#895 Getting something with actual handwriting on it in the mail

How good would it feel to see this in your mailbox?

Checking the mail can be a bit depressing.

Sometimes there isn’t anything in there. Nope, nothing at all. Just one big, empty mailbox telling the world that everybody forgot about you today.

Then again, the alternative is typically a fistful of bills and flyers. Someone’s selling air conditioners, your car payment’s due, and the pizza place down the street has a new crust. All nice to know, of course. Just kind of boring … kind of bland … kind of blah.

But that’s what makes it so great when something with actual handwriting on it turns up in the mail. Those little endangered parcels have something very special about them. For instance:

  • Feel that ink. If you’re lucky enough to score a full-on letter, you know how good it feels to hold that pen-scratched masterpiece. Both sides of the paper are all carved up, and it sort of crisps and crinkles in your hand. It’s got a certain texture to it that feels very real and honest — like the person who wrote it put a bit of themselves in that envelope and sent it over. If I was a tree, I like to think I’d be proud if my slaughtered, pulpy remains were used for a letter like that. Seriously, it would bring a tear to my leaf.
  • It smells. Sure, sometimes it may not smell too strong, but then there’s the occasional letter that has a whiff of hand cream or perfume on it. And really, anything’s better than the smell of mass-ironed printer ink, especially if the ink’s real cheap and powdery and flakes off in the paper folds. Then you get it on your pants and under your fingernails, and for what? So American Express could tell you about their new interest rate?
  • The Complete Package. When you get a handwritten letter in the mail, it’s got a whole different look and feel to it. It’s a complete package. It’s a wedding thank-you card in the small red envelope, with the perfectly placed stamp, and the translucent tissue paper. Or it’s the letter from your kid at camp, with the smeared pencil and mud stains on it. It’s licked shut real tight, there’s a spelling mistake in your address, and the letter is folded thick, causing the envelope to puff out at the seams.
  • There’s nothing like it. Because no two handwritten letters are really the same. You know whoever wrote it spent a lot more time scratching it out than you did reading it. And they wrote it just for you, in their personal handwriting, with their pen and paper, and they paid to mail it to you. I don’t care how small and cold your heart may be — you have to admit that’s pretty cool.

Of course, the biggest reason why getting something handwritten is great is because it’s just so darned rare. I mean, for most people, you’re more likely to see Halley’s Comet crash into Big Foot while he’s riding the Loch Ness Monster than to actually get a full-blown note from a friend.

So I say treasure those handwritten notes, when you get ’em, if you get ’em. And if you don’t, there’s a pretty easy way to start receiving them.

Man, just send a couple.


You have to read it right away

Photos from: here, here, and here

66 thoughts on “#895 Getting something with actual handwriting on it in the mail

  1. This post reminded me of those old school movies where men would get letters in the mail, and then sniff them to catch a whiff of the perfume.

    Almost stalkerish in our times.

  2. As a girl with a boyfriend overseas, there is NOTHING BETTER then a handwritten note in the mail. Aside from him not being overseas, that is. But this is my favorite awesome thing yet. It speaks to me.

  3. I had a girlfriend in back in high school who once with me a 10 page letter filled with little doodles and diagrams and such, all written as a sort of journal in a notepad. It is one of the best things I have ever found in my mailbox…

  4. When I was in the Royal Navy I used to love getting letters from my girlfirend. Sh used to give them a spray with her perfume to help me remember the good times we had when I was on leave. Ahhh yes, I love getting proper handwritten letters.

  5. Back in my late teens I had a girlfriend who would sit in her lessons writing letters to me instead of, you know, paying attention.

    They were bizarre affairs, full of doodles, random messages from her friends or just whatever thought had been passing through her head at that instant.

    I still have them, somewhere, tucked away in a box. I haven’t seen their like in the 8 years that have passed since then, sadly. Because as you rightly say, they are AWESOME.

  6. My friend and I have actually started sending each other hand written letters since she moved away. We could email, but hand written letters are more personalised and nostalgic.

  7. It just not being a “you’ve been pre-approved for “…freakin’ mail item is awesome enough for me! Could there be a connection between the number of these people receive and their inability to pay their mortgages…?

  8. I used to have a boyfriend who was in the Air Force who used to send me letters and post cards from all over the world. He could have emailed me, but instead he took a few minutes from his day to send me his thoughts. I still have those letters in a box and I admit, every once in a while when I’m blue I get them out and look at them…and wish things ended up differently.
    And no, all I get in my mail now are pre-approvals, bills and pizza coupons.

  9. My husband (then fiancee’) and I wrote each other love letters while he was at basic training. Outside of the military, I don’t think that happens much anymore.

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  11. This past summer, I decided to write letters to my friends even though they lived a few blocks away from me. I love the feeling of receiving a genuine, hand-written letter and it’s even better to send them. I even sent some to my cousins in the U.S. (I’m from Canada) with pictures of us when we were kids.


  12. i had a crush on girl, and instead of asking for a date, i asked for her address, and sent my request by mail. now we’re crazy in love….

  13. Unfortunately, most of my hand-written mail comes from the office at my son’s school, hah. Although, this week we have been getting post cards from my dad during his trip to Chile and Easter Island.

  14. Electronic media once seen as all encompassing has sadly become somewhat devalued, whereas handwritten letters have always had a place in peoples hearts. How could anyone fail to feel the excitement and anticipation upon opening a letter to reveal its contents. There are many examples on our website http://www.handwrittenletters.com of people’s positive emotions when writing, sending and particularly receiving handwritten letters.

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  16. i just recently moved across the country and my friends and i are really old fashioned and decided to write letters to each other the old fashioned way. i even bought stationary and a wax seal for it. it feels awesome to get their little peices of love in the mail :)

  17. Great post. So true, we seem to have forgotten the magic of getting handwritten letters in the mail. There is an elegance and spirit that is lost in digital form, in my opinion, I’d love to see a resurgence.

  18. I have been the letter princess since I was 8 (a bit over 20 years now!), and my closest friend moved states. I still get a little thrill when people call or write back and start by saying “I was so happy to get your letter! It made my day/week/month!”

    Like others of your Awesome Things, when it involves spreading happiness, surely the Awesome Factor is upped.


  19. Recieving a letter in the mail has always made my day! Just considering how they much (or little) time they put into it means all the world to me. It means that they thought about me, if at least for a while.
    I don’t ask them to spill their guts, but hearing from them is always a great thing. :] Better them thinking about you rather than forgetting you exsist altogether, right?

    1. Yeah – I think he is planning to write a post on how one of the better uses of handwritten mail is to start a petition against pointless on-line spamming.

      Another effective use of handwritten mail is to explain to people the proper use of the apostrophe to indicate a possessive. For example, if I was to start a restaurant.. let’s call it, Tandy’s Calzones, and I wanted to crassly spam another person’s blog, I should probably make my user name “Tandy’s Calzones”, rather than the obviously incorrect “Tandys Calzones”.

      Now THAT would be informative!

  20. Call me old fashioned but I still prefer hand writing my letters. I still send out hand written thank you notes, birthday cards or just a sort note saying hi. I love sending postcards from the places I visit.

    1. long live the postal service and real live mail because the pony express is gone in most parts…I think so!

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