Lost and Found Letters

Technically, there is a Lost and Found Letters Department.  It is called the Mail Recovery Center (MRC), formerly known as the Dead Letter Office, located in Atlanta, GA.  The MRC handles non-deliverable mail that is determined to be of value.  Gone are the days when postal workers pored over indecipherable handwriting in order to send letters to the correct address. The percentage of letters lost in the mail is relatively small, but still there are times one wishes for a Lost and Found Letters Department.  Sometimes you either sense or know that something is missing.  That…

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A Random Letter in the Mail

Have you ever received a random letter in the mail?  Random, as in an unanticipated, handwritten note or letter? The use of first-class mail has been in decline for decades, and letters have become almost rare.   Any letter or note in the mail is a gift, whether it be a thank you note, a birthday card, a holiday greeting.  But most of our communications today are virtual, via social media, email, text messaging, and more, using multiple platforms. Given the shift in how we communicate, a random letter in the mail is a welcome surprise.  Within…

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The Etiquette of a Condolence Letter

Recently, the need arose for me to write a condolence letter.  Over the years, I have sent many cards and notes to friends who had suffered a loss, but this time was different.  It was a friend who died, a friend with whom I had been out of touch for several years.  I did not know her family or how to contact them, yet it felt important to reach out to them. Handwritten notes As a first step, I contacted the senior living community where she had been living, in an upscale city located to the…

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Politics and Pandemic

Land's End, San Francisco At last, there is good news on the horizon, a promise that a year dominated by politics and pandemic will soon be over.   Politics never go away, but hopefully, the days will become calmer now that the November presidential election is finally over and a new administration is on the horizon.   With two new vaccines rolling out, there also is hope that the pandemic will subside in the first half of 2021.  Election years are always difficult, but 2020 was a doozy.  It was a brutal year in almost every way possible. …

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Time to Write a Letter

Time to Write a Letter: Mailboxes, Sausalito, CA. Photo by Tibby Storey While most of us are still staying at home, helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, isn’t it time to write a letter?  Teleworking requires concentration and organization.  Job-hunting, caring for children without the usual support systems, grocery shopping and cooking at home, and fitting in time for exercise can be exhausting.  But when you are taking a break, consider using the time to write a letter.  It is good practice for your writing skills, provides an alternative to electronic communications, and a letter…

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Notes for the New Year

The last of the cards and notes for the New Year come in a slow, uneven trickle, soon to be but a memory.  Second to reunions and celebrations with friends and family, these physical notes, photos and greetings are my favorite part of the end of the year rituals, helping me to stay in touch with people who are important to me, both near and far. The post office continues to play an important part in people’s lives, judging by the crowds standing in line to mail packages and letters, either at the automated machines or…

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What’s in the Mail

It’s an old habit that is hard to shake; each morning I wonder, what’s in the mail today?  Thanks to the USPS’s Informed Delivery service, one need not wonder.  Informed Delivery sends an email with images of most letter-sized pieces that will be arriving that day.  But even without the preview, contents of the daily mail are fairly predictable.  Count on some form of advertising, whether printed on newspaper stock, post cards, or flyers.  Solicitations from charitable organizations proliferate.  Soon, prior to November elections, we will be deluged with political flyers in the mail.  All of…

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A Box of Old Letters

One day, while in my mid-teens, I came across my mother looking through a box of old letters. This box, always on the top shelf of her closet, had followed us from house to house and from town to town, but this is perhaps the first time I expressed curiosity. The letters, it seemed, were written during World War II, letters that my parents exchanged with one another during those war years. Most likely, some of them would have pre-dated their marriage in 1943, while others may have been written later. I wanted to read them, but my mother said that they were personal, and she did not want to share them.

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Never Too Young

An expression of gratitude is always welcome. An expression of gratitude is always welcome, and one is never too young to write that all important thank you note.  As an added bonus, children who are taught to write thank you notes tend to craft more creative and thoughtful notes when they become adults The act of hand writing a thank you note has the added benefit of becoming a learning experience for a child.  It is an exercise in manual dexterity, helps teach spelling, and encourages creativity.  For this reason, some schools sponsor letter-writing exercises, such…

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National Letter Writing Day

National Letter Writing Day is Friday, Dec. 7. The date is timely because it serves as a reminder to reconnect with the people you care about during the holiday season. The history and origin of National Letter Writing Day is unclear, but it is perpetrated by a website, National Today, which endeavors to find a reason to celebrate every day of the year.   National Today is the inspiration of PR Hacker, a broad-based San Francisco public relations firm specializing in technology and health. National Letter Writing Day is different from World Letter Writing Day, an endeavor…

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