Remember the movie You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan? It is a cute movie about two bookstore owners who fall in love through emails, not knowing the anonymous senders. It came out at a time when the Internet was still new and quite the rave. So each time, one of them heard that beep or signal to say there was mail, excitement filled the air.
Since, then, we have evolved and we are flooded with emails, texts, tweets, Facebook, Instagram and a host of other digital services. They come in with such speed that we barely have time to reflect on a message before our inboxes have refilled with more messages. We are truly in the information overload age as we connect with those in our circles throughout the day.
What if we had to wait a few days or a week for a response or wait until a letter came with some long-awaited information? I wonder if there would be enough patience to play the waiting game and rely on old methods of communication. Or, if a letter had to be handwritten, how many of us actually have stationery in the house? How many have stamps on hand to mail the letter?
I have a pen pal with whom I have exchanged letters over the years. She lives many miles away and I have always looked forward to reading her letters. She keeps me updated on her family’s latest ventures .I have kept her letters over the years and she has archived mine as well.
But, then, we finally moved into the new millennium and I finally let her start emailing me. I hesitated to go along because I knew we were losing a special art. And that is simply sitting down and writing a letter. After a conversation about the importance of writing in longhand, we both vowed to make a conscious effort to put something in the mail every now and then.
Emails are so impersonal. Letters, better known in history as correspondence have served as records in Early American History letting us know what people were thinking and doing back then. The digital world is nice, but there is nothing like a paper record of a time gone by.
Seeing someone’s handwriting reminds us of that person in a unique way. It defines a part of who they are. I recently ran across the handwritten letters from family members who are no longer with us, and it offered a warm feeling of remembrance. It was like having another chance for a brief chat.
Getting mail is still a special event. Even in 2015. We should not have to wait for Christmas nor a birthday to send a few lines to a friend. It offers a feeling like no other. So try it! Go out and get some delectable stationery. Buy some stamps. Jot down a few lines to a friend, mail it and as the old song goes, “Make someone happy!”
Lynn February 27,2015
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