Lost Letters (and seeking pen pals)


I love to thumb through old postcards in antique stores.  Not only do I enjoy the vintage art work, but also finding ones with handwriting scribbled across.  A window into a past world, a seemingly simpler place.

Postcards were the equivalent of a text or email.  “Mom says that you should come over for dinner on Thanksgiving.  How is everything?  I am doing good in school.  Love, Carol.”

Letters on crinkled paper from time bundled by ribbon in a hope chest in the attic.  The years of two lovers’ correspondence during the war.  Letters from children.  Letters from friends about what is happening on the farm.

I don’t care to talk on the phone much.  Conversations tend to drag on after awhile.  Awkward silences, trying not to interrupt each other.

I like texts but texts are like a hundred postcards a day.  “Do you need a ride to school tomorrow?”  “Yes, we make a sleep medicine.”  “Who is coming to dinner?”  They carry little emotion.

Emails are alright, but reserved for business more often than not.  I sit in front of the computer to write, to check banking accounts, to check Facebook (another way to keep in touch…though superficially) once or twice a day.


When I was a child, I had pen pals.  Remember pen pals?  I wrote to a young girl in Italy.  I wrote to a young man in Texas (and I mean young, I think we were eleven).  I enjoyed years of correspondence with a girl in Uganda.  I wrote to my best friend in Boise.  Once I grew up, these letters dissipated until the mailbox was empty.

Doug and I started sponsoring children and eagerly awaited their quarterly letters on how they were doing.  But, those were shallow as well.  After all, six year olds in Africa only have so much to say.

So, I check the mail and see the few bills I don’t pay online.  Look for magazines to inspire me.  Throw out the ads.  Does anyone else miss the anticipation of opening the mailbox?  Hoping for a letter from a friend?  To prepare a cup of tea and sit in one’s favorite chair before carefully opening the envelope to see what is happening in a different place?  Handwriting speaking its own messages as well.  To pen a response, lick the envelope, and happily adhere a stamp to it then send it on its way across the land to be read on another homestead.

I do.  Would anyone like to correspond through stationary and pen?  Send to Mrs. Katie Sanders, P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, Colorado 80107.  I will respond.  We are all much too busy in this day and age.  To sit and pen a letter or to open and read one would send us to that place in time where housewives corresponded through letters.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Catherine says:

    I love this! I just discovered old postcards last summer at a vintage shop – I use them as bookmarks and they make reading so enjoyable. I always had penpals growing up, young girls around America whom I’d met through friends. It was so much fun, sharing our lives, opening the mailbox. Now I write to a friend in Switzerland, and while they are few and far between, writing and receiving those letters are highlights of my life. I’d love to add a penpal from Colorado! 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I use the old postcards as book marks too! And to decorate the piano seasonally Look forward to your letter!

  2. J.D. McLaughlin says:

    Love this! I used to do it all the time with friends I’d met on the Internet (back when I was 15? 16? 17?) and we loved it. Somente, we stopped. Expect one from Maryland soon 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Looking forward to it!

  3. What a beautifully charming idea!! 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Been thinking of it for some time!

  4. debweeks says:

    What a wonderful idea!

    I had a pen pal in Belgium when I was young. I dreamt of the day I would be old enough to hop on a plane and fly over to Antwerp to meet her. Instead, we got older and lost touch. From time-to-time I think of her and hope she’s doing well.

    And yes, I miss the excitement of receiving letters in the mail.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I always dreamed of meeting my various pen pals too. My great-grandma was the only one I ever saw in person. I do hope I receive some letters! I miss it! And then I will dream of visiting my new friends again.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Mrs. Katie, I too an a letter person and would love to send you a letter. It does seem such a simple gesture now days with al the technology we have at our fingertips. There is just something about taking a few moments out of the day to pen a few words to a dear friend or pen pal. I become a giddy school girl when I have letters arrive in the mail. It is odd, but I love listening to the paper of the envelope as it tears to reveal the treasure within!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I looking forward to your letter!

  6. Mark Pearce says:

    This brings a smile to my face. Like hearing an old, forgotten song, and suddenly you’re transported back to that moment in time. I have a weathered cigar box filled with letters and postcards I received from friends I made around the country in the days when I was taking cross-country road trips for my plays. A number of these people I’m still in touch with, through emails, Facebook, etc.—but there’s nothing like that thrill of anticipation when a letter would arrive in the mail, and I’d read the return address, and see it was from Becky in Vermont, or Gordon in Richmond, or Dayna in L.A. And those letters are cherished memories, and reminders of those moments in time. I think I’ll pull out that old cigar box tonight. Thank you, Mrs. Katie. I may even write you a letter.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Please do! I look forward to it!

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