"So, I need 2 ask U, do U like Bobby from our class? He rides by ur house all the time…"
This was posted on the Facebook wall belonging to one of my teenage "friends."
"Um…. no?" She replied.
This innocent little exchange caused me to have this epiphany:
Do These Kids Nowadays write love notes to each other? Like on paper? With a pencil? Or an ink-pen?
I bet they just text. Or Facebook, or whatever.
(WARNING: Here comes the part where I wax all nostalgic about how things were awesome back in My Day and, in doing so, I will sound like I'm 80 years old. I'm not. I'm 42. But I can't help myself. Ready? Here goes…)
I would imagine that texting is a stealthier and more secure method of message delivery. Back in the Precambrian Era Great Depression 1970s and 1980s, you had to wait for your math teacher to turn his back and write on the board. (Sorry, Mr. Cameron!) Then you had to place your trust in the three classmates sitting between you and your crush, and hope that they would actually deliver your note to the intended recipient without getting caught. Or intercepting and reading your note, causing you to die of embarassment right there at your right-handed desk (even though you were left-handed, but all they had in the classroom was two leftie desks).
Of course, your note had to be short so he could read it fast (and in this we have the precursor to today's 140-character text message). The recipient would have to check the appropriate box – or circle yes or no – then refold the note and casually send it back your way.
And then my mind wandered all the way back to the school tablets whose sheets we transformed into brief declarations of puppy love. Remember the tablets? They weren't notebooks; they were top-bound, lined tablets. Not three-hole punched, not spiral-bound, not perforated. And the best thing was, they would give you one upon request! Remember that? You'd raise your hand and announce you needed a new tablet, and Voila! Fresh tablet! Gratis. They smelled so good and held such promise.
But the best part about a new tablet was, without question, decorating the cover. This was where your true artistic potential could be expressed, you with the loopy cursive and bubble i-dots and hearts and smiley-faces. Remember practicing how to write you and your crush's name?
Meg + Curt
Curt + Meg
Meg luvs Curt
2B + 2gether = 4ever
Mrs. Curt McCormick
I tried to find a picture of an old school tablet from the 1970s. If I remember correctly, the brand was "Educator" and there was a picture of a quill and inkwell and maybe a scroll. But when I Googled "old school tablet", here's what I got:
And then I got a lot of this:
I'm sorry, but *that* is NOT a "tablet."
Will Today's Youth ever know the thrill of receiving a sheet of lined paper, folded into eighths, slipped into your locker through the vent or tucked into your Trapper Keeper? Will they ever compulsively unfold and refold that note, until it starts to tear along the folds, reading and rereading it to discern any possible subtext?
Will they ever feel tempted to correct their crush's spelling, or be ever-so-slightly put off by a misused your/you're or their/there or to/too?
(Shut up. If you've read this far, you already know I'm a freak, and if this isn't your first time here, you love me in spite of it. You can't be surprised to learn that I was compulsive about grammar and spelling at a tender age.)
Possibly the best thing about notes was, if necessary, you could destroy them. Three weeks after you passed that note in math class, you were already on to a new crush, and any evidence of your previous crush could be burned or flushed or torn into teeny, tiny bits and scattered out the window of the school bus.
You could raise your hand and request a brand-new tablet.
What are your memories of love notes that you sent or received?