I Believe in the Power of Snail Mail

maryann - Jackson, Wyoming
Entered on July 7, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: community, legacy
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I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF SNAIL MAIL—not for paying bills, signing up for conferences, donating money to charity, or ordering merchandise. No, I believe in snail mail for those personal, special occasions.

Five years ago I moved from an area where I had lived for almost 18 years, had a successful career and raised my children. To keep in touch of course I use the internet. To keep these people in my heart I cherish the snail mail.

The postcards that friends have sent of familiar landmarks with their endearing messages; the cards when I made my retirement official, the long letters with newspaper articles, the short notes letting me know I am not forgotten, and the sympathy cards when loved ones have died, I hold very dear.

My most memorable experience with snail mail was my past birthday when I turned sixty. My own kids were not around to celebrate so they manned a card campaign and tried to make sure I received at least sixty cards. They were very successful. It was wonderful to hear from so many old acquaintances, friends, colleagues and family. This experience also reinforced my belief in snail mail.

The cards arrived over a span of five weeks. I remember my anticipation of approaching my post office box and thinking, ‘maybe I will encounter a friend today.’ Every card represented caring—the time, the thought, the securing of a stamp and for some, taking extra time for a trip to the post office. I remember how touched I was to receive a boxed card from a friend who has six children. She was in a hurry—the front said: To a Lovely Niece—we are not related. The effort represented by her card doubly touched my heart. I felt her presence and hurried life as real as if she was standing next to me and we were chatting.

I do not have special collections or save many things. The personal notes and cards I have received since my move I have saved; my sixtieth birthday cards are all in page protectors and a special binder. These are the items I cherish.

Although I have become a part of a different community it is the saved snail mail that I sometimes return to for familiarity, laughs and love.