Since mid-March, I’ve been predominantly with my parents. I make time to go back to Chicago (where I live) to check on my studio apartment, get the mail, and walk along Lake Michigan. Yesterday, I was delighted to find more than a dozen cards and postcards and cards in my mailbox! Am I Mr. Popular? Far from it!
Recently, a friend and teacher from Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (where I received my library degree) started a Facebook group so that current students and alumni can write to each other about anything and everything. There are more than 60 members of the group. When we receive mail from a group member, we post a picture for the group to see. It’s wonderful to be able to write to new friends. People have written about what they look forward to in 2021, asked for a suggestion for a pattern for a quilt (I recommended plaid spaceships), and of course shared what books we’re reading.
I’ve been a member of Postcrossing since November 2018. It’s a postcard exchange community with members from all over the world that’s been around for over a decade. I received this recent batch with four from the United States and one from Italy.
The one from Italy was written end of February, and it finally arrived last week, just about three months later. Mail is delayed for a variety of reasons, especially with the prevalence of COVID-19. The message, although brief, is so powerful.
He could have written this yesterday. The power of written correspondence is right there. A moment of time captured forever.
It’s easy to text and email, Snapchat and Tweet, or send a TikTok, and communication is important these days. But there’s something special about an old-fashioned postcard, card, or letter.
Benefits of having a pen pal:
- Practice writing and reading
- Converse about a variety of topics
- Learn patience
You could also write to a friend or a family member. I remember when email was new and people couldn’t get enough. These days I love seeing a card come in the mail because it means that someone took the time to write to me, and when I write back, the cycle continues.
Here are some ideas that might inspire you to write.
- Virtual Pen Pals: 5 Resources for Connecting Kids around the World
- 10 Reasons You Should Write More Handwritten Letters
- The Princeton Review Writing Smart Junior: The Art and Craft of Writing
- I Will Always Write Back (available in print, Axis 360 and Libby )
- Zombie Penpal
If you write to me, I will write back. Tom Malinowski, Middle School Librarian, Glen Ellyn Public Library, 400 Duane Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137.