101 Hand Written Letters for You


Can you remember the last time you received a handwritten note that wasn’t included in a holiday card? When was the last time you saw the word “love” written by hand on a piece on scrap notebook paper? Would you be able to identify your mother’s,father’s, best friend’s, significant other’s hand writing?

With the rise of technology, hand-written notes and letters have gone by the wayside. However convenient and quick the ways of communication are now, I believe there is nothing more authentic and treasured than a hand-written note.

One of the hardest parts of life for people to grasp is the fact that time never stops. Time keeps going, people die, people move away, people simply drift apart. However, those relationships are still things that we treasure and are hard to let go of. How do we hang on to the memories? Most of the time, memories manifest in the form of pictures, videos, and letters. So when time moves on, we have something to hang on to.

At a very fast-paced time in my life, the thing that made me pause and want to hang on to time was watching someone special in my life growing up right before my eyes. When I was eight, my mom’s best friend welcomed her great granddaughter, Kate, into the world. Through a series of events, I became a sort of an older sister to her.

I give her advice, talking to her about everything from life to boys to music. We go shopping together, have movie nights, and go to church together. Now, at age 10 she will be moving on to middle school just in time for me to move on to college. Knowing I won’  t be around to help her through a tough time in an adolescent’s life, I became panicked. I decided I had to find a way to be there for her even If I was half way across the country, and unable to answer my phone. This began the 101 “open when” letters project.

As I was searching for some way to keep in touch long distance, I came across the idea of “open when” letters. Open when letters are notes that are meant to be opened at a specified time given by the writer such as “open when you are feeling sad,” or “open when you need inspiration.” These are usually meant for couples in long-distance relationships but I decided to tailor them to my needs.

My goal is to write Kate 101 letters that would I would give to her on the day of her fifth grade graduation. All the notes would be hand-written and would be a way for her to have a piece of me with her when she needs it in a form that she can keep and reread whenever needed. Some of the letters included would be on topics like:

Open on your first day of middle school

Open when you feel insecure

Open when you need a good laugh

My hope for her, especially as someone who has grown up in the age of technology, an age that is prized for its efficiency, is that she will grow to appreciate the authentic and sentimental nature of handwritten notes. I want her to realize that while electronic correspondence is fast and efficient, the closeness you feel to someone while seeing their unique handwriting on a page is unmatched. In this way, I can remain close to her, even if I can’t be physically with her.