Here’s one that should could put a bit of a strain on your memory banks. When was the last time you received a hand written letter in the mail?
I’ll be honest, I’m drawing a blank on this one. I flat out can’t recall the last time I got a hand written letter.
Email, Facebook, and texting have seemed to make letters via the post office almost obsolete. Why write a letter to someone and send it by mail and then wait for days to get a response back when you can post some sort of message online and have a response back within hours?
I think in general communication has changed to the point where we are now preconditioned to ask short, pointed messages as opposed to the traditional long drawn out form of a letter. It seems odd to get an email now that is more than two or three paragraphs.
I’m not saying this is a better thing because I recall the excitement of receiving a letter in the mail. It made you feel special because someone really went out of their way to sit down and write to you.
I remember when I was abroad in Germany as an exchange student the excitement I would get every day waiting for the mail to come. This is pre-internet and email and telecommunications were not as cheap as they are today. Heck, when my sister was living in Africa we could video conference with her via Skype for free. That’s something I find simply amazing.
At the time (1986) it was ridiculously expensive to talk by phone overseas. I would get one 10 minute window per week when the family would call from the U.S. to check in and it was the highlight of my week.
My family knew how homesick I was in the beginning so there was a concerted letter writing campaign from home to keep in touch with me. I’d have to dig through my mementos, but I think my mom managed to send me three or four letters every week just filling me in. Everyone wrote me, siblings, my Grandpop, my Aunt Jacki, as well as my buddies from school. Those letters were so important to me and kept me from going stir crazy from homesickness.
The world has changed drastically since then and if I were abroad now I’m thinking I may not have felt quite as homesick. I would have been able to keep in touch with everyone via email, Facebook, and Skype and gotten responses back within hours so perhaps I wouldn’t have felt like I was so far away from home.
I love technology but I’m not going to lie, getting an email or text from a friend doesn’t have the same buzz as opening up a letter. I have a feeling it’s an excitement my kids may never experience.