A New Media Salute to Old Media

Some of the personal mail I've received--and kept--over the past year. February 2013.

The United States Post Office will stop delivering regular mail on Saturdays in August 2013.

The semigovernmental agency has been under water for a long time. It must cut costs. Eliminating mail on a nonbusiness day makes sense.

Yet the news made me wistful.

After visiting my cousin over the summer, we would write letters back and forth until we lost steam, awaiting a winter or spring family visit to reconnect us.

When summer camp let out, mail provided the only way to keep in touch—however fleetingly—with the few friends I’d made over the two or three miserable weeks. And during summer camp, letters gave me the only way to beg my parents to rescue me.

As a shy kid entering college very far from home, the mail gave me a lifeline back to friends and family. My grandmother sent me care packages with homemade cookies and handwritten letters. (She didn’t make cookies much before I left. She must have sensed my loneliness.) On more than one day early in my college career I checked my mailbox multiple times a day until the mailman arrived—and once, on a particularly beautiful afternoon, I sat on the entryway steps and waited for him.

In London, the mail came twice a day. By that era, personal mail had already trailed off. Nevertheless, each time the mail slot on my front door clattered, I ran to see what had arrived.

Today, I still enjoy checking my daily USPS delivery. Mostly it offers little more than circulars, bills, and direct mail. Yet not too long ago, a friend sent me a couple handmade cards and letters as a surprise; they brought such delight that I still have them. And last fall, I received two vacation postcards that I didn’t expect—they made two days a little more special.

Unlike most e-mail, the regular mail can offer treasures.

When the news broke about the USPS shuttering Saturday delivery, I mourned on Twitter. Jenna Sauber seconded my emotion. And, commiserating, we hatched a plan:

To honor old media with new media, we would put out a call via social media for people who want to receive a postcard from one or both of us via the good ol’ USPS.

This post is that call. Want in?

All you need to do is put your name and address in the comments below or send them to me via my blog’s contact form. I promise to keep all your information private and secure. And if you're open to writing a stranger a postcard, say so—we'll include addresses in our notes for you.

I bet you get a jolt of joy from receiving a postcard.

And isn’t joy nice?