My Romance with Snail Mail
When I was in elementary school way back before the internet was available to me, I had many pen pals. It was even encouraged in my school and they set us up with a pen pal in the same grade at a Catholic school one town over (my school was Catholic as well) at the beginning of the school year and in the Spring we had a field trip to go meet our pen pals. My pen pal Christine and I remained friends and pen pals for the next couple of years.
I also had pen pals in other countries. I had one each in Australia, the Philippines, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand. The one in New Zealand, Vanessa, and I remained pen pals for many years, but lost contact sometime during high school.
My mother would make fun of me, pretending to go check the mail when she knows I was obsessive about checking the mail. I’d hate it if she got the mail before me.
My aunt has always been very constant about sending me mail, articles and news clippings and comics, the occasional funny card. In college, mail is what turned my friend from high school into one of my best friends for life. When we lived together the past 2.5 years, we’d still leave each other little notes on our doors, pillows, or bathroom mirror. Similarly, a person who was a friend of mine in college has been such a good pen pal over the years, that I dare say he’s one of my favorite friends.
Out of all the postcards and letters I’ve received, I have one piece that is my favorite. It is from an online friend in Germany with whom I’m still friends. He sent me a Christmas card many years ago. I realize this doesn’t sound exciting until I tell you that he’s almost completely quadraplegic. He has some use of some of his fingers. And it was snowing in Munich when he went out in his wheelchair, bought the card, and got it to the post office. He even WROTE in the card and apologized for his handwriting, but I totally give him a pass on that.
Mail (or snail mail, as I call it) is special nowadays. It takes time and effort and a little bit of money for stationery and postage to send something personal and fewer and fewer people do it. And it always makes people smile to get mail that’s not junk, a jury summons, or a bill as the comic above implies.
I don’t send mail expecting replies, though that is always nice. And ordering things online isn’t always the same feeling because then it’s expected and it was time, effort, and money out of my own pocket.
Mail is good. Mail makes people happy. Send more mail.