Until the last ten to fifteen years, it was very common to send personal letters through the mail. To keep in touch with friends and family you didn’t see often, you would hand write a personal letter on paper or pretty stationary, attach the required postage, and slip it in the mailbox.
Then you would wait. And wait. And wait. Wait for the post office to deliver your letter to the other person. Wait for your recipent to read what you sent. Then wait for them to take the time to write a response back. But no matter how long it took, whenever a personal letter came it the mail it was exciting!
Mail sent through the post office is now termed “snail mail” because it usually takes a few days to receive. It’s not instant – it takes patience. While many people prefer to use electronic communication for personal correspondance, snail mail is useful for sending packages and original documents. Many businesses still use snail mail to get their message in your hands too.
The first mail systems date back to as early at 1700 BC. Messegers would ride on horseback from town to town delivering mail to royals and government officials. In 1775, Ben Franklin was appointed as the first U.S. Postmaster General. Since then, many famous people have served as postmasters.
Now, with electronic communication and things like email and text messaging, most of our written communications are almost instant. It doesn’t take long to type out a message and hit send. Gone are the formalities of construcing a letter. We just jot down a thought or two and away it goes. If we forget something, we just send another, and another, and another. We can even send pictures, complete files, and videos electronically. It’s instant gratification.
But, I have to say, nothing beats the excitement of receiving a hand written, personal letter in the mail. You can see the personality of the sender in the handwriting and the stationary. It makes you feel special to know that someone took the time to write something out and mail it to you.
I think I’ll go check my mailbox now!
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