Random Thought: Pen Pals

I love getting letters in the mail. I have dear friend back in Tennessee, who despite being friends on FB, started writing me handwritten letters. She would write for a few days to a week before sending me the letter. I’ve begun to return the favor, and while I was writing, I remembered all the fondness I have for writing to pen pals. You don’t get to see that very often anymore. I used to write to soldiers overseas during my school days, and I had two specific Army Reserve soldiers I was keeping in touch with. I don’t know what ever became of them, but I will always remember getting excited and smiling when I received a letter from them. Being a young immigrant and getting a chance to be pen pals with someone in the military was a thrill. Now, it’s a thrill to simply get news from the East Coast here in the Las Vegas desert.

I’ve actually started sending out birthday and anniversary cards to my family and friends instead of merely greeting them on Facebook. I have a friend – practically a little brother to me – in Ohio, who rarely receives anything in the mail, so when he does, he makes a big deal about it. My husband is also like that. I’ve been secretly tossing away old birthday cards and Christmas cards he’s had for over three years. To be fair, I’ve tossed all of the cards and letters I’ve received since I moved to California from Tennessee. We do keep pictures and paintings, drawings and wedding announcements, baby announcements and the like. I’ll keep cards and letters for a year before tossing them, and even then, I re-read all of them.

I miss having pen pals. Wait… why does it all have to go away because of Facebook and Twitter and the Internet in general? Would you be interested in a Pen Pal program if you didn’t have to pay for it? No romantic strings attached? Just friends in different cities, different states, different countries? I know a few parents who’d love to get their kids writing letters, but is there any adults who feel the same as my friend and me? I know I’d love to learn about other countries through a pen pal. The Internet can only do so much, and it doesn’t feel very personal anymore. Thoughts?

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