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I'm of the Transitional Generation.

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.

onceandfutureglow onceandfutureglow 31-35, F 46 Responses May 1, 2008

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I still exchange letters with my best friend, and I also have a penpal in prison. I much prefer snail mail to anything else. :)

You write from the heart, beautiful. Thank you!

It's the only way I can write...: )

Handwriting is so personal. A glimpse of it can bring someone right back.

I've kept letters from my family and from a long, lost love. Rereading them and seeing the handwriting, so distinctive for each of the people who wrote them, brings warm memories and sometimes a tear. Many of the people who wrote them are gone now but I can relive those treasured times with them again, even if just for a moment, through those letters.

I agree! I hate how technology has taken over everything.

What a nice memory :) Your story reminds me so much of my own experience with snail mail. How I miss it.

thia made me want to write letters lol :D

this* -_-

Beautifully written! So outstanding how our generations continue to transition into more complex yet better developed technology

nice post. I can relate to a lot of that.

still i have a bunch of snail mails inside my drawer, which i got from my dear ones a long time ago.. they are my sweet old memories... those love letters are my achievements... :)

I absolutely feel the same way. Snail mails are the best!

You just cant beat a letter!

(I used to write to letter friends too)...

More palatable than email. Always will be, wont it? I reckon, anyhow :)

I too love a good letter. I have an 88 year old Aunt that still writes me and also asks that I write her back and long family update letter. I need to write her now. We should all pen pal just for the sake of doing it. I am glad I am not the only person that still likes a snail mail letter.

Um...because back in the late 90's, the internet was still pretty new as a place to talk to people. Most people didn't think you could really have a friend that you didn't know in person. They thought it was strange to invest time and energy in people you never saw in person.

"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."



what? why?

yeah i empathize. =/

I still write them...but I don't know how to properly fold paper anymore...;-)

It's kind of sad that convenience (read: email) has taken over so much...now we just take pictures of the rock with our cell phones and send them...the immediacy is good, but yeah, I like letters better :)

I had several pen pals when I was young (before the internet). I haven't heard from them since I graduated from high school. I haven't received a letter in the mail in several years. I loved that too.



That's sweet your husband makes boxes for his kisses. Or rubbings of his dog tags. Or (my favorite) he got a pebble in his shoe and couldn't take it out and what that felt like.



Great story. Thanks for the smile :~)

I loved this story. The correspondence between you and your husband sounds so romantic!



I don't have pen-pals anymore- I am 23 now and as you said the Internet and text messaging have really taken over but when I was 11 my best friend moved 600 miles away and we wrote each other letters for the next five years. Whenever I had a bad day at the school- which happened a lot near the beginning because I really missed my friend- it would cheer me up no end to come home and find a letter from her telling me what was going in her life- invariably written on notepaper with pretty designs and sometimes in colorful gel pen. :-)

wow, that is so romantic.

I am 23 and I still like to write letters and receive snail mail. When I lived at home, my parents always checked the mail, so for me it's a fun thing to be able to check my own mail and see what's arrived from friends and family.



I have friends I've met online whom I now write to overseas, or other parts of the country, and I really enjoy that. I do e-mail a lot of friends, especially those within the same province (I live in Canada), but I like to find room and time to write friends the old-fashioned way too.

I agree with ya! My family didn't get a computer until I was in 8th or 9th grade, so I remember all the "love letters" I used to get from my elementary, middle, and high school sweethearts. I still have a lot of them in my closet in my old room. In a way, it's sad that that's an experience I probably won't have with my next girlfriend, you know? What will people of my generation have to show our grandkids when it's our turn to tell all the cool stories we ourselves used to love hearing from our own grandparents?



callmechia, I'll have to check out that site!

ANY THING THAT BREAKS DOWN THE BONDS OF COMMUNITY AND HUMANITY SHOULD BE ADMIRED AND NOURISHED.

I had penpals too! I lived in a tiny little rural village and had penpals from all over the world...it was my escape!

I haven't written a letter in years, I love email. I HATE phones though, hope they eventually fade away :-)

I loved your writing, it brought back great memories! But I wouldn't ever go back to snail mail!

I think that is really cool. In the past, I had several of pen pals. No one wants to write a letter anymore. It would be great to have pen pals again. Any takers? :-)

I would like to comment on the teachings of Buddha and attachment. Completely respectful because the comment really made me think about attachment. So I hope I don't offend. I'm actually intrigued this came up.



Sadness was part of his path to enlightenment, wasn't it? I can't remember. Feeling the weight of the world gave him acknowledgment of what was around him. Complete sadness awakened him to things in the world he was not aware of but lingering would do him no good. He didn't start with the middle way from the beginning. It was more so a path than detachment becuase detachment without the path and journey would create apathy and apathy would create trouble unto others.



There is little room for sadness in something you are fond of. But lingering is the difference. You can feel and let go.

I definitely miss receing letters. I get soo touched by it. Knowing that im reading the person's handwriting, that they took the time to write me something. When i was livin in the naval base, I met this guy. RIght before I left to come back home, he slipped a letter under the door. He's handwriting and spelling were bad, but i overlooked that because i was so flattered that someone took the time to do that for me. I felt special in that moment. I still go back to my old letters and read them sometimes. Some from friends, old crushes, and families.

There are a many things I feel about this.



Memories of any kind have some pain hidden somewhere. I believe this based upon my own experience and from Buddha's teachings. The thought that something once was and is no more, is in itself sad.





But we are humans and there are attachments. Undeniably.



I think, at least from where I come, technology has brought more people together, more in contact, especially the one's who have migrated to foreign countries. Internet has made it possible to be in contact. To get the feeling that they are actually, physically there somewhere, and not just faded off into far-off-ness.



The letter on paper are definitely more personal, more touching and there is a certain feeling associated with them which cannot be expressed. Its sad they do not fit more into current scheme of things anymore.

I love this story. I used to send mail to classmates even though we saw each other every day. We used to send stupid stuff like stickers and drawings, even when we were older! Someone tried to send me my missing sock but the postage cost more than a stamp!



My husband and I only had letters in Iraq too. He used to write really bad poetry that I thought was so adorable. I had a little gold leaf fall off my uniform so I taped it and sent it to him in the mail. I'd try to put perfume that I used to wear on the letters. But I wondered if the sand and travel would wear the scent down. He said it still lingered. The letters always looked ages old because of all the handling and weather.



Letters were always a romantic way of sending a part of yourself to someone else that was far away. You could touch it, feel it, smell it...it made you feel close just for a small second of time.