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Mr. Postman, Is There A Letter in Your Bag For Me?

Published: February 18, 2009

I stood in Hallmark for over an hour looking for a Happy Birthday card to send my mother. So many to choose from—even ones that play music or allow you to record your own voice message. I usually pick the funniest one I can find about getting older and hurry out of the store. But this time, they didn’t seem so funny. My mother, even though celebrating her 13th 49th birthday, is young at heart, full of enthusiasm (annoyingly, so), and always there for me no matter how many times I try to blame her for everything that goes wrong in my life.

I wanted to get her something to show her how much I love and respect her, but truth be told, my birthday present-buying budget is virtually nonexistent; 42 cents to be exact. And so I wrote her a letter, the old-fashioned way, addressing not only how she has shaped my life, but how she has affected the lives of so many around her and beyond. Through her career, she has empowered hundreds of women; through her mothering, she has raised two almost normal children; through her marriage, she has loved and taken care of my father for over three decades. She deserves to know how much I admire her.

I admit, I started to think to myself, I could save myself the postage and just send her an e-mail, but I remembered the best part about receiving a handwritten letter is that spark of joy and curiosity when you find the envelope in-between the electric bill and coupon junk book, and the thrill of rediscovering it years later, tucked away in that special drawer. I love to get letters, real letters, from friends and family, and so I’ve made a resolution to myself to continue this seemingly antiquated practice.

How about you? Have you ever received an unexpected letter that brightened your day?

How is receiving a personal e-mail different than a handwritten letter?

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  • Angie

    I think its essential to continue the practice of letter writing because it brightens so many people’s days to receive mail. I still send cards and letters quite often. And I too have every card letter etc ever written to me and still run to the mailbox hoping for something thats not a bill!

  • Steph

    This is so ture! I am going to write my mother today!

  • Audrey

    I could not agree more. A letter or card in the mail is still priceless. In fact I still run out to my mailbox every day with the excitement that there may be something rather than junk or bills waiting for me! When there is I usually have to rip it open at the end of my drive way because waiting until I got back in the house would be way too long! I love old fashioned mail. I must say though you are lucky that your 42 cent budget covered the stamp. It won’t for much longer!

  • Kathy

    I will have to admit that receiving a hand written card is like receiving a gift. The gift of words is so much more meaningful when it can be read over and over. And not too long ago I ran across a pile of birthday cards that I had written to my mother and father in the 60’s and 70’s. It was detailing and recapturing the young lives of my children. My parents kept every Birthday Father’s day Mother’s Day and Anniversary card I ever wrote. To this day I have a birthday card my mother mailed to me on my 7th birthday. It had a .03 stamp on it. I had never received anything in the mail with my name of it before. It meant the world to me . Just like your article there is no comparison from an ole fashion U.S. mailed card to receiving an email. I loved your letter.