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Pen Pals

on July 26, 2012

Motorcycle Postman, 1912 (Library of Congress)

Do you remember waiting in anticipation for the postman to arrive? Let me clarify that which you are anxiously awaiting. . .it is a letter from someone much different from yourself and living in a far away land. That’s right. . .a hand-written letter, not typed nor texted, but actually penned in the best cursive one could produce. It could have even been debated whether the letter itself was the most important or that wonderful foreign stamp.

Needless to say, should I mention this to one of my daughters, now an adult, or perhaps I should say granddaughters, she would more than likely react in complete astonishment. “Mother, you have got to be kidding! Write a letter? That would take way too much time! I can contact anyone in the world with a click of a button.”

So true today, but not in the days long, long ago and not anywhere near as personal.

The memory that someone, somewhere once took the time and trouble, I might add, to pen their thoughts ever so carefully, fold the paper and crease it gently with his/her own hands, then, post it with a well-chosen stamp lay embedded in the knowledge that days or weeks had to pass with hopes of receiving an equally personal response. Those days or weeks of anticipation were filled hour upon hour with thoughts of excitement and imagination!

Did you have a pen pal? What do you remember?

“Dear Pen Pal, you are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Please write back.” ~catnipoflife

22 responses to “Pen Pals

  1. bldodson says:

    I totally agree.
    A sad Passing.

  2. stutleytales says:

    I (living in Australia) had two pen-pals for years. One from England and one from Canada. I have no idea how I got them, but it was so exciting to hear from them. Then one day it all stopped without even a ‘goodbye’.

  3. Would you believe I still write handwritten notes? Old habits die hard!

    • catnipoflife says:

      Me, too! I use to put little hand-written notes in my children’s lunch boxes and hid messages betwwen the pages of their textbooks. . .still do the same for my grandchildren when I see them! Of course, we still have the greeting cards. . .e-cards are cute but impersonal.

  4. Sharla,
    This is a dying art. It is so sad but in addition to convenience, the postal system can’t compete any longer. I also still like to send message the old way.
    Thanks for the reminder. Just wish schools would help reinforce this old way of writing.

    • catnipoflife says:

      Sad, but true! I really hate to see a post office close but unfortunately, there are probably many more on the chopping block. As for schools, I’m not even sure they teach cursive to any great extent, if at all:>(

  5. Micki Peluso says:

    I never had a true pen pal but I did a lot of letter writing–some of which I still have today. I treasure letters written to me in real ink on paper and save them until they turn to dust. I enjoyed your post–brings back good memories.

    Huga. Micki

    • catnipoflife says:

      I received a letter a few weeks ago from our daughter in Mississippi. It was three pages and hand-written! I wrote her back – hand-written:>) When we talked on the phone, we both laughed and expressed feelings how we miss receiving the good old-fashioned letter! LOL:>)

  6. lgyslaine says:

    Bonjour Sharla. It is true that I enjoy writing, but when I go a little trip, I send postcards especially. For years I did not write letters. But I liked the romantic side of the letter.

  7. I just sent a hand-written letter to my brother for an occasion, Sharla, and it felt so good. I share the exact same sentiments with you. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts. 🙂 Beautifully written.

    • catnipoflife says:

      Vaishli, as I expressed to Micki’s reply, our oldest daughter and I just corresponded with hand-written letters…you are right, it brings out a wonderful feeling!

  8. Connye says:

    My pen pal was more responsible than I was. She wrote far more often and shared more items from her culture: black lacquer geisha shoes, a small purse she made, for example. Her generosity and insights led me to Japan many years later. While there, I wrote daily to my husband who was not able to make the trip with me. I wanted him to live the trip through the page as my pen pal had helped me live the Japanese culture through her words.

  9. linneann says:

    I did have a pen pal and I can almost see her name. So long ago. Oh, yes. It was Pia. I wrote a lot of letters in those days and I enjoyed it. I also did all of my creative writing in pencil. I never thought I would be able to write on a computer but all that’s changed now. Memories.

  10. Mondrak says:

    I do still write to friends sometimes. Usually when I send them something though. As you say, it is very rare nowadays. I tried to get a penpal in 1978, but nothing came of it unfortunately

  11. […] Do you remember waiting in anticipation for the postman to arrive? Let me clarify that which you are anxiously awaiting. . .it is a letter from someone much different from yourself and living in a …  […]

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