There was a time—a long, long time ago—when I used to get home from Wherever, and rush over to the computer. THE computer, because there was only one. THE computer was shared with my hubby and two sons.
I would turn it on, listen for the beeping and humming and whistling of the modem, and watch the little bar move slowly across the screen . . . until it finally (hopefully) said, “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!”
Those were the days of loving this technology.
Now, I avoid email. I have three accounts—one for personal, one for business and another as backup. I suppose I could delete that one, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Not just yet.
I do enjoy the personal account—when there is email from my sisters and cousins. But mostly, that account gets ads: some things I’m interested in, some things I’m semi-interested in, and some things I don’t even remember signing up for.
If I go back even further in time, to when I lived on a little farm in southwestern Ontario, I remember the Mailbox. No, not the InBox, but the actual metal mailbox sitting atop a wooden post at the end of the lane. The long, often muddy, sometimes snowed-in lane. On rare occasions, I GOT MAIL!
Those were exciting times. While I lived on the farm, I had three pen pals. (Not to be confused with PayPal.) A pen pal is someone you met in the classified ads of the London Free Press. If their little blurb interested you (it would be called an “elevator pitch” nowadays) then you could write to the magazine and they would forward your letter. After that, if you were still interested, you exchanged slow mail addresses with your pen pal.
I say “slow mail” but in those days, there was no other kind. I had a pen pal in France, another in Greece, and one in Regina, Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is a province of Canada, a “prairie” province, also known as “the one in the middle” on occasion. (Check your atlas.) (Or, more likely, GoogleMaps.)
At the farm, there was also mail in the form of birthday cards. And, at Christmas, there was a multitude of Christmas cards. They were strung on ribbons in the kitchen. I can still remember my mother, sitting at the kitchen table, writing notes in the cards she would send, and addressing each envelope in her beautiful handwriting.
One of the things about COVID is that we seem to be doing more Slow Mail. I got more physical Christmas Cards this year than I have in ages. Thank you very much! It seemed every day, there was another card in the mailbox. The actual mailbox at the front of our house.
In many parts of the city, we have Super Mailboxes. But we still have a mailbox attached to our house. Eventually, I suppose our neighbourhood will get Super Mailboxes too, since most of the stuff that arrives is not urgent—things like flyers, catalogues and “buy this” type of guidance.
You could pick up those items weekly. Or less often.
Or maybe not. In times of COVID isolation, maybe people will start using Canada Post more often. Who knows?
Do you get much Slow Mail? Do you remember a time when that was the only kind of mail? Do you have a Super Mailbox, or do you have a mailbox at your house? Do you think it’s amazing that for about one dollar—much less than the cost of a latte—you can send a hard copy letter or card from Victoria, British Columbia all the way across Canada to St. John’s, Newfoundland?
I also got a lot more Xmas cards this year. Very pretty and cheerful. And I do think it is amazing how far a stamp can take a letter!!
I think a lot of us got more physical Christmas cards this year. Hmmm, I wonder if this February will mean lots of Valentines?
I had a pen pal from that I met at music school when I was twelve and wrote to for several years. Then I wrote letters to my eldest brother who went away to school when I was still a teenager. By the time I went away to school, I continued my letter writing habit sending long missives about my adventures to my beloved grandfather-I still have some of the letters he wrote back to me! To this day I write an annual letter at Christmas time to reach out to my family and friends across oceans and borders, so that they know I still think about them often even when we don’t see each other like we used to. Email is a quick and easy way to send a note but it just doesn’t have the same heart as a slow mail letter.
I love the “heart” of a slow mail letter too. Especially in times of COVID, it seems like being a little closer. 🙂
I love getting a letter in the mail. I especially love Christmas cards that arrive in February. I know that its from someone who really took a lot of time to think about what they have to say when they reach out.
One thing I love about Christmas is that its a time of year when I hear from people I haven’t heard from all year. Its great to reconnect and catch up, whether its by regular mail or email or a telephone call.
And its a great chance to give wishes for a Happy New Year. It’s heartening when I can wish so many people well and receive well wishes from them.
Happy New Year, Suzanne. May 2021 be the year that you achieve your writing goal!
Happy New Year to you too, Amy Jo! Let’s look forward to lots of writing time and hopefully some in-person coffee breaks. 🙂