Wednesday 16 February 2011

Letter writing . . .

Someone's waiting for a letter.
Do not be unkind.
Take that pen and write that line
to ease somebody's mind.
It's hard to pick up broken threads,
when once you let then go.
Someone's waiting for a letter.
Somebody you know.
Mother, father, family,
The old friend, or the new.
Someone's waiting.
Someone's hoping,
For a line from you.
~Patience Strong

I got one of my mother's bi-weekly letters yesterday morning in the post. I can depend on receiving a letter from her every second week, come hell or high water! I'm always really excited to get it, just like a child really, and I suppose I am . . . her child, that is.

It's very rare nowadays to get a handwritten letter from anyone. I mostly get e-mails, and am grateful for them. A handwritten letter though . . . that's something special indeed. My mother doesn't have a computer and won't have one either. She prefers to do things the old fashioned way. Her stubbornness is our blessing, as we, each one of us three children, can rely on a letter from her every two weeks. I save them, as does my sister. I have a special box that I put them in and someday . . . when the letters stop, as I know they will . . . I will still have a letter from my mom every two weeks. I plan on pulling one out every second week just to read . . . and to feel her close by.

Todd can't understand how she finds so much to write about, but that is a man for you! I, myself, could write for England! A letter is like a conversation, and my mother's are always interesting and witty, even if they are about the little goings on in her day. Perhaps a stranger might not find any worth in reading about those types of things, but I surely do. To be able to put them down on paper in such an interesting and entertaining manner is an art form . . . and one my mother has perfected!

One hardly has occasion to write letters anymore and receiving a personal one in the Post, something other than a bill or advertisement . . . is something precious indeed. As a child, I was taught how to write letters at school. There were correct formats to follow for every kind, and there were several kinds . . . thankyou letters, invitation letters, chatty letters, love letters (*giggle), letters of introduction, letters of regret, letters of condolence, resignation letters . . . I could go on and on. There were letters to fit just about every situation one had to face in life, and we practiced the art of writing them all, with the exception of the love letter . . .

It was good to learn these things. I have no idea if children today learn this art at school or not. I can't remember my own children learning how to write a letter at school, but I could be wrong. (It's been known to happen on several occasions you know!)

I never received a gift, as a child, without having to write a thankyou letter. In school, awards were given out monthly for the student who had done the best that month and gotten the most gold stars and stickers on their chart. More often than not, the award would be a lovely box of writing papers. I was never dissappointed in receiving this . . . one it was an award, and two it was nice writing paper and now I could write someone a letter on something other than lined A-4 . . . and three, I now had occasion to write a thankyou letter to my teacher for the award! It was a win/win/win situation!

I still love fancy writing papers, although I don't often have occasion to write letters these days. I, like most people, generally send e-mails. Letter writing is becoming a lost art form. The last time I sat down to write a letter, my hand ended up all cramped and sore afterwards, so seldom do I use it in this exercise . . . and, I am ashamed to say, my mother rarely gets a written letter from me, except once or twice a year. I just pick up the telephone and call her instead, preferring to hear her voice. I'm lucky that I live in an era when a telephone call, internationally, is not an awfully big expense. But even if it were, I'd still call anyways. My mother always "tut tut's" about the price . . . but I just tell her . . . " Mom someday it won't matter how much money I have, I won't be able to call you anymore." So, for now, I call . . . regardless of the expense, it's a gift to me, selfish really.

I really do need to write more letters though, and I think I will. I think this year I will try to write at least one a month so I don't lose the art and so I keep my fingers and hand in practice . . . not to mention my mind and my heart . . . as letter writing is a skill that comes from the heart you know . . . and we need to use it more . . .

When I was a young girl my best friend’s mother always made potato pancakes for supper on Sunday evenings. They sounded both exotic and delicious to me. I would peddle my bicycle over there as quickly as I could after my own supper, in hopes that they would still be having theirs, and that her mother would take pity on me and invite me in to share their tasty repast with them! Sometimes I got lucky and sometimes I got there only in time to have dessert, which was always canteloupe and ice cream, something else which I never got at home. I think I must have always been a foodie!

Anyways, I have the best recipe in the world for them and am sharing it with you this morning . . . these are fabulous and you don’t have to peddle a bike to get them!

*Potato Pancakes*
Makes about 10
Printable Recipe

These are easy to make and so delicious! You can tell from the grease splattered piece of paper I’ve got it written down on that it’s a winner, but don’t take my word for it. Try them for yourself! We like to have them with applesauce and sour cream, with a few chives sprinkled on top, but you can have them with whatever strikes your fancy.

3 cups raw potato, peeled and finely grated
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp salt
2 TBS plain flour
2 TBS grated onion
Sunflower oil for frying

Grate your potatoes and squeeze as much liquid from them as you can, working quickly so that the potatoes don’t turn brown. Put into a bowl along with the remaining ingredients, mixing well.

Heat a skillet to medium hot, and grease well with some oil. I add about 3 TBS and swirl it around.

Once the oil is hot, drop the batter by tablespoonsful onto the hot skillet. Press with the back of the spoon to flatten a bit. Fry for about 3 minutes on each side until browned. Place in a low oven to keep warm while you fry the rest.

Serve hot with applesauce and sour cream. Delicious!

Over in The English Kitchen today, a Sour Cream Banana Loaf that is very, very good! In fact it's my favourite recipe for banana loaf!

PS - My doll's house is together and ready to move into. Check it out here.


  1. Hello my friend!!

    Beautiful post. It's so true that noone writes handwritten letters anymore. It's such a treat to get one in the mail!!

    You are a wonderful writer. I always look forward to reading your posts and what you have to say!

    I hope things are going well. I will be happy for Spring to get here. I am tired of the cold weather.

    Have a wonderful week!!!


  2. How I agree with you Marie, There is northing liek getting a nice handwritten letter. I used to love writing letters....still do...but nowadays like you mostly e.mail ones. My handwriting has gone from being fair to now being rather like a spider that has been on the bottle !!...I will have to start again...soon....
    Love teh sound of yor recipe this morning Must give it a go..I have done potato cakes with mashed potato but hadn't thought of grating them.mmmmmmmmm...
    Love Sybil xx

  3. The only person I exchange letters with these days is my BFF in England...
    By the way I still am not able to see anything but the header to your Doll you have posts there?? help!!!!

  4. Truly letter writing is getting to be a lost art. I don't write any more but send emails too. You will indeed be able to enjoy your mothers letters for years to come.. I still have some from my grandmother that I treasure. Your potato pancakes look delicious and I enjoyed the doll house immensely. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  5. i remember having a pen pal when i was younger and how exciting it was to receive her letters! with the internet, letter writing is disappearing, so true. its sad that we are too busy to pick up a pen and write...joey's parents visited hong kong not too long ago with friends and their friends niece has now become pen pals with aubrey. aubrey is having so much fun writing to her and receiving letters from across the globe! i love to watch her excitment as she opens the letters :)

  6. Yum. love potato pancakes! You are very blessed to have these letters from your mom...what a treasure they will always be, for you and for your posterity! I don't know anyone who writes letters anymore, sad.

  7. Hi Marie,

    What a neat post and all so true. I have such a hard time writing anymore, it just seems to take forever and my hand is like yours! So out of practice I am.

    You will be so happy to have all those letters when that dreaded time comes. I found a recipe in my mom's handwriting the other day and just clutched it to my chest like it was a huge part of her. It was somehow.


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