It’s In the Mail!

Recently, I read about some fellow book bloggers taking up month-long (or longer) letter writing campaigns and was inspired to find my own pen pals.  I didn’t need to look much further than my own family!

As a kid, I had a pen pal from another grammar school in our district and it was the highlight of the academic year.  In my little-kid mind, this other school was a galaxy away (reality: 7 miles).  We sent stickers, photos, and personal information.  She loved animals and Michael Jackson; I had a dog and loved to roller skate to Michael Jackson music while wearing purple leg warmers.

By my teenage years, I’d graduated to finding pen pals in the back of teen magazines.  I made a friend in Grand Junction, CO and we wrote back and forth for about a year before we fell out of it.  The internet was looming on the horizon, and I’d soon be able to have my pick of email pen pals from the message boards on Prodigy (precursor to AOL, for you youngsters!).

After hearing about the letter campaign on Twitter, I put together two small Rubbermaid boxes filled with blank greeting cards, envelopes, blank paper, stickers, and a book of stamps.  I taped a sample envelope with my name and address to the inside lid of the boxes and gave them to my cousin’s children–ages 6 and 8–when I visited them in Delaware last Friday.  I explained what it meant to be pen pals and was delighted when they ran off to the dining room to write me some letters.

Yesterday, two cards found their way to my mailbox and it gave me a thrill to see my name carefully printed on the envelopes. I immediately sat down and wrote back–there’s nothing worse that a laggard for a pen pal!–and hope that we will continue to trade letters and hand-drawn pictures.

So, thanks to my blogging friends for inspiring the terrific idea to start a letter writing campaign right here in my own family!  In my next letter I plan to send along some Crayola photo pages (upload photos to the website and print them as coloring pages) for fun.

Are you part of the letter writing campaign, or do you have any ‘pen pals’ of your own?

19 Comments

  • At 2012.03.07 04:09, brandi said:

    A long time ago, when I was a 10 year old brownie, to earn a badge we got penpals. My match was in Scotland and believe or not we have been writing back and forth (and phoning at Christmas) for 36 years!! Nora Ann has been there during my childhood, getting married, having a child and even though we have never met, we have a great friendship. When I tell this to people they are shocked that we still write to each other but I could not imagine my life without her. So I totally love to get snail mail.

    brandi

  • At 2012.03.07 07:51, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    I used to keep in contact with a few close friends through letters, but now we email and call.
    bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last [type] ..Review: Charlotte au Chocolat

    • At 2012.03.07 08:19, Chrisbookarama said:

      Aw, that’s sweet! I wonder what the ratio of bloggers to pen pals is. I know I had a couple of pen pals when I was a kid. It seems like a natural step from writing to one stranger to writing to an internet full of them!
      Chrisbookarama´s last [type] ..Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Review

      • At 2012.03.07 15:57, Dishy said:

        I participated in lettermo last month and sent more than the required one per day. Hopefully some of my friends and family will write me back (ahem) but so far I’ve only gotten 2 letters in return. I know people are busy, but nothing beats the thrill of a letter in the mail! Connie clued me into postcrossing.com too. I joined several weeks ago and have already sent & received a handful of postcards. The last one also had an assortment of beautiful stamps attached. Definitely worth looking into or recommending to your cousin’s children.
        Dishy´s last [type] ..Best $18.69 I’ve spent in forever

        • At 2012.03.07 15:58, Dishy said:

          PS: miss you!
          Dishy´s last [type] ..Best $18.69 I’ve spent in forever

          • At 2012.03.07 19:30, Michelle @ The True Book Addict said:

            I had a pen pal when I was a girl, can’t quite remember what age I was or what her name was, but I do remember she lived in Pensacola, Florida. I was a prolific letter writer when I was growing up. We moved to a new town when I was 10 1/2 and I had a few friends that I left behind so we wrote to each other for years. We also always had to send thank you notes to aunts, etc. who sent us birthday cards and money or other gifts. Don’t feel alone either. I too loved to roller skate wearing leg warmers and my favorite roller skating song was Shake Your Body Down to the Ground, followed closely by You Dropped the Bomb on Me by The Gap Band. LOL!

            There was a blogger awhile back (probably over a year ago, actually) who tried to organize a pen pal group. I’m not sure what ever happened with that, but I never heard from my pen pal. :( I would love to have a pen pal again (like Julia Child). I think letter writing is a lost art. I love books about letters people wrote or novels based on letter writing. I have several in my home library.
            Michelle @ The True Book Addict´s last [type] ..Book Tour: Guest Post–Anne Clinard Barnhill, author of At the Mercy of the Queen

            • At 2012.03.07 21:54, Jenners said:

              My son was learning how to address envelopes at school and said he wants a pen pal. I suggested his cousins (who live pretty far from us — South Dakota) but he said he wants to write to his best friend — the one he sees every day at school and at the bus stop!
              Jenners´s last [type] ..Mini Reviews: Attachments, The Stupidest Angel and V Is For Vengeance

              • At 2012.03.07 23:35, softdrink said:

                What a cool idea! I hope they keep up the enthusiasm.
                softdrink´s last [type] ..Saturday

                • At 2012.03.08 11:39, Amy said:

                  This is a great idea! I remember having a few different pen pals when I was growing up and how much I loved writing to them and getting letters back. It’s adorable how excited your cousins were to write to you. I think it’s something they’ll have fun with for a while. Most kids love getting mail and sening it.

                  I hope it continues!
                  Amy´s last [type] ..~ First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros ~

                  • At 2012.03.09 11:31, Meg said:

                    Awesome! I used to write real letters back and forth with my young cousin, but she’s 15 now (and not so interested in mail. It’s all about Facebook and texting). I used to send her stickers and buttons, little things I could squeeze into envelopes — and though we live in the same town, it was a good way of keeping up with her! I hope she kept some of our letters — I would love to see them again someday.

                    I don’t have a “modern” penpal, though you know I’m obsessed with mail! I joined Postcrossing at your suggestion and have sent and received more than 300 cards now. I’m addicted — and just got two cards in the mail this morning! There’s nothing like real, honest-to-goodness mail.

                    P.S. Have you heard of the More Love Letters project? They send mail once a month to someone going through a tough time. Each recipient is different, and everything is anonymous — you just send letters to their P.O. box, and they forward them on to the person in question. I’ve sent a few and really enjoy it.
                    Meg´s last [type] ..Dark Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes: get ‘drunk’ on delicious dessert

                    • At 2012.03.09 12:51, Jody said:

                      I love writing, although you can’t tell by the less than prolific posts as of late on my blog. I had a penpal and wrote to my cousin often when I was younger. Then as I aged it spurned into a love of letters back and forth with my Grampa, with whom I share the writing bug with. I still have those letters and they are dear to me. I now write very infrequently to my Gramma who loves getting snail mail. I’m with Michelle, I’d love to have a penpal again.
                      Jody´s last [type] ..I don’t know why I can’t pinpoint why I don’t post

                      • At 2012.03.12 22:32, Natalie said:

                        I haven’t done the More Love Letters project but am involved with Soldiers Angels–sending letters and packages to ‘adopted’ soldiers. I love shipping off packages, notes, and postcards for a good cause and have two soldiers of my own. :)

                        • At 2012.03.15 23:57, Amritorupa Kanjilal said:

                          Hello,
                          Five of my closest friends are penpals ( well, email pals now) and we have been writing to each other for the past 10 years. We’ve never met, even though we easily could, because we fear it might ruin the magic of the friendship.

                          I really loved your blog, and will visit regularly. Please visit my new book review blog at https://riversihaveknown.wordpress.com/
                          If you like the blog, please follow. It would be so amazing to have you as a reader!
                          Thank you,

                          • At 2012.03.16 23:09, stacybuckeye said:

                            I love this idea! What a great way to stay connected with the kids and it will be something they always remember.
                            stacybuckeye´s last [type] ..Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen

                            • At 2012.03.20 07:19, Care said:

                              You may remember about 10 years ago, when the post office had state stamps? I was so inspired by these that I organized a campaign to send my bro’s dots a letter from every state with the appropriate stamp. I would send a letter already addressed and stamped, seald etc in a pkg to someone in that state and all they had to do was put it in outgoing mail so it would be cancelled in that state. UNFORTUNATELY, the kids were kids and so I really didn’t get any feedback that it was ‘fun’ or successful. Plus, the PO doesn’t seem to cancel stampes anymore (which irritates me.). I had fun at the project and now those girls are in college and are just now starting to write me.

                              I am paritiating in a year long project to write a letter every day. The February project was awesome. I know have penpals in Belgium, NZ, Phillipines, and a ton from Canada.
                              Care´s last [type] ..Musings about Clouds and Such

                              • At 2012.04.09 19:17, Jennifer said:

                                I love this idea. I don’t know how I don’t have a pen pal but letter writing is something that I wish I did more of. I’m thinking I need to start a letter writing campaign of my own. Maybe I can get some of my students interested. I teach seniors who are going off to college and maybe inspiring them to partake in a letter writing campaign with their favorite teacher might be worth pursuing.

                                • At 2012.04.10 15:12, Natalie said:

                                  encourage them to send postcards from wherever they end up! most college bookstores sell postcards and even if they stay local, postcards are quick and easy. :) hope all is well with you–looking forward to the return of your blog this summer.