By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

The people in my generation, growing up in an age where the typewriter was more of a business machine than something everyone had at home, communicated using letters written by hand. Long distance phone calls were obscenely expensive and were something reserved for short conversations during emergencies or family events such as birthdays.

In those days, everyone communicated by personal letters, which were almost all handwritten. This kept the sharing of information at a snail’s pace, since a letter to my grandmother in South Carolina would take a week to arrive by air mail or a month by sea mail. Even the most avid letter writer would have a cycle of close to a week for close distance correspondence (which is a noun which is dying in its original meaning of “exchanging communication through letters”).

The modern age with its instant e-mail, voice and video communications is extremely convenient, but it has come at the expense of the loss of the personal feeling and anticipation that handwritten letters provided.

Writing a letter involved a lot of care, since most were written in ink and there’s no delete key for a ball point or fountain pen. Once you wrote something on your stationery, it usually stayed there since there are no “copy to clipboard” and “paste” elsewhere functions in handwriting.

When you finished, you’d have to place what you wrote in an envelope, address and stamp it and take it to the post office to mail it out. Letters were quite an ordeal. Still, that’s what made them very special. When you got a handwritten letter, you’d look at the writing and subconsciously search for any abnormalities that might indicate changes in the writer’s health or frame of mind. You automatically knew how much trouble it was to write and post a letter and felt a sense of appreciation towards the person for taking the time to write to you.

Unfortunately, this is something that has almost disappeared in our modern 21st Century civilization. Given that many schools in the US have abandoned teaching students the cursive writing that forms the base of personal letters, it will soon be an extinct skill. Too bad!

手書き手紙

タイプライターでさえが会社のみに存在する機械の世代の一人として、手書き手紙の文通は日常的な習慣だった。長距離電話はバカほど高く、誰かが死んや生まれたなどの特別な緊急事態以外には通信には利用しなかった。

そのネット紀元時代人間は個人手紙でコミュニケーションをとっていた。それにより、情報交換スピードは遅かった。私のサウスカロライナ州に住んでいたお婆さんへの手紙か片道航空便で1週間、船便で1ケ月掛かった。近距離の手紙好きな人でも手紙を出してから返事が入るまでに少なくとも1週間の周期だった。

現代社会には瞬時のデジタルメール、音声やビデオ通信があり、それらはとても便利だとは間違いないが、手紙が与える楽しみや感動が失われた。

手紙を書くのに自然に気を遣う。殆どはインクで書いたため、ボールペンや万年筆には『削除』のキーはない。便箋に何かを書いたら、『コピー』や『貼付』がないため、書いた場所は最後となる。

書き終えたら、便箋を封筒に入れて手書きで宛先を書き、切手を貼ってから郵便局まで持って行かなければならなかった。手紙を出すことは大変なことだった!しかし、それによって、特別な存在のものとなった。手紙を読むときに相手の字を無意識に分析して健康や考えの異変を伺った。手紙を出す大変さを知っているからこそ、その時間を費やして書いてくれた相手には感謝の気持ちをもった。

残念ながら、21世紀にはこれがほとんど消えた。現在、アメリカの多くの小学校では手紙に使う筆記体の指導を廃止したため、間もなく絶滅するだろ。本当に残念だ!

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English books by Billy Hammond published by AELS

(AELS出版英語書籍リスト)

 

I. Majoh Gakuin and Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools Trilogy

1. Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools

2. Lost Witch (The second book)

3. Fate & Magic (The final book in the trilogy)

II. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire Trilogy

1. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire

2. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Returns

3. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Challenges (The final book in the trilogy)

III. Fantasy fiction set in Japan

1. 21st Century Ninja

2. Regressed

3. Japanese Woman

IV. Fantasy fiction set outside of Japan

1. Dimension Jumpers

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