This past Sunday I saw the play Love Letters. Written by A.R.Gurney, it is currently on Broadway with a rotating cast. Candace Bergen and Alan Alda played the roles of Melissa Gardiner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III respectively. It spans the lives of the relationship between Melissa and Andy since they first wrote in the second grade. It spans grade and high school, college and World War II, and well beyond. It continued whenever they lived and whatever occurred in their lives. While their lives evolved and revolved, the letters keep coming. Even with the advent of phones, letters find a way to rule. The letters allowed them to express their feelings, as one would in a conversation. It was a gripping,entertaining, exhilarating, maddening and saddening rollercoaster of a ride through their relationship.
This reminded me of my letter writing days. I don’t know if I ever wrote a love letter but the letters I wrote were written with love. Like greeting cards, I keep my letters. I know for a fact I have a number of letters that I saved from my letter writing days between freshman and sophomore years of college. I had written letters to Michelle while she was in Washington DC as part of a summer internship program. From what I remember, Michelle wrote of the atmosphere in Washington DC and I shared the New York experience with her. We were both interested and involved in politics. Bill Clinton was vying to become the Democratic candidate to bring hope to the Democrats and the country after 12 years of Republican rule. We talked about our love for politics, Cuomo providing the signature speech prior to Clinton’s acceptance of the nomination. We also shared our lives and love. This was at a time when I had gone from smitten to love for Michelle. We matured in those letters but also had our wide-eyed perspectives about life. We were young (18 and 20 respectively) and saw the world full of opportunities. The real world had not yet touched us in a way to make us cynical. Those letters during that 3 month span were the only letters I wrote consistently in my life but they provide insight on our lives. It obviously takes two to write letters and had she not kept up her end, I am certain my letters would have stopped.
Nowadays I do not write letters. Instead, I instant message, tweet, text and write emails. While the medium has changed, in some of those cases and with some of those people, I still write with love. They are not love letters but a form of communication that expresses love. In other words, love can be transmitted in any way a person wants it to be.