I guess Joan Crawford felt the same way. Perhaps unmatched in her loyalty to her fans, she took great lengths to reply to as many of the thousands of fan letters she received as she could. She wrote thoughtful responses to her admirers, often continuing a conversation through letters with certain fans for years. She never let a friend's birthday or special date slip by without proper acknowledgement and commemorated special achievements with personal letters and notes of congratulations.
Roy Newquist's Conversations with Joan Crawford documents this dedication to considerate correspondence. In reply to a comment about her "unusual degree of concern and kindness," Ms. Crawford responds:
“I’m sorry that you have to use the word ‘unusual,’” Joan replies. “I don’t see why people can’t demonstrate, as a routine in their lives, their love or concern or respect for each other. It costs so little in time and effort and money to remember someone. I know how grateful I am when someone goes out of the way to pay me a kindness, and if they put some sort of personal stamp on it, so much greater the appreciation.
“I’m sure all of us have suffered the loss of a loved one and felt guilty as hell because we didn’t do more for that person when he or she was still alive. … I’m not religious enough to believe they know how we really felt after they’ve gone; I want to do as much as I can while they’re still here. And there have been quite a few times in my life when I know I didn’t do the things I should have and could have so easily done.
[…] “But about the thank-you notes, or just the best-wishes—they’re no big deal. People deserve to be remembered on special occasions, and appreciate being remembered, so why not do it?”
My sentiments exactly.
Where do you stand on the matter? Do you still hand-write notes? Or do you have a favorite online source for sending notes? (I love Paperless Post when unable to send a proper note via post.) Please share!
*This excerpt was first posted on Orsons Tumblr.