Saturday, February 23, 2019

Snail Mail

by sanjanakumar (writer), New York City, July 20, 2008


Around Memorial Day my buddy Matt asked for my mailing address. I thought to myself, why the heck does he need my mailing address? He lives 10 blocks away from me and although he hadn't been to my apartment yet, he know the approximate address (in typical NYC fashion, he had my two cross streets) which gave him a general sense of my humble abode. I repeatedly questioned him as to why he needed my address but he chose to ignore my questions. A few days later I found out why he needed my address---he sent me a postcard from NC!

About a week ago I received another postcard in the mail from one of my customers. I had mentioned to him that I collect postcards and he has taken it upon himself to add to my collection. I have received postcards from Ethiopia and Kenya. I forgot how exciting it is to receive a handwritten note in the post! How touching it is that someone has taken the time to look through a stack of postcards, choosing one they feel you will like that represents the place where they are visiting and writing a quick note to let you know they are thinking of you.

Nowadays, the only times I receive handwritten cards are either for my birthday, thank you notes or holiday cards. With email, instant messenger, facebook, etc there is no reason to send a handwritten note to someone. I even pay my bills online. The only time I actualy write a check is once a month and that is for my rent. I don't even have to put postage on the envelope because there is a drop box right in the lobby.

Postage has become a real dilema for me. My best friend's birthday was at the end of June. I wanted to send her a card since she lives in New Hampshire and I wouldn't be seeing her on her birthday. I went to the local card store and purchased the perfect card to send to my friend. As I was addressing the envelope, I realized I would need a stamp for the envelope. I had purchased a book of stamps around Christmas time for the holiday cards I always send out. I find the stamps (which of course are the holiday version one with reindeers, teddy bears, etc not quite suitable for a birthday card but oh well.) I am about to put the stamp on the envelope and I vaguely remember my mother saying something about the price of stamps increasing. As I ponder this thought, I look at the stamps. There is no indication of the value of the stamps. Hmmmm... How do I determine the value of these stamps? I look on the shelf where I found the stamps and I see another booklet of stamps. These stamps have the Liberty Bell on them so I decide I will use these instead of the Christmas ones. But again, there is no value printed on the stamps. I decide to log onto the United States Post Office website. Surely there must be an answer here! But alas, I cannot find a picture of the stamps that I have in my possession. I examine the partial book of stamps that I have and it just says 18 first class stamps. I flip the book over and there are instructions as to how to purchase more stamps. There is no value of the stamps anywhere! So I make an executive decision. I put 2 stamps on the envelope, surely the birthday card will reach my friend!

I used to send handwritten cards or letters all of the time to my Great Uncle. We were pen pals. Since he has passed on, I haven't mailed a handwritten a letter or card to anyone on a regular basis. Do pen pals even exist today? Or is all communication conducted over email? Does anyone else appreciate the value of receiving a handwritten card/letter in the post?

Everyone complains about how long snail mail takes but do they praise the person who took the time to write their thoughts down, pay the postage to send said thoughts with the hopes of brightening their intended recipient's day?

As of this moment in time, I vow to send more handwritten notes to my friends!

About the Writer

sanjanakumar is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Snail Mail

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By sanjanakumar on July 21, 2008 at 04:56 pm

I have just received an email from Hallmark suggesting that I purchase their cards online and they will mail them for me.  All I would have to do is type in my message and everything else will be handled on their end.  Here is another example of where the handwritten card/note is becoming extinct....

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By Steven Lane on July 28, 2008 at 12:23 am

I love postcards from far away places, they have a feel and a scent. Interesting article.

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on August 01, 2008 at 02:46 am

i agree with julian! a hand written letter is more personal. it means alot more! great work here, champ!

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