Learning about 'Thank a Mailman Day' today made my heart do a little wiggle. Because I seriously love mail. Love it! Even the typewritten word gives me palpitations; it suggests handwritten secrets and sparkles and surprises. :)
Ever since I was little, mail has mesmerized me. I realized its awesome potential even before I could write my own name....
|Look at those mail-obsessed eyes!|
Spending a week at camp or long summer days at the lake with my grandparents kept me sending daily missives home to my folks. In my absence I imagined them pining for me and celebrating when my grubby little envelopes arrived in their mailbox. Waiting for their replies was torture....
I sent away for stuff -- free cancelled stamps, mail-order catalogues, names of foreign penpals that I annoyed with constant aerograms. I couldn't help myself. I wrote voraciously.
Then in later grades I began circulating a spiral notebook with a friend in a Round Robin kind of way, writing a poem or an imaginative entry and passing it along, immediately jonesing for its return and then greedily digging in when the poor mangled thing was back in my hands once more. Often my friend had just enough time to only pen a thought or two. But when I'd open the book and see a whole page there it was enough to transport me!
|(Fountain pens. Yum....)|
Then, after weeks of writing and posting nonstop to what I'd hoped were eager recipients, I began to doubt myself. I wondered if I was alienating those loved ones with my words! I'd then cut back, go Cold Turkey.... But it wasn't long before I was at it again. The habit of writing and sharing and imagining my words being received was just too strong in me.
The eventual appearance of email bugged me at first. It was a sad way to receive news, I thought; where was the scent of paper, the loopy scroll of ink, the recognition of familiar handwriting? But I'd soon embraced it and was sending wordy, thought-filled messages to those same unfortunate recipients and checking my In-Box frequently for longed-for replies.
If I get snailmail at all these days, I'm pleasantly surprised. Things have changed so much that I often fail to hear anything being dropped in my postbox, and James has had to check it himself when he gets home at night because the thought to do so myself hasn't even occurred to me.... The day-after-month-after-year effort of fetching the post only to find junk flyers (and bills) has taken its toll, I guess. I no longer haunt the mailbox.
|This butterfly house is our fairy mailbox.|
Fortunately for me my growing Grandbugs are at (or rapidly approaching) the age where my addiction to letterwriting is getting a much-needed shot in the arm. And these days I look on gleefully when my eldest Grandbug visits Tumbledown and doesn't even take her jacket off before checking her makeshift mailbox for a fairypost. We read it together and then she's immediately hunting for notepads and scratchpaper so she can pen them something in return....
It warms my heart and gives me hope even as I'm learning that handwriting (and in some cases spelling) is being dropped from school curriculums. My teenaged nieces and nephew write in text shorthand and rely on Spellcheck to make themselves understandable. And I wonder if they (or anyone their age) knows the incredible pleasure it is to write to someone and have them write back.
|I love writing on my own cards.|
Dear You,There. And so I have. :)
Please take a moment today and write a letter! It doesn't have to be long. It doesn't even have to make sense! Do something fun -- write a poem, sketch a silly illustration, share a recipe or a memory, or simply let someone know you're thinking about them.
I guarantee that by doing this you will start a chain reaction. Receiving your letter will dip someone's whole day in gold and they'll want to share the smile that you gave them. What you write today will change the world.