Random 411: Pre-Email Era

Growing up, computers weren’t around. And I’m probably dating myself, but it doesn’t bother me. Besides, I’m proud to have lived before the computers took over 😉 .

I remember writing letters. I remember writing letters to family, to friends I met in summer programs, to pen pals. My first pen pal was my grandmother. But, in the fourth grade, I remember my class doing a pen pal swap. And I thought it was the coolest thing! We would exchange letters with another class in another state. It was awesome. And in the fifth grade, when I went off to spend a week at this culture enrichment program, some of us exchanged mailing addresses. I can’t remember regularly exchanging letters with peers in that program, but when I went away for computer camp in the sixth grade, friends I made in that program frequently exchanged letters with me for at least four more years. It was awesome. It continued when I attended a leadership camp in the summer before ninth. Emails still weren’t as popular so letters it was. Friendships made during those two weeks are still solid today and we’ve evolved to keeping in touch on Facebook and the like, but it started with letters and reconnected through social media. (And if any of you are interested in exchanging letters or emails, feel free to message me and let’s see what we can work out)

The last substantial thing I wrote, where I actually “wrote” (yes, as in handwriting) was a letter to a pen pal I received through The Letter Writer’s Alliance. I regularly exchange letters with these pen pals, two are international friends and two are in the US. I love it. And though I don’t write as often as I’d like, I enjoy it. In addition, I’m a proud member of Postcrossing (have been for just about a year) and exchange postcards regularly with people who enjoy it just as much as me. There’s something almost magical about writing a letter. I know I sound weird, and eccentric, and old, but there is! I swear it! I love checking my P.O. Box wondering if a letter or a postcard waits for me. Then there’s the handwriting (one of my pen pals is a calligrapher and the handwriting in those letters are exquisite!). And of course there is the cancellation mark and the stamp. International letters have the best stamps, I tell ya. But, bottom line. I love writing letters and I love receiving hand-written letters. And besides, I’ve been told for most of my life that I have an old soul so … there you go.

Would I ever want the world to return to pre-keyboard? Would I want to go back to a world where letter-writting is the de facto in communication?

Yes and no.

No, because emails are almost instant and real time. No, because sometimes your brain needs your hands to write a little bit faster so you can secure thoughts with your words and writing them is just a tad bit slow. No, because sometimes emails are a great way to write to a friend when you really need to their advice on something.

Yes, because I love it. Yes, because I miss receiving more letters. Yes, because letters seem to mean just a tad bit more. Someone had to sit down for at least ten minutes during their day to either read the letter you wrote and then respond or to think about something you may have mentioned in the past or something you may want to know about and then write you a letter. I’m not saying emails can’t have the same level of thought or care in them, just that with letter-writing, there isn’t any other way to write a letter except with some reflection and thought about the person.

Well, which is it? Yes or no. Pick one.

Considering my Yes’ and my Nos, it’d have to be no. I do not wish for the world to go completely without keyboards. They have their purpose in our culture today. I would, however, to see letter revived, especially when it comes to close friends and family, or even just to meet people. Hand-written letters just seem more personal and even more memorable than shooting out an email.

(Photo credit: Google images for Feature Image & thestar.com for post image)

(Credit to the Daily Post blog for the writing prompt)

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