Reviving a tradition: Handwritten letters by Karen

Handwritten Letters by Karen

Have you ever received a piece of mail that made your day? Karen Stiffler has, and she hopes her new letter-writing service will make someone else’s day.

The idea was born during the lockdown and need to stay home during the Covid pandemic.

“I pretty much thought of it during COVID,” she said.

Karen Stiffler enjoys both writing and sending hand-written letters. It’s now the basis of her new business, Handwritten Letters by Karen. (FCFP photo)

She wrote many letters during that time, trying to give family and loved ones something to look forward to.

“As time passed, I decided to expand, sending letters to nursing homes  and the hospital,” she said. 

It seemed to bring much happiness and joy to many of the recipients, something she treasures to this day. People responded by saying how much they enjoyed the handwritten letters…but wished they could write letters and bring joy to their loved ones.

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A business born of love

“That’s when I thought, ‘I can provide this for them and let them give and have the same experience’,” she said. 

You see, letters — the hand written kind, crafted with care, then stamped and sent through the mail — were an important part of Karen’s childhood.

Her family moved from place to place, and didn’t have a telephone. So letters, always written by hand, were a vital link to her beloved grandmother.

“As soon as we arrived to our destination, my mother would send a letter to my grandmother,” she remenbers today. “We would anticipate a card or letter in return.”

Those letters and cards back and forth comforted her. They also established a love for writing letters, something that carried over into her adult life.

Seeing the joy it brought to others eventually inspired her to offer a letter writing service to those who struggle with producing hand written letters.

.”I have so many fond memories of waiting anxiously for the postman to deliver the mail in hopes there was something for me,” she remembers. “I could hardly wait for my mother to hand the letter to me on those special days.”

At that time her grandmother was diligent about sending mail.

“I felt on top of the world,” she said. “Someone far off was thinking of me and made sure to let me know.”

Karen would write back quickly in anticipation of another letter.

Her grandmother continued to send Karen mail throughout her lifetime. 

“It was a special bond between us. I will always treasure her letters and the feelings that were evoked when I received those letters of love,” she said.

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Carrying on a tradition

Karen carried on the tradition, even as the world transitioned from letters to email and then to text messaging.

“I thought it was important,” she said. “I’ve been sending cards and letters for as long as I can remember. My children and grandchildren have carried on the tradition. I wanted my loved ones to experience the excitement and love of cards and letters.”

It’s rare these days for someone to send a letter.

But Karen not want the art of letter writing to die.

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Gift from the heart

“I believe receiving a letter gives the receiver a gift from the heart,” she said.

As a teacher, she often gives her students assignments to write letters and/or send notes to friends and family members.

“I started to realize very few people write letters anymore,” she said.

When her students wrote letters, they found their recipients were genuinely touched by the thought, and the time they put into writing the letter.

“Most have mentioned they could/would not compose a letter, (which made me) think… what if I wrote a letter for them. So I decided to start a business based on hand written letters filled with love,” she said.

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How it works

Those wanting a letter should complete a form on Karen’s website stating the type of letter they want written; and provide some information regarding the person the letter will go to.

Karen has written letters of every kind, such as thank you, sympathy, anniversary, wedding, birthday, love and general hello letters.  

She will compose the  letter, write it and send it for those that may not have time or feel they could not compose the letter. 

“I am hoping those who receive a handwritten letter will be touched as I was as a child,” she said of her new letter-writing service.

She anticipates that as the service takes off, some will recall a time when letter writing was common; and others receiving a letter for the first time will have a new experience that might even spark them to write a letter.