Not long ago, I had an old pen pal find me on Facebook. I was so excited to hear from her, as it has been a couple years or more since we'd written letters. I mean, real letters. None of that e-mail crap.
I started writing to pen pals in 6th grade. My history teacher told us about a program that matched kids based on similar interests after filling out a form. My first pen pal was from Canada, and we wrote back and forth for several years. After that, I had pen pals from several countries, including Greece, Italy, England, and Ghana.
For a long time, those letters were my only real mail that I received. I'm not counting cards that family sent me for Christmas or my birthday. I mean, until you live on your own, you really don't get mail. And even then, it's bills. Sick joke that is. I looked forward to getting those letters. It was so nice to get a letter. A real letter.
AF in England is the one who found me on Facebook. I don't know how long it took her to find me as I know there are hundreds of people with my name. I'm glad she did, though. I squealed with delight when I saw the friend request from her. She and I wrote for probably close to 10 years, and our biggest shared love was horses. She and I could easily write letters that were 2-4 pages long, sharing what went on in our lives.
Nowadays I forget what it's like to receive a real life letter. I get some Christmas cards in the mail every year, and a few birthday cards. But no letters. It's kind of sad, really. It seems to be a lost art form. We went from handwritten letters to e-mails to Facebook and MySpace. I've even gotten bad at just e-mailing.
My pen pal letters used to bring big smiles to my face and I couldn't wait to open them up to see what was new their part of the world. I miss that. Not that I'm not happy to be able to keep up with AF on Facebook or anything, because I am. And communication is a lot faster that way. And I don't miss having to run to the Post Office to make sure I got enough postage for an overseas letter. Because trust me, it takes forever for the mail to get it back to you if you don't have enough postage on it.
Even though technology makes it easier and faster for all of us to communicate, I miss sitting down and writing a letter to my pen pals. And I miss getting their handwritten ones. I'm sure there will come a generation when they won't even learn to write, they'll just type. And then it will all be lost. Sending and receiving letters will probably be a long lost art form for years to come. But I had fun while it lasted. And that's what matters most.