Doing My Part to Save the Postal Service

The U.S, Postal Service is in trouble. The postmaster general claims that the USPS is on the brink of default.

But I am doing my part to ensure their survival.  My outgoing mail today looks like this:

These are mostly Homeschool Newsletters going out in the mail.

Why even bother fixing the postal service, Kevin Williamson asks in a recent NationalReview.com editorial. He claims the only thing USPS delivers is junk mail.

I beg to differ.

At least in my household, a good mail day means a letter from a friend, a book arriving from PaperBackSwap, a magazine, or a check from my writing. I look forward to the mail. No e-mail will replace the feel of a letter written on stationery, a greeting card, or even a short note from a friend. My friend. Mary, and I have been writing letters for almost 25 years, and we rarely e-mail.

Can e-mails be put in a pretty box, to be pulled out later?

Sure, if we want to print them out and file them, but who is going to do that?

What about the stack of letters from our now-deceased mother written to her mother, detailing her years of raising children in the 50’s and 60’s? Despite the ugly box, they are a treasure-trove of history.

Our letters today are the history of tomorrow.

Why didn’t I just e-mail the latest homeschool newsletter?  For one thing, you can’t stick an e-mail onto the refrigerator as a reminder of the upcoming picnic. For another, I intimately know the joy of pulling a letter, (a real letter!) out of the mailbox.

I like being part of that joy.

I’m not the only one who thinks like this. Check out this webpage for information about “The Note Project.” From their webpage:

The Note Project is a global movement to make the world a million times better by inspiring people to share notes of appreciation. Our goal is 1 million notes! The project was founded by Mike O’Mary, and was inspired by the reaction of people to his video and “The Note” gift book.

Look what I did!

I already had a binder and the plastic page protectors, so this was definitely a low-cost way to organize the letters my mother gave to me.  I just slipped them into plastic page protectors by date and put them in the binder.  When I have time I’ll dig in my cupboard for some letters she’d given me a long time ago, that were from earlier years, and add those.  I’m going to add some of our Chuck E. Cheese portraits from previous years, as well.  They have been in a file folder for too long.  I might not be a scrapbooker, but this is a nice way to organize a “journal” of sorts for the kids to read as they get older.  I have letters that my mother had given me that her mother gave her and they were written by my mom when she had little ones at home. What fun I had reading them!  I think I’ll get a big binder to keep those in, instead of storing them away in a box.  I’m sure my siblings would like to read them.

In looking through these letters, many were “group” letters, where I wrote a generic greeting “Hello family and friends” because in the midst of changing diapers and nursing and cleaning house, I just didn’t have enough time to keep in touch with as many people as I wanted to.  My friend Jacki often did “group” letters back then and they were as thick as a book and just as interesting, so I got the idea from her.  I’d do mass-mailings of letters, just like I did for our Christmas letter.  It looks like I did a lot of those in 2003~ the year I was pregnant with Abby.  Looking at the fun paper I used and the different fonts I tried out makes me want to do it again.  I don’t know anyone who would object to a “group letter” when the alternative is an empty mailbox. Even with a group letter there are ways to personalize the mailings; adding an article from a magazine or newspaper that might interest the other person, a bookmark for a reader, or photos.

I got a sample of a magazine for letter writers in my mailbox today; The Letter Exchange, and it was fun looking at the ads and remembering things like “Friendship Books” (FB’s).  I ran an ad in a woman’s magazine, Women’s Circle, in 1992 and the full mailbox was a true delight.  Yes, there are still people who write letters, and I am one of them. I’ll never forget the time I was writing a letter in the hospital waiting room while David had a surgical biopsy and the phone volunteer came over and asked what I was doing.  When I told her I was writing a letter, her eyes lit up and she said that she didn’t know anyone else who wrote letters anymore, but she loved writing them. When you think about it, letters are one of the purest forms of enjoyment. To open a mailbox and see something other than a bill, especially an envelope decorated with stickers or bulging with news~ We should all strive to bring that kind of joy to people we care about.

I think it’s time I wrote another group letter.  Check your mailbox in a couple of days and see if you are one of the lucky recipients!