The US Postal Service is nearly broke.
I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising. How many of us write letters anymore? Yet, when I see the mail truck at the head of my street, I have a feeling of expectation that there might be a letter for me. (my empty mailbox)
I love personal letters, postcards, thank you notes, and paper invitations. I don’t care for e-vites and e-cards; they get dragged to my desktop trash bucket quicker than the junk mail gets tossed into the recycling bin.
The news that the financially beleaguered US Postal Service plans to close nearly 4,000 offices, mostly in rural areas, and reduce services invoked a wave of nostalgia.
Growing up, I wrote letters. When I was 8, I had a pen pal from Wales. We met 18 years later when she came to my wedding and we still correspond, alas, now by email.
I loved stationery and bought sealing wax of animals and my initials. I loved dripping the gobs of colorful hot wax onto the back of my letters.
I wrote thank you notes, hounded by my mother to do so. In turn, I instilled this in my children.
I wrote from camp, when traveling, from college. I saved letters and postcards I received. I now cherish seeing my grandparents’ handwriting and reading my parents’ letters from their world travels.
Signs of the postal service’s demise are already evident. A few years ago, I gave my son a stack of letters and bills to drop into the mailbox at the end of the street as he walked the dog. He returned letters in hand; the box that had been there the day before had vanished.
And like analog watches, younger generations aren’t accustomed to mail. From college acceptances, to invitations, to announcements of sales from their favorite stores, everything is electronic. They are constantly connected to their wide world of friends.
What about stamp collecting? How will the curbing of the Postal Service impact this popular hobby? My mother’s uncle collected stamps. When he died, we received a carton of overstuffed albums, the pages yellowed with age, the stamps falling out. We examined their dates, designs, and prices, fascinated and amazed.
I still love stationery; a trip to a museum isn’t complete without a gift shop visit to buy another box of art note cards. I buy commemorative stamps; insisting on seeing everything on offer, then selecting several.
Check out http://savethepostoffice.com/- one man’s campaign to save his local post office and others. To save yours, contact your Congressperson.