I Wrote A Real ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ Love Letter At 16
By Deborah Mello
I miss the art of letter writing. As a little girl my mother insisted I write letters to my old people. The grandmothers, a great-aunt and uncle, and the elderly lady who was once my babysitter received letters from me at least once per month. They were basic at best, my creative spirit not having yet evolved.
Dear (Insert Name), How are you? I am fine. School is good. Mommy says (insert most reason lesson). I am being a good girl. I pray for you, too, when I say my prayers. Love, Deborah.
I wrote these letters from the time I could write until my teens, when letter writing because passé, or one of the old people died. The babysitter was the first.
I wrote my first love letter when I was 16. His name was Darwin Davis. He was pure magic in crisply starched khaki pants and those Ralph Lauren shirts with the iconic Polo logo. He came from a good family on the right side of the tracks and my father was hardly impressed by his too smooth swagger meant to impress. But he was golden! I wove a beautifully written tome that took a whole week, and a newly purchased Thesaurus, to complete. I complimented everything from his smile to his expensive track shoes. I professed my love and devotion and sealed it with a kiss and a spritz of Chanel No. 5. Then in my haste, I pushed it through the slats of the wrong school locker. Thankfully, I never signed my name to it, the salutation simply reading, Yours Forever. The deities of teen angst saved me from sheer embarrassment that day!
But even in that faux pas, I fell in love with the art of letter writing. I was enamored with having emotion explode in a few paragraphs across pretty paper. Did I mention the pretty paper? Letters that had once played out on lined, loose leaf torn from a three-ring binder, suddenly sprouted wings and flew across paper with pretty flowers and delicate scroll designs. My letter writing game became a thing of sheer beauty.
With the advent of the internet, email and text messages, the art of letter writing has fallen by the wayside. The last letter I wrote was a public pleading to my ex-husband to fall into a vat of lava and venomous snakes if he ever again uttered my name, but that’s a whole other story. I typed that in a message and posted it for the world to see, not even bothering with pen and paper.
With schools no longer teaching cursive writing and penmanship not a thing, writing letters may very well go the way of dinosaurs. Letter writing is slowly dying a death no one thinks is worth resuscitating. It bears asking, does anyone write love letters anymore?
Because letter writing can be the most romantic expression of love between two people. It can carry dreams and ambitions on threads of blue or black ink. It can extol the virtues of throbbing body parts and espouse the pain of a broken heart. It can be as magnanimous or as simple as one may need it to be. But sadly, few put pen to paper anymore and even I am guilty. It has become a lost art, and I, for one, miss it immensely.
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About the Author
Writing since she was old enough to put pen to paper, Deborah Fletcher Mello firmly believes that for her, writing is as necessary as breathing. Her first novel, Take Me To Heart, earned her a 2004 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Best New Author. In 2008, Deborah won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Series Romance for her ninth novel, Tame a Wild Stallion. Her publication, Craving Temptation was named one of Publisher's Weekly Best Books for 2014 and was also nominated for a 2015 Emma Award for Book of the Year. As well, her novel Playing For Keeps was a Library Journal Best of 2015 and won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award for Best Multicultural Romance. Most recently, Deborah was named the 2016 Romance Slam Jam Author of the Year. Born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Deborah maintains base camp in North Carolina but considers home to be wherever the moment moves her.
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