Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Demise was greatly Exaggerated

When the Christmas season was nearing an end, when the wrapping paper and ribbon where long gone. When the tree was drooping and looking as if it were time for the curb. When it snowed in December and vacation lasted several weeks though it seemed like a dream. When the Christmas cookies were gone and the decorations were coming down, that was the time when my Mother would gather us up and sit us down at the kitchen table with blank paper in front of us and order us to write our "thank you" notes.

They were laborious affairs. It seemed the words would not come into my head let alone flow from the #2 pencil held between my nail bitten fingers. Inspiration would not make a visit and the four of us would stare blankly at the empty pages and sneak quick glances at each others work to see if any progress had been made.

They were usually the same bland carbon copy letter to each of my Aunt and Uncles. I'm certain would begin this way, "Dear Aunt M$J, Thank you for the blankedy blank. I really like it (usually clothes or a book). I plan on reading (wearing) it right away. Thank you. Love,......."

Does anyone write thank you notes any more? Or has the ease of picking up the telephone replaced that kitchen table with the stacks of lined paper and sharpened pencils? Maybe an e-mail? Is receiving a note in the mail a lost art? Is this traditional show of respect, good manners and thankfulness gone the way of the dinosaur? Or the anticipated usual response of no response.

I think not! Yesterday I pulled out of my mailbox a letter, not a labor intensive note the likes of which I wrote, but a letter decorated in pink, blue, purple, red and yellow magic markers that read.....

Dear Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe,
When we went to see WICKED I saw a lot of cool stuff. The play was awesome. I really want to see it again but it costs a lot of money. My favorite caracter, I mean character was either Glinda the Good Witch or Elphaba the Wicked Witch, even though she wasn't really wicked. I wanted a souvenir so I bought a tee shirt that says "I Love OZ" with the money you gave me for Christmas. Thank you so much for the money. I love the shirt I bought with it. It was the best play I've ever seen. It was really long but I was not bored one single second. My next goal is to get on Broadway or do a traveling show like the Wicked actresses and actors. Glinda had the prettiest blonde(sic), curled perfectly hair and Elphaba had the sleeked and straightest black hair. I was sooooooo jealos (sic). Thank you for the great memories I got with the money you gave me. I love you guys. Love, ZZ

This kid is 11 years old!! I doubt I could write with such passion and impact!

The thank you note is not dead but alive and living in the hearts of little kids everywhere.


Lisa said...

It's wonderful you received a thank you note. I would have thought they'd fallen by the wayside since the kids in our family who receive the obligatory birthday & Christmas money from me have not said boo about it...ever.

My mom forced me to write thank you notes as well.

Lisa :-] said...

I wouldn't say that the spirit of thank you notes is alive "everywhere," but it is impressively present in your little niece. Kudos to the parents for passing on a skill that will stand this kid in good stead for the rest of her life.

pia. said...

That's adorable. Treasure it

My sister began making my niece send thank you's when she was seven and now she enjoys it--kind of

We developed a real friendship because I would email her at camp and she would write me notes saying things she doesn't want her mother to know

Now that she's in 9th grade and brings her laptop to school at the beginning of the year I would get hysterical emails talking about how a teacher hates her

Now she's "popular" and mature. So I get amused thank you calls "you really didn't have to get me a gift card to__" Yes I did

I hated writing them. Was forced to

Indigo said...

I always told my daughter, the gifts were not sent with any strings attatched (i.e. expectations of a thank you, that she liked it or what have you). Then I told her you send a Thank you note for that reason, because it was given without expectations. It was given out of the kindness of someones heart.

She never had a problem sitting and writing them. Me? I never thought "I" would of get a thank you from her. It was love that raised her. Yet the moment I got that first card in the mail that said "Thank you, for being there for me." I cried.

Yes, the Thank you note is a rare occurance. Yet it's emotionally charged when it does appear. The letter you got was tender and filled with love. (Hugs)Indigo

Nelle said...

I made my son write thank you notes until he was 21. After that he usually made phone calls. I still write thank you notes but I rarely receive them. This Christmas I had a shocker when I got one from my niece Missy. She just had her first baby and we have gone overboard this year with gifts for him. I sent her a small household gift for her and hubby. It made my day to receive one though. They are a lost art.