You’ve got mail!

Before the Internet, email, and texting, there used to be a channel of communication called the U.S. Postal Service. Yea, yea, the only things that come in the mail nowadays are junk mail, advertising flyers, and bills, but back in the day, it played a critical role in modern society.

For you young ‘uns in the crowd, you would write down the name and address of the person you wanted the mail or letter to be sent, put a stamp on it, and, on your way to school or work or wherever you were traveling, you would drop the letter into a blue USPS mail box. A few days later, the letter would land in the appropriate mailbox.

Yes, a text or a SnapChat message is much quicker, but somehow we survived.

Image by Pixabay.

Mail call! Mail call!

I have to laugh thinking about how much communications have changed. My wife and I owe our relationship thanks in large part to the mail service. Without the Postal Service, we probably would have never met.

My wife knew my middle brother from the summer camp they both worked at in college. He had dated her roommate for a time and they had worked closely with a number of the same campers. Around the time of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, my wife was trying to check in on several of her friends who were in the military. My brother was an officer in the Marines and he was one of the first people she tried to contact. It was a worrisome time. You couldn’t get away from talk about the ramp up of the U.S.-led coalition and the impending war. She wrote a letter with her phone number to my family and my mom passed it along to me.

When I called her back to pass along his address, the two of us developed a friendship. Our call didn’t last all that long, but we learned that we had a lot of things in common.

We started off slow, we’d talk every couple of weeks, usually after something big in the news broke, like the start of the bombing campaign or one of the scud missile attacks on coalition forces, but since long distance calls were so expensive at the time, we started writing each other every few days. The cards and letters allowed us to talk about everything and nothing all at the same time. After a number of months, we decided to meet in person.

A few weekends later, when I knocked on her door, we felt like we had known each other for years. We hit it off.

Love is in the air

After we met, the letters and cards and calls came quicker. We fell hard for each other. We dated and did the long distance relationship thing for a long time before I finally proposed to her. We talked often in those early days on the phone, but I attribute those letters with cementing our relationship. We made jokes and laughed, but we also wrote down on paper our dreams and what we wanted to become. We opened up a vein and shared our deepest thoughts.

From those early days, I found my best friend. Yes, it was frustrating not being able to see or talk with her as much as I might have wanted, but when a letter came in the mail, I felt like I was walking on clouds. After working all day, the first thing I did when I came home was to run to the mailbox. Looking back now, I believe those antiquated days of letter writing taught us how two people need to communicate in a marriage for it to survive life’s happy moments and hardships.

Image by Pixabay.

Wednesday Letters

I write today about a different kind of letter, my weekly note to my wife, in my blog, Wednesday Letters, on The Heart of The Matter. Some will call it romantic. Others may think it schmaltzy mush. I tend to think of it as self-preservation or, better yet, my way of saying thank you to my wife.

Let me know what you think about both my blogs today: You’ve got mail and Wednesday Letters. Who has fond memories of snail mail in the days before texting and social media? What do you remember about sending cards and letters?

Related Story:

The Wednesday Letters

on The Heart of the Matter

53 thoughts on “You’ve got mail!

Add yours

  1. My parents had dated some before WWII but Mom said they really got acquainted better through letters after he’d joined the USAAF and become a pilot. I’m so thankful for the family WWII letters, especially of Mom’s siblings and parents. Her five brothers served, only two came home. They are why I had to write “Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II.” Leora was their mother and my delightful grandmother. I became the keeper of all those wonderful letters and terrible telegrams.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow, I definitely have to check out your book now Joy. Looks interesting, quite a story. Yes, I miss that part of physical letters, being able to look back and see and feel what was going on at the time. For my wife and I, it was our way of connecting. I’ve always been a better writer than a speaker so it worked perfectly for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a nice reminder of more simpler times and communication. I remember getting so excited when e-mails first came across and now I can’t dig my way out of my inbox fast enough.

    There is something wonderful and charming about writing, sending and receiving snail mail. And also picking up the phone for a good old fashioned chat.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Love all of this…especially this wisdom: “Looking back now, I believe those antiquated days of letter writing taught us how two people need to communicate in a marriage for it to survive life’s happy moments and hardships.” Thank you, Brian! 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I agree, I think we’ve lost a lot with the obsolescence of letter writing, even as we’ve gained immediacy. Our kids and grandkids won’t have the precious stacks of letters to remind them of connections and memories of the past – and of their loved ones of the past – the way we do. And future historians will struggle to gain the same understanding of past events simply by sorting through remaking email threads. Good luck with that! Nice post, Brian.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As I went through my mother’s desk after she passed away, I found a letter that I had sent from summer camp when I was in my early teens. A letter home on Thursdays was a ticket into the mess hall. No letter, no dinner. Had I not found it in her desk, I would not have believed that I had written it. How I wish there were more. What a wonderful rememberance of days gone by. Hang on to them all!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I understand the usefulness of text messages and email. Still, there is a charm and unique quality about a letter that can’t be captured by technology. I still send and receive letters. Clicking on an email doesn’t compare with opening the mail box and seeing a letter from a friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The decline in interest regarding sending Christmas cards has been a bit disheartening, Brian. Even with the technology advances made, I am a bit surprised the tradition of sending holiday greetings through the mail has lost so much steam over the years. We still send them out, and always enjoy receiving them.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thank you for this, Brian… what a lovely story of two people meeting and falling in love the old-fashioned way 🙂💕 We had so much more time on our hands back then (!!): hardly any television channels to watch, no computers, cell phones or social media. I have kept all of the letters from my parents and grandparents and a number of close friends. Strange that they are already quaint antiques of a bygone era…💕

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a charming love story, Brian! You and you wife are a great match, and it sounds like it was always meant to be. 🥰 While I appreciate the convince of email and texts, I adore nice stationary and old fashioned snail mail. I remember the excitement of getting birthday cards in the mail, and dropping thank you cards off at the post office. There is something special about the tangibility of a handwritten letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My husband and I had a distance relationship and we wrote letters to each other. Those were the days! Also, I went through a box of my mom’s photos and journals and she saved all the letters I wrote to her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, ha, I’m glad to hear that we weren’t the only crazy fools to survive a long distance relationship and to count on letters and calls to help pass the time until we saw each other in person again. It had to be strange to see those old letters. A glimpse of another time.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As you know Brian I write letters each week and even though I don’t anticipate anything in return it always brightens my day to retrieve one from my mailbox. It’s one of my favorite things to do! ✨

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I did think of that Barb. My wife and I still have many of the letters we wrote when we were first dating. I wrote a companion piece today for Heart of the Matter on the weekly letter that I write my wife. It’s one of my favorite things to do. She looks forward to them too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I get that paper is more expensive, but they don’t do much to give you an incentive. When I start to look at cards, I usually look at the price and say, “oh, what the heck, may as well join everyone else and just send a text!” Ha, ha.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I admit, I don’t miss cards and letters in the mail. I did think it was great to get one from my roommates and friends before long distance became affordable, but I’m ok with texts and emails. I feel like I’m immediately in peoples lives now

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Immediacy is a big plus for texts and emails. Even emails have become antiquated now. It’s funny, I see it in my kids. My daughter who is the oldest still communicates lots via email. My youngest, I have to send him a text to check his email to see something I forwarded to him. Ugh. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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