The art of letter writing isn’t as dead as you think it is. And on a day like today, I am very happy I am a part of it.
I woke up this morning feeling miserable. The cold/flu combo Mr.C picked up on the way home from our trip to Toronto has finally settled into me, making me feel just as miserable as he was for several days. Needless to say, I called off sick from work, and have been curled up on our sofa all day.
Around noon time he popped out to the post office to mail off a few things, and checked the mailbox. When he came home, my ears perked up at the words he called out. “You’ve got mail!” I quickly got up from my nook, and took the two letters that arrived for me. One from England, the other from Australia. I curled up again, and read the latest from my friends. When I sit to read a letter, and then reply to it, it feels like a chat I have with a friend who is sitting in my kitchen. The best part is that I can start it and put it aside and finish it when I want. And writing out your feelings, the good and the bad, is like a form of therapy. And today I needed a bit of a distraction from my swollen throat and achy back.
While the internet allows us a quick communication with people all over the globe, there is a satisfaction in opening a letter. It is also a great feeling to have mail, and not one of those items be bills! I have learned many things about different cultures and countries around the world over the years. Yes, I can Google my questions. But I LOVE getting these answers from a first hand source. And surprisingly, you can make a strong connection in letters. I have had my longest pal for about thirteen years or so. She lives in Australia, and hopes to make it to my wedding in two years.
I started pen palling when I was in fifth grade. I got my first pen pal through a school program. By the time I hit my teens, I found my pen pals in magazines and ads in the back of ‘Teen Beat.’ (God, I miss those days lol) There were also little booklets called ‘friendship books’. You would write your address in it, with any info (age, what kind of pals you were looking for) and you would send it in a letter to another pal. They would fill it in and pass it on. When the book was full, the last person to sign it would return it to the person who made it. I think I had about thirty or so of these returned to me. And at my highest, I had 80 pals on the go at once.
When my father passed away five years ago, the passion I felt for almost everything died with him. My hobbies went to the wayside, and that included most of my pen pals. Eventually the passion for my hobbies came back. But it took longer for my love of letters to come back.
Early last year I started to miss it. I was sick of an empty mailbox. I was sick of finding bills and junk mail in there when it wasn’t empty. So thanks to the internet and a great pen pal Facebook group, I reconnected with a favorite hobby, and made some new and wonderful friendships. I have twenty nine pen pals, and that is more then enough for me. I would love to have more. It isn’t time that I lack. It’s the money. Postage rises every feckin’ year, and the prices are getting crazy.
If you are genuinely interested in finding your own pen pal and enjoying this geeky and wonderful hobby, there are lots of places to look. Like real life, it is full with people who want to use you (You would be surprised at what people would ask for!) and there are the real deal friends, those who just want a chat and a letter. Facebook has a few good groups. I have left all mine, but that’s because I have enough pals and there are far too many cool and geeky and sweet people out there that I wish to write. One of my fave websites is called Penpaloftheweek.com. The owner also has a link to her etsy shop where she sells stationary. (I treat myself every so often to her wonderful designs!) Julie and her partner post pen pal ads, interviews, pics of snail mail art, and much more. and for the rest of this month they are having a give away every day. (pen pal related items, of coarse.) Give letter writing a chance, and help keep this wonderful art alive 🙂