Dear So and So

B9557CA2-C92C-4671-B919-AB003E2964BFDear Reader,

Do you still write letters? Or are you like me? I rarely write letters anymore — even business letters. I mostly communicate via email or text messages.

When you do write a letter or send an email, do you start it off with the word “Dear” in front of the addressee’s name at the beginning? How about “Sincerely yours” (or just “Sincerely”) at the end?

I’m not talking about letters to your close — or even extended — family members, where you might start it out with “Dear Aunt Barbara,” and end it with “Love, your nephew Jim.” After all, you do want dear Aunt Barbara to remember that you’re her loving nephew when she’s preparing her last will and testament, right?

No, I’m talking about letters (and even emails) to businesses, co-workers, friends, or acquaintances.

Terms of endearment

I was taught that opening a letter with the word “Dear” in front of the addressee’s name — even if you’re sending it to a total stranger — is the proper letter writing convention. It’s not necessarily intended to be a term of endearment.

So even if you’re writing a letter to a customer, a business associate, or virtually anyone else, you should, according to letter-writing etiquette, always start your letter with “Dear” followed by the person’s first name.

If you don’t know the recipient’s first name, you should use his or her last name, such as “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Dear Ms. Jones.” And if you know neither the first nor the last name of the addressee, you should use “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam.”

“Dear Madam”? Seriously, who does that anymore?

And you should, they say, end the letter with “Sincerely yours.” Even a business letter. Because you want your sincerity in your business correspondence to shine through, right?

Dear Electric Company,

Thank you for sending me the latest monthly bill. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

Sincerely yours,


I never use “Dear” for a salutation or “Sincerely yours” at the close of a letter or an email. I may sometimes end an email with “Regards,” but that is about as sincere as I get.

So, what about you? Do you still use “Dear” and “Sincerely yours” in your letters and/or emails? Or do you consider them to be old-fashioned letter-writing conventions whose time has passed?

Have we, as a modern society, lost something by no longer using them?

Sincerely yours,


Twittering Tales — The Letters

57EC81B1-96E3-4D91-97F5-55F413B946D4“Here!” she said, dropping the bundle of letters on his desk. “Keep them or toss them. It doesn’t matter to me. Everything you wrote in them is bullshit. You said you loved me, begged me to wait for you. I did. But you’re not the same man you were when you wrote these. Goodbye.”

(279 characters)

Written for this week’s Twittering Tales prompt from Kat Myrman. Photo credit: Suzy Hazelwood at

3TC — Lost Letters

FDA4BF2C-155C-4BAA-A426-C22DE097AD8FAnita found the bundle of letters and old photographs inside the desk drawer of her late mother’s desk as she and her husband were preparing for the estate sale.

January 11, 1917

My Dearest Theodore,

I still am having trouble adjusting to the fact that it is summer down here in South Africa while you are probably knee-deep in snow back home. The sail across the Atlantic from New York took forever and I’m so glad to finally be on solid ground. I can’t tell you how many times the ship’s captain offered up a mia culpa for the rough seas we encountered. But otherwise, he was quite amicable and accommodating.

I just checked into the hotel and it’s less primitive than I expected it to be. I’m going to take a bath, then go to the salon to have my hair done, and then will be dining with a few of my traveling companions.

All my love,



January 31, 1917

My Darling Marie,

It’s still a mystery to me as to why, especially in a time of such global conflict, that you would embark on such a trip, but you’ve always been a free spirit. I miss you so and I’m looking forward to your return to me in March.

Yours forever,



February 21, 1917

Dearest Theodore,

I missed being with you on Valentine’s Day, but I have been having the most amazing time here in Africa. This week I went on a safari into the bush lands and I even rode on an elephant. It was an experience I shall never forget. Tonight our safari tour guide is taking us all out to dinner to celebrate our successful adventure. I’m exhausted, my dear, but I feel that it would not be proper of me to weasel out of that dinner, especially after Nigel gave me a beautiful native talisman.

Until next time,



March 10, 1917

Dear Maria,

Thank you for sending me those beautiful photographs. You look very happy. Was that man standing next to you with his arm around your waist your safari guide? Is that Nigel? Did you get the photographs I sent to you of all the snow blanketing the city? We’ve had an unusually cold and wet winter this year.

On another note, I’m sure you’ve heard about how some passenger ships in the North Atlantic have been sunk by German U-Boats over the past several months. I hope that your journey home at the end of this month will be uneventful. By the time you return, it will be spring here and we can enjoy all the city has to offer.




April 2, 1917

Dear Theodore,

I know you expected me to have arrived home by now, but I have totally fallen in love with Nigel. Much to my surprise, Nigel has invited me to move in with him and I have graciously accepted. I do hope you’ll understand.

Best regards,




You brazen hussy. I hope you and your safari man come down with cholera or some other exotic disease. Should you ever decide to return to the States, may your passenger ship have a close encounter with a German U-Boat.


Written for Paula Light’s Three Things Challenge, where the three things are salon, mystery, and elephant.

Also for Teresa’s Genre Writing Challenge, where the writing genre is Epistolary Fiction, or stories constructed as a series of letters exchanged between characters, based upon the image at the top of this post.

Also for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (mea culpa), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (amicable), Ragtag Daily Prompt (weasel), and Your Daily Word Prompt (talisman).

The Dream and the Reality

71a83a70-33b2-4e9c-89be-b9a98cf8220eI see myself in my dream as an accomplished writer, an author who has the ability to compose a truly great work of literature.

I can visualize, as I toil away on my keyboard, a flock of festive letters, like little, white snowflakes, floating up from my typewriter, transforming into magnificent words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and yes, even adverbs — and then slowly descending down to bedeck the blank pages of my book.

And then I wake up from the dream, sit down at my computer with a cup of hot coffee, and struggle to punch out enough words for a simple blog post.

There’s the dream and then there’s the reality.

Written for these one-word prompts: Fandago’s One-Word Challenge (compose), Scotts Daily Prompt, (literature), Your Daily Word Prompt (festive), Ragtag Daily Prompt (white), and Word of the Day Challenge (bedeck).