High School TBT: When writing love letters was the in thing
The 90’s until the mid 2000’s was a time when school life was simple and fun, yet full of hard learnings from really tough teachers and parents at home.
Caning was the standard form of punishment in most schools. But despite all this, we enjoyed school, especially on weekends when we were spoilt for choice between going for school trips, playing games or attending movie nights.
School trips were a must go, though, for most of us, more so if it involved visiting a sister school across town.
The most thrilling experience in school, however, was writing and receiving love letters from the girl you had a crush on.
I went to Kirangari High School in Wangige, Lower Kabete area. Back then our school was a provincial school under by the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).
During my high school years (1999 to 2003) I too indulged in writing lots of letters to girls I met during school trips such as games, science congress, mathematics symposiums and the drama festivals.
Back then, social media was unheard of and cellphones were still a novelty in this part of the world.
Which explains why we used to exchange school addresses rather than phone numbers. Hence, you had to have a pen and a notebook to note down the addresses correctly.
It happens that in every school there was this one guy who sold cool writing pads, envelopes and stamps. Then there was the other guy with the gift of writing sweet love letters in poetic form, complete with a nice fragrance and a calligraphic address on the envelope.
Most letters always had to have an intro to set the right mood for your agenda.
The letter were largely about yourself, the ultimate goal being to make a good presentation and ensure you got a reply from your crush.
A classic end to any letter was some dedications of the hottest love ballads of the time from world famous artistes.
Some of my personal favourite dedications were Missing You (Case), Do I Ever Cross Your Mind (Brian McKnight) and Sweet Lady (Tyrese).
To finish off the job, you would carefully fold the pad in a very unique way, slip it into an envelope and write something like “guess who? Whether ready or not here I come” or “open with a smile”.
Then came the long waiting period for a reply, which in those days could take a whole month or two, depending on whether you had made a positive impression on your crush and how often your school received letters.
In our school, we had our letters called out to us every Wednesday evening during supper time. That was the one day you would cross your fingers as you waited anxiously for your name to be called out.
There was always great joy and excitement in receiving the much-awaited letter. Those who received even one letter never went unnoticed among their peers. Receiving two or three letters earned you celebrity status!
The old tradition of writing love letters earned us many friends, and a few enemies here and there, along the way, which made school life bearable.
That said, writing love letters is one of the most cherished memories that I have of my high school days.