I remember back in the day when writing a letter, putting it in an envelope, licking the stamp, then taking it to the mailbox, was all part of one simple communication to someone. Even more exciting were the grammar school pen-pals; knowing my letter was going to another country intrigued me.
Sending a letter via ‘snail mail’, as it’s currently referred to, ascribed much more meaning to communicating than our current-day email or text message. Sending something via good ol’ US Mail gave me the sense that a part of me was going along for the ride.
More thought went into the production of such a communication. It was less impulsive, taking more consideration. Do I really want to communicate this to the other person that I am willing to go through all the rituals of getting it to them? If the answer was yes, materials were gathered, sacred space established, and thoughts carefully drawn from the heart, to my head, through my pen, onto the paper.
If, on the off chance, I ended up regretting having written something after sticking it in the mailbox, a phone call was in order, to be made before the anticipated date of delivery. So now, the person gets a tangible communication and a phone call.
One of my favorite memories was when I was in junior high. I had spent my summer volunteering at the day camp at the local university and befriended a young lady named Naomi. After the summer program was over we went our separate ways. I felt a connection, in a mentoring kind of way, but didn’t expect to every hear or see her again. Plus, she was off to her country of origin, Egypt.
A few months later I saw my name on one of the letters I retrieved from our mailbox. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Naomi’s name on the return address, and the Egypt post stamp on the center. The heartfelt reception of this letter has, to this day, makes me feel fond – of the friendship I found in Naomi, and of receiving letters in the mail.
I don’t write good ol’ fashion letters as often as I’d like to, but I suppose I should, before the US Mail delivery system becomes a thing of the past.