I'm not generally a huge fan of "national" days. I don't celebrate "Talk like a Pirate" day or "Bubblegum" day. I do acknowledge "Garage Sale" day because who wouldn't? Yet when I came across a mention of National Card and Letter Writing Month (April) in Country Living Magazine it touched on something in my heart. When I was a young child I remember sitting on the couch and looking out of our living room window waiting for first sign of the mailman (it was the 70's so I could say that back then). He drove a rather beat up, soft beige jeep and delivered mail to our Rt 2 Box 17E address way out in the country. When we lived in Wales our address was ~1 the Crescent~ as the house was literally on a small crescent in a little village called Mathern.
My mother and I sometimes argued at who would get the mail. Usually she won and I would have to wait patiently while she looked through the envelopes on her walk back to the house. I can still feel the heat of the summer sun on those July mornings and I can see her so clearly sifting through the mail on her walk. She did let me sign up for junk mail any time I had the chance. I wasn't really picky although by far my favorite thing to receive was a hand written letter. I don't remember how I found pen pals back then. I had many though and wrote letters constantly. Maybe I found them in magazines? Do you remember? My favorite pen pal ever was a girl from Belgium. Her name was Caroline and she became one of my best friends as a teenager.
We dreamed big through our correspondence to each other. I remember the trip to Africa that we were going to take. She drew hand written maps of the places that we would visit. When I married Dave and moved to England we actually met for the first time. We had written each other for years before we met and I felt like I knew everything about her. Ironically as we both married and now have children we never write any more. We are both on facebook but even our comments and notes to each other are rare. A part of me really misses her and our letters to each other. I kept every letter that I received from her.
When have you last written a letter to a dear friend? I know as a thrifter, when I come across a box of vintage hand written letters something in me beams with excitement. What will our children find? Old broken computers full of our emails that can't be opened? Will there be any remnants of the written word from our generation?
National Card and Letter Writing Month officially begins on April 1st. To celebrate, I wanted to offer an old fashion pen pal swap for my readers. If you would like to join us leave me a comment that you wish to receive a penpal and I will email you for your details. There are some rules though. Let's make it fun and unique. I'd like you to find a page in an old catalog or some vintage paper to use for your letter. I used one from an Anthropolgie catalog, borrowing the idea from my friend Lissa.
The paper does require a good pen. Next time I would use a medium tip sharpie. It was lovely to write on something so beautiful mixed in with the satisfaction of reusing an old catalog. The children were inspired and also begged to write a letter.
I looked through our recycle bin and found an envelope to reuse.
I want to make letter writing a habit again and not something I do once or twice a year. I'm hoping that by organizing this letter swap and acknowledging this somewhat lost art, it will once again light the spark of letter writing inside me.
The swap is open until the 31st of March. I will then send everyone an address where they can write their letter to. Please mail your letters by April 30th. Like any other swap, please uphold your promise to join in. There is nothing worse than not receiving something. If you are struggling with meeting the deadline, please email your partner and let them know. I know that I too have procrastinated on a swap and my partner appreciated hearing from me that I was late and kindly forgave me.
- Write at least a full one page letter.
- Try to use vintage paper or recycle something creative like a catalog
- Reuse a junk mail envelope
- Mail your letter by April 30th
- If you have a blog, post about the letter you wrote & the letter you received
- And of course, Have Fun