A twinge of conscience has been spreading across the United States as the news filters through that this is National Letter-Writing Week. A father thinks of all the missed opportunities to be a Lord Chesterfield sending sage thoughts to his son. A sweetheart wonders if she should have been more of an Elizabeth Barrett wooing through the mail the man who turned her into Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Here and there maybe even a son or daughter regrets not writing home as much as even non-epistolary parents would like.
For it is true that the ever-so-easy phone call is not the same as a letter. It can't be savored twice -- or again and again, as when one of the kids dashes off a real beauty. And a letter does not use up quite as much of the space-time continuum with "How are you?" and "Fine" and "Pretty good" as your average family phone call.
Suppose the US Postal Service is trying to push stamps by reviving the National Letter-Writing Week observed 15 years ago. We don't care. If even one gladdening letter is received that wouldn't have gone out otherwise, can't the mailmen say they've delivered a success?
President Carter, at least, is cooperaating. He could have waited until Internationalm Letter-Writing Week in October to get to his overseas mail. But we are delighted he wrote right now to President Tito of Yugoslavia. His letter reportedly spoke of helping to guarantee the neutrality of Afghanistan if the Soviets withdraw their troops. It was in response to President Tito's letters to both President Carter and President Brezhnev urging that Soviet-American detente be saved.
Maybe immediate action will not follow. But it was the kind of exchange to illustrate the role of letters in seeking to improve the climate for communications of the most fundamental sort. This is just a short note to say we're all for it.
Oh, yes, and everybody is fine here. They all send their love!