The Magic of snail mail

When was the last time you felt the magic of snail mail?

When I wake up, my first thought is COFFEE! My second thought, if my children aren’t awake, check my phone for the day’s news or texts or emails. This morning, for some reason, I thought back to my childhood days. I remember snail mail, smelling coffee, and hearing my mom rustling the newspaper that she had just retrieved from the front porch. I would climb on her lap and smell the newsprint mixed with the smell of her coffee and cream and look at the “funnies”.

I loved the days I would wake up, and my mom hadn’t gotten the paper from the front porch. I would run outside in bare feet and pick it up and would hug it tightly to my chest to bring it back to my mom. There was something special about feeling that paper in my hands, and knowing what I held would bring joy to me and my mom.

snail mail

I had the same feeling about the mail. My mom would say, “Ok, honey, get your shoes on and let’s go get the mail”! I would grab her hand and walk to the mailbox with her. She would let me open the door to the mailbox and reach my tiny hand in to pull out the many envelopes that held bills, junk mail, cards, and letters. My mom would shuffle through the mail right there and categorize it out loud. She would stoically announce, “Bill, bill, junk, bill, junk, junk, bill”. Suddenly, her whole demeanor would change, and she would say, “Oh! A letter from grandma!”, “A card from Ruth!” She would smile as she announced the special mail that had come that day.

A letter for you!

One day, as normal my mom told me it was time to get the mail. I happily put on my shoes, ready to take Mom’s hand, and traverse to the mailbox. Same routine, junk mail, bills, more junk mail, more bills, when suddenly, “A letter for you, Sweetheart!” I was so excited that there was a letter for me! I wanted to hold it in my hands.

Mom let me carry the letter back to the house. I turned it over and over. I looked at my name on the front. What could this envelope hold inside? As soon as I got into my house, I ran to my room to discover the treasure inside the envelope. I opened it up, and it was a letter written on beautiful stationery with butterflies and flowers. I looked at the bottom of the letter, and it was from my Aunt Donna! How amazing this was because she lived in an entirely different state!

snail mail

The letter from my aunt was short and sweet, but to me, it was magic. I kept that letter in a special place and would pull it out and read it over and over. I would run my little fingers over the butterflies and flowers along the edges of the paper.

The joy of having pen-pals

My mom came into my room a few days later with something in her hand. I was intrigued immediately! She had a piece of pink stationery, an envelope, and a pen. I asked her what it was for and she said since I loved Aunt Donna’s letter so much, she thought I might like to write one to her. So exciting! I didn’t know I could write a letter back!

This started a whole world of sending and receiving letters and cards. I would go to the mailbox and wait anxiously for my mom to go through her routine and announce each envelope. I would get so excited each time I would get a letter! If I didn’t get anything, I would be disappointed. However, I still knew there was always hope for tomorrow.

snail mail

Today, I still get so excited if I get a personal, handwritten letter or card in the mail. Unfortunately, it is a rare occurrence. My own children delight in getting “something” in the mail. The sad fact is that 1 out of 5 children have never received a handwritten letter, and 1 out of 10 children have never written a letter. We are in a digital age where we rely on emails, texts, and social media to keep our relationships alive. I am as guilty as the next person. When I truly reflect on the statistics of today, and how I felt as a child receiving these letters, I know we as a society can do better.

Let’s start a snail mail movement!

Let us bring the delight of connecting through snail mail back to a new generation. I am going to write some letters today! I am going to bring back the joy of opening the mailbox and anticipating a special letter just for me.

Meet Patrick the Pigeon!

Postal Pigeon called Patrick, brings back the snail mail magic to children. He travels the world and sends personalised letters to children every week. Read more about Patrick and to subscribe here.