Saturday, July 30, 2016

Why I Love Snail Mail

There's something enchanting about receiving a letter in the mail. It's one of my favorite things in the world and I shall do my best to convince you of its transcendence in this post.


~History~


I hope you all know that at one point, mail was the only possible form of communication. Other than speaking in person, of course. I am struck by this every time I watch a Jane Austen-era film. They had to write letters to know anything about people that didn't live within five miles of them. I would have loved living in that era!

If you go really, really far back, letters were delivered by messengers on foot. Ancient and early church eras all relied on hand delivery. What if your letter was going all the way across the known world? Then you or your best friend took it yourself. Think about the letters from the Bible. Half of the trouble the apostles met was on journeys to deliver letters to churches. Stamps have simplified things, yes?

After that, people got smarter and began delivering on horseback: the Pony Express. This is where the snazzy vintage mail bags come in. This method was much faster, obviously, and worked out of a post office, so that no messenger was riding all across the world. This did include the likelihood of losing a letter in the mail, but it was still rare. If you had to mail a letter far, it could still take weeks or months to reach its destination.

Then came stagecoach. Still horses, but room for much larger packages. People got to the point where they didn't only want to mail letters! They wanted to mail things. Like books. Yes, book mail was a thing, even back then and it makes me happy.

And then came the development of government run postal offices in every town and city to streamline mail delivery. Address the letter, stick the proper postage on it, and voila. I can get a letter from Texas to California in two days when I'm lucky. Services like United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx came into existence to help deliver large packages. You see a lot of them around the beginning of school and Christmas time.

So now you know . . . not that you didn't already :)

~Benefits~

There are benefits to being one of those letter writers, you know. I came up with three.

First, it helps your handwriting. Penmanship has really fallen by the wayside in recent decades of public education and it's sad. It used to be one of the necessary skills of life to write in scrolling cursive with ink and nib. No longer. Many schools don't even see the point in teaching both print and cursive. Regardless, everyone has their own style of writing and you develop it through use. Legibility also comes through practice, so this is a great thing to do! No skimping by typing, please.

Second, I love that it not only lets me keep up with long distance friends (because I despise phone calls!!!), but it also makes me take note of what's happening in my life. Kind of like the wrap-up posts we all write. You notice big events throughout the month so you can tell people. And because writing things down is supposed to help you remember them, think about how much better you will remember your own life details just because you wrote a letter! Of course, if you journal, that's the best way. But I've never gotten into that discipline.

Third, it's an enjoyable responsibility. When you have a pen pal that actually writes back timely and you enjoy hearing what the other has to say, it builds excitement! You want another letter in the mail with all the answers to your questions. So what do you do? You write a letter to them with answers to all their questions. The pressure comes from knowing that someone is interested and waiting on you. It's really quite fun!

~Do It~

I've had numerous pen pals over the years. At the moment, I have two girls my age that I write. I started because our parents are friends and we hardly get to be around each other. While we write less and less frequently as we get older, it's so fun to get a letter from one of the two girls. I believe I've been pen pals with one for over 5 years and the other for about 3 years. I would have no relationship with these girls and have no idea how much we do or don't have in common without our letters! And our parents enjoy it, too, because they get to find out about each other's families vicariously.

This is where I tell you to go and write a letter. I don't care if you have a pen pal or not. Write a letter. Right now. And I mean get a nice flowing pen and a piece of notebook paper. Then stick a stamp on it and put it in your mailbox with the flag up.

It doesn't have to be 8 pages long (I have been known to do this...). It doesn't even matter what you decide to include. One of my pen pals tells me all about her activities and life happenings that excite her, what her plans are, and what God is doing in her life. The other tells keeps me updated on her life events which mostly include farm animals: which ones they've sold, kept, bought, and when they're moving closer to us. Those two girls write very different letters. But I still enjoy both of them because they're so uniquely them.

So write away! Be you. Ask your parents if they know any old friends of theirs who have a child around your age and hunt down their address. You never know what could happen. And if nothing happens? You still wrote that letter and they still read it. You'll never know how much it made their day :)
~~~~~

So there you have it. An entire post on snail mail, just as promised :) I hope this was somewhat inspiring! Forgive the rambling. I could look at pictures like this all day, couldn't you? Go write that letter!

14 comments:

  1. Such a great post, Abi! I've always loved receiving mail. It just makes me really happy! :D In fact, I recently acquired a pen pal. She lives all the way across the country from me, and it's so fun to write each other and find out what's happening in a completely different place. Sometimes we'll even send packages to each other. :)

    I love all the pictures in this post, by the way. Vintage postcards/letters are my faaave! (My aforementioned pen pal actually sent me some vintage postcards. <3)

    Now I really want to write a letter... ;)

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  2. You did the snail-mail post! Yay! ;) I have 4 pen pals, and I love getting letters. It's rather hard though, because some of them send me 8 and 10-page letters, and the most I can ever write is 3 pages... xD I love the pictures too, by the way!

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  3. I LOVE snail mail!!! I have several friends who are going off to college soon, and I'm planning to send them some snail mail:)

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  4. Awesome post, Abi!! I LOVE getting mail!! It makes my day! I have an awesome Pen pal and whenever I get something from them I get so excited!! :D It's so much fun!!

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  5. Have you found that left-handed writing looks messier? Not to you, but to other people? That seems to be a problem with me ... ;)

    Anyway, snail mail is a lot of fun ... but we never seem to have stamps. :P

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  6. Letters! Yesssss, they are awesome! :) I have one pen pal, and we've been writing to each other for around 8 years, maybe? It's been a long time, that I know ;)

    The benefits you listed were all great! And I agree with all of 'em. I think the only reason my handwriting has remained legible is because I keep writing letters. Never really thought of letters being like the monthly wrap-up posts, but now that you mention it, it is true! :D

    Thanks for sharing this, Abi! I really enjoyed your post :)

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  7. Oh, I'm TOTALLY with you on this one! I love receiving and sending out letters. So much so that I sometimes get in trouble with Mom because of all the stamps I use. :)
    Yep, definitely helps with the handwriting. Happy to say that I've never had a pen pal write back to me:
    "...What exactly were you trying to communicate in that last letter??"
    Snail mail should never go out of fashion. Ever.

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  8. YESSS. I love snail mail!! :) Lovely post, Abi. Such a vintage-y feel. :)

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  9. Cheers for snail mail! :) I love writing and receiving lettersas well. I also love being able to put a personal touch which you can't do in email. =)

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  10. I have been pen-pals with different people for years and years. =) Only a few of them are still consistent in writing back. ;) And I LOVE sending letters for birthdays!! It's so much more special than a quick email!!

    My family sponsors some children through Compassion International...I send waaaaaay too many letters to "my" children. But I love them so much!! I have best friends in Ecuador and Mexico now. <3 It's such a lovely way to get to know someone.

    Haha...now I'm wishing I had your address. =P But I need to reply to a letter today for my pen-pal ...*gets out my stationary*

    Great post. =)

    //Hosanna Emily

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  11. Yeah, it's good to improve your penmanship skills (but I write my manuscripts by hand because I don't have a personal laptop).

    I DO miss having penpals. I want to write to my online friends. It seems so fun.

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  12. Snail mail ftw. I even remember back in the days where stationary are in demand. Some even have a cartoon character designs hahaha

    Just Because / teresagueco.com

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  13. Yep, snail mail is one of the best things. I had my first penpal when I was around 10-11, and haven't stopped since. Had upwards at 20 for a while in my teen years, but now I have about 8, and I consider each of them dear friends. My best friend and I also write letters, but they take months sometimes because they can literally reach 100 pages, no joke... :D We've yet to meet in person, but we're super-duper close and it's because God brought us together through penpaling.
    Can't say enough good about it. ^.^

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