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Shortage of snail mail

October 16th, 2004 · 1 Comment

written October 15

Am I the only one who sorts through the mailbox contents the moment I unlock the slot? While still standing in the street, I start pushing through the papers, scanning for a sign of handwriting, a colorful stamp or a small envelope or an address written in pen? Snail mail seems hard to find any more. Sometimes I think I have a piece, but it is an imposter, a marketer who knew my weakness and took the time to put a stamp and handwritten address only to entice me to open it.

I have my part to play in this shortage. I confess I don’t write as many letters as I once did. I’m more likely to write an email if I can. It seems faster. It’s cheaper. I don’t have to look up the address, find an envelope or dig the stamps from my desk. Nevermind the required trek to the mailbox to send it. My hands now are out of shape for penmanship and start to cramp if I write lengthy paragraphs. Convenience has conquered my love of cards.

Yet there is something to paper mail. Something to substance behind words. I have special appreciation for those who took the time to write with their own hands. Paper cards have character and color. They go from hand to hand, from house to house, tangible and tearable.

Now that genuine letters and cards have become rare, it is as if they redeem the mail. Among the generic solicitations and repetitious ads, a handwritten note is a treasure, a prize, a reward for the work of searching. A piece of paper correspondence is a piece of history. I wonder how much longer letters will last.

I’ve got a stack of cards and letters to organize tonight. It’s time to sit down at the table and take out my address book list and stamp sheets. So I’ll try to do my part to put some snail mail into the system. I hope others will too! 🙂

[side note: after I wrote this draft, I spied Ole Eichhorn’s email post that is making the rounds again this week ( via Michelle McBride)]

Tags: journal

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 pops // Oct 17, 2004 at 11:25 am

    Does sending out the annual Xmas family newsletter count?

    For like the first time in 15 years we’re not sending one out this year. (Fat lot of good I’m doing your cause.) We’re off to FL for a few days at the start of December and then we’re taking another cruise around the Carribean. I really can’t compose the annual missive and have my perfectly made martini in the ship’s lounge at the same time.

    However in November I will pose the question of whether or not you mention your blog in your Xmas newsletter. I stopped doing it as my relatives just couple figure out what I was talking about.

    BUT we will take our yearly family portrait under the statue of Lenin in Fremont and mail that out. This will be our 12th year of celebrating the season with the Father of Modern Communism.