Thursday, January 5, 2012

Old School Communication


Yesterday I received a letter in the mail. A handwritten letter on funny stationery. The kind of writing paper that always used to make a good gift because people used it up writing letters and then needed more. Then email and Facebook and blogs and … well, you know. Now it’s hard to find stationery like that.

Letters became passé. Even a quick note on a postcard has fallen by the wayside unless the postcard is from some truly spectacular location. More likely the trip would be chronicled on a blog.

Thank you notes come into your email inbox now, if they’re sent at all. Even Christmas cards and the once ubiquitous holiday family newsletters are delivered electronically.

The post office is in trouble. They are talking about stopping Saturday delivery, and I for one wouldn’t really notice. Now the USPS offers more and more incentives to the catalog companies and advertisers than ever because that’s where the most revenue comes from. Some of us battle the inundation of catalogs, especially around the holidays, through Even the usual bills that used to lie in wait in the mailbox have gone electronic. Bank statements, taxes, you name it. And letters are practically a thing of the past.

Practically. Receiving that one letter a friend took the time to sit down and write by hand – cheerfully telling me news of her life, asking questions about mine, and yes, relating a bit of gossip – was a treat. I slowed down and savored it like an expensive chocolate truffle.

And it inspired me to dig out some of my old stationery, too.


  1. Maybe my family is weird, at least in this technological world, but we do still exchange actual mail (in addition to e-mail). My sister and I are (admittedly sporadic) pen-pals, and she and my mom frequently send my 3yo daughter mail because she loves getting it--even just a simple postcard from Grandma makes her day. And I was raised to believe in handwritten, hard-copy thank you notes--I haven't been offended by the electronic ones I've received (better that than nothing), but I don't see myself sending one.

  2. I have one long-time friend who occasionally exchanges a real letter and real photos with me instead of e-mailing or using Facebook. It is a treat.

  3. An actual letter. What an extraordinary and wonderful prize. I do miss receiving letters in the mail. I might pull out my old stationary, dust it off, and send a letter to someone. Thanks for the inspiration.