Friday, January 16, 2015

Sending Mail to Strangers

I am horrible at mailing things out. Chances are, if you receive any kind of letter from me, it's traveled all over NYC for a week in the search for a convenient corner mailbox (that's why your Christmas card might've been a bit bent...and late). And bills? Forget about it. I've all the best intentions, but since I pay everything online, those are the ones that I forget about and find months later sealed and forgotten in the back of the drawer.

But do you remember pen pals?  Do you remember when you were given 50 minutes in elementary school to wrote a letter to a penpal? I know that people write to inmates, or send care packages to family or soldiers serving overseas. But I feel as though the trend is pretty much dead (although swap boxes still remain), and if you were to ask future generations what they thought of letter-writing, chances are they would have to stretch their brain a bit. It would be like asking us to imagine the penning of the Declaration of Independence. A dark evening, a single half-burned candle dripping wax onto an old wooden table. A quill and an inkpot. For future generations, maybe Harry Potter will have future kids of the world will closing their eyes, imagining owls delivering mail.

I grew up writing letters. That probably started because of a book series called Penpals.

The "Penpals" book series centered on 4 girls wanting to talk to boys, but being that they attended an all- girls boarding school, they were boyless. They put an ad in the paper requesting boy penpals, and started writing to students at the neighboring all-boys boarding school.

Today, this would be a horrible idea. But, in the 90s, this was basically long-distance flirting, by paper. I mean, A preteen romance novel. I ate it up and even signed up for my own penpal, mailing in the penpal request form on the last page of the book. My penpal and I were great. I mean, they sent me a girl and I was hoping for my preteen true love, but I was happy just getting mail addressed to me.

Also, I wanted to be a babysitter because of "The Babysitters Club" , own a horse because of "The Saddle Club" and live in California because of "Sweet Valley High". But then changed my mind when I realized they were all crazy.

I currently have a penpal, one that was I got from an infertility card swap I joined last year. We kind of kept going, sending cards back and forth, filled with congratulations and condolences. Bible verses and sometimes asking for advice. And of course, I know I loved getting some mail wasn't a credit card offer or bank statement.

So tell me...
Do you have a penpal?
Will the practice of being a 'penpal' exist in 20 years?
Anyone else fall in love with the idea of writing, horses and boarding schools from these books?

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Five Minute Friday - 4

13 comments:

  1. I think the idea of penpals will still exsist - or I hope it will. My daughter, just wrote her first school-assigned penpal letter. She's in 2nd grade, here in NYC!

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    1. I hope so too, glad to know that your 2nd grader is doing this in NYC :)

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  2. I am visiting from Five Minute Friday. I grew up in the day when letter writing was common. However, today an email or text is the norm. I have to say that I cherish written letters and cards that are sent so infrequently. I have saved letters my mom has written to me and they are so special to me since she died. I think it's good for children to be introduced to letter writing.

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    1. Agreed! Thanks for saying hi and sharing

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  3. The letter writing is definitely on the decline. We didn't even get as many Christmas cards this year as last, and that is also declining. So no, it will all be texts and emails. I never had a pen pal, but I remember fantasizing about having a horse. My dad wouldn't get me one on the farm, probably because he had bad memories of using horses to farm.

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    1. This is the first year we've gotten a bunch of cards, so I can't compare it to any other years. But, it's such a rarity to get anything sentimental in the mail. It's just a box for bills, junk and tax forms. I grew up with cows instead of horses, so I had to play pretend as well :)

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  4. Oh my goodness, I thought no one else read those books and signed up for a penpal!! I was so that girl to, I even had my own babysitter backpack just like the books. We would have been best friends!!

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    1. I have no clue who my penpal was, maybe we just accidentally reconnected? Haha, thanks for the fun comment :)

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  5. My now third grade son was a pen pal with his kindergarten sweet heart for two years...their writing has dwindled...but they still attend one another's birthday parties year after year. Thanks for the reminder that I need him to prompt him to write his "girl" that's a friend! :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Your neighbor at FMF, Jenn (from FL)

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  6. Ah..I feel so special being your Pen Pal! I'm horrible at sending things out too, and wish I could be better at frequency! I'll keep trying:-). I never read that/those books, but I did love Babysitters Club! It made it cool ;-). Happy Sunday Farin and cheers to modern day Pen Pals!

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    1. Made it cool... Well I remember being shocked to learn that I hated babysitting, because the kids were horrible!!! I never read about that in those books.... Frequency isn't important, I appreciate the kind words and friendship :)

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  7. Handwritten letters are the best! I paired my 7 year old daughter up with a friend's daughter several states away who was the same age and is raised with similar values. Her handwriting skills have not only improved but she is also making a little friend, though they've never met in person. A few months ago, we moved a few states and her sweet old babysitter (age 16) wanted to stay in touch and writes her letters too. I think it's neat. But I feel like in this day in age, we have to be so much more intentional about doing things like having penpals. Great post!!!

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