Monday, August 16, 2010

on correspondence, in the written form

Here's a fun fact about me- I love getting mail. Who doesn't really, love coming home and finding a handwritten letter in the mailbox, nestled in between the cable bill and the supermarket ads? I know I love it. I love seeing my name and address written lovingly by someone else, who wanted me to know that they were thinking of me.

When I was younger, I had a number of penpals. I don't recall how I acquired them all, as this was well before the days of the internet. I know that I went to summer camp, so throughout the winter, camp friends and I would exchange letters. I remember writing my name in things called "friendship books," when I was interested in more penpals. I'm sure I drove my father nuts, constantly asking for stamps, so sometimes I would take a dollar bill and put it in an envelope with a note for the mailman, asking him to take the dollar and buy four stamps (don't you remember when stamps were only 25 cents each?!) and mail the letters for me, and he would! It was great.

Now, I don't really have penpals, though there are a few friends that I exchange letters with from time to time. I also am a big believer in random notes, so I send cards to friends, just for the heck of it sometimes. I recently discovered that Taylor Swift has a line of greeting cards, so I sent one to one of my favorite girls. I also keep track of birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, new babies, etc, and send cards for those occasions. I think it is important.

I will admit though, that I have slacked a bit in the last couple of months. I don't know why, but my heart just hasn't been in it. I haven't sent birthday/anniversary cards the way I used to. I've missed several, and feel awful about about not noting their day, but honestly? I also feel that they didn't even notice. Is that sad? Horrible of me to feel that way? Not many people send cards these days for such occasions. Birthdays, maybe, but wedding anniversaries? Far less likely. Granted I don't have a wedding anniversary or a baby to celebrate, but I do have a birthday and I know that many of the people whom I send cards to, don't send them back to me. Now, I know that I don't do things because I expect something in return, but when I send a birthday card to you, your children, your husband and an anniversary card and a happy new house card, it might be nice to receive a Christmas card in the mail.

I hope I am not sounding bitter, because I am not, at all, really! I think we all know how I feel about not sending thank you notes, and yes, their second anniversary came and went last month without so much as a card from me! Yes, I am still feeling guilty about not sending them a card, even though I know I shouldn't.

Do you send cards to mark special occasions? Should I feel guilty/bad about missing the last several occasions that I normally would send a card for? Should I send them now, and have them be late? Do you want a love note in the mail from me, if I ever get my act together? :)


Meg said...

I agree that I don't send mail with the expectation of getting something in return -- like when I send birthday cards -- but it would be nice to get something at the holidays!

Like you, I'm a mail freak -- and I do find it hard to swallow when I feel like I'm always sending people things and I get nothing in return. Maybe they're just not into snail mail, etc., but it does sting a little! I know I can always count on my grandma, though, for a nice, long, hand-written letter. And now that I'm doing the Postcrossing project, I'm getting postcards in the mail. Too fun!

Don't feel bad about not sending cards for special occasions. If your heart wasn't in it, like you noted, you weren't obligated to do that. You can remember them at Christmastime and go from there!

P.S. How awesome was your mailman to do that for you, buying stamps and mailing your letters for you? Mine probably would have ripped up my note and the money, shoved it back in my box with a hastily-scratched note reading, "Nice try, kid. DREAM ON."

Elizabeths Attic said...

Oh someone at last on the same wave length as me.... I love to make and send cards, write thank you notes and just send letters or cards for the love of it. You are right that it is a dying art and no one seems to bother now. I even had a Christmas card and in was writen 'this will be the last C.C. you will receive as I will no longer be sending them but putting the money into a charity box' sorry but to me that is just not 'Christmas' so if you want a pen pal please feel free to email your address to me at and one will wing its way from Bolton UK.
Beverley x

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

I used to be so much better about sending cards and letters too. But I prefer the random occasions not associated with a birthday, anniversary or holiday!

I used to have a pen pal growing up and loved receiving letters from her and hearing about her life and family.

Of course I'd love a fan mail letter from you! Who wouldn't?! :)

Shoshanah said...

I don't really send cards, but part of me wishes I would. I love the idea of it, and love getting mail. But I've just never been very good at actually carrying through on ideas like this.

Mel said...

I love mail. I love sending it, I love receiving it I love making cards and getting nice letters and postcards in the mail.

I am currently working with a non-profit where I write 2 letters a week to a different soldier. The nice thing about this is that you are not committed to adopting one person and you get random letters back from all over the world. I also crochet face scrubbies and throw them in there too from time to time.

Do me a favor and send me your address again... I think I have something that should be in the mail for you.