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Monday, April 2, 2012

Real Mail

When my mother went away
I wanted so to say
"Send me a letter all my own."

She sent us cards and letters too--
A hanky edged with blue
But no letter all my own.

The day after she came back
Deep in the mailman's sack
Was a letter all my own.

Why did the mail all go wrong
When I was waiting oh! so long
For a letter all my own?

--by Ethel M. Parr

That poem was written by my maternal grandmother when she was a child, although I don't know exactly how old she might have been.  I wish I knew and I wish I knew the story behind her mother being gone, but since it would have been sometime in the 1800's, well, I doubt I will ever know.  That being said, I chose to start this post with this poem because I want to talk about mail.

When I was a child I had pen pals from around the country, which is perhaps why I enjoy facebook so much--it's like having pen pals again--although I don't think words on a screen satisfy me the way a letter written on paper does.  E-cards also don't give me the same feeling that a card sent through "snail mail" does.  While there is something to be said for the relative immediacy of e-mail and facebook messages/postings, I love the feel, look, and smell of a 'real' letter, sent to me.  The choice of paper, ink color, and envelope give me clues as to what the sender may have been feeling/thinking when they were writing to me. I have a friend with whom I correspond with some regularity although since e-mail and facebook have become part of our daily routines we send letters less frequently than years past.  Now when one of us send a "real" letter it is an event for the recipient.  We include a tea bag or two with our letter.  For me, the first read through is immediate and hurried, skimming to make sure all is well with my friend.   Later, when I can have time to myself, I brew some tea with one of the enclosed bags and savor both the tea and my friend's words.  Any time I'm feeling a bit disconnected I can take out those letters and feel my friend's presence instantly.  It's fun to read letters from years ago and get a clue as to what was happening in both our lives, and see how our plans may have changed.  There is also nothing that compares to a "real" card for a special event or just to say "I'm thinking of you".  The comfort and intimacy that comes of holding in your hand the card that someone picked out especially to send to you is not something that can be gotten from a computer screen.

So while I very much enjoy keeping in touch through my computer, I will always prefer a "real" letter, with cross-outs and occasional sloppy hand writing, and a "real" card picked with me in mind out of the hundreds available in a store.  For me, nothing compares to receiving a letter "all my own."


Elizabeth and Kyle @ Love Is the Adventure said...

I think real letters are indicative of REAL effort and I love that so much. There is nothing like handwriting on a page to make me feel special...

Kathi said...

Nice Sue... the personal, intimate touch is always the best. Thank you for the one you sent to me.... The sympathy card. I appreciate your thoughtfulness my friend.