In school we had pen pals, and actually wrote letters. We were expected to write thank you notes, and cards...When my best friend moved to California in ninth grade, we wrote to each other for a while.
By the time I got to high school the internet was really starting to catch on, and when I hit college, there was this big computer lab, and everyone was starting to really get online. Mind you, people like us EP rats were looked at with considerable disdain for "chatting' and being involved in forums and the like, but I was one of the ones who did it.
The internet was big, but a good number of us didn't have internet at home. So most of us exchanged addresses, and we wrote to each other over the summer.
Now, people don't even call me anymore. It's just text messaging. Long distance is no big deal because it's free for most people, after seven pm anyway, so there's no need for the long letter...
Letters in the mail will forever remind me of summers away from college, and missing my college friends so deeply, and not having the phone cards to talk to them every day, and writing. Back then, I got a letter almost every day, and I felt special. I loved to sit and read about their day, and see the grooves in the paper from their handwriting...I loved to see the that envelope that I knew wasn't a bill or junk mail, and know as soon as I saw it that that one with the purple ink was from my roomate because she always wrote with a purple pen...and her boyfriend's roomate had that writing that looked like computer printing, which was funny because he was a computer science major.
You just don't get things like that with email.
And yes, I could even overlook the spelling mistakes, because there was no delete button.
Snail mail also reminds me of my husband, because when he was in Marine Corps boot camp, we couldn't talk for thirteen weeks. So we wrote...And when he was deployed...and in Iraq. I still have every letter. He'd always find a way to send me little snippets of his day. Once there was a tiny shell that got into his shoe during a beach run, and he couldn't stop to get it out...once some sand from very near Ur (where Abraham in the Bible was from), once a rubbing from his dog tags, and always, always, a little box (or twelve) drawn on the letter and envelope. These were our secret kisses. Instead of lipstick kisses (since I don't normally wear it), I'd box in my kisses, and he'd do the same.
Out of all my friends, online and otherwise, I have two who still send me cards and letters; when those letters come, they're the best part of my day.