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Bringing Back Old Forms of Communication: Letters

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Letters have been around for hundreds of years and now they are having a resurgence, at least from my point of view it seems like they are anyway. I love sending and receiving mail, and prefer it to email and texting if I'm being honest. I send postcards as a part of postcrossing.com and I also love sending pen-pal letters. I do send out Christmas cards as well at the beginning of December every year to my penpals.

 

The first ever handwritten letter was thought to have been sent by the Persian Queen Atossa in around 500 B.C. according to the ancient historian Hellanicus. Their popularity grew as a way of sending messages grew as more people became literate.


In history, letters were delivered not to addresses but to specific people in specific towns by various modes of transport such as; horseback, messenger on foot, and even by pigeons. The time of delivery was unknown and it could be weeks depending on the transportation method, for example; the slowest form of delivery was a messenger on foot to a distant town. This was due to factors such as fatigue and the restrictions on speed because the human body has limits and it can't travel as fast as a pigeon for example. There were many problems with sending letters. Examples of this include; the messenger never delivering the package due to death, exhaustion, etc. Also, pigeons aren't intelligent so they would often be killed by other animals or even shot by bandits for the contents of the package.


In comparison to the modern era, communication through letters has improved dramatically.

 

For me, I find letters more personal than sending an email. Plus you can be entirely creative in what you are doing with the letter. You can add stickers, and drawings, and seal your letters shut with wax (which is something that I love doing). Also by sending letters you can gain more meaningful relationships. Letters are more than just words on paper, it is a way of sharing your story with someone new, while also learning more about them. I have made so many great friends writing letters, and I am still friends with a majority of them. Having things like Whatsapp available makes it easier to talk to friends around the world but letters are also a very fun monthly thing that you can do with penpals.


There is also a letter subscription that I have seen. I have only found one but Letters from Afar is something that is a super cool option to get snail mail.

 

Do you send letters?

What is the furthest place you have ever sent a letter or card to?

 

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