The Evolution of Correspondence

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In January 2000, I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Paris. While he was in meetings, I wandered around the city. A bitter wind blew through the streets. I’d lived in the South Pacific for just a year, but my blood had already thinned. I took refuge in the Musée d’Orsay and the churches of St. Germain. One afternoon, I happened upon a postcard market at Les Halles. Thousands of hand-tinted vintage postcards were for sale. Despite my strong aversion to accumulation, I couldn’t resist buying a few. I chose them for the pictures. The words written upon them were simply an address or the words had faded into obscurity. Except for one.

Monday 30 December 1918

Dear Uncle,

I’m sending you this card to give you my news which is excellent at the moment and I hope it’s the same for you. I’m leaving for Etingers next Wednesday and from there I will go to visit Mom in Paris around January 15th. Because I have no more work in Beaupréau. The boss’ son where I work came back from the war, so I left because there isn’t enough work for everyone. Soon I will go to a neighboring village to see if they need anyone to work in a locksmith shop. If not, I’ll probably stay in Paris. I’ll take advantage of this card to wish you a Happy New Year and a speedy return to your loved ones and I hope I will soon have the pleasure of seeing you. Best wishes – Henri.

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So much history in so few words. These momentary tidings have survived for almost a hundred years.

I used to have a small collection of postcards. Most of them were from my wandering sister Pebby. Others were from friends I had met along the way, most of whom I had lost touch with. When I got married and moved overseas, most of the postcards fell victim to a ruthless purge. Sentimentality is a luxury that a nomad cannot afford. I kept only the most significant: my future husband’s tender dispatch from New Caledonia, which was sent after we first met; the last communication I would ever have from my friend Breezy in Guam. It reached me a few days after I had heard of her tragic death; and the wackiest of those from Pebby’s zany adventures. I saved some letters and cards from my mother, which had kept me going during the dark days in California. My father’s letters – filled with the unnerving poetry of schizophrenia – also remain. Everyone else is stored in the vault of memory. Their exact words have blurred with time, but their spirit lingers. Maybe they’ve forgotten, but I haven’t.

Once upon a time, I was an ardent letter writer. As a child, I wrote to my aunts and uncles who had moved across the country. Their rare replies brightened my lonely universe. It didn’t matter what they had written. The message had traveled from someplace else. This habit lasted into adulthood. Letters from family and friends in Michigan filled the California void. When I left California, letters and postcards from the friends I had met there followed me. Until faces and memories dimmed and vanished, and there was really no point, anymore.

For many years, I had a recurring dream about a lost letter. It was adrift in transit, or maybe I had misplaced it. The contents were something that I had been waiting to hear for a long time. Something that would make everything okay. I was always loved and never knew. In the dream, I wandered through a labyrinth of corridors and staircases and rooms. Resolute, but bewildered. In the process of searching, I lost myself. Have you seen it, I’d ask the faceless entities that drifted by. Where could it possibly be? I would tell myself that I must remember to search for it when I awaken. However, when the gauze of sleep wore off and consciousness solidified, it became clear that no such letter ever existed.

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Words sent on a journey. A connection between two people. Few things are more intimate and thoughtful. It doesn’t always matter what’s written. Even in the pre-internet days, people wrote about what they had eaten for dinner, the things they had bought, and the antics of the family cats. The banalities of daily life are more poetic when handwritten in a unique script. The inadvertent designs added to the narrative: coffee rings, cigarette ash smudges, and ink blots. Dried teardrops. Wisps of evaporated perfume or crushed flowers. The smooth texture of a wax seal. There was something personal in the act of moving a pen across stationery, looking up an address, placing it a mailbox, and raising the red flag.

The evolution of correspondence can be illustrated through Christmas greetings. In the past, an evening or weekend afternoon was set aside to write them out. For there were so many. Everyone deserved a short personal note inside. In the 1980s, people began to send photocopied letters that recapped the previous year’s news. When the internet appeared, these letters became one mass email. Nowadays, people post a general greeting on their own Facebook page and call it good.

Communication has become a broadcast. Messages are for an audience rather than an individual. Many articles have been written about the disappearance of true interaction. Studies have shown that those who aren’t on social media are literally forgotten. It would be easy to decry this shift. However, there were always those who never wrote back. People who forgot about you. Maybe social media has given those who wouldn’t have otherwise made an effort a way to stay in touch. Those of us who abstain need to accept the consequences. Surrender to oblivion.

Facebook. It reminded me of a boisterous party. Everyone talking over each other. I walked in, made a quick lap, and then slipped out the back door. Few people noticed. Out of about a hundred people who were on my friend list, I remain in touch with five. This includes only one of my four siblings. Instead of disappointment, however, there is a profound sense of liberation. It feels good to know where I stand and on whom to focus my energy. My words are no longer wasted.

Handwritten letters have all but vanished. With the rise of messaging apps and Instagram, is the age of the postcard also coming to an end? If there is hope for its survival, it lies with the collectors. When I travel, postcard racks still beckon. I spin them around and, if an image catches my eye, I’ll buy it for someone. I ponder every message. What might this person like to know about the location and my journey? It doesn’t matter where it ends up – tossed in the trash, tucked in a book, hung on a wall, displayed in a future marketplace. They are all sent forth on their voyage with love.

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**I would like to thank my readers for the support and respect I’ve received over the past four years. Those who’ve been with me from the beginning and those who’ve recently appeared. Those who take the time to share your thoughtful reflections and those who choose to not make your presence known. Everyone is welcome and appreciated. I wish you all a 2017 filled with magic and discovery.

90 thoughts on “The Evolution of Correspondence

  1. I used to be an avid letter writer/communicator, too. I have a small carton of letters/postcards which I have had with me for decades. Recently I inherited hundreds of family letters belonging to my grandparents. I feel rather overwhelmed, and not sure what to do with them all. Facebook, email, WordPress, Skype suit me well but, in a fit of nostalgia for letter writing. I bought a fountain pen last year. I have written a few cards with the pen, but no letters. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughtful posts this year, 2017. All the best….

    • I had a similar fit of nostalgia a few years ago, but it has all but died. I still have the nice stationery. It was so difficult to even find any! I also have the seal and wax that I bought in a small shop in Wellington, New Zealand many years ago. Every once in a while I’ll write to my sister or one friend who also enjoys writing letters.

      What a treasure your family letters are. Have you read them?

      • I have read some of the letters. It will take a while to read them all. What fun to have a seal. About 20 years ago I remember the US postal service insisting that I use wax to seal a parcel. I was surprised.

  2. Thoughtful post, I enjoyed this…..I have been known to bemoan the passing of the written letter, and still send and receive written Christmas cards

    • Thank you, Sue. I also still send out Christmas cards, but the number has dwindled considerably. I had a hard time even finding interesting cards this year. The shops had the same ones as last year. Maybe they’re being phased out as well.

  3. A superb post Julie. This will probably inspire me to dig around in my great uncle’s postcard collection again – it is a small miracle that I still have that connection across the generations. What will there be in the future – IT archaeologists ‘digging’ around long forgotten servers, trying to find gems buried in the layers of Facebook junk.
    All the very best to you and yours for another creative and happy year.

    • Thank you, Robin. I always enjoy your posts about your family history. Digging through the attic seems like an appropriate way to begin 2017.

      The very same thought about digital memorabilia crossed my mind while writing this. It’s a very real possibility, because, unlike paper, our digital trace is there for eternity. Will someone one day come across our words and wonder?

  4. Lovely post! Those old postcards make my imagination race. I used to be a letter writer, too, due to a nomadic childhood. Blogging seems like a natural continuation to that. Like you, I tried Facebook amd left. I can comfirm the studies: I was forgotten as soon as I left FB, no more party invitations for me! But I don’t mind. Like you said, it feels liberating. I have no obligations to the random people of my past. Hope you have a magical 2017, too!!!!

  5. A girlfriend of mine was a photographer from the States. On home journeys she used to send me 1950s postcards of the places she visited. I added them to a small collection of postcards from various eras I’d picked up.

    Another of those days without money, and way behind with rent, I had to sell my postcards along with other items of a certain collectable value.

    Though she was quite well known for her photos of punk rock bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols at the time, she wasn’t famous enough for her signature to be worth much. Sheila Rock is now famous enough as a photographer to have her photos in London’s National Portrait Gallery.

    Nevertheless, as we spent such great times together it was hard enough to part with them when I had to, I don’t think the increased value would’ve made it any easier.

    Towards the end of the 1990s I had to sell nearly all my prized possessions but I don’t regret it so much, as I’ve been able to do so many things free of them.

    • It’s hard to know how much something will end up being worth. Parting with our personal treasures is tough, but, as you said, we can do so much more without them. They are replaced by memories.

  6. This is a very interesting post ! I always write lengthy emails to my friends, and they always reply with two words. Sometimes I have the feeling I was born at the wrong time. I think I would have enjoyed writing letters and this form of communication.

    Happy new year !

  7. Reminiscing with gratitude
    as I post this e-card
    across the sea to you, Julie!
    In a dusty drawer, outdated stamps
    and several cards meant to be sent!
    Ah, those were the days
    of personal communiqué.
    Wishing you joyful continuation
    of your liberation this year, david 🙂

  8. A lovely post, Julie- so much me I find here amongst you all…The letter writing young girl and the postcard writing traveller and the Christmas card writer…But, as you say, all this is dwindling away. The old postcards make me too want to go back to the old cards I have saved, and to old letters from penfriends all over the world. I have saved them all. I also bought a fountain pen…I also wrote less than I intended with it. My name is on it, so…And stationary – I have saved some copies from the best loved ones .
    I still post cards to old friends and to those I know love it as much as I do myself…and Christmas cards. I also had them made from my own pictures some years ago, nowadays I buy from UNICEF and other charity foundations. Then I know there will be a little something for people and animals in need as well.
    I wish you a very Happy New Year, and thank you for being there!

  9. Wonderful post as usual, Julie!! I can relate to people dismissing you when you’re not on fb anymore. I’ve been off for a little over 2 years and, like you, have very little correspondence with very few people who were on my “friend list”. I’m totally ok with that though! It just validates who in my life are truly in my life for the “long haul”. I really miss the days of letter writing and sending postcards! I remember the invigorating feeling when I’d see that letter in my mailbox from someone I loved whether it be family or friend.
    I wish you and Pascal a very prosperous 2017, Julie!!
    Love ya,
    Shelly

  10. “Sentimentality is a luxury that a nomad cannot afford.” How very very true! The handful of postcards I have ever received I use as bookmarks. It is a nice surprise every time I re-read a book to find a letter written before the digital age by someone I know tucked inside. Happy New Year to you J.D! Wishing you endless magical adventures in 2017.

    • Thank you. When you move around all the time everything you carry along needs to have a “purpose.” Books, though. I even have to limit those or leave them behind.

      • Love your post! Love postcards and letters–especially when living far from family and friends. Just a note about moving around with books, I made the switch to eBooks and LOVE that I can carry so many books with me without them taking up much space. Of course I do miss the feel of holding a book when I read.
        Wishing you all the best in 2017!

  11. Another brilliant post and excellent conversation – especially as we begin a New Year. Correspondence has changed dramatically over the years, an indicator of our mercurial and transitioning communication style. I treasure the letters of those who have gone on before me. They are my link to a time and place that will never be again. I thought that your comment regarding blogging was insightful. I have read that micro-blogging (Twitter/Instagram etc) is the preferred method of communication. Photos and 140 letters allow us hop from one message to the other. We are addicted to speed. Zoom Zoom! But, this year, I am going to purchase a fountain pen (like Gallivanta) and recall my cursive writing days. Life is about savouring moments, words, shared experiences. I’m a minimalist by nature – less is more. The only “more” I want this year is life-affirming conversations. And I want “more” of your marvelous posts. Happy New Year, my dear friend. I am glad that we are entering 2017 together.

    • Thank you so much, Rebecca. I hope you get much joy out of your pen. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. I’ve deliberately avoided getting sucked into the vortex. I have given Instagram a try, and will probably continue to use it as an extension of the blog, but I admit it’s a bit too speedy and superficial for me. I think if I tried to be a hardcore social media user, it would drive me away from the internet completely.

      • Each of your Instagram photos have a distinct story. I’ve been away from Instagram for a few weeks but will be getting back this week. What I find most interesting is that there is a tendency benchmark value on the amount of likes and tweets. Even more interesting to me is that we are using increasingly using photography, rather than words to communicate ideas – much like our ancient ancestors on cave walls. The interpretation then becomes more fluid, much like a painting. I find this all fascinating – and I continue to learn.

        • Thank you. I try to make them count. I’ve noticed that many people on there seem only concerned with the amount of followers they have, and it doesn’t seem to matter if the followers actually engage with them. I know people who have left facebook and twitter for Instagram, because it’s less opinionated and cluttered, but you can still keep in touch with people in an easy way.

  12. You’ve triggered the Wayback machine – memories of the days before the internet. I used to send postcards from various places when traveling – no more. But I guess it’s just how you look at it, in a way having a community of WordPress friends is kind of like having pen pals. And because I can type and edit, no one needs to find out that I’m really a terrible speller….

    • The days before the internet. I never thought I’d ever be old enough to be able to say, “In the days before…” 😱Blogging is a great way to send virtual postcards, and you are sure that those who take the time to read really appreciate the effort.

  13. This year I did not have money to buy all of my students (my advisory class now in 10th grade) gifts other than maybe a bag of candy of which I did not want to do. So I decided to write each of them a note about what I liked the best about them personally. When I went to hand them out for a minute I got cold feet thinking “what a stupid idea, they are going to think I am cheap and out of date”. I handed them out anyway and the reaction was so unexpected and positive I almost cried. one of them told me that she really needed to see that because she was having such a bad day and I swear she had tears in her eyes. They gave me a picture of all of them as a thank you with a note that they loved me like a mom. I will never again underestimate the power of handwritten words.

    • Oh Pebby, they are going to miss you so much when you leave. You are in a special place, away from the noise and BS of the “real world.”

      I sure wish you would get the postcards package I sent you months ago. Maybe they’ll arrive after you leave and they’ll try to send them back here and, as usual, they’ll get “lost”and end up in transit forever.

  14. Speaking of snail mail, I’ve always been the type to send a friend or family a postcard or letter, and I still do up to these days… more artsy though, the art is just a bonus. lovely post, as always. Happy New Year!

    • I know that’s your passion and still remember those postcards you sent me. 😊Your letters are absolute works of art. It looks like you’ve got quite a network of enthusiasts to share them with. Good for you.

  15. I’m not on Facebook and I still write Christmas cards. I guess that says something about me.
    I have not bought a postcard in years, but that is because I prefer to use my own photos.

    Wishing you all the best for a happy 2017.

  16. I was a postmaster for the last 20 years of my working life. I witnessed firsthand the decline of letter writing from my customers. It was most evident with Christmas cards. We have come to believe there is not time in the day to sit quietly and share our thoughts with others. Blogging, for me, fulfills the urge that letter writing once had. Bloggers know that it requires we ruminate a bit before sharing our thoughts. Twitter has its virtues, but sadly, as our president elect illustrates over and over, it is also a medium for impulsive thinking without consideration for the consequences.

    • That’s the excuse that old friends gave for not even responding to emails. Too busy. And yet they spend more time scrolling through facebook feeds than it would take to write an email.

  17. In spite of being a nomad (love your line about sentimentality), I have trouble parting with books, photos, letters. I have file drawers full of them, many from folks who have passed, and they are precious to me. For the 2 summers that we were apart in the college years, the husband and I wrote daily letters that we both saved. Those are a treat !! I still compose and hand write Christmas cards, don’t often get many back. No matter, it means something to me. Such a lovely post, Julie. Wishing you a glorious, adventure-filled 2017. ❤️

    • Thank you, Van.😊 I always got more out of sending than receiving, too. I’ve parted with most of the letters and postcards and books, but the photos stay. I didn’t take many photos before digital. I have maybe a shoebox full of them. I can’t imagine hauling around the thousands that I have taken over the years since digital.

  18. 2017 once beckoned, and has now arrived.

    I think a New Year seems to fill many with a false hope, that somehow the re-setting of the calendar will prove more liberating or an agent of change, without the need for people to actually take any responsibility or action themselves…

    Two days in, and my new year is already marked with a mixture of joy and sadness.

    Sadness that my almost 88 year old Grandfather passed away on January 2nd, but happiness that for him, an ever active man who for the past half a decade was failed by his body, is finally free of that torment.

    As always I love your words, I somehow feel wiser for having read them 🙂

  19. This postcard of yours has arrived at a time of extreme sentimentality on my part. We spent our Christmas holiday cleaning out our house, the kids and we emptying our rooms of yes, postcards, and school photos and old theses and stuffed animals … it was a dreadful task. I am a strange bird, though: a sentimental purger. I rented a dumpster and practically cracked a whip over my family members, forcing them to either part with things or put them in a box to be mailed or carried to their own places. Yet I cried throughout; what will I look back and regret pitching?

    I love a written letter – sent or received. I send Christmas cards and insist that each have a handwritten note and signature inside. I wander around Facebook the way I’d sit at a cafe on the street, but I don’t participate in the brawl/bragfest/baloney. I could never blog on my phone. But I could not divest myself of half of my books! Next time, maybe!

    Your post is, as always, beautifully written and expresses so much I’d say myself. Happy New Year!

    • Thank you. ✨

      “What will I look back and regret pitching”…I know this feeling, but I stifle it. The freedom of being able to move around so easily outweighs the regret. It must have been difficult doing it with a whole family. You have my sympathies. So much shared history.

  20. Thank you very much, dear Julie, for your most touching post. I must admit that I prefer to get a few handwritten letters or cards for Christmas by people I know well than a big lot on the social medias. I remember that i did not even like it when people started to send letters written on the computer! I also loved and appreciated to receive postcards during the year and, as you said, not for what was written on them but because somebody had thought of me!🙂 Fortunately I have kept the most impressive ones and they will be available for the near future when I will be forgotten! For 2017, I wish you good health and many good trips.

  21. Excellent writing. I am going through my father’s letters and it’s fascinating how in the 1940s – 1950s the humour, the manner of expression and content were quite different in tone. Sadly am having to get rid of most of them because there are so many and, pre-internet and mass phones, the content is quite mundane in sorting out meeting arrangements etc. Quite poignant though to read the thoughts and lives of so many now gone.

    I still send postcards to people who must be quite baffled to receive them!

    • I wonder what the people who wrote those letters would think of the way we have come to express ourselves today. Best of luck with your poignant task.

  22. Wow, I truly had no idea there was such a market for these incredible “pieces” of history. Old letters, of both those I written when young and received, are always fun as are the books and history brought to life in biographies from people of the past. But a postcard, it is even more special. A snapshot of the past, and what an amazing thing to see such history as you’ve found.

    This post is both a trip down memory lane when postcard writing (and letter writing) held such importance, and I suppose I’m also part of the generation who let the gift of correspondence move from actual writing to the insipid emails and social media medium 🙂

    Fantastic writing Julie, your words and writing style brings me right into your world, and I ride along as you describe what you see/envision so beautifully. Wishing you an incredible 2017.

    • Thank you, Randall. I think the market is just an occasional one, and maybe it doesn’t happen at all anymore. I used to be an antiques enthusiast when I lived in the US and there were always postcards in the antique fairs and malls, though collectors seemed to value pristine ones with no writing. I’m sure your family and friends got much enjoyment out of your letters and postcards.

      • I think it was travel and waking up every Sunday morning and getting my coffee and writing friends and family that allowed me to download thoughts so I had a clear mind to begin the week on Monday 🙂 I would value old postcards with writing on the back, a peak into history (little known history so to speak). Cheers to a great weekend.

  23. I think the best bloggers were once great letter writers. For the youngest of writers, they can still have a somewhat similar experience to writing letters via email. Although, I suppose, blogging might come even closer. I’m thinking of the time and care it takes to write something thoughtful and there being some delay in the response back you might get. I don’t know that the lack of formal letter writing speaks to a dip in literacy. There were only so many people who ventured to write quality letters verging upon essays to begin with. Perhaps social media means more people are writing something, anything, that would never have done so pre-internet. It’s when awards or competitions of various sorts choose upon those who are most media savvy as opposed to those who are truly the superior writers, or whatever, that it’s sad. So, use Facebook wisely, I suppose. Or not.

    • Judging from the comments on this post, most bloggers seem to be former letter writers. Letters don’t need to be long to be memorable. Some of the most interesting words I received were on the back of postcards. Your comment about writers being judged more for their social media presence than for their work struck a chord. As my memoir nears completion I feel a sense of dread. Will agents and publishers even give me the time of day if I’m not on Twitter/Facebook? Self-publishing in this age of perpetual marketing is just as daunting. It’s not how good you write, it’s how much attention you are able to corral. I appreciate my readers very much.

  24. Reading this, Julie, I couldn’t help but think of how amazed, intrigued and awed I’ve been discovering correspondences between people who lived before us. How they took their time to write, how well they wrote and spoke, how deep their affections and concerns. One aspect of this is writing directly person-to-person invites an intimacy too often lost I think, in the broadcasting you describe. I don’t real old correspondences much, but just remember that when I have, it has been delightful. I wonder when people look back on Facebook and Twitter and such, what they will think. Perhaps they will feel nostalgic as well! Ha!

    I take comfort in being obscure I think, in the way you describe. It takes as much time to write a personal e-mail as it does to pen one out I think, and those are some of my most enjoyable human interactions. Personal correspondences with friends, and the treasures that arrive in the time taken to share what is going on. Some blogs–yours here I would say–have this greater depth to them, that I greatly enjoy.

    Peace and best wishes in the New Year!
    Michael

    • Hi Michael- Thank you for the compliments on my blog. I don’t doubt that social media users will feel nostalgic when they read old posts. Every one of the momentary thoughts that they’ve felt compelled to share are conveniently saved for them. There seems to be an intense fear of obscurity these days. Like you, I take comfort in it. I’m really only online because of the memoir that I’m writing. I look forward to the day when I can totally withdraw from the social internet.

  25. This was an awesome post. Thank you!

    I share your love and admiration of old correspondences. (I am embarrassed to admit that I have even bought some on eBay.) I used to love to write handwritten letters to people. I was the last practitioner of this lost art that I know of. I wrote letter after letter and never got a response. A few decades ago, I eventually gave up and switched to email like the rest of the world, but not without a sense of sadness and a feeling that we as a species have lost something special that was unique to us. Email and other social media, to me, has not recaptured what we lost when we voluntarily stopped sending handwritten messages to each other.

    Thank you again for your wonderful post!

    • Thank you. 😊It’s true that writing emails and communicating via social media seems to lack a certain magic. I’ve heard that some schools in the US have even stopped teaching cursive. There is scientific evidence that writing by hand stimulates certain parts of the brain, such as memory. We are losing much more than communication by putting down the pens. Good for you for buying postcards off Ebay. As long as people want to buy them, maybe they will continue to be produced and sent.

  26. We are (almost) all so guilty. We bemoan the lack of real letters, but don’t do anything about it. Earlier this year I sent letters to several people throughout the country, and enjoyed taking the time to do something I rarely do anymore. Only one reply though. Sigh.

    Modern communication methods make it easier, but we certainly don’t take advantage of it.

    • Good for you for trying. I tried to revive it a couple of years ago, too. I hunted down writing stationery..hard a terrible time finding any. It’s mostly all for printers now. I wrote to several people…three wrote me back. Then it dwindled. I still write to one person a couple of times a year, and to a couple of others from time to time. They write me back. I stopped writing to the others. It’s true that you lose motivation when no one else wants to participate. There are modern pen pals, people who keep the love of snail mail alive. I just don’t feel like writing to people I don’t know personally. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  27. Hi Julie

    I was thinking, earlier today, that it had been a while since I read something from you, and how nothing from you had popped up in my “Following feed”. Sensing something I wrote your blog’s address in the browser and here it was, this post! It really felt like opening one’s mailbox and finding an unexpcted envelope filled with nice things.

    I loved reading your feelings towards letters and postcards, and I do agree with you that modern social media had just enhanced, perhaps by a large %, stuff and behaviours that existed before anyway.

    On the topic of finding postcards, my better half once found an old postcard lying on the pavement of a street not far from our house. It was a view of the Scottish Highlands, and the back was, like yours from Paris, filled with lines and lines. Nothing special, no secrets, no keys to infinite wisdom were shared. But still it was nice to cast a glance into somebody’s Scottish holiday, circa 1950.

    All the best for a great 2017 to you as well,

    Fabrizio

    • Hi Fabrizio, If I don’t see a post for a while from people I’m following, I check their blogs manually. The WP reader is sometimes unreliable, as is email notification. Thanks for making the effort. It’s funny how such artifacts from the past turn up in unexpected places, almost like a message from beyond. Did your lady keep that postcard?

  28. Great post Julie, i read it twice. Me too I was a fervent writer: postcards, letters with my cousins and friends, even my “secret” diary (uh-oh…I’m feeling a bit nostalgic now). I’ve collected postcards for a while, too. I’ve wonderful memories “of paper”, intertwined with happy and sad memories. I liked that times, but I can see that also today we write, we communicate between us eve better than before. Maybe we’ve only dissipated the pleasant, sweet expectations. Happy New Year Julie!Cris

  29. My grandmother always sealed her letters with a red wax stamp. In 1967 I was 10 and lived in a foreign land with my family and wrote letters every week to my best friend. She wrote to me weekly as well. I saved a love letter ~ my first ever from an 8 year old boy who sat near me every day. I left my country, friends and family at age 19 to go to America. Letters were the only means of correspondence in the 80’s. I kept these all. But a nomadic life as you say, does not go well with sentimentality.

    Great post. Well written. Thoughtful and evocative.

    Peta

    • Thank you, Peta. We are the generations that remember when letters were the only way to keep in touch (except for phone calls which few could afford back then). Makes me feel sort of ancient, reminds me of when my grandmother says that she remembers when there was no television. How beautiful that you saved that love letter. ❤️ That’s one that I would have saved, too.

  30. I tried being pen pals with an instagram friend a couple years ago, started off well…but it tapered off because we were keeping in touch via social media.
    I still have a love hate relationship with fb. At the moment it’s hate, so it’s been deactivated.

    • I think nowadays you really need to consider letter writing as an art or a hobby to be able to stick with it. An addition to other types of communication. Email and social media are just too widespread and convenient. Good for you for trying.

  31. Pingback: Postcards as history – Postcard Pals SIG

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