Who remembers the last time they communicated using an actual ink-and-paper letter? Not a text, an email, or a phone call. I’m pretty sure my last handwritten letter was written in grade school as part of a pen pal program. That was nearly 20 years ago!
So what has me talking about old-fashioned, handwritten letters? A sweet couple in Fort Worth recently told me the story of how their relationship blossomed into marriage after five years’ worth of letters back and forth.
David and Rushie Simpson, both residents of The Stayton at Museum Way, have that love-at-first-sight, fairytale kind of romance that is still going strong after 56 years of marriage. They met as teens on a blind date in Waco; Rushie was 15 and David was 17.
After their first date in Waco, David went off to Rice University in Houston and Rushie went back to the 10th grade. They knew they couldn’t marry, so they started exchanging letters, and they continued to do so every day for five years.
Rushie still holds on to some of the letters. After David finished at Rice, they married and moved to Long Beach, California, where David was stationed with the Navy. When he sailed out for an extended period, he recalls that Rushie was on the end of the pier when they left and one of the first ones waiting on the pier when they returned home.
After his time in the Navy, David moved on to a career in semiconductor manufacturing that took them from Dallas to Houston, and then to Northern California where they resided for 25 years. During their time in California, they enjoyed travel – and did so frequently. When American Airlines rolled out its new Frequent Flyer rewards program, David and Rushie were the first Gold Couple, an elite status for those flying a certain number of miles.
Now in retirement, they enjoy many of the same activities. They spend time traveling and cooking, and they like to exercise, hike and bike. They spend a lot of their time hiking in the mountains.
While interviewing this couple, I’m pretty sure I had a smile on my face the entire time – that is how cute they were! They made me realize how informal communication has become in today’s world. Maybe we all need to go back to the basics to really connect with each other.
I think the subtle elements, such as the meaning and tone of our messages, get lost in the dozens of other emails and texts we all send and receive on a daily basis. But I can almost guarantee that when a letter comes in the mail, we will all stop what we’re doing, sit down, read it, and appreciate it.