I lived in a rural area where mail was delivered three times a week to a mail box standing at the end of a farm lane. In the summer it came by car; in the winter it was delivered by a team of horses pulling a covered van through the snowdrifts.
Running to the end of the lane with our farm collie at my heels to check the mailbox was always a time of excitement. Maybe there would be a parcel from Eaton's with a new skirt or blouse ordered from the catalogue. Maybe a shipment of borrowed books from the University Extension Library—a wonderful project in the days before paperbacks made book collecting easier and less expensive.
Maybe there would be an answer from a pen pal in Japan or Madagascar. As well as the joy of receiving a letter from someone halfway across the globe, that would bring a stamp to add to my collection.
Fast forward to the present. Who can honestly say they check their e-mail box in the morning full of anticipation? Instead we likely groan at the sight of thirty-five messages in our In-box as well as another dozen in Junk. If we're lucky, one of them might even be from someone we know.
I miss those days of personal mail. Come to think of it, what's stopping me from picking up a real pen, a real piece of paper and writing to an old friend? There is still a postal service, still that thing called stamps, and I have an old address book lying around somewhere. Unfortunately I only use it at Christmas time to send out annual updates on family activities of the past year. Much as I miss the old personal letters, I know I'll probably find my address book, reminisce a few moments over the addresses no longer valid, and set it back in the drawer with a sigh. Like everyone else, I'm too caught up in the speed of the present and the instant gratification of a prompt reply.
Do you ever write personal letters to send by post? Can you remember a time when everyone did? Or am I the only old fogey left to dream of simpler times?