When I was little, maybe nine or ten or so, the US Postal Service started a program all about having pen-pals. They even had a mascot! It was a bald eagle, of course, and this bald eagle’s name was Stamper. I think the idea was to get young kids more involved in the wider world around them. And hopefully help them build long lasting relationships with people from foreign nations. Yes, this was before the Internet was a big deal, or even a little deal. Follow along here.
So my father got me all signed up and involved in this Stamper program. And while I’ve spent some time today looking for it online, it must have been called something else because I can’t seem to find it. Anyway, I got hooked up with another little girl my age in France. Which was fantastic, because I knew a little French at that time. I think we wrote about four letters all told back and forth on this really neat stationary, and then they got put into the air mail envelopes with stamps and away they went!
Of course about four letters is the most that could hold my interest, and apparently the same for my pen pal. After four letters we just stopped writing and that was that. Which brings me to my larger point.
I am a horrible pen pal. Just horrible. And I’m not just talking about letters to foreign lands or anything, I’m talking about emails and birthday cards, christmas greetings and thank you notes. Oh, my grandmother tried to pound the importance of thank you notes into my head but I just could not do it. Which of course always got me into trouble with her, but I figured if I had seen the person and said thank you to their face, why did I need to send them a card?
Little girl logic.
But now that I’m getting into being a proper adult, or so they tell me, I am finding it necessary to write such things. Christmas cards and Thank you notes. And I’m finding it so very difficult. Especially the timing! Trying to get pieces of mail out into the system in enough time so that a New Years card will arrive at least in the first part of January and not March (I failed on that one this year)! Sending an email is just so much easier, but a lot less personal. So now, I’m having to teach myself politeness all over again.
Of course, for me, I’m going to type up the thank you note and slide it into a card. Because what’s the point of writing a thank you note when the receiving person won’t be able to read it? Yes, my handwriting really is that bad. Also, if the note is going to be more than just “thanks for the thing”, but it’s going to have more information in it, there is only so much room on a card, and I just can’t see the point in sending two cards, that’s just wasteful!
So I’m trying to become a better communicator, and there are lots of problems that I have with that. But those particular neuroses will have to wait for another day. It’s absolutely gorgeous outside and I think I might go enjoy the weather and read on the porch.
After putting on sunscreen, of course. Can’t afford to turn into a lobster now!