My treasure box

I'm in the process of moving house, and have been emptying my attic. Among the boxes of crap I found my treasure box.

It was hidden underneath some very precious things, like my daughters' high chair and carry cot. I paused to cradle those in my arms and remember holding those beautiful bundles. They are still my first love and always will be.

Then I found my treasure box. Full of love letters from when love letters were where it was at. The best ones were from my darling Kath, who would write to me at the drop of a hat. She would be having a quiet shift down the pub, so would write me a deeply silly and funny letter. God how I loved to get a silly funny and loving handwritten letter. Who keeps their emails for 25 years?

My new resolution is to write letters to my friends, family and loves. Emails and texts are ok, but letters are so much better. I had a literately minded girlfriend when I was 17, and she would send me scented notes with poems from Donne, and Shakespeare sonnets.

It's been a very long time since I've had a love letter. I feel moved to write and send one right now.

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I have one of those hidden in a cupboard. There are numerous letters from my girlfriend, later my wife, when we were separated by the Pennines. She wrote them with the aid of a dictionary as she was dyslexic and they took her hours to write. They contain memorable phrases like "Kyllie lost another contact lens." That was her daughter who was less than one year-old at the time who had been subjected to eye surgery on the cataracts she was born with. She is now 32. They are the best legacy I can hope to leave for future generations of my family. That and boxes of old photographs that I refuse to throw away.

A text message just not seem the same in retrospect.

I make an effort to make sure the birthday & Christmas cards are love letters to certain people (complete with poem from time to time). The most precious objects I have are cards hand-made by my children when they were really small.

One thing, though, Vim. Wasn't your first love the lucky lady with whom you sired those beautiful bundles of joy?

I have many friends who live abroad and I rue the fact that modern communications, or perhaps hotter climates, have rendered their brains mush. Up until the 2000's we all used to write to each other frequently. The act of writing a letter is as much fun as receiving one. I miss the joy of seeing a blue air mail Par Avion letter having landed on the doormat and sitting down with a cup of tea to read of one's friends goings-on, in the sender's handwriting. Nowadays they ask me why am I not on Facebook so they can regale me with a few incorrectly spelt words written in a rush annotated with a smiley face. Tis not the same.

after another recent house move, I've just unpacked all the letters from friends and, at a later stage, my partner/fiancee/wife. Some of the friends' letters, from when we all had moved away for higher education, are over thirty years old...if I knew then what I know now, I'd still know very little! My wife must have been writing every hour or so, the number of her letters is so voluminous. It's been lovely to wallow in a bit of nostalgia amid these unique snapshots of different times in our collective experience.

that is full of love letters exchanged between my Mum and Dad when they were 'courting' back in the 1950s. They both died a decade ago, and it doesn't seem right even now for me to intrude on their privacy, so I have never read any of their correspondence. No one writes letters like that any more, and even though I used to write endlessly to a former girlfriend she only replied to my endeavours once. Guess I should have seen the signs.

every once in a while. I write about how they're growing up, what they like, what's going on with our family. I've put all the letters away in a box, and I'll hand them over when the girls are 18.

Some have been harder to write than others - it's not just cute mispronunciations and stories about them learning to walk; since they've been born, my father died, and their dad and I split up.
Obviously I haven't gone into huge detail about those matters, but they did happen and they've certainly shaped our family and reflecting that has been hard.

I'm overdue a letter, so will write them one tonight. This one will happily contain only good news - life is sweet, we are all well, and my sister has just had a baby.

*goes all gooey*

That is just so wonderful. The BBC should be there when they open them. They have such a lovely mum.

I kept them for quite a long time. Some were from a old girlfriend, more yet were from a very good friend who I always sort of hoped could be, but turned out not to (and - for her sake - very much for the best, I think).

In pre-text and email days, the sight of a letter on the doormat in the morning was something to make the heart soar. And the prospect of writing a reply was actually something to look forward to.

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