Pictured above is the first known Christmas Card sent in 1843. Christmas Cards are always a lot of fun. Unfortunately, they have become so expensive that we have considered abandoning the practice of sending cards. We try to buy a nice card and send a picture of our grandkids along with a short note about what has happened to us in the past year. All of this along with the postage has become fairly expensive.
I like to send the cards in hopes of staying in contact with friends from afar and in hopes of receiving a card from them. The Christmas card is about the only personal mail we now receive. I get a lot of e-mail but a personal letter or greetings by snail mail is pretty rare. Our post office box is full every day but all this mail is nothing but advertisements, catalogs and bills. The postal service claims that only 3% of mail is now personal letters and they are going broke in spite of the high postal rates. They are considering things like stopping Saturday mail service.
During WWII, when I was a kid, we sent and received a lot of personal mail. It was my job to go to the post office every day and most of the workers knew me. A lot of folks didn’t have a post office box and received their mail by general delivery. The postal workers knew everyone. I don’t think general delivery even exists anymore and nobody knows anybody. It cost 3 cents to send a letter when I was a kid. I enjoyed writing letters and when I went to college I wrote the girl who was to become my spouse everyday. She likewise sent me a letter everyday and that was the highlight of the day. When I was in school we even corresponded with kids from other countries. All this was great fun.
I loved going to the post office when I was a kid. It seemed like a magnificent building to me. There was a large mural painting on the wall and these murals have become famous in recent years. I even have a book of these old post office murals and it brings back a lot of memories. Christmas Cards were not a big thing in my childhood but letters were pretty standard and kept you abreast of friends and family. Phone conversations were not used very often except in the event of death. The personal letter pretty much covered all the needs for correspondence and exchange of news.
So, today I send only a few personal letters a year but still enjoy writing a friend. Most of my correspondence is now by e-mail or facebook. While sitting on the porch with my new Verizon cell phone that does everything I have even learned to text message and type with my thumbs.