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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nothing special in this picture...just mailboxes.

My reason for posting it is in remembrance of the passing of an American staple...the excitement of getting the daily mail. Is the mail giving way to the same fate as phone booths? When is the last time you saw a phone booth...I mean the payphone on the corner with the accordion door and the receiver dangling by the chrome jointed cord.

Mailboxes, I fear are meeting the same end. Albeit...email is much more efficient and time sensitive. We now take it for granted when we receive an email with a Pdf attachment within seconds of requesting it. Days past...we would wait for a week to receive the document in the mail. Online bill paying now lets us wait until the day the bill is due to pay...rather than sending the payment one week in advance just to make sure it got there.

However, we may no longer get to literally "feel" the presence of communication from a loved one. The tactile excitement of walking to the mailbox in anticipation of the letter...holding it and reading in real handwriting the thoughts of our loved ones is such a personal experience...I miss that. My son is 23 years old...raised in the digital age...a great kid but has never sent us a handwritten letter...many emails...just not handwritten. I was recently rummaging through an old trunk we have...reading letters that I sent to my wife when we were dating, reading letters written to me by my mom when I was traveling for an extended period in Europe many years ago...these are priceless to me now. Hard drives crash, we are notorious for not backing up our data and those communications would have been lost forever if not handwritten on paper. To see the actual handwriting of my mother who passed away several years ago is a part of her that I can still see and not have to rely on memory. This will be lost as we move more and more into digital communication.

Don't get me wrong...I love computers, the wonders of Google, the blogging world and all the enrichment these tools can bring to our lives and would not want to give them up. But we are really losing something so personal when we give up the daily mail.

Think about it...when is the last time you received a personal handwritten letter? Nothing can replace that. I am going to write someone a letter this week.

31 comments:

Simply Heather said...

I was thinking through reading this that I want to send you a handwritten note...then in your last line, you wrote that you are going to send someone one. YES!

I agree, Dan. I still get excited to go across my highway for the mail...and disspointed to receive a teensy tinsy little postcard size piece of advertisement.

You did a great job enhancing this simple setting...very nice, Dan :)

...... Bobbi said...

I still love getting snail mail! I especially enjoy getting review copies of books every few days. I realize magazines and newspapers are all on line now, but there is nothing like getting my hard copy of EW in the mail every Friday - it makes my weekend!

I still send hand written notes and handmade cards to friends and family.

As always, Dan, great photo!

tricia said...

Isn't that where the art comes in? Taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary? You have certainly done that.

septembermom said...

I miss getting letters in the mail. I wouldn't miss bills! I agree that there is something special about actually holding a letter and reading someone's words. It's much more personal. This photo does a good job of giving some worthy notice to mailboxes. Hope they don't disappear too soon!

DawnTreader said...

I have one very close friend with whom I've been exhanging letters and postcards almost weekly for 23 years. Hers are still almost always handwritten, and often with photos, cuttings from magazines, stickers etc pasted onto them. Myself I have difficulties writing by hand, so mine are usually printed from the computer, but sometimes with a handwritten PS or drawings in the margin etc to make it more personal.

I also have a few other old friends with whom I still exchange letters by snail mail, although not quite as often. Among them four or five people in other countries that I never met but have corresponded with for 20-25 years.

Dan Felstead said...

Thanks Heather...as I read through the comments...I think I am living is a bubble...I am happy to see that snail mail is alive and well...maybe it is just me who needs to revive this for myself!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Bobbi...
I have realized from reading the comments for the most part that you all still send letters...I need to get on board and do the same...I miss the handwritten correspondence.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Tricia...thanks...there just isn't a whole lot one can do with mailboxes on the side of the road!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Septembermom...I miss the letters also...even more when I think of the future and preserving some of pthe past memories. There is something about being able to read a letter handwritten 20 years ago versus a clean sterile email that is 20 years old.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...
I am in awe and envy your reluctance to give up handwritten letters. Keep up the fight and stay with that pen and paper...it still serves us well.

Dan

shabby girl said...

You are absolutely right. My daughter will always send a handwritten thank you note. My oldest son, when he was living at home, would write me a note asking me to wake him at a certain time in the morning and sign his full name at the bottom. Any holiday card I get from him is signed the same way. Cracks me up.

Dan Felstead said...

Shabbygirl...
You are so lucky...I think I am the one on the blog who doesn't get handwritten letters anymore and I was thinking no one sends letters...I need to get out into the real world again and get a life!

Dan

Miss H~ said...

They may be commonplace but your photo is not. It makes me want to jump up and check my own mail, and to see if Mr. Postman responded to my mail box's very excited red flag. It's such a simple system, and to think it can bring such excitement. Your picture does a great job of capturing that... especially the mailbox with the excited little red flag! :)

Thanks for sharing!

Dan Felstead said...

Thanks for your comment Miss H! That is one thing that caught my attention when I took the photo. It seemed as though the little flag was saying..."Here I am...don't forget me!!"

Dan

jblack designs said...

I love this photo--and the sentiments. I still send letters, cards, notes in the mail. I love getting mail, and sending it is the only way I know to get it.

BTW, my 25-year-old daughter started a "letter a day" campaign Jan 1. She sends a letter, postcard, note, something ... to someone every day*. She's missed a few but caught up later in the week, but she's pretty much kept up. Mostly she sends to people her age, and they seem to love it too.

We could all do it! Bring back the physicality of the written word. Of course, they'd have to fight through my handwriting.

;-)

* An aside--we went to a craft fair in San Francisco last week and she bought some really neat cards to send. When she told the guy about her 365 project, he asked, "Where are you documenting it?" Seems things don't happen unless we post about it somewhere anymore. (She's not documenting it.)

~She Poet~ said...

A great post. So true how we have become dependent on the instant gratification of technology. I can't remember when was the last time I received a handwritten letter or wrote one myself! Wow, much food for thought. Great analogy between the phone booth and mailboxes.

glnroz said...

The three boxes cover more than one era, but they remain mailboxes. Hopefully their need don't vanish. good shot.

Dan Felstead said...

Jennifer...I have found that I am definitely wrong about this one and happily have found out that in fact people do still send handwritten letters! I glad to find this out. I learn something everyday by your posts!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Felstead said...

Pura...I think we two may be the outliers here! It seems that more people still send personal letters that I thought!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Great point GLNROZ! I never thought about it but you are right...they are from different eras.

Dan

A Scattering said...

Dan, this really touched a cord..
Two years ago we had a break-in and letters from my late mother, written to me when I was 16 and away at college, were part of the contents of fireproof box that was among the items taken. Thanks for the reminder of those hands-on communications. Cheers!

DawnTreader said...

Dan, I took a look at your Etsy link yesterday and saw that some of your photos are available as note cards... Surely you must have still have some faith in people continuing to send handwritten messages as well?? :)

This one with the mailboxes on it should make an excellt postcard!

Lynda Lehmann said...

You are so right, Dan! I guess everything is a trade-off, and when we gain, we lose. It seems to follow the rule in physics that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it just changes form!

Sorry to have been absent. We are up to our neckss in saws, drills, and door moldings!

Lynda Lehmann said...

PS - Dan, I just want to let you know that I never get or send letters, either. Email seems to have taken over completely, in these quarters! I wish it were not so....

Dan Felstead said...

Scattering...
I am so sorry about the break in...I had a radio stolen out of my car when I was in college and I felt violated...I can only imagine what it would be like to realize that your home had been broken into. The idiots that stole the safe wanted money etc...but they stole the most valuable item...the letters that can't be replaced...just selfish idiots!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...I put up the note cards at my photo shop due to requests I had received through email. I am in hopes that folks still write notes and letters...I have just been out of the loop when it comes to those. After reading all these comments about how you all are still writing letters...my faith in humanity has been restored!!!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Saws, drill and door moldings...Lynda...sounds like Summer remodeling! Good luck with it. Communication has certainly evolved into another different animal during the last 10 years!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Lynda...I agree...however, from the comments...it seems that letter writing is still alive and well!

Dan

DawnTreader said...

Dan, I just saw that you had commented on my post http://islandofvoices.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-or-less-about-mail.html

Not sure if you also saw this one?
http://islandofvoices.blogspot.com/2009/07/letters.html
which was directly inspired by your picture, and the discussion here (I put a link to this post in mine)

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...I just commented on your blog about the post. Thanks for letting me know...I DID miss it! With your post here, it made the 30th comment. This is more comments that I have had on any other post. I think this was an issue that folks identified with!

Dan