Friday, September 30, 2011

Postcards from the Sand


As a kid one of our first missions while on a family vacation was to find post cards, buy stamps, and get them written and in the mail so they would arrive to friends and family before we got home. Admittedly, it was exciting and fun to find just the right post card for each person.
I haven't sent a post card since 1993.
When my parents take a trip, now we get the post cards. They are beautiful and the notes are simple: having a great time, playing lots of golf, weather is beautiful, went into a pub and thought of you. Things like that. The art of the postcard is totally lost on my children. They have no understanding of the searching, the writing, and the mailing of that 4" x 6" piece of paper.
Because of technology, we take pictures and can send them immediately by phone or computer to anyone who wants to see them. We can make a call from anywhere to the grandparents and tell them all about the fun things we are doing on vacation right then and there. Went to the beach, had some ice cream, ate at a great restaurant and thought of you. Why wait or try to stuff it all into a small post card?
And then I wonder. 
Our vacation is over. My kids didn't call their grandparents and the pictures I took are still sitting on my camera, not yet uploaded and placed into an online album. Has the art (and fun) of the postcard gone by the wayside? Do people still even buy them?
Like so many other things, I love technology but wonder: will my kids know how to write a post card? How to write a sympathy note? How to write a written response to a wedding invitation, if someone (other than yours truly) were to ever do such a thing? They will, I suppose, but only if I teach them.
Change is good, there is no doubt of that, but in a time when emailing is "easier and faster", yet can be easily misread and misinterpreted, should we go back to "sending postcards?" It would mean choosing words carefully, really thinking about what we are saying, finding just the right photo, and actually buying postcard stamps. In a fast paced world where thoughts are shared in milliseconds, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea to take the time to send a post card from the sand. Perhaps I'll try it next time.

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