Snail mail, handwriting

There’s a letter I read every year on my birthday.
It’s from my friend Evelyn.
In her chicken-scratch handwriting, she writes,
 “I feel so blessed to have you in my life. I love you so much and you accept me for who I am.”

Evelyn sent the letter to me a few months before she unexpectedly died.

I’ve been reading it for over ten years now.

I’m so grateful for the box of letters and cards I have from her.

Physically holding the letter and seeing her handwriting, knowing that her hand touched the paper — brings me joy and for a few moments, I have my beloved friend beside me.

You simply don’t get that kind of emotional legacy from a text, email, social media post, or tweet.

Do you remember the thrill of getting a handwritten letter in the mail?

 

Do you still get them occasionally and a smile crosses your face?

Maybe you’re a rip-it-open-immediately kind of person — or someone who prefers to read your personal mail with a cup of tea or glass of wine and savor it.

Either way — admit it.

Receiving something in the mail with handwriting on it is awesome.

Amongst the pile of bills from your credit card, bank, and telephone company and the insane amount of junk mail —a letter, postcard or package with handwriting addressed to you, shines a beam of light into your day.

Cheesy but true.

You can be one of those people who send kindness through the mail.

I’m one of the members of the Pop-Something-Into-The-Mail Club.

I send snail mail via Canada Post to my family, friends, and clients. This isn’t about paying bills or sending papers back to the tax department.

I love and believe in sending FUN MAIL.

Fun mail is anything put into the mail that shows someone that you were thinking about them.

It can be a card or letter, an envelope stuffed with ripped out magazine articles with silly notes attached (my favorite), a note with a lottery ticket, candy, bookmarks, gift cards, a face mask, a magazine subscription or book. I’ve even duct-taped an NFL football and mailed it.

I know. I’m weird.

Perhaps you’re thinking,

Hey — I send stuff by Amazon! That counts!

Well — yes it does. It still shows kindness. But it doesn’t have handwriting and Amazon can be expensive.

A stamp just doesn’t cost much. Anyone can send Fun Mail — it works within any budget. So there.

Snail mail hasn’t been doing so well lately.

In America, people receive less than 10 pieces of personal mail per year.

People use instant gratification too much. It’s too easy for all of us to click and send.

But it doesn’t have the same lasting effect on people.

You can learn a lot about snail mail from my friend Debbie.

Deb is the master of sending Fun Mail. Although we live in two countries, and thousands of miles lie between us — I never feel far away from her in my heart.

Why? She knows how to use the power of a stamp.

(Stamps. Those little sticky square things you stick on the outside of an envelope. You don’t even have to lick them anymore.)

 

Deb’s the only person I know who has a full-sized Hallmark card rack in her office. She has cards for every occasion.

She has a box full of stamps.

Her address book is updated.

She has the best pens and stickers.

This woman has turned the process of mailing and shipping letters and parcels down to a fine art.

She knows you have to make it easy for yourself to do it.

Deb sends kindness and love through the US postal service several times a week.

She personally keeps the postal service in business. It’s become a joyful habit that she has maintained for years.

I’m so happy about that. Because when I see her fancy Texan handwriting in the mailbox? Well — I have a grin on my face as big as Texas.

And the crazy thing? Deb gets as much joy sending Fun Mail as you would receiving it.

My friends and family laugh at me as I send “YOU SHOULD” mail quite often.

“Hey, I found this article!” You should: make this pie for me; read this book; go eat here in Lisbon; give this to your son — that kind of thing.

I can’t stop myself. I know it will give them a chuckle and they’ll get a beam of kindness sent into them.

I had a friend send me an empty chip bag from England once. (They call potato chips — crisps, over The Pond.)

She knew I’d get a kick out of seeing Beef and Mustard chips. She attached a silly note and I had a laugh.

And wouldn’t you know it — I’ve kept that chip bag in a special box too.

That’s what Fun Mail is all about. You can send whatever you want.

Oh, wait a second.

Did I just hear you complain and say, “I am too busy for this?

When I was going through cancer treatment, the biggest joy of my day was when my husband got the mail.

He’d walk in the door carrying cards, packages, and letters of love that were sent my way.

They helped me keep going during a period of my life that was crushing.  I’m so grateful those people made time for me.

But here’s the deal.

You don’t have to only send Fun Mail when someone is going through a difficult time. Send people snail mail when there is something to celebrate, or you saw a good recipe or a cartoon in a magazine, or you are missing them and they are in your thoughts.

It doesn’t take long to make someone’s day.

The next time you’re flipping through a magazine — just rip the pages that have a great story or image on them.

Don’t take a picture of it and send with your phone. Pop it into an envelope, handwrite the lucky person’s name on the front and mail it off.

The strange thing about sending Fun Mail?

It helps slow down your complicated life.

It reminds you to be grateful for the people you care about.

It’s all about sending unexpected kindness.

I think you’re up for that.