Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Still A Good Idea

My recent posting regarding writing skills touched many on and off line comments...all well expressed. I have discussed this with other professors and, as I mull over it more, I began thinking about the old way. You know what I mean (if you are 35 or older). There was a time when there was no world wide Web and no e mail. There were long distance calls, but they were expensive and basically for urgent communications. What we did back then was to write letters by hand, sometimes with a type writer (that's a computer without a computer, just a place to type directly onto paper).

Letter writing was an involved process and began with good writing skills. One had to be succinct or too many pages would be produced and postage would be higher. One had to be clear and use just the right adjectives and other words to convey exactly what needed to be said. Then there was addressing an envelope, finding a stamp and locating a mailbox into which the letter was dropped. Then you waited. It might take days for your letter to get there, more days until the receiver posted (in the mail) an answer and more days until it was delivered back to your home. Being such an involved happening, one didn't waste time writing about trivial things.

Taking the time it did, trivial things were left unsaid. More over, there wasn't the embarrassment of dashing off a note (to be later regretted) or hitting a "send" button before rational thinking took over. No, letters were for important matters of the heart and business.

Back then, the arrival of the post man was an important daily event. On those rare days when a letter arrived for just you it was carefully carried inside or to the swing on the front porch. Then there was a delicious delay while the envelope was examined and you let the joy of receiving mail wash over you. Finally, and carefully, the enveloped was opened, the envelope carefully set aside and the letter removed and carefully read. Not once, but many times. The hand written message you held was the most personal of communications. It was important and had been written carefully...just for you. Those were the days.

Those were the days when you mailed in your quarter with some cereal box tops and waited, it seemed for ever, until your secret decoder ring came by return mail. The process often took weeks and was nothing like on line shopping. It was heavenly torture.

Now we have pixels, abbreviations and so much dribble going back and forth that we skim over or just delete most of what's coming to us. Some of us still love the written word or an idea well expressed. If you've read to this point, you just might be one of us.

Paddle safe...

DS

11 comments:

avital said...

I love that!
I remember that very well. i have palenty of boxes full of letters...
But I could not never, ever, be in Wisscounsin 3-4 times a week in the good old way!

Silbs said...

Avital, you reminded me how we saved letters. Some became family treasures and were even passed onto the next generation. Ah, memmories.

Ron said...

That brought back memories! .. The times have changed. Remember the old air mail envolopes?

IowaAdmin said...

And what compelled you to blog about this instead of sending a letter? :)

Capt'n O Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

you got that right!! just read my stupid blog!! :-)

Silbs said...

Thanks for all the good comments. IowaAdmin asks a wonderful question. The answer, of course, is that I could never afford the stamps to mail this out to all who read it. Besides, I am cursed with doctor's handwriting syndrome. I can't even read it.

Silbs said...

The airmail envelopes were just about the coolest thing ever...at the time. Sending a letter e mail was a big deal and, in the dollars of those times, expensive. That was about when a post card was 1 cent!!!!

steve said...

When something is rare its value increases, flood the market and the value goes down.Maybe we should only blog once a month.Nice post.

derrick said...

Doctors these days should show some responsibility and learn proper penmenship. It's sure not like the old days when a professional such as a physician could be judged by the quality of their handwriting. If they can't control a pen how can you trust them to control a scalpel? Ah for the good old days when men where men and a loaf of bread was still just a nickle!

- sorry couldn't help it!

Buncher said...

How about writing about this very subject to Joseph? You haven't blogged to him in awhile.

JohnB said...

hmmmmm . . . . your musings on non-kayak related stuff are drawing more comments than your kayak stuff. At least it shows that people are actually reading your blog and thinking.

I don't all are honest though--Derrick made reference to bread being a nickle--he's not old enough to remember those days. In fact, I don't remember those days, not that I'm not old enough, I just don't remember. I do remember when a coke was a nickle though.

Yes, I still have letters and cards that Oz (my wife those that don't know) sent me when were a courting 35 years ago. No wonder I can't find anything with all that old stuff around. Maybe I'll dig one out and read it to her at dinner Saturday evening while we celebrate our anniversary. . . hmmmm.