Author Topic: Sad state of affairs?  (Read 9101 times)

Offline Erica McPhee

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Sad state of affairs?
« on: August 09, 2015, 10:08:17 PM »
I was at one of my favorite places yesterday. Of course, I'm speaking of the post office. Three young teens (around 16 or so as one was a driver) came in behind me. The postal lady that helps people in line came over and asked if they needed help. One boy held out a form and said, "I need to send this piece of paper to NY. How do I do that?"

Call me old fashioned, but I think that is sad. I began writing letters to my grandparents and great aunt around 3rd grade. We corresponded for over three decades. I suppose email has replaced that these days. But there is nothing like digging out one of those old letters, seeing their handwriting, and reading a memory from a sunny summer day in Maine.
Truly, Erica
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Offline ExtrasbyAlaina

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2015, 10:13:27 PM »
Such a bummer. That's like when my students ask me what time it is because they can't read a clock! Oy. I do have hope though, and find comfort in this: The casual convenience of email makes each letter we send all the more important.

Offline Jamie

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2015, 10:22:09 PM »
Wow. That made me go wide eyed. I'm only 22 but I was definitely taught how to address and send letters at some point during elementary. I didn't do a lot of letter writing when I was younger, and certainly not to any relatives, but still,  I knew how.

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 02:44:35 AM »
That IS sad! But I believe that this guy must've been a particularly stupid individual if he's never heard of how to send something in the mail ... ::)

Here, kids learn how to send letters in primary school. Also, how and where to properly write the address and stuff! Kid 1 had a test on that in school last year.

@Alaina: Aaaargl! KIDS! Kid 1 sucks at reading a clock. It drives me mad. They taught it in school, we taught it to him, but he refuses to do it. Says he doesn't need it, since there are digital clocks. I believe he is particularly stupid that way, like the guy in the post office :P but at least he's only 9 ...
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Offline Inked botanicals

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2015, 06:44:19 AM »
Well, maybe he knew hoy to do it in theory, but had never done it so he was asking to be sure. That happened to me as well. As a child I wrote a lot of letters to my friends, of course I know how to write an address and everything. But when I started with exchanges so much time had pass since my last letter as a child, so I had to ask at the post office just to be sure they had not changed the system. I felt a bit stupid asking questions as "do stamps still exists? Where can I buy them? The yellow mailboxes in the street still work or what do I need to do with my letter for it to get sent?" But better seem stupid for a moment than doing it all wrong. Right?
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Offline rgricks

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2015, 09:41:11 AM »
As any good southern girl would, I grew up being required to write thank-you notes to friends and family for every gift giving occasion, and so I learned as a very young child to write a letter, address it, and affix a stamp. (this practice has really benefitted me over the years, since family members would know that if they didn't receive a thank-you note, that it meant that I didn't receive the gift, and many times they would send another and I would indeed get the birthday gift). It is so strange to me that a 16 year old would not know how to address and send a letter! But in all honesty, it probably took some guts to admit he didn't know how and ask how to do a task like that. Kudos to him for learning how to do such an important life skill!
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2015, 12:37:54 PM »
I think this says more about our educational system than it does about the young man trying to send mail. Well, both actually since one can make it to adulthood now without ever actually *having* to mail something. But you can't fault him since he hasn't had to do it. My sadness is in the lost art of sending letters which was such a source of joy for me as a child and continues to be as a source of memories of those who have passed on.

This was taught when my son was in elementary and sadly just 3 years ago, it was taught incorrectly. The example used the abbreviations Conn. and Mass. for mailing instead of the standard 2 initials and had the improper address format. I corrected it and sent it in with the postal regulations and the teacher just responded, "didn't know this had changed - we just used the standard handout." Um, it changed like a decade or more ago. [sigh]

Alba, I completely understand where you are coming from and applaud you for checking how it is done now. Educating yourself is one of the highest signs of intelligence, not stupidity.  ;)  ;D
Truly, Erica
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Offline Blotbot

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2015, 01:21:22 PM »
Do not despair!  I think he was just making a teenaged wisecrack (joke)! 

Offline RyanR

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2015, 06:29:19 PM »
I remember learning about how to address an envelope in elementry school (it wasn't that long ago -- I'm only in my mid 20s  :D). It was such a big deal, that and learning how to properly write a check. I imagine kids currently in elementary school probably won't learn how to address an envelope or write a check. I suppose it's similar to me never learning to type on a typewriter but rather a computer keyboard. It's amazing how much things have changed since attending in the mid 90s... Actually, it's amazing how much it's changed since the mid 2000s...

I guess times change and technology allows us to communicate quicker, but I hope that the US Postal Service does not go the way of the Dodo. I have too many "Forever" stamps  ;D

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2015, 06:44:17 PM »
As any good southern girl would, I grew up being required to write thank-you notes to friends and family for every gift giving occasion...

YES! Exactly! My children did/do as well.  :)
Truly, Erica
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2015, 07:08:35 PM »
I suppose it's similar to me never learning to type on a typewriter but rather a computer keyboard.

Haha!  I learned to type on a big Remington accounts machine - you didn't half have to whack the keys ... and I still remember getting my fingers caught between them too.  Your analogy strikes me as particularly apt.  Some people still like to use manual typewriters (hello, Miss Scarlet!  :)  ) and the results do have a certain charm, but it takes some time and effort.  Likewise with written communication: for speed and economy you really can't argue with email, but it lacks the personal touch even if  you're enough of a fogey to compose your messages exactly as you would a letter, like me.  I'd hate to see letter writing die out of course, but from the point of view of a sixteen year old it must look terribly quaint and anachronistic.

Oh, incidentally, I was taught how to use a slide rule at school.  ;)

Offline Milonguera

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2015, 09:09:47 PM »
I suppose it's similar to me never learning to type on a typewriter but rather a computer keyboard.

Haha!  I learned to type on a big Remington accounts machine - you didn't half have to whack the keys ... and I still remember getting my fingers caught between them too.  Your analogy strikes me as particularly apt.  Some people still like to use manual typewriters (hello, Miss Scarlet!  :)  ) and the results do have a certain charm, but it takes some time and effort.  Likewise with written communication: for speed and economy you really can't argue with email, but it lacks the personal touch even if  you're enough of a fogey to compose your messages exactly as you would a letter, like me.  I'd hate to see letter writing die out of course, but from the point of view of a sixteen year old it must look terribly quaint and anachronistic.

Oh, incidentally, I was taught how to use a slide rule at school.  ;)

I am not sure what to say about the kid at the post office other than being very glad that there are young people in this community who are interested in preserving or really, resurrecting the art of letter writing.  I hope it catches on.  Has anyone thought about or tried to offer classes to kids, at either schools or community centers, to address this, now old, form of communication?  I've thought about doing it but thinking is as far as it's gone. 

But Wow!!  I hadn't thought about the old Underwood typewriter that I learned to type on in years.  Thanks for that memory jolt, Andy!  I remember when the IBM Selectrics came out and it took what felt like an eternity before I was able to experience one of them.  And then came word processing...
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 12:47:50 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Suzie L

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2015, 10:38:25 PM »
The art of writing thank you cards is definitely dying out. Over the past year, I've sent wedding gifts, baby gifts, and friends' children's birthday gifts and received thank yous via email or no thank you at all. I thought it was common knowledge that wedding gifts, at least, deserve a thank you card, but apparently that knowledge is not universal. I thought maybe sending a lot of thank you cards to others for their gifts and services would rub off, but it hasn't seemed to rub off in the least. It seems that the only people who really write thank you cards are those whose parents or other family members taught and encouraged them to do so when they were young (though in my case, my parents didn't teach me how to do it, so somewhere along the way I happened to pick it up from someone...I wonder who?)

Has anyone read this book? It's about a guy who wrote 365 thank yous to people in his life during the course of a little more than a year. Quick and easy read and I liked it because I like writing and receiving thank you cards!

[Click on the image to see on Amazon.]

Suzie
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 12:58:20 PM by Erica McPhee »

Offline sybillevz

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2015, 06:38:27 AM »
I'm sure he wanted to look cool in front of his friends... ;D
My niece is 19 and she asked me why I bothered to learn calligraphy, as it is absolutely useless (hand lettering is cool though)... ! Well, she's still happy to get letters once in a while.
It makes me kind of sad to see the way old traditions disappear and many people are happy about it. But I understand.
My parents taught me to reply to invitations by writing a note in the 3d person and thank you notes to the people who invited us, gave gifts,... I HATED IT ! So I'm glad I can just write an e-mail instead !
There's one thing I'm sure of, though :
Handwriting is fading but it will never die.

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Re: Sad state of affairs?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2015, 08:41:47 AM »
Just wanted to contribute to this one.

  Erica - my daughter has an almost 3 year old son and she and/or her husband write out the thank you notes for his birthday and Christmas gifts, but this past year, our grandson was given a crayon and made marks on the thank you note, plus added colorful stickers.  So, I guess once that is done as a matter of course, it sticks!!!
 
   Suzie L - a friend's son got married last fall and we received a lovely thank you note with many photos from the wedding in collage form on the outside of the card.  I think it was sent before the one year deadline, too!  :)

  As for using a typewriter - oh, man, I remember those days BEFORE electric typewriters (I know, I'm ancient!).   ;D

  Both my daughters, plus friends and relatives, LOVE getting handwritten (read that "calligraphed") envelopes and notes, so I guess all is not lost?  haha
 
    Happy Lettering to all!
         Agnes