April 12, 2008

The Magic of Snail Mail

When I was younger, say 8 or so, I had a penpal that was arranged for me from my elementary school. We exchanged letters every other month. During that same time, a good friend of mine who lived in my building moved to California. It was the saddest day of my life in my childhood, but we promised to keep in touch through letters. Indeed, we did. Then in Junior High School, my best friend and I also had the habit of sending each other letters despite the fact that we only lived 6-8 blocks away from each other.

20 years ago, I didn't have a computer at home so mailing letters were the best way to go. I always looked forward to mailing out my letters because I knew that soon enough, I would get one back, sometimes covered with stickers on the envelopes too. I devoured each letter, sometimes reading it twice and then putting it away in a safe box so that no one else would find it.

Nowadays, I no longer mail out letters. Instead we use e-mail. It's just so much quicker and my hands tend to cramp when I write too long. I still look forward to the e-mails. The content is still intriquing to read but the excitement has slowly dissipated with the end of the snail mail era.

Perhaps that's why I make handmade greeting cards. I hope that people remember how great it feels to receive a handwritten note. It doesn't have to happen every month, but if you can manage to send one on birthdays or on occasion, I'm certain it will bring a bit of happiness to the receiver.

Last month, one of my friends turned 28. I didn't text him or e-mail him. Instead, I wrote him a card and mailed it. He called me to tell me he received it and how he appreciated it. It was a simple gesture, but I think I did my job. Snail mail may be old-school but the magic of the handwritten can be powerful. Try it. Next time it's your loved one's birthday, avoid the emails and texts; and send it snail mail.

Wai Sze http://waisze.etsy.com/

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