Thursday, January 21, 2010

Better Letters - 1940s Style




I love old books, and I buy all the ones I can afford. I'm not really sure why...most of the books I buy aren't worth a lot of money, I'm sure. Maybe it's that I just can't stand to think of the books being thrown in the trash. 

Earlier this week, I was looking through some old books that I'd bought a while back, probably at a library book sale or maybe at a thrift store. And, I found a copy of "Your Manners Are Showing: The Handbook of Teen-Age Know-How" by Betty Betz with verses by Anne Clark. It was published in 1946, and this copy looks like a library version with a brown cloth cover. There is quite a bit of information online about the book, and it's for sale in several places.


The book has some interesting (and funny in 2010) information about dating, dealing with parents, friends, etc. I don't advise that anyone follow the book's advice on smoking, but the chapter titled "Better Letters" has some information that is still helpful today.

"How would you feel ten years from now if everything you had ever written was dug out of a trunk and read aloud to a roomful of your best friends? Well, that ought to slow you down the next time you feel in the mood to pen a mash note or put a gooey saying on a photograph. ... Those dreamy lines you scrawl after midnight may be exaggerated by a moon, a dreamy record, and a pair of drowsy eyes, so read those letters d'amour again in broad daylight then next morning before you mail them. Try to keep a humorous and amusing tone; if someone is to get a lot of laughts, you want him or her to laugh with your letters and not at them.
In your personal correspondence, be cheerful and keep letters newsy so that they reflect your own personality. A letter which is dull and depressing for you to write is twice as dull for the other person to read. Never quote gossip or rumors which are liable to hurt someone else, and never write anything which might be interpreted as off-color.
Writing a letter to a friend should be regarded as the next-best-thing to paying him or her a visit, so try to give out with your personality on paper! And make those visits often!"

1 comment:

Megan said...

Oh I love this, haha keep correspondance cheerful and newsy.

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