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Beyond the Lone Islands

Friday, 24 July 2009


Dan at Wood And Pixels had a charming picture of mailboxes the other day (click on the link to see it!), and expressed a certain pessimism about their future - fearing "the mail giving way to the same fate as phone booths"... However, he got so many comments from people still sending letters the old-fashioned way, that it does not seem time to take down the mailbox just yet!

Postal service has gone through some changes in the last few years, though - at least in Sweden. Here it's no use asking for directions to a post office any more, because there aren't any. For errands concerning money, you have to go to a bank. If you need to send a package (or pick up one sent to you), you will find this service connected to certain shops and supermarkets. It's not uncommon to find that the "post office" has moved to another shop since last time you needed it! (Happened to me not long ago.) But we do still get letters sent home. I even still get mine through a slot in the door; but in some apartment buildings they have boxes for all on the ground floor instead. I think there is still a discussion going on whether that should be made compulsory by law or not. I suppose it not considered fair that some mailmen must still run up and down stairs while others don't have to...

Anyway, here's the comment I wrote at Dan's blog:

"I have one very close friend [G] with whom I've been exhanging letters and postcards almost weekly for 23 years. Hers are still almost always handwritten, and often with photos, cuttings from magazines, stickers etc pasted onto them. Myself I have difficulties writing by hand, so mine are usually printed from the computer, but sometimes with a handwritten PS or drawings in the margin etc to make it more personal. I also have a few other old friends with whom I still exchange letters by snail mail, although not quite as often. Among them four or five people in other countries that I never met but have corresponded with for 20-25 years."

The picture above shows some of the letters I received this year from my friend G; some from Sweden and some from Spain. She has the charming habit of pasting pictures on the envelopes as well! :)

Over the last two days since I wrote that comment on Dan's blog, I have received three letters to prove the point. One handwritten letter from a Swedish friend other than G. One from a penpal in the US, computer-written but printed on decorated and scented stationary. And another handwritten letter + condolance card from friends of my parents in England, whom I wrote to a few weeks ago to give them the sad news that my mother had passed away.

I also had a postcard from G on Monday. And two cellphone text messages yesterday - she got worried when I had not answered the first one within an hour! So yes, the times they are a-changing... But I do hope there is still a future for letters and postcards and stamps as well!

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