Hey, Mister Postman

When’s the last time you wrote a good old-fashioned letter?

I don’t mean e-mail. We all do that, likely many times a week. I’m talking about something for which you pull out a blank sheet of paper and a pen, sit down at a table or on the couch with, and write by hand.

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It’s a lost art, letter writing. I’ve heard that more than once, but it doesn’t have to be.

My girls and I each have experience with penpals.

Biggest writes an occasional letter to someone we consider an honorary uncle, he lives in Texas. He’s exceptionally good at sending stuff back. And Biggest recently connected with a girl just a couple years older than she is. They live only a town apart, here in Missouri, but how cool that they make use of the USPS? No texting (yet) for these two.

Littlest has received printed letters from a classmate at school, and a long-time friend of mine, who in the past has sent sweet thoughts and curious questions from out-of-state.

They’ve both written to a girl in Maine. And have traded letters with my boyfriend.

I like to send my girls notes and poems when they’re at their dad’s. I imagine (hopefully not for naught) their pleasure in opening an envelope from me, especially when we aren’t together.

Too, I have a penpal from overseas. After connecting online through a writers’ forum, and later Facebook, we started penning true letters, sent halfway around the world. Just as exciting as receiving heartfelt correspondence from her is knowing how many hands our mail has touched, across how many borders it’s roamed.

And who doesn’t love to read something written just for them?

There’s anticipation when you open the mailbox and find a letter with your name on it—and it’s not a bill. Or junk mail. There’s a tangibility not evident in e-mails, there’s a certain romantic spirit, an intimacy. Knowing you were thought of, that a few minutes’ time was spent contemplating and expressing thoughts for your benefit. That’s awesome.

Do you agree?

When’s the last time you wrote a good old-fashioned letter? Or received one?

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About Janna

writer, editor, marketing assistant, resume consultant, mom, wannabe philosopher, advocate, and possibilitarian / you can call me Janna

Posted on June 25, 2014, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’m with you, Janna! I miss letters. When I was growing up, we moved often because my dad was in the military. Writing to friends was the only way to keep in touch and the joy of seeing a letter with my name on is one I’ll always remember. I try to write a letter to each of my children on their birthday, but that may be the only letter they get each year, I’m afraid. Unless they’re getting love letters I don’t know about! Great post!

  2. At this point, Janna, I only write one letter a year, and that’s to my husband’s elderly aunt at Christmas time so I can share our family’s news with her. I love the idea of sending my boys a once-a-year letter. They would be shocked (lol!), but way down the road when I am gone, they would have this special memory. Hmmm, I am going to do that, starting this year.

    My mom once mentioned that after the birth of my brother, she wrote a letter to her mom to let her know about his arrival. At the time, I found the idea of relaying this info via snail mail so strange b/c they lived only an hour apart. But back then, even sharing news via the telephone was not a common practice.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Janna!

    • Janna Qualman

      Things have changed so much since then. Nowadays people shoot a text or even let a Facebook post serve as birth announcement (or whatever), and while it suits the times and advancement of technology, it leaves out a sincere personalized element.

  3. The only time I “write” with a pen is on a birthday card and even then, Hallmark does most of it for me! However, there IS a difference for me in getting an e-mail and receiving a letter via the post. My daughter the other day wrote about 15 personal thank you notes to all the people at the hospital who helped her when she was not well. I think they were shocked and the coordinator said that the when the head of the program got her letter (she’d been having a bad day) she almost cried. It is a lost art.

    • Janna Qualman

      Your daughter is awesome! Good for her.

      You’re right, so many companies (and computers) make it easy to skip the handwritten thing altogether.

  4. It is a lost art. The sad fact is they have stopped teaching cursive in schools and my kids can hardly read notes written long hand. Very sad and very wrong.

    • Janna Qualman

      In the last year or two, both my girls (in elementary school) have learned each individual letter in cursive, but they didn’t spend much time forming words and full sentences. Print has become the way. I remember being REQUIRED to write all school stuff in cursive until I got to high school, when it became my choice. I’ve printed ever since, except for my signature.

  5. I love connecting with you and hearing from you from letters. I’m always delighted to hear from you, especially miss when we are out of connection however always have patience that we will connect again. yay 🙂 With love – Ana

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