World War II was in full swing by the time I was old enough to sit up and take notice. I recall only potions of the graphics published in Look and Life magazines, and the Saturday night newsreels shown after Pledge of Allegiance at our Fisk Theater.
Four of my uncles were serving, all in the army, and we had four stars showing in our front window. Without fail, my mother wrote weekly letters to each – using cursive (printing had been abandoned alone with the first grade). Soldier Mail may be the source of Pen Palling. I was busy with a family, a job, and a mortgage, so I didn’t notice if she switched to Pen Palling then, or if she simply kept her foot in the door throughout her working life. It’s isn’t like the sounds of a blacksmith – the ring of a hammer striking an anvil. It was merely the scratch of a fountain pen on paper. A quiet endeavor easily unnoticed by the passerby.
Therefore, I’d forgotten about Pen Pals until my father passed and we moved Mom in with us. I was astonished how many of these pen pals she had going – round robins, handkerchief exchanges, doilies exchanges–. She gleaned a world of satisfaction from it. I recall her argument with the postal clerk when he told her that her letter to a school teacher whose address was Atlantic Ocean “will never get there,” he said. “But this one came to me,” she snapped, whipping out a letter from from her purse that was written by this woman and mailed from the ATLANTIC OCEAN. The clerk said no more. Instead, he affixed the correct postage and then set his gaze on the person behind her.
She kept a constant flow of cursive-written letters coming and going until her fingers forced her to an electric typewriter keyboard and two-finger typing.
Recently, these memories have grown more intense, as has the possibility of my using snail mail. Since she is no longer here to answer my questions, I turned to Google and pen companies. From these sources I discovered Mail Tag, Pocket Letters, Bullet Journals, and two or three others I can’t name, all of them relying on the postal service, or snail mail as the email fans choose to identify such an endeavor.
In my opinion, this is a worthwhile hobby.
Anyone care to add any thoughts?