realised that its relaxation for me, plus its like sitting and having a cup of tea with the friend you are writing to. I just love it but I don’t have enough beautiful stationary and my beautiful pens have all gone missing. Time to stock up on those.
    I have lots of saved letters from friends, plus the letter my gorgeous niece gave me when my daughter was born. So precious!
    How lovely your aunt had saved those letters….and that’s eeky and such a coincidence that you dropped the letter in your greasy food……doodoodoodoodoo (that’s me trying to write the music from the twilight zone…)

  14. Oh! What a lovely treat to get. Gah, I’m awful at letter writing. I used to keep a journal everyday and…hmmm thinking about those-must destroy before small one learns to read.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I was a journal person too…I have them all from about the age of 12 to 17. Hilarious and VERY angsty x

  15. Lisa Mckenzie says

    This is lovely Beth ,I received a little handwritten letter yesterday in the mail and I will treasure it ,yes we should bring back the art of letter writing for sure.

  16. I love that she kept those letters. I use to write to my cousin when I was around 11 and I use to perfume each page! I also had a penpal in the US but she stopped writing to me after a while. I still think about her and wonder how she is. That would be so cool to bring back letter writing. I think I’ll write letters to my children. They would get a kick out of that.

  17. Letter are beautiful and nostalgic…I received one from my grandmother from o/s only the other day…I shed a tear both because of its contents but also because it was hand written; you can feel the words askatoddler.com

  18. I’ve kept some letters I wrote to my sister in NZ about 30 years ago (draft of the original letter, was a bit more of a perfectionist back then). I had a pen friend when I was a kid and I often wonder if she kept my letters. I miss it. If I could just get off this damn internet I might actually write a letter again!

  19. Bethy, you really are a special and rare person. I hope you know that.


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