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Lamenting The Lost Art Of Writing

Introducing Wyckoff's new Mom Patch columnist

It’s time to do something for me!  Did I just say that out loud?  How can a mother of four possibly think she has the right to think about herself? I have been feeling restless and needing a new adventure. Maybe it is that forty-something crisis. I always believe things come into your life for a reason and the opportunity to write for the Patch landed on my lap.    

My name is Lynn Bruggemann and my children cover the spectrum – a college sophomore, a high school senior,  an 8th grader and a 4thgrader.  Yes I am guilty of trying to pass the college student off as my younger sibling – hey a girl has to try.  My resume includes freelance publicist and professional PTO president having served at Coolidge, Eisenhower and Ramapo. 

Ok now what to write about.  Staring at the screen what do I want to say or more accurately write in this first column.  Should it be witty or serious?  What are the hot button issues – college acceptances, decline in volunteers, school elections, head lice? 

I am procrastinating like one of my teenagers with a deadline looming.  Then it hit me why I am temporarily paralyzed   -- I am not writing.  In a pure organic sense putting the pencil to the paper.  Raiding the fourth graders backpack for the Ticonderoga #2 and a marble composition book I started to write which made me think of the art of writing.

What do we as moms still write? I have a friend who is a tech guru but she still writes in a calendar her to do list with a pencil.  No Google calendar or Blackberry for her.  I have seen a few  shopping lists the last time I was in the grocery store but another friend does her food shopping online and never makes a list.

Can you remember getting a pen pal?  I think mine was found in Young Miss Magazine and she was from California! I remember wanting pretty stationery for my birthday.  Do our children even know what stationery is?  I took special care with my penmanship and even made those little hearts over the “I” instead of a dot.  I was sharing a bit of myself with her and making a statement.  The mailman brought good stuff back then not junk.

There was a decline in the number of holiday letters AKA brag letters this winter.  Why bother writing about the family’s trials, tribulations and achievements when daily posts on Facebook keep family and friends informed.  I am ok with that – they were computer generated and I like Facebook.

Do you still send thank you notes?  My 14-year-old just celebrated his birthday.  He will be writing the old-fashioned “Dear Uncle Al thank you for your generous gift.”  He will complain his hand hurts from “all that writing.” It is not child abuse; it is my duty to teach you good manners and a proper thank you note is on that list.  No email or text thank yous for you dear son.

My fourth grader is sold on the idea of writing her spelling words five times each.  The hand to mind connection seems to be working – she is getting As.

There is something special about receiving a card or note that has a person’s handwriting on it.  It is a part of them that you can hold when they can’t physically be there with you.  I have a drawer of cards and notes from my college roommate.  She has lived around the world and holding those cards and seeing her handwriting helps me hear her voice like no email can.   

When you pack your child’s backpack tomorrow take the time to find a note card or sheet of paper and pen and share a bit of yourself with them.  Maybe it’s a note of encouragement or just wishing them a good day.   Imagine the delight on their face when they discover a handwritten note from mom!  

The first column is complete and my hand does not hurt.  I hope you write me --- just click my name above.

Jane LaBua April 02, 2011 at 02:46 AM
Great column Lynn! I also had a pen pal and remember how exciting it was to get a letter in the mail from her or my out-of-state cousins. Now everything is written electronically and you can't get personal for fear it will be plastered on the web for the world to see. I will be checking for your column all the way from Williamsburg, Va. !!
Linda Vreeland April 04, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Dear Lynn: 
Love your new column! Your first topic really hit home for me. I just had this conversation with one of my cousins. We were brought up to send handwritten "thank you" notes to friends and relatives for whatever reason -- birthday and Christmas gifts, attending a graduation, or helping move a piano, but this etiquette is not being passed down to today’s generation. Recipients of my handwritten cards today spark "wow, how thoughtful" responses, making me think they hadn't received anything like it in recent decades. I'll bet Hallmark has seen a drop in card sales, but for me, I'll still buy or make my own cards. We all need and appreciate that personal touch once in awhile. Okay, I'm going to "click to send" now. :-)
James Kleimann April 04, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Lynn's not just a great writer, she also happens to be a great neighbor!
catherine Scaglione April 04, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Congratulations (Thelma) I enjoyed reading your first article. I also enjoy getting hand written cards, it means so much more when someone touches your heart with a hand written note. Louise
Brian Scanlan April 05, 2011 at 09:36 AM
Very nice column, Lynn. I still remember my mother sitting us down to write thank you notes after our birthdays and Christmas, and now my children do the same. I get notes from my nieces and nephews, too--all because my mother insisted when we were growing up. It's amazing how consistent it's been over all the years. I look forward to your next column!

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