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I adore snail mail. I enjoy sending it, I love receiving it, and I derive great pleasure from checking the mailbox to see if any mail has arrived

I particularly like corresponding with friends by post. Email definitely is a great way to communicate with people, but it’s just never going to be the same as getting a letter in the mail. There is a feeling of care and love in a handwritten letter from a friend that the most eloquent and beautifully crafted email cannot convey. This is not to say that emails cannot be touching and lovely and moving – of course they can. But there is a little thrill one gets from a snail mail letter that one does not get in an electronic communication.

I love being able to put handwriting to faces. It’s another piece of what makes up a person that you know. The style of their writing is one aspect of who they are, and the way their writing looks is another thing that distinguishes them from other people that you know.

There are so many things to enjoy about receiving a letter. First, there is the joy of going to your mailbox and discovering the letter in the first place, knowing that someone took the time and care to write to you. Then there is the envelope, which is a treasure trove of interesting things: the postmark, the stamp (what will it be), perhaps a little scribble on the back of the envelope or a wax seal, perhaps not. Next you have the satisfaction of opening the envelope, and removing the letter. Does the stationary (or card) match the envelope? You can read slowly, savoring the words, seeing the news flow across the page. You also know that you hold in your hands a piece of paper (or two or three) which your friend held. Without being too weird about it, it’s a nice way to feel connected to someone, especially when they’re far away.

A snail mail letter from a friend or relative is more than a mere communication. It is a tangible reminder that someone cares about you. It is an unexpected surprise when you come home in the evening. It is something you can easily carry with you to read on your way to work or school or wherever it is you are going.

So here’s looking at you, snail mail. May you live long and prosper.

~Agatha Viola

Letter Aficionado