Friday, December 15, 2006

Hand-written letters a thing of the past

Last week I made my annual trek to the post office to buy four booklets of stamps for my Christmas cards, and of course, the line was out the door. I patiently waited -- as patiently as one can wait for 55 minutes to buy stamps. Geesh!

When folks wait in line that long, you tend to strike up conversations with the tall man in front of you or the little old ladies behind you. What else are you going to do? Plasma TVs just don't seem to fit the ambience and blue uniforms at the post office.

This time, a bearded gentleman in his mid-40s inquired of the people around him -- all of whom just happened to be women -- the reason for their visits to the post office. A stout woman with round, silver glasses and a hand-knit sweater spoke up and said she was sending a letter for the first time to her nephew, who is in Iraq with the U.S. Army. We all let out a collective sigh and shook our heads as if to say, "We're so sorry to hear he's in Iraq." The woman acknowledged us, and then said, "I just hope he receives my letter. I want him to know I love him, especially during the holidays."

Writing letters seems to be a thing of the past, much like 8-track tapes and LP 45s. It's all about e-mails, text messages and Bluetooth phones nowadays. I truly miss writing letters, as well as receiving them. There's something quite special about getting a handwritten letter in the mail, knowing that someone cared enough to take 30 minutes out of his or her busy life to pen words of encouragement or admiration. And major bonus points if the letter has stickers or cool artwork in the margins! You can't add stickers to e-mail.

I hope that woman's nephew receives her letter, and appreciates the love it was written with.


Anonymous said...

Ironic that you can actually buy stamps online instead of waiting in line for an hour. You can also print your own shipping labels. Full service post offices also have stamp dispensing machines that are much quicker than waiting in line.

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling... when you see your name on an envelope that isn't a bill... you get jitters thinking someone thought of you, cared enough to ask how you're doing. I wish more people would that now...

Anonymous said...

You can also buy stamps at any grocery store's service desk. You may have to wait 5 minutes, but not an hour. I really feel like sometimes people wait in line just because everyone else is waiting. It's look shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.

But it is nice to get a letter or a Christmas card. I got a card yesterday from my friend in L.A. and it really did make my day.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a LP 45. A twelve inch vinyl record spins at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute and the seven inch vinyl "single" revolves at 45 a minute.