Almost as good as being there

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When I used to teach scrapbooking classes, I always told people to try to stay away from typing out their captions for their photographs so much, opting for their own handwriting. While sometimes it was easier and more fun to use computerized fonts, I felt that some personalization was lost in using such a mechanical approach.

Everyday we send emails, read twitter feeds and facebook statuses. While they can be interesting, downright funny, some times questionable or even offer a little TMI, they are really for a quick exchange of information, often getting to the point and leaving out emotion. Nothing like that can convey our deepest thoughts, gratitude, tender feelings or sympathies during a rough time.

There is just something special about taking pen to paper and making a conscience effort to put our thoughts into words to send to someone. The whole process removes us from thinking about ourselves. Magically, our letter sails across a city, state or ocean to rest in another post box. There, between the "junk" mail of bills and flyers from the local auto store, lies a hand written envelope which instantly garners attention from it's recipient. It causes their face to light up when they realize a gem is hidden for them between all that junk.

With the downturn of the economy and consumers using the Internet more frequently, snail mail is just not in vogue. But, I'd like to bring it back. (think JT here!)

The US postal service may have to cut 220,000 jobs by the end of the year in order to make their 5 billion dollar payment, due this month, to cover health care costs. I'm not thinking that we could do enough to cover 5 billion in lost revenue of course, I'm just thinking it's really nice to send a letter, old school style.

A picture of my Uncle Jesse Hernandez reading a letter from his 15 year-old sister, my mother, while he was in the Korean War.

How many of us still have cards and letters which touched us in such a way that they are still stored for safekeeping? I have a note from my husband that he left on my door years before he became my husband. We were actually each dating someone else at the time. Jon was home for the weekend and stopped by my house to say hello. I was out but when I came home, I saw a rectangular shaped white paper on my door. It was a small piece of letterhead from the place where I worked so I knew he must have tried to find me there first.

For some reason, I saved it, even long before I knew what was to come. I guess I liked that he went to all of the trouble to get in contact with me and felt only a handwritten note would do as a substitute for meeting in person.

So, I am issuing a challenge! Will you join me?

Get out a pen and paper, stationary or a note card if you have it and compose a little letter. Then get yourself a couple of stamps and send that letter out to someone. Maybe it's someone you haven't talked to in a while, or that favorite Aunt of yours, or maybe a person you know that needs a few friends. It doesn't have to be lengthy - one or two sentences will do. (Preferably something nice.) Now, go to it.

And if you'd like, email me your address to
and I'll send you a little note, myself.



  1. Great challenge. It is a lost art.
    I treasuren the letters from my grandmother and her rich perfect handwriting.

  2. something told me to check your blog today! how interesting! my ex-husband's family are all retired from the post office... writing letters & sending cards is such a lost art! i hide a homemade card in my husband's suitcase (didn't use the postal service) before he left for a business conference. he just called to tell me he found it packed near his shave kit. he stood it next to the bedroom lamp in his motel. but, i did send two cards to friends in the mail. they still have such cute stamps! thoughtful post.

  3. I hope you don't mind?? I posted a link back to your post about supporting the good ole' "slug mail"...


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