Please, Mr. Postman


mailboxes, originally uploaded by dcJohn.

On Monday, I received no mail. Periodically through the day, I peered out the door to check. I went to the USPS website to verify that it wasn’t a federal holiday. It wasn’t a holiday, but my mailbox remained empty.

I spent the day on the computer — as I almost always do — and was connected with friends, family, and colleagues the whole time. All the same, I felt I had been passed over, disconnected from the world. How could I have received nothing?

Tuesday, the mailman brought a couple of store fliers, a couple of credit card bills, and a catalog I didn’t want.

Today, I happened to be in the living room looking out the window when the mailman trotted up the porch steps. I went out to say hello and receive the mail in person: another store flier (I didn’t even look to see which), a couple of credit card offers, and a thank you note from CASH Music for subscribing.

The thank you note was a nice touch, but it got me to thinking about kinds of mail and my preferences. Store fliers are the least interesting, junk mail and credit card offers only slightly better, then catalogs as a whole, then catalogs from which i occasionally buy things, then mail from organizations with which I’m involved, bills (hate them, but need them), and then checks. I definitely like checks.

Of course I most prefer to receive correspondence, real letters from real people. But what a rarity that has become! Outside of Christmas/holiday cards, I receive just a few hand-written notes a year, mostly thank yous. I can’t remember the last letter I received by mail.

To receive, you must give. So I’m going to make an effort to write letters. Being goal-oriented, I’m tempted to set a goal like "one letter per month." That seems ridiculously low, yet it would still be twelve more letters than I wrote last year. So, at least one letter per month it is.

Would you like me to write to you? Send me postcard or letter and I will respond. Cynthia Closkey, 711 East Brady Street, Butler, PA 16001. I look forward to hearing from you!

Related: check out Craig Oldham’s hand.written.letter.project.

(Link to hand.written.letter.project thanks to Coudal.)

5 replies on “Please, Mr. Postman”

  1. I admire your goal setting spirit, C. And I notice you are smart and didn’t say how long you’ll take to respond to the letters!

    I agree with Rachel — it IS a great idea.

  2. The summer between high school and college, I was living away from home for the first time, on the opposite coast, and I had no friends around and was pretty unhappy. So I decided to encourage my friends to send me mail by writing one letter a day, myself. I think I received maybe 0.75 letters a week in return. Still, that was better than none.

    Then, a couple of months ago, I made a similar resolution: to write more thank-you notes, on paper, especially to people I haven’t seen in many years, such as teachers and old family friends. Progress: So far I’ve written one thank-you blog comment, to someone I barely know. Sigh. It seems that I’ve totally lost the habit.

    Anyway. I do promise to write to you, Cindy! Soonish.

  3. I wish I could take more credit for the idea, but I’ve seen a number of people start letter- and postcard-writing projects in the last year.

    Then again, I’m not looking for credit for anything at all. I just want to be all excited when the mail arrives.

    India, I used to write long letters to friends too. I blame the ease of email for my not writing them anymore. But I bet once I receive the first hand-written letter, I’ll be psyched enough to keep going. Do you think that would work for you too? We can do this!!

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