Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why Did I Stop?

There was a time when my calendar was full of notations of peoples' birthdays and anniversaries.  Each month I'd send out at least three, if not several more, cards commemorating these special occasions.

And then I stopped.

Why?

Up until the last few years of her life, my mom made a practice of keeping track of birthdays and anniversaries of everyone in our very large extended family plus those of many people she knew.  She wrote out cards and mailed them so they would arrive on each person's special day.  The birthday cards for little people always contained a two dollar bill, back in the days when there were two dollar bills.  I can remember often hearing how much those cards meant to the recipients.  Even to the big people whose cards didn't contain any money!

In my defense, I think I started slacking off on this practice when cards became so darn expensive.  Not much of an excuse when you think of it.

I could have switched to using a piece of paper folded in half with the proper greeting written on the outside and a little note inside.  That would have served the same purpose.  It's the thought that counts, right?

Even now for the people I do send greetings to, it's almost always via e-mail rather than through the U.S. Mail.  But that's just not the same, is it?  Who saves an e-mail in a special box in their bottom drawer the way you would a card or handwritten note?

Note to self:  It's time to re-start this custom of remembering and thinking of folks on special occasions, Mama Pea.  Stop being lazy or falsely blaming it on a small expense.

No, I don't think I'll go back to stalking the card racks in the store, but I am going to start writing little notes so people will know I'm thinking of them.

We are all such a scattered group of family members and friends.  The mobility of our society has put sometimes hundreds, if not thousands, of miles between us and the people we care about.  Keeping a connection strong by the act of taking time to communicate the old-fashioned way on special occasions, using the mail service (or snail mail as we all refer to it now) is something I want to make a real effort to start again.

I know I certainly get a special feeling when I retrieve mail from our mailbox and find an envelope addressed to me with a return address of someone I care for.


Yep, time to fill in those names and dates on the calendar again, put pen to paper, perhaps even make a hokey handmade card, and let people know I'm thinking of them.

27 comments:

Leah said...

I love it! I still get Birthday cards from my grandmother with two dollar bills in them! I always love getting mail! It makes me feel so special that someone took the time to write something out and thought of me! I love this idea! I think I might have to start doing this!

Sue said...

I agree!
It's so nice to get REAL mail. I've started that tradition again myself. And sometimes---I slack, but I do try.
(And I think you and I had the same idea on the same day???) LOL!
Let's see if we all can revive the US Postal service. Lord knows, they could use the help.........

Lisa said...

You brought back a long-ago, forgotten memory as my grandmother, who did not have two pennies to rub together herself, would send her grandchildren a $2 bill for our birthdays. Every start of the new year, I update my calendar with family birthdays and do send birthday cards via snail mail. Agree completely with all your thoughts here. Your landscape is so pretty, your 'homemade' cards would be a treat with your beautiful photographs!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

And then there was the Dollar Tree. I've found that their cards are just as nice as the ones that are 5.00 and 6.00 or more these days. When I'm there I browse the holiday sections too and gather up a fistful of cards for upcoming birthdays of family and friends - and holiday cards for the grandsons (5.00 is usually what I slip into their cards). Then I go home and address the cards - stamp them - and all I have to do is sign and add a note when it is time to mail them. Gotta love the Dollar Tree, especially since there are two of them in our town so I have my pick - north or south.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

It's a great idea making your own notes and cards. People do love receiving mail the old fashioned way.
I do have to agree with you cards are expensive. I would rather make a card out of all the items we have hanging around the house, why not make your own cards instead of spending money.

Susan said...

Can it be that three of us had the same thought on the same day??? Can the Universe hold up under all that amazingness? I love getting non-junk in the mail. I get giddy when I see a real stamp! I would much rather get a card than an email, although you better strike that - I'd be cut off from humanity! Still, such a good idea we all had/have. Why is it that good habits are so hard to hang onto, while we can't get rid of the bad ones?

Mama Pea said...

Leah - I didn't even know $2 bills were available anymore! How neat.

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Yes, we did! In order to revive the US Postal Service though, we may need to reorganize the whole shebang!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Wish I could take credit for the "beautiful photographs" on some of the cards I send out, but they are mostly the work of my daughter . . . whose dream job would be to have the time to hone her photographic skills and market her photos in a big way. I'm proud to say, though, that she has gotten some pretty nice shots in my garden!

Mama Pea said...

JoAnn - We used to have a Dollar Tree store in our closest big town (2-1/2 hours away) but it closed a couple of years ago.

I sure do admire your organization in getting your snail mail cards ready so far ahead of time. Wow!

DFW said...

I totally agree. About the only personal mail I receive anymore are thank you cards. Of course, I'm like you & don't send mail so I can't complain that I don't get any in return.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I can't help but feel a homemade card would mean even more than a store bought one, don't you think? Sure, it takes time, but we need to spend more time doing some of those "old-time" thingies that are more personal and touch heart strings.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - What can I say? Great minds think alike!!

Your comment about good habits versus bad habits? One could write a thesis on that!!

Mama Pea said...

DFW - Gosh, you're lucky to receive thank you cards! That's a pet peeve of mine . . . when I send a gift and receive absolutely no acknowledgement of it. I don't want or expect flowery expressions of thankfulness, but I sure would like to know if it arrive or not!

odiie said...

I've taken hundreds of close up pictures of wild flowers and use these for homemade cards. Just glue one on to a piece of cardstock and viola!
I lose my birthday list almost every year and so forget more than half the birthdays. Thanks for the reminder, hoping to do better this year.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - I had to laugh at your "I lose my birthday list almost every year . . .!" Some things do fall through the cracks when we have busy lives, don't they? :o)

I've seen one of your cards and they are, indeed, lovely. Keep it up!

Sarah said...

My mom is one of those people that has tons and tons of cards. She loves shopping for cards and there is never an occasion that she needs a card for that she doesn't have! She swears that when she dies her friends and family will fight over her card collection!

Sparkless said...

You can simply print out a pretty picture on paper and make it into a card much cheaper than buying a card. If you print it out on card stock it will feel just like a card. I know that there are several stores here that have cards for only $1 so that's pretty affordable. I have no excuse.

Mama Pea said...

Sarah - I think we should all contact your mom and let her know what kinds of cards we need! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - You just reminded me that several years back, I bought some card stock and was glueing (gluing?) pieces of fabric on the front to use as cards. Gosh, I'd forgotten all about that. Thanks!

DFW said...

It's especially grateful when it comes from a special relative. It's also a pet peeve of mine which I have tried to teach my nieces & they have obviousley learned.

mommar6 said...

A homemade card would be so much fun to receive. (if you would like to practice I'll give you my address). Even just a quick not on scratch paper is fun to get in the mailbox. Our dollar tree has a good selection of cards 2 for $1. I just found you and am glad I did. You left a sweet response on someone else's blog and I just had to look you up.

Mama Pea said...

mommar6 - Thank you for your kind words! My daughter makes beautiful photographic cards and I've even made some myself in the past with fabric decorations on the front so I really have no excuse at all . . . except for getting the written note inside! I'm gonna do better in the future . . . promise!

Patricia @ Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

I need to put you into my blog roll...to follow. I've visited here a time or two...after seeing you as a regular at
Pioneer Woman at Heart.
I like the idea of hand written notes and cards and letters... it's a dying art.
I know it makes me smile to get a card from people that remember me (no matter the occasion)
We only got a handful of Christmas cards this year...but I didn't send out any. :/
The cost of a stamp-- is a small price to pay to put a smile on someones face.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Patricia! I've stopped sending out Christmas cards (maybe not the best thing) but have made an effort to drop those on my Christmas card list a note sometime during the year. Maybe it means more then when the season isn't so busy? And you're so right. The people today who never even make a personal phone call . . . it's all texting, texting, texting! Let's do our part to change that, okay?

Leanne said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled across your blog but I'm loving reading about your life and your thoughts.
I don't receive many handwritten cards or letters but I do enjoy writing them. I try to send a few each month. I strive to make these cards by hand with the thousands of dollars of supplies that I have but typically I just use some old stationery or buy a card.
I think you will find a lot of pleasure in letter/card writing.

Mama Pea said...

Leanne - Since I wrote this post I've tried to send out more personal cards and letters. Everyone seems to appreciate them, that's for sure.

I'm betting your handmade cards are lovely. Now get busy and make and send some! ;o}

Thanks very much for reading my posts.