Who would have thought that I would acquire two new pen pals in this day and age? One of them is even of the "write an actual letter, put a stamp on it and send via US Mail" type. And I love it.
The first new pen pal is of the modern variety - email. She is the wife of a dear old friend and classmate from Seabury. They had their first baby this year and reached out to me to ask questions and get ideas. I had a blast answering a list of "what is really important for new babies?" email. Way better than a Buzzfeed quiz, let me tell you. (BTW the answer is really: "not much!") Since their baby was born we have email pictures and notes back and forth almost weekly. And not just "hey here's a cute baby pic" but actual paragraphs of news and updates and getting-to-know-you type stuff. It took me a while to recognize what I had: A New Pen Pal. Well, a virtual pen pal, an email pal? An EPal? (Sounds like a dotcom that went bust in 2000.) Anyway, a new friend. (They live in NYC.)
The more recent pen pal is a friend I've known from blog life for about eight years. He is the most modern of communications people that I know, an early adopter of e things, but mainly social media. I learn a lot from him and consult often about how to approach things online. Smart guy. Recently he decided to try writing actual letters to people instead of just emailing or tweeting back. My understanding is he wanted to have the focused experience of communicating with one person at a time in a manner that requires time and effort. He bought a manual typewriter to accomplish just that and posted his PO Box address for anyone who wanted to write. Well, you know me. This just started in November and will take a bit longer to get rolling. I sent the first note, he responded with one typed letter and I've written back. I imagine his PO box will be full for a while and he'll be busy strengthening his typing muscles, responding to those. The funniest part? He lives in LA. I think I've seen him IRL about five times.
The arrival of the mail carrier is now more exciting than before. Will I get an actual letter today? (The holidays are good for this kind of thing, but with the advent of "Holiday cards untouched by human hands" it's lost its magic. Just email me a picture if you aren't going to write anything on the damn card! Bah humbug.) Even my email inbox has gotten dull -- mostly newsletters and blog post updates. Hardly any personal stuff any more. Facebook has slowed that down a lot, people just post a thought and hope you see it. I hardly see it.
New Pen Pals in 2014. Who'd have thought? I'm pleased as punch and must rush out and buy more stationery...
PS The image of the stamped letter from 1898 is to a person whose name is alarmingly similar to my family name from a few generations ago and I grew up in Spreckelsville on Maui. Must research into Mr. Lowrie a bit today.