Friday, August 7, 2009

Article #66 Email and Post Offices

Rare is the modern day vacationer who selects a picture postcard, addresses it, adds a stamp and puts it in a mailbox to be delivered several days to a week later to a lucky recipient. We phone or email instead. Even greeting cards nowadays can be emailed over the Internet. It’s a different age we live in, too fast in my opinion. Electronic mail to friends and family has become the norm. Taking the time to go to a store to carefully select a greeting card or stationary to write a personal note in cursive handwriting is no longer the norm.

I remember how fun it was to receive a card or letter from my grandmother in Utah letting me know of her love and interest in my life. I would watch for the mailman in California to arrive and then run to the mailbox to check if there were any personal letters with her familiar cursive writing. Now I just listen for the ding on my computer announcing you’ve got mail. I receive many more emails in one day that I ever received in a normal year of snail mail, but it’s not the same. The carefully thought out sentiments and time taken to sit down and compose a message are missing. Electronic mail can be sent and received so easily that it’s a temptation to not even think about what we are saying or maybe say too much or not be as courteous or thoughtful as we could be.

I remember making the long walk up Main Street in Eureka, Utah to my grandmother’s post office, then up three flights of steps before entering the ornate government building where her mailbox was located. Finally turning the key in her door’s post office box, I looked inside to see what surprises might be there. If she had a package, a card would be placed inside her mailbox to be taken to the postmaster’s window to retrieve it. Grandma loved receiving packages whether it was something ordered from a Montgomery Ward or Sears catalog or a gift from a family member.

Grandma kept the mailman busy with her weekly letters sent to family members telling them the latest news and remembering their special occasions. Her cards and letters were always signed with XOXO (hugs and kisses), GMJ (Grandma Johnson). Following her example, I try to send my grandkids little handwritten cards now and then.


Jean said...

As a pre-teen and teen, I had many pen pals. I looked for the mailman each day, hoping for a letter from one of them. When in high school, I walked to the post office each day during our one-hour lunch break. And, best of all, the Maine State Library mailed books to rural people, of which I was one, so in the summers I looked forward to the parcel of books arriving every week or two. I'd read the selection, write a thank-you note, and describe the kinds of books I'd like in the next shipment. Someone kind at the state library would make good choices for me and mail them to me. Those were the days!

Cheryl /Ashton said...

I remember especially the nice, long letters in beautiful penmanship from my Aunt Jean (the previous commenter!)and how exciting it was to get my own mail. I used to have a pen-pal and how fun it was to learn of someone else's life. I am afraid that the children today will not know the joy of receiving cards and letters in the regular mail, now its all electronic.

Terri Tiffany said...

I love getting real mail! I try to send my daughter cards and pkgs regularly too. Funny how life has changed and we don't take that time as much to send the postcard and all. We always did.

gremhog said...

how about sending them honor of GMJ

dellgirl said...

What a fun blog, Lin. sounds a lot like "back in my day". We had a mailbox in front of the house. Everyday we'd waited for the mailman so we could race to get the mail. That was fun.

My grandma had a post office box "in town" and I loved going with my cousins when they went to get the mail (every few days or so).

Thanks for the fond memories.

I hope you have a great weekend!

SandyCarlson said...

You bring back memories. I remember when I was a kid that my grandmothers and I would give each other stationery for gifts. They had more resources than I did, so they would give me stamps, too. We were telling each other we wanted letters--wanted news and stories and humor and all the rest. To this day I have all their letters. When they died, I received mine back again. That told me a lot. I am with you on this, Lin.

Rambling Woods said...

I think we will have a whole generation of people who will speak in short phrases like 'how r u?'