Friday, August 10, 2007

snail mail

My Dad told me that he got some "snail mail" from my cousin who is currently in Iraq. I thought, how strange, does anyone really write letters anymore? Most likely, my Dad sent my cousin a letter first.

In the good ol' pre-email days, Dad used to be a big time letter writer. He would write a letter to his parents every week. How my Babci looked forward to those letters! Dad wrote me letters while I was in college, or living in Louisiana, and wrote Jeff letters while he was in Iraq. Dad would write on yellow lined paper, and he always filled up at least a whole page.

Babci loved it when I would write her too. When I would go for a visit, she would say, "Write me a letter, it doesn't have to be long. I love to get your letters." I thought it was the least I could do. I liked making her happy. I always addressed my envelope to "Babci & Paki", no first or last name. She got a kick out of that. I tried to write her at least once a month.

I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter or who it was to.

Jeff and I have boxes and boxes of letters we exchanged while he was stationed overseas. The letters are all gritty from being in the desert. A sandstorm once blew my letters all over the desert, and Jeff sent everyone who would listen off to find all of them. Its fun to be able to go back in time and read those letters. We don't do it often, but its nice to know they are there in my hope chest.

I wonder if the soldiers in Iraq now are still sending letters home, or if most writing is done through email. Email is certainly faster. I waited weeks for Jeff's letters to arrive. The wait was tortuous sometimes. It was nice when it came though, and knowing Jeff had touched that paper and sealed the envelope.

I have a bag full of notes that I received from my friends in high school. Those are really entertaining to read. All the gossip, and bad mouthing of teachers. It helps give me perspective on what my students are thinking.

Today's teenagers don't seem to pass notes to each other much. I used to have a desk drawer full of their notes, not anymore. They are sending text messages on their phones instead.

On one of our state assessments, the students have to write a business letter. This is something you would think teenagers would know how to do, but it is getting harder and harder every year. We really have to walk them through the process.

Someone I work with prints out every email she receives. This drives me crazy. Isn't email supposed to be more environmentally friendly? No trees being chopped down for the paper. No gas being used to transport the letter. I get annoyed when I see all those emails spewing out of the printer. I want to scream "save some trees".

The only things I send "snail mail"these days are greeting cards. I pay all my bills online - saves stamps, paper and gas. A box of checks lasts forever. I email people more than calling them on the phone. I think its easier to stay in touch with people because of email. You don't have to try and catch them while they're at home, they can read your email at anytime. Plus, you can send an email out to a lot of people, rather than having to call each person individually. I love email.

I wonder if my Babci was still alive, how she would feel about email. What would her email address be? Babci_girl123, polishdollmaker74? Would she get the same thrill seeing an email in her inbox, as she did a letter in her mail slot? I don't think so. I think she liked to hold the letters, and reread them during commercials while watching Wheel of Fortune. I just can't picture Babci sitting in her chair with a wireless laptop reading emails.

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