I have just finished reading a beautiful post over at Aerin’s Cranberry Blog about her daughter writing special party invitations to her family and then slipping them into her briefcase because that is where all the other mail goes. It got me thinking about the lost art of letter writing.
My children have had their own email addresses since before they were born. I know it is a bit obsessive, but we wanted to send out regular progress updates and photos (an initially scans) of the kids, from the kids. We kept with that for a while but then we upgraded and now all of their ‘letters’ are posted on their blog. We still use their email addresses and hope that when they are older they will continue to use them also.
We do almost everything online; shop, pay bills, watch movies and of course keep in touch with our world. There is my dilemma – we currently have no need for real mail. Until recently, the kids didn’t even know who the postie was or what he did. When they did work out who he was, he only ever delivered bills or birthday cards. Even online purchases were delivered by a courier rather than the postie. They don’t know the joy of eagerly waiting for the postie to ride by.
One of my earliest memories is standing at the side gate, waiting ever so patiently for my Pop to drive by with our mail. I grew up in a small country town and all our mail was left at the post office. Pop would collect the entire extended families mail (for the three families of cousins in town) and deliver it personally. As a very small child, there was never anything for me, but the anticipation was always there. Unfortunately my Pop passed away when I was 4 but the memories are still vivid. I think I even have a photo of our ‘mail man’ somewhere at mum and dad’s house that I must find some time.
I also remember when I was older, perhaps 8 or so, going to bed to write a letter to my Nan who lived in Queensland. Something happened along the way, and my letter became a letter to Lady Di. Mum took me to the post office the very next day (after photocopying the letter first) and helped me post it. It was my very first experience with Air Mail and it was terribly exciting, I also remember it being very expensive. Naturally, sending a letter to the other side of the world takes absolutely forever, especially when you are a kid, so I soon forgot all about my letter to England.
A while later, (weeks or months, I really don’t know), my mum when to collect the mail from Nan’s house. See someone at Nan’s house, my aunt or my cousins collected the mail and we would collect it from them when we went to visit later in the day. Anyway, mum collected the mail from Nan’s and their was an Air Mail letter for me, from Buckingham Palace. She was so excited she rushed right up to the school with the letter. The entire class stopped as I opened the letter to read it aloud. It was so long ago that I don’t remember what the letter was about, but it was signed from Sarah, Lady In Waiting. It was such an exciting moment. The whole class was in a letter writing frenzy and it was fantastic. My letters (yep the photocopied letter and also the reply) are still in a scrapbook at mum and dad’s house.
I would love for my kids to have such memories. To have someone that they wrote to and shared stories with. Perhaps a pen pal from another country, someone they can write to, grow to love and perhaps one day even meet in the real world. I wonder if they would get enjoyment from their own real mail, or will they become lazy and complacent like me and just email or jump onto skype instead? Something for me to think about before they return from their holidays.