In this era of always on, always connected, information at our fingertips, the art of the mailed letter is becoming lost. Or at least niche.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally had pen pals that I corresponded with through the U.S. Postal Service (and sometimes across foreign lands), and it’s been lovely to receive a letter, hold it in my hands, and open it up to discover what’s inside.

Sometimes I write back by hand, either with a fountain pen or other interesting pen. But sometimes I use one of my typewriters, because it’s so much faster. And it connects me to the past a bit more (one of my typewriters was my grandmother’s).

Reading through letters that some of my family members wrote to each other in the past, I’ve gotten to know them really well. And I’ve come to realize that sometimes they have had to devote hours a week to letter writing, just to keep everyone in the loop. Sometimes they shared letters among themselves, too, sending letters on to addresses of other relatives. Or sometimes carbon copies were used, especially for typewritten letters.

I love the ability to just email or message someone at the drop of a hat, but it makes our correspondence a bit less special, because of its universal availability.

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