I mourn their demise.
Instant, entertaining, sometimes almost unthinking contact by e-mail or mobile phone is useful, but it cannot replace the gentle, measured, thought-filled exchange of letters, on paper, in an envelope. An envelope which says, 'Private - this is between the two of us'. An envelope which may be carried and held and opened again and again, and which could, in the old days, even be kept overnight under the pillow.
I love letters.
I have none from my sons. I have funny and touching cards, lots of e-mails, telephone contact and sometimes we manage to meet. I'm not sure I would recognise their hand-writing. Can they do joined-up writing yet?
My husband and I wrote long and frequent letters before we married, and after his death I re-read those we had kept.
It was not as I remembered. I was more nebulous (Oxford Dictionary: a clouded speck on the cornea, causing defective sight), he was more sensible: 'Where do you think you might have put the shed keys?'
After marriage our roles reversed. There are notes from him saying, 'Remember it's the Feast Day of Saint Ignatius of Antioch?' and from me saying, 'Please get two litres of semi-skimmed while you're at it.'
Old, old letters have resurrected people and times I thought lost forever.
There was a time when I worked in the Middle East. I wrote fairly regularly to my parents. There was no e-mail, and telephone contact was virtually impossible. After their deaths I found all my letters to them, carefully kept in their exotically stamped envelopes.
Reading them brought me face-to-face with myself, forty years ago, a kinder person than I realised, more protective of possibly anxious parents '...the weather is beautifully warm, and the skies are indigo...' when it was actually well over 40 degrees and the vultures were circling in a brassy sky.
It would take me then, as it still takes me now, several days to write a proper letter. Several days of thinking, drafting, altering, softening certain comments which seem hard on reflection, firming up others in an attempt not to obscure.
Love letters - all of them.