Be Presidential! Write a Letter!

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 5 comments

Be Presidential! Write a Letter!

The other day I received one of those endangered things called a “letter” in the mail. It was a real, honest-to-goodness letter written on a beautiful note card. Yep. That’s right. Not just bills and ads in the mailbox that day. This is why I continue going to the mailbox every day.

I was delighted. I read it with joy. I laughed. I remembered great times my friend and I shared in the past. I thought, I need to write her right back!  Have I?  Sad to say not yet, but it is on my list.

Letter writing has unfortunately gone out of style. We have so many easier, faster, and more efficient ways to communicate that we have relegated letters to the “no one has time for that” status.


But, there is a danger in that.


When I visit junior and senior high school classrooms to speak on the topic, Using Your Senses in Writing, I often ask the students a question.


“So, when you get to be the President of the United States what are they going to put in your Presidential Library? After all, if you look at the Presidential Libraries, they are filled with letters, diaries, letters, documents, letters . . . Are they,” I ask, “going to find letters or journals/diaries, or other documents you have written? Or are they going to have to use emails? Or maybe Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat?” Usually I get a laugh, but I know they understand what I’m saying.


This past year I did a lot of reading. Some of the books I read were biographies or historical accounts. Three in particular were 1776 by David McCullough, George Washington on Leadership by Richard Brookhiser, and First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis. All three of these books relied heavily on personal letters and documents for their sources.

The biography of Abigail and John Adams was especially dependent on personal correspondence. This couple wrote over 1100 letters to each other during their lifetime. They spent long periods of their marriage apart due to his political career and letters was what they had.

In addition, John had the foresight to realize that they were living in a pivotal time for our country, and he believed that their letters could be an important historic legacy. And, one thing I learned by reading that book is John Adams was all about his legacy. So he instructed his wife NOT to throw any of the letters out.


I’m glad she didn’t. You see, I learn history best by hearing people’s stories, and the best way to hear them is when they tell them, first hand. And, since John and Abigail are long gone from this earth, all I have to go on is their letters.


So, maybe it isn’t a bad thing I’ve saved a lot of letters people have written me. And maybe, just maybe my friend Lynn is on to something when she decided to increase her letter writing this year. I think I’ll follow her lead and pull out that stationary from under my desk. Watch for it, Lynn. There’s a letter coming at you!

What about you? How about celebrating President’s Day week by writing a letter? Do you have someone in mind? Comment below and tell me if you do! I would love to hear from you. Happy Writing!


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Cindy Hagat

    Great missive Mariam. I have a card ministry and I always include a letter or at minimum a note to the recipient. There is much joy and excitement when one receives an honest-to-goodness letter; I know I get very excited and will read it promptly and repeatedly.

    Enjoy your book list, missed you on our recent stay on ICU and MSO; but then that is another letter.


    • admin

      Awk! That doesn’t sound like a great letter. I love your ministry! What a gift to those people. You are right. Cards and letters are treasures!

  2. Sandy Carlson

    Thanks for sharing. I love David McCullough research/books. I also love writing postals, although I don’t hardly do the 30/day that I did while in college; more like 1/two months now, except to my grandkids, whom I send coloring pages letters to, and the oldest (7 years old) writes me back. (And you may just get a letter from me sometime sooner than later…perhaps…I hope…what fun…my purple kangaroo friend!