By Pallas Hupé


Over the past few months, I’ve gone through several boxes in my garage, trying to wean myself from admittedly packrat tendencies. While I’ve managed to shed quite a few things, I cannot part with a few of my “treasures”. These are boxes of mementos I call “scrapbook stuff”, and lots and lots of letters! Some are from friends and family, sent when I moved overseas in my teen years. Others are from my now husband of nearly twenty years.

After we first met, he went on several deployments with the Marine Corps.  I would live for his letters to arrive in the mail (this was in the era before troops had access to email).  And the words he wrote really are treasures….he’s not much of a talker! When we did start e-mailing, it just wasn’t the same. I actually believe it was his handwritten messages that really sealed the deal for me about who I was choosing to marry. They allowed me to see what was inside my introspective mate.  And they were the only thing that helped soothe my soul when I spent months missing him with all of my being.

That’s one reason a recent email caught my eye. Its subject line read “Girls Love Mail”. The campaign is to encourage people to send hand-written letters to women going through breast cancer treatment.

Have you ever had a friend or loved one battle this disease? I have, and I’ve often felt there was nothing I could say that would help. One friend even confessed to me that it was painful to watch people squirm, trying to talk to her but not knowing how to address her breast cancer treatment. I never forgot that comment. Well chosen words – well thought out and written down – would seem to make a world of difference.

The force behind “Girls Love Mail” is Gina Mulligan. She’s an author of a book called “From Across the Room” – comprised only of composed letters. I love the style, called an “epistolary novel”. Gina, who is a breast cancer survivor herself, writes that getting the idea to send breast cancer patients letters was an “Aha” moment. I love those too. That image of a lightbulb going off really captures what happens: shedding light where once there was darkness. If you want to add a little light to the darker moments breast cancer patients often feel, learn more about “Girls Love Mail” here. 

Now, I realize this post comes the week we learned the U.S. Postal Service may go bankrupt.  One lawmaker even suggested a pr push to get people to write letters again.  I don’t think that’s going to save a failing business.  But I like the thought… so I’ve asked my husband of nearly 20 years now to please consider writing me a letter again, just now and then…

Comments (4)
  1. Ran Slaten says:

    Such a good piece, Pallas. Everyone loves to get a nice personal letter. When I was in the Navy my wife and I corresponded nearly every day…usually just a note or word of encouragement and even today, I write letters to my daughter.
    I’ve been composing a letter to a FB friend in w. Sac. for some time…now I’m going to have to re-write it by hand. 😉 Ran

  2. Summer says:

    BS low – ratoianltiy high! Really good answer!

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