Saturday, May 10, 2008


I don't send much snail mail. I pay three monthly bills by check. Occasionally, a birthday card. Last Christmas I sent out a bunch of cards, bought seasonal stamps & just used up the extra. I discovered a nearly full sheet of 34 cent baseball stadium stamps in my assorted greeting cards box, wonderful designs, but I don't collect stamps. So I had 5 cent & 2 cent stamps to to bring those to the first class rate. I still have a few ordinary 41 cent stamps. Now the cost is going up another penny. It didn't occur to me to buy "Forever Stamps" - the ones you can purchase today for 41 cents & use when the rate rises to 42 cents on Monday. If I send 20 cards out at Christmas, I'll pay the extra penny each for a pretty picture. The other day, I saw a terrific die cut folding card in the drugstore I wished I'd sent a friend for her birthday two weeks ago. It was five dollars. But she did alright with a regular card & a folk art postcard tucked inside of that & a Fenway Park (she's a Boston fan) & Tibetan necklace (she makes jewelry) stamps on the envelope. The post office is issuing a Frank Sinatra stamp on Tuesday. My friend Carrie subscribes to an e mail card service offering mesmerizing, nearly 3-D animations of flowers blooming & little birds & butterflies magically emerging from the blossoms & flitting about. She doesn't need stamps & when she does maybe she sneaks the envelopes through the postage meter at work. Sometimes I just search for a scan of an antique card on eBay & stick that in an email, people seem to like them, it's a thoughtful gesture in its way. Now I know how to make postcard reproductions at the Drug Fair photo kiosk. The postcard rate is rising to 27 cents. The 4"x6" photo is 29 cents. An editor asked for some poems last month, send hard copies or put them in Wordpad format attachment & e mail them. Guess which method was easier & free?


I used to be a prolific card and letter sender before the internet. I have saved all my letters received, and cards of all sorts for birthdays, christmas and otherwise, since 1980. I swear that's the truth. I even have an old birthday check written to me from my grandparents back in 1983 that I never cashed, still in the card sent for my birthday.

I've been told by many that my penmanship is exemplary. I miss the old days when you looked in the mailbox and got letters instead of what passes for mail these days (brochurses, menues and those unwanted bills). I had many people I corresponded with by mail. It's funny, my email list is as long as my old mail list, it is just that we've all managed to find it easier and faster to get our thoughts to the other party using email.

At least, though, I send my gift thank you notes by mail, or by hand delivery, using real store bought cards, with hand written personal messages by me.

When I do use my email for my Christmas or other holiday wishes, I never send a mass mailing. I do each one singularly, and some with different greetings, which requires changing the "original" e-card each time I change the greeting.

It's a compromise for the 21st century, I guess.
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