Snail Mail

I received a letter the other day. No, really, a LETTER. The kind with a stamp, and a handwritten address, found in the mailbox at the end of a day away from home, nestled amongst all those envelopes offering me $64,000 in home equity loans and the local grocery ads.


I felt this shimmer of excitement as I turned it over in my hands. I walked to the backdoor, the stack of mail in one hand, my keys, pocketbook and other flotsam of the day in the other.


What would the letter say? Would it be good news, offering me the answer to the questions I had posed just weeks back, or an apologetic refusal? It was a response to a letter I indeed had mailed out weeks earlier. I had almost forgotten I mailed it. I ran through all sorts of possible responses as I did the things that required me to enter my home without stepping on a cat and falling face first onto the dining room floor. I tossed everything down and with a strange thrill of anticipation I opened my letter, and it was a note card, handwritten. Script. With a pen!


I recall this with such fondness because I challenge you to think—when was the last time you wrote a letter? (And the letter I wrote in order to gain this response barely counts, as I composed and typed it out on my keyboard and merely signed the bottom.)


Unless you are amongst the small majority of souls, I bet it was Christmas; and it was a sheet you stuck into a card. Was that sheet typed and copied? Have you sold your soul to, because you flip the calendar to today and discover it’s someone’s birthday; right now, this minute??


I communicate with the outside world in a similar fashion that most of you do. Email –(almost exclusively with some folks); Cell or Texting. Voicemail.  Instant messaging. Instant, or almost instant response. Instant gratification for the sound-bite generation. Heck, my handwriting, my script especially, has become a tortured example of chicken scratch. I leave Post-It sized notes for my staff, that’s about the sum of my cursive writing practice lately (sorry Miss Maniscalco; all that effort for naught)


I remember letters though. I have an entire box of old letters dating back, wow…dating back thirty years or better. Some few precious ones are from my great grandmother—now there was a woman who took pride in her penmanship! Letters from old boyfriends,  and best friends long forgotten. Some bring back fond memories of high school; specifically sitting in Bio Lab, writing to Jeanine, who lived 4 hours away, about all sorts of earth-shattering things; like Shaun Cassidy.


Then there are those letters from Rene. Billy, my mailman of old, could tell you how obsessed I was waiting on my letters from Rene. The anticipation from the moment my last letter had been mailed, counted out to the time it should take to travel from home to Quebec and back, give or take a day for response. My heart would flutter as I heard the mail truck. I would greedily dig through the stack each day once my appointed turn-around time occurred.


Weeks could pass between writing and receiving a response!


Those were the days…


Thank you Crystal, my long-lost, just found cousin, for reminding me!