Once upon a time, a long time ago, we didn’t have this thing called “the internet”. If we wanted to communicate with someone a long way away, we had to talk to them on the phone. Or, more likely, write them a letter.
No, not an email. A letter. It’s an old-fashioned email. You write it on a piece of paper, put the paper in an envelope, put a stamp and an address on the envelope, and then leave it out front for the Magical Postal Fairies to pick it up and deliver it to your friend. Amazing, right?
When I was a little girl, writing letters was exciting. And receiving them even more so. We were taught how to write letters at school and then we had have the chance to connect with a Pen Pal. That is, another child of about the same age who lived in another city. Or state. Or even country. And we wrote letters to our Pen Pal, and received them in turn, learning about our new friends slowly and surely.
Quite frankly, it was a great experience. And one that I really wanted to pass on to my kids. But how do you go about finding an old-school Pen Pal in this digital, instant gratification, IMing, texting, emailing world?
Through the internet, of course!
I’ve made some great friends through blogging, and I’m lucky enough to have been able to arrange Pen Pals for Big Brother via those friends. I’m excited. He’s excited. We’re all excited.
Big Brother and I sat and talked about writing letters and drawing pictures and he was immediately eager to get started.
“Shall we write a letter?” I asked.
“Okay. But I can do it all by myself.”
Now, I support his independence 100%. But the fact is, he doesn’t actually know how to read or write. So…
“Are you sure? Because if you like, you can tell me what you’d like to say in the letter and I can write it down for you…”
“No. I can do it all by myself.”
“Okay,” I said. Because, you know, it doesn’t do to discourage him. And if it turned out the letter just said: “EeeHGTTT iLLpQRsssEeee”, I could always include a translation. Right?
So Big Brother sat himself up at the table, asked me to draw some pencil lines on the paper for him to write on, and prepared himself to get started.
“Hmmm…” he said. “D. D– D– D–. Dee!”
He carefully wrote a capital D at the top of the page. Then he chewed on the back of his pen for a couple of minutes. “D– D– D–. Mummy?”
“Did you know that in Dinosaur Land, there are snails but the dinosaurs don’t notice them?”
“And did you know that America is a very long way away from Australia?”
“I did know that, yes.”
“And Mummy? What letter comes after D in dear?”
I have a feeling writing this letter is going to be a time-consuming process.
Did you have a Pen Pal as a kid? Would you like your children to have the same experience?