Sending an Email in an Envelope

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 BrotherBig 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?”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“Did you know that in Dinosaur Land, there are snails but the dinosaurs don’t notice them?”

“That’s interesting.”

“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?


Filed under Life With Kids

14 responses to “Sending an Email in an Envelope

  1. This is beautiful! What a lovely thing to do – but it will take some time πŸ˜‰

    Our school encouraged us to have Pen Pals when we were kids, but I was always too busy looking out the window and dreaming up stories to really get into anything (including schoolwork) πŸ˜€

  2. Sweet! I wrote a few questions down for the boys, but it’s mostly pictures. And some numbers, “So he can learn them.” πŸ™‚

  3. Very cute, made me smile πŸ˜€
    I wrote something about letters a while back, I think more people should write letters, it makes you happier to receive a hand-written letter than an email –

  4. My high school girlfriends (2, not simultaneous) were both of the long-distance variety, so letter-writing was vital, including all the ways that letters and envelopes can be customized.

    Any young whippersnappers who don’t know what a difference letters can make in your life should see Moonrise Kingdom. πŸ™‚

    (Suddenly I’m not getting notifications from WordPress. About anything. Anybody else having problems?)

    • I did the long-distance relationship thing as a teenager as well, and wrote more letters than I can possibly count. At one point, we developed a language between ourselves so we could write in code to each other. Because, yes, I was just that cool. πŸ˜‰

      Okay, I officially need to see Moonrise Kingdom. You’ve bullied me into it by talking about it so consistently. πŸ˜‰

  5. I think I may have had a brief pen pal but I believe my mom had one for quite some time when she was a kid. I think it’s awesome. I’m almost tempted to set Noah up with one at 13 years old. Something about a written letter, pen to paper is so personal and says so much more. How awesome that you’ve done this.

  6. Never had one myself. But I think it’s an awesome idea. When B.T. is a little older, maybe I’ll figure out how to find him one. πŸ™‚

  7. I very clearly remember my very first long distance pen pal acquired through school. We were given a list and given the opportunity to pick our own based on the name, age and location. That was all we were given. I picked a boy, my age (at the time), from Australia (I’m originally from the US). Words could not describe the excitement when I got the first letter back from him complete with a photo. Oddly enough, he greatly resembled an 11 year old Rick Astley, who was HUGE at the time with his hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” and oddly enough, also Australian, as you know. So in my 11 year old mind, all of the males in Australia looked like Rick Astley for a little while. Luckily, that is not the case. πŸ˜€

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