Old-Timey entertainment

I had to double-check the title to make sure that the word “old-timey” doesn’t have any dirty meaning known only to Chimpo. Seems like I am safe for now but you can’t be too sure with him.

Long time ago, before the word “mail” got itself attached to the letter “e”, people wrote letters and exchanged postcards. Even I was in on the pen pal craze writing a couple of letters in broken English to some unfortunate American girl from Minnesota who wasted her parents’ money on a trip to the Soviet Union. Nowadays the post office is dying a slow death surviving only by delivering junk mail and bills. The email is faster, easer, more convenient and free, but one thing that’s being lost is the appreciation of the distances it travels making our world seem smaller and without borders. When an old card or a letter traveled for weeks crossing many countries and continents , it was an event to open a mailbox to find something touched by your friend or a relative and then be every mail person on the way. Email arrives instantly and no one touches it except the government’s supercomputer which makes sure you are not an evildoer. Many Americans grow up to think that the world looks like this. Many studies have been done to show that Americans can’t find other countries and even their own states on the map even if threatened with waterboarding. I always hated geography myself but I can still point out most countries on the map and even the majority of American states, except the little ones in the East, but they don’t count anyway.
Recently I’ve found an interesting website that preserves or, maybe, even resurrects an old hobby of exchanging postcards. Postcrossing.com has 43,693 members in 178 countries who connect through the website to send and receive postcards to each other. After registration you can initially send up to 5 cards to random members and then become eligible to receive up five cards from others. In the first batch my daughter and I mailed cards to Taiwan, Finland, Australia, Netherlands and Germany for a total of 23,344 miles traveled. Some of these arrived in less than 5map.jpgdays. We received messages from all of the recipients thanking us for the cards. Many people post their cards online and one local girl even made a presentation in her club with cards from around the world.
Hopefully, after some time our map of the world will be filled with cards we mailed. So far it looks like this. Again, like many years ago, I run (OK, walk) to the mailbox to see if there is anything there for me, besides bills and pizza coupons. I like the feeling. Try it for yourself.