Friday, April 9, 2010

Play Post Office with Me

TIME magazine (3/15 issue), says it's email that may sound the death knell for the USPS. In 2009, there was a 13% drop in mail volume. Most people are paying bills online. And there are so many alternatives to sending packages than there used to be. I am an antique because I write between two to four letters or cards a week. I love to send, and receive, handwritten letters. Writing letters has always been my style. I have every letter I ever wrote to one of my grandmom's. They were returned to me in a vintage sewing box when she died. I went through them once and put them in order by date. It was a kick to read what had been on my mind from age 5 to 25, what I was thinking, feeling, doing...I also found one letter my brother had sent describing his feelings for his first serious girlfriend in high school, who he eventually married (after he was divorced once and she twice -- at least this time they seem to have gotten it right).

I've kept every letter or note given to me of import. (If it's just a card with a line or two I usually toss those). They are a time capsule. They reveal friends (some gone, a few even forgotten), who I was, and what was 'important.' Re-reading them all eventually is on my agenda someday. Mom returned the letters I wrote them when I lived out west and back east 14 years. I hope to rediscover and reconnect with more of my authentic self, and maybe more old friends I've not kept up with that I'm reminded of this way.

I don't know why, but em cards kinda bother me. It's really nice and all to be thought of, of course, but it's just not the same as if they'd made the effort of buying a card and writing in it and mailing it off. I like to personalize my notes. I love to buy cards and stationery. I keep a variety of stamps to post with, never using a 'flag' stamp for personal correspondence. I used to use sealing wax until someone told me it mucks up the machines at the post office, so if I use a seal now I enclose the letter in another envelope.

I noticed a fall-off of service at post offices a few years ago that has grown worse. A number of returns on letters that should have gone through. A few returns on 'forwards' that shouldn't have come back. Some priority mail that didn't make it within the time frame. And always, those near-constant stamp increases. Maybe if the workers did a better job they wouldn't be experiencing such a high rate of fall-off, who knows. But I hope we don't look back with nostalgia for when there was a postal service.

Since our Founding Fathers, we've had some form of mail delivery. It would be tragic, I think, to see that fall by the wayside. That wouldn't be 'progress.' That would just be sad. I'm doing my part. Maybe even more than my share.

15 comments:

Cheeseboy said...

I actually sent an email to the Post Office the other day about a letter that came back which I found very ironic. (The email went through)

Jayne Martin said...

I love this post. I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter to anyone, although I do try to get cards out for birthdays and such. I think it's just fabulous that you have all these wonderful letters and memories. As for the post office, I live in a rural community where there is no home delivery and everyone goes to the post office for their mail. I love it. It's such a social hub. The people who work there are so friendly and, of course, they know everyone so you could address a letter to my name and zip code and I'd still get it. Again, this was a lovely post.

ReformingGeek said...

I'm seeing a decrease in the receipt of "real" mail and an increase in junk mail. I wouldn't mind if solicitors stopped using the mail service!

I love receiving cards. Maybe I should send more. ;-)

zodiblog said...

You’d love me then. I’m the only person I know anywhere near my age group with beautiful cursive penmanship. I used to write a lot of love-ish letters in my high school days so I had a lot of practice. An email or text can never come close to the seductiveness of the letter…..

From Tracie said...

I love getting letters in the mail....long handwritten ones on pretty stationary. It is one of my favorite things! I try to be good about sending them as well!

Chris said...

I'm afraid it is the curse of the modern lifestyle. I know an increasing number of people who don't even send e-mail anymore -- they just tweet their thoughts as they occur. I haven't sent many letters since the last time I was in school. I still manage Christmas cards most years, but it's a struggle.

lynn said...

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

I still have all the letters and cards hubby and I exchanged while he was in basic training. And some postcards, I love collecting those and trade them online through postcrossing. I wish i would have saved the box of all the letters I'd had from friends in High School. We used to write letters to each other when we weren't in class together.

I think it's sad that my kids don't experience the letter writing now. My 10 year old loves getting mail and has tried to be pen pals with a few friends daughters but they don't keep it up. She tried sending a letter to my aunt and I got an email from her asking why she did that and didn't just email her to save on postage??

My husband just recently got let go from the post office. He was working there part time for almost 7 years and had been hoping to get a full time route, but because of the decline in mail they are seriously cutting back. Because of that the people they do have are being stretched too thin. I can see why things are being done in error.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Oh I love this. I too think it would be so sad to lose the post office. I frankly contribute by paying bills on line and emailing. My ex-mother in law and I keep in touch via snail mail. I get so excited to get a real letter in the mail. I get excited to open my mail and have it be from someone far away or a card. I don't much like email cards.

I had a pen pal from the age of 8 to 20. I am sad that most kids don't have that now.

thanks for a great post! Glad I found you.

wendy said...

I agree 100%, it is nice to have email and all that BUT so impersonal sometimes. How lovely to get a card or hand written letter in the MAIL. Something someone spent a little thought on and time. I hate email cards actually. I want something I can hold in my hand and set on my dresser and fondle.
I love REAL things.

Tricia McWhorter said...

I totally agree with you about letters being special when they arrive in the mail. The tactile sense of holding something in your hands. I feel the same way about books v. the Kindle or other types of E-books. But I'm old fashioned about a lot of things.

e said...

I love to send and get cards, too. I sent one to someone whose father died recently, and while her email of thanks was nice, it pales in comparison to a card...

If you would like a card, send your address via the email on my profile page...

JoeyRes said...

My husband and I wrote letters to each other (boyfriend & girlfriend at the time) while he was in the Army. I have all of the letters saved in a book. They're our love story all written out. I'd love getting mail still, but there are so many easier ways to send a message like you said!

R.H. Ducky said...

I love this post. I must admit, I'm horrible about just sending a quick email or text message rather than sitting down and writing an actual card or letter.
It is such a wonderful feeling to get something in the "real" mail though. Hmm, maybe I should go stock up on some stationary and start updating my address book. Thanks for the inspiration!

Alicia

Tam said...

I love stationary too, and I love to write handwritten notes. I am not a fan of the e-cards,and especially e-thank you notes. Is that old-fashioned? I still make my kids write thank you notes on real paper through the real mail!

LaraAnn said...

I wish that I had kept all the letters from my pen pal/friend. We wrote to each other from about 1978 - 1988. I loved the Kermit and Miss Piggy stationary that I had back then. I do still have the letters from my friend Ricky who was a German exchange student in 1986-1987. We only wrote to one another a couple of years.