Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Mail the Old-fashioned Way


(Giveaway alert! Check out the bottom of this post for the info!) ๐Ÿ™‚

On my birthday this past spring, I was surprised to receive not one, but two lovely birthday cards in the mail. Actual paper cards in the actual mailbox! I realized I didn’t expect them anymore, as most of us are busy and that extra effort doesn’t seem necessary when greetings on Facebook and through email make it so easy to send birthday wishes. I’d also gotten a few funny get-well cards from friends when I broke my wrist, and those brought a smile to my face at a time I didn’t feel a lot like smiling!

When I had a book giveaway last November to celebrate my tenth release, one of my winners, Mary L. from Florida, sent me this photo of her waiting for my book. It made me laugh – isn’t she the cutest? It also made me think, again, about how nice it is to open up our mailbox to find a package or card amidst the bills and junk mail.

Mary Lawon:mailbox

Remember when we had pen-pals, and the fun of getting that overseas mail? When I was a young teenager, my grandmother, who was from Bolton, Lancashire, England, found one for me through a friend who still lived there. She and I wrote back and forth for maybe six years until she got married at 19 and worked as a nanny, and I was at college. Since our lives were busier, the relationship ended, but somewhere, I still have her wedding photo stashed away.

When I cleaned out my late parents’ home, I found huge stashes of letters my father had written to my mother during World War II. I’ve read a few – some she’d separated out because they had a lot of detail about events unfolding in the Pacific, with some of the information physically cut out of the paper. I found that astonishing – obviously they couldn’t risk classified information going out to families, but can you imagine having the job of editing every single letter sent home? The rest are in boxes and this Navy duffle – there’s no way I’ll ever read all of them and, frankly, I’m not sure I want to. Some of them are very personal and odd for me, as their daughter, to read what my twenty-three-year-old father said to his new bride. Surprising and a little uncomfortable! ๐Ÿ™‚ But that’s the nature of a letter, isn’t it? A piece of paper that endures and can be kept, unlike electronic mail we can’t hold in our hands. That doesn’t bring with it the kind of personal feeling that reading someone’s handwritten words do.

Letters from Dad:Navy

Mailboxes themselves can be so much more interesting than the basic one we have. Here’s a photo of one I adore that I came upon while walking on a Florida vacation trip. Isn’t it wonderful?

Mailbox-Reading boy

Our neighbors across the street enjoy wine, and have an entire vehicle (an old Jeep) covered in slices of cork from wine bottles, with the words “Cork my Ride” on the back – it’s much enjoyed by folks at wine-festivals! Here, she’s put just a few on the top of her mailbox. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mailbox, cork

One of the things I’ve decided to do more this year is send old-fashioned mail. Birthday cards, cards to friends who are ill or struggling with life difficulties, and of course, mail out books to readers who want them!

How about you? Do you think mail is mostly obsolete, or will always be with us in a physical form? I’m honestly not sure it will be. Have you ever had an interesting-looking mailbox, or know someone who does? A pen-pal you got to know through only the written word? I’d love to hear about it xoxo

And speaking of wanting to mail things more often, I’ll be giving away a print copy of my May release, Tempted By The Brooding Surgeon, to a winner commenting on this post! ๐Ÿ™‚


19 thoughts on “Mail the Old-fashioned Way”

  1. I canโ€™t believe I be never seen the Jeep. I try to send cards but Iโ€™m not always good at it. I love snail mail. And I want a manatee mail box! Feel free to delete my name from the drawing. Just stopping to say hi.

    1. Hi, Margaret!! Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚ The neighbors keep the Jeep in a storage place where they also have a huge RV, so you have to catch it when you can (or attend one of the wine events they take it to!). I’ll take a picture of it next time they have it at the house.

      I vote for getting the manatee mail box, and never mind that we’re not in Florida! xoxo

  2. I love receiving mailโ€”itโ€™s like a mini-Christmas every time I check my mailbox (although itโ€™s heavily weighted bills and spam rather than greetings these days!) Another passing I mourn is photographs and photo albums. Digital imaging is NOT the same but easier to share I suppose. Ah, progress.

    1. That’s a good way to put it, Leslie! So fun to get a little gift of a card or package in the mail. I agree about the photographs – we don’t have a record of them in our hands the way we used to, unless we make a special effort to print them, do we? Maybe I’ll put that on my to-do list for the year as well. Thanks so much for stopping by, and best of luck for winning the book ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I love Mary L.’s photo, Robin! We have letters that my great-uncle wrote to my great-aunt from France during World War 1 and they’re fascinating. I don’t imagine that these little pieces of history, made all the more poignant because we knew the people involved, would have survived if they’d been communicating by email.

    I don’t write letters the way I used to, and I regret it. I think there’s something special about being able to see a friend’s handwriting on a letter or card – although I have to admit that mine’s a lot less tidy than it used to be, from lack of practise!

    1. I can imagine how interesting letters from France during WWI would be, to and from people you knew. And you’re right, today’s email communication would be lost, I’m sure.

      And, handwriting! I’m the worst when it comes to being in a hurry and slopping something onto a page! I have to force myself to slow down and write more carefully, or it looks like a third-grader wrote it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Robin

    What a great post I love getting actual mail letters and parcels it always brings a smile to my face I had a pen pal when I was in high school from Malaysia Jenny her name was and this came about wgen a couple of girls we went to school with did an exchange student stint and came hone with big lists of girls who wanted pen pals we wrote for years but sadly it petered out.

    We have a plain letterbox but I too have seen some fabulous ones around the coubtry especially out in the bush where the owners have to drive to the letterbox.

    I love mail ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have Fun


    1. Hi, Helen! I think that even when pen-pal relationships peter out, we still got a lot out of them while they lasted. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to see some of the mailboxes you mention out in the bush – how are they unusual? xoxo

  5. Robin. I love getting mail and have pen pal I’ve been writing to since the late sixties! As years have gone by we don’t write as often, but it’s always a treat to get something from her. I live in Missouri (formerly Nebraska), she lives in New York. We have met a few times over the years both in NY and Missouri.
    Thanks for this blog and an opportunity to reminisce.

    1. Wow, that’s wonderful, Rita Jo! My late mother had a pen pal she wrote to for fifty years, like you, but she lived in the US and her pal was originally from England. She moved to various places including South Africa then settled in Australia, and Mom loved getting mail from her and learning about the various places she lived. Like you, they wrote less often over the years, but they finally actually met when her friend was visiting her son in Canada, and decided since she was so comparatively close, she’d visit. It was absolutely wonderful for both of them to personally connect after all those years ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. When my dad was in WW2, he sent postcards to my mom/his wife and her two sisters. When each of those women died, *I* received the postcards (because they knew I “collected” postcards). I found it funny (but typical) that Dad wrote the exact same thing on each of their postcards. I have those cards (and others) in my scrapbooks now and am glad that my kids seem interested in ALL the scrapbooks I’ve done so far. (I’m stagnating at 1994 at the moment.) The best part of scrapbooks is sharing with those who are included inside; they especially enjoy checking out the vehicles used at that time, and then reliving some of those memories. It’s a win-win-win situation (if I’d just get them up-to-date!!!). Still, anything is better than nothing. At least that’s what I tell myself, LOL.

    1. That’s so awesome, Laney! You are far more organized than I am–what a wonderful thing to scrapbook those memories, and that your children are enjoying them. Kudos to you! Old postcards would definitely be fun to look at. I honestly don’t know what to do with all the letters from my dad to my mother–seems wrong to throw them away but if I can’t possibly read through them all, my kids sure won’t.

      Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Robin, you made me smile with this post, made me nostalgic, too. Love the picture of your book winner waiting! What a great idea. I met Clara in England through a penpal list (I guess today, that would be like computer dating services???) And we started writing from the time I was twelve until I went to England when I was twenty-three. I told her I was coming for a special trip/tour, and she and her husband met me for a meal. She had the most beautiful cursive penmanship, and I, well, what can I say, I am American and print/write lol.

    1. Hi, Lynne! I love that you signed up for a pen pal through a list – I didn’t know such a thing existed. I wonder if there is a computer version of that these days for teens, emailing each other? Probably wouldn’t be nearly as fun as getting mail from overseas, but maybe I think that because I’m old-fashioned, just like paper mail ๐Ÿ™‚ How fun that you got to meet her!

  8. Robin,
    I have some of my grandparents letters to each other. I have read most of them. Interesting stuff. I can tell a lot about the early 1930s and the people they were.

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