snail mail

On Black Friday – that ultimate day of impatience, I am reminded of snail mail ( sending a letter by carrier ) and when long distance calling was far too expensive and letters, hand crafted, were the best way to hear from people far away.

Before email, we waited impatiently checking the mailbox each day for a letter. Then there was a special way to read each letter. The initial urge was to rip it open and devour it like a child with sweets, but then we wondered could it be bad news, maybe I should wait and would set it down — walk two steps away then rush back and tear it open.

Every letter got several readings, and parts read out loud ( content permitting ) to the rest of the family. The first reading was a mad rush through and then the second more closely, and then we might set it down for a day or three, then return and read it thinking of what was implied and not said, or why was one word chosen instead of another.

To me, this was always the best reading – and the one that the reply came from.

I don’t write letters by hand anymore, I’d have to include a Rosetta Stone to decipher the hieroglyphs, but if you’ve sent me a long email and haven’t received a prompt response take comfort in the realization that I am likely savoring each word before crafting a response.


26 Comments on “snail mail”

  1. Being the only family member that lives out of my home state, I was a prolific letter writer. I miss that and my handwriting has devolved too. I write emails fast, read them too fast and forget them too fast too.

  2. Thanks for stopping by my site… I love writing letters, even now. So many friends keep up on Facebook, which drives me nuts. I only check for messages there, because the rest is kittens, new babies, and political extremes! When I get a letter from my old friend Sidnie, it’s a guaranteed treat. She, like myself, has mental health disorders and her letters are filled wtih everything from found poetry to glitter!

    Thanks for mentioning this topic. I might also add that we should write more letters to prop up the Postal Service, which is suffering after the House of Reps ordered that they set aside enough money to cover pay and benefits for employees 75 years in the FUTURE. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! So grab that Rosetta Stone and do your best, hee hee. Peace, Amy

    • billgncs says:

      not sure if the post office stands the onslaught of email and package competition – it sounds like you and your friend share letters that are a feast of communicating, something I prefer to the snacks of electronic communication. Thanks for stopping by, I like your poems – bw

  3. I always had pen pals as a kid. Found them in the back of comic books. I was writing my grand kids letters for a while but I stopped when they got their cell phones.

  4. bert0001 says:

    You Reminded of that quite recent past. I had a special fountain pen for writing letters, and mixed my own ink (not happy with the colors available). — now 8 years ago since I sent a last one to another continent, when it took 6 weeks to sometimes (2/3) arrive.

  5. Clanmother says:

    A very interesting and insightful post. I have special letters held in special boxes that remind me of special times and special people. I wonder if we are losing the art of writing….

  6. Chatty Owl says:

    Noted 🙂 (by the way, i still write hand-written letters from time to time and i think this is such a beautiful gesture from one person to another)..

  7. Chatty Owl says:

    Noted 🙂 (by the way, i still write hand-written letters from time to time and i think this is such a beautiful gesture from one person to another)

  8. Resa says:

    I still get an odd post card & Christmas Cards with notes (not the same as a letter). I get a lot of Ecards, now, but they don’t sit well on the mantle.
    It must be 20 years since I had a real letter. Lovely post, Bill! 🙂

  9. My dad only ever once sent me a letter in 1987. I still have it. I can’t say that about any emails I ever got, no matter how beautiful they were!

  10. bwcarey says:

    the speed of loneliness, not having the time to think, there was a time as your words remind us, when we were thoughtful with words, i guess we have lawyers now to solve those issues, words are moving

  11. nokotahorse says:

    It’s sad how our handwriting has decayed, what’s wrong with us… We should bring out the goose feathers, ink and home made paper … Or maybe not?

  12. kalabalu says:

    mails are paused messages

  13. This is whyI still send postcards and other cards.


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