February 12th, 2013 posted by Susie Tilton
You’ve Got Mail. The phrase (and the voice) have become part of our culture. Almost everything that involves communication in our lives is electronic. But don’t you still love to go to the mailbox and just see if there happens to be something hand addressed to you? A note of thanks, an invitation, maybe even a card for a special day? They can lift your spirits instantly. Today’s youth have lost the art of the written word. We word process everything, we send email follow-ups and thank you notes, I even got a Christmas card via email, photo and Christmas letter both. If I was to choose one thing for my children to embrace this New Year, it is the importance of the handwritten note. When I was a kid, I had a cousin who lived overseas, and I would anxiously await the special Air Mail envelopes that would arrive addressed to my mom. The envelopes were edged in red and blue and the paper was so thin, and the stamps were works of art. I couldn’t even imagine at that age what it was like in Colombia, Paris or Canada. But as we got older, my cousin began to send me post cards, and my collection began. My mom started a basket and we would add the postcards from around the world. When my parents would travel, my mom would always send me a postcard, and when I was along on the trip, she would be sure I sent one to myself. Now, many years later, I have an enormous collection of cards. When my own children were little and I would be traveling, I would send one every day with a sort of journal of the days events. Even today if I know someone going to a country I have not visited, I ask for a postcard.
If you make this project
we’d love to see it! Just send your photos and comments to the editor and it may get published on our Facebook fan page ! We always lived in a different city than the grandparents, so Grandma invented a postcard alphabet game. She started by sending a postcard with a picture that began with the letter A. The kids and I would head out to the bookstore or a local tourist attraction and search for a postcard with a picture that began with B. Of course they wrote little notes back and forth as well. Both of my children have a complete alphabet, and a cherished memory. Postcards are the easiest to write because there is a space limitation so a child isn’t overwhelmed with a big empty page. Also, there are postcards with pictures of where we live, funny ones found at the bookstore, and even blanks that you can put your own picture onto. It helps to find a friend or relative who agrees to reciprocate the postcards, so a child can see that it is rewarding in its own way. Buy a small stack of postcards and stamps, and pre-address them to friends, cousins, relatives that live away. Then maybe for a birthday, Valentine’s Day, or maybe to pass along some good news, have your child write a postcard and mail it off. Try one a month, maybe they can “penpal” (remember those?) a cousin in another city or a friend who has moved away. It will never replace the slick social media we are all using daily, but it will always bring a thrill to find a postcard from far away in the mailbox.