The Art of Letters

N ParkThis past Friday I picked-up keys for a buyer who is currently in Asia.  As I walked through the home she and her husband had just purchased, I noticed the loveliest note left on the kitchen counter for my client from the sellers.  It touched my heart because it was simple, handwritten and above all thoughtful; and because I am fond of writing letters and little notes, too.

In the era of social media and texting where a quickly typed “Happy Birthday” or “Thank You” has become the norm, it’s tough to remember that a handwritten note is special and brings a bit more cheer to a person’s day.  And quite honestly, most of us don’t take the time to actually write a letter when email is so much quicker.

Today's Etiquette

My fondness for writing letters happened when I was in junior high school.  Somewhere I picked-up a little blue book published in 1941 titled, “Today’s Etiquette,” written by Lillian Eichler.  Now at forty-three I can honestly write that it has been my foundation for everything—from calling customs, weddings, setting a table, hosting a dinner party, courtship and betrothal, and most importantly social correspondence.

Ms. Eichler writes: “Letter-writing is first of all a gift. But it is an art to be cultivated and developed.”

Over the years, I’ve been cultivating and nurturing the art-form of letters and have attempted to incorporate it via this social-media, texting and email era.  I will write a note for a friend’s birthday, take a photo of the finished letter and then post it on their personal facebook wall, tag via instagram or email it to them.  Of course I do not do this for all of my social media “friends,” but I do try to craft a handwritten note for those I am close to.

“…it must be gracious, and warm with the touch of your personality,” per Ms. Eichler.  I also like to blend something that is part of the letter receiver’s personality, too.


Artist friends of mine closed their beloved gallery this past March. It was a sad night and I wanted to write them a message that was uplifting (posted it on instagram and gave them a hard copy).

Breakneck Gallery
Breakneck Gallery

A past customer and a man who became a close friend was not in the country for his 55th birthday, so I crafted this gem and emailed him a photo of it. For many years he has “eaten, drank and dined to just live,” over time through dating I introduced him to “living to appreciate food, wine, cocktails and dining–the cherished ceremony,” listing all of the places we shared over the past year together.

Anthony Stony Smith’s 55th

A birthday note for my friend from high school, who is a woman of faith and a cancer survivor, that I posted on her facebook wall.

Denise's Birthday
Denise’s Birthday

A thank you/Mother’s Day note written to friend’s mother.

This one I actually mailed via US Post!

Thank you for Midge
Thank you for Midge

So please take the time to radiate cheerfulness with a handwritten note or letter to another and remember: 

“Correspondence is talk on upon paper, and like all talk it reveals your personality…”

 Pg 62


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