A few days ago, I got something strange in the mail. It wasn’t the usual bill, credit card application, or plea for charity. Instead, it was an envelope with my name and address on it, hand-written. The return address was also handwritten in the corner. For a split second, I actually thought someone had written me a real, genuine letter. I can’t remember the last time I received a hand-written letter in the mail, one that wasn’t a perfunctory thank you note for a graduation or wedding present.
I miss letters. I grew up in the tail end of the letter era, before the arrival of fax machines and email. I learned to write letters and address envelopes in second grade. Our school participated in a pen pal program, and we all had pen pals with students at an elementary school in Florida. It was exciting to get my very own letter in the mail. The pen pal correspondence didn’t last very long, but I remember it, which counts for something because the only other thing I remember learning about in second grade was rhyming. For a rhyming exercise, I accidentally invented a word that rhymes with luck. My teacher got upset and said that word was already invented. Who knew?
Turns out, the hand addressed envelope did not contain a personalized hand-written letter. Instead, it was a computer-printed letter from a distant neighbor asking me to attend a planning board meeting to oppose the construction of a 90-spot RV park two miles from my house.
These RV parks are popping up faster than fire ant hills around here, and I hate it. I don’t have anything against people who use RVs (other than the fact that they’re all weenies who need to camp in tents like real outdoorsmen) but my main opposition to these RV parks is that they have no business being in areas zoned residential. At least they don’t if words still mean anything. You don’t have to be an English major to realize the root of residential is resident, and a quick check of the dictionary says that a resident is a person who lives somewhere permanently or on a long-term basis.
Anyway, though I was disappointed the actual letter wasn’t hand-written, the letter still did the trick, and I attended to voice my opposition. Thankfully, so did a lot of other people, and the application for the park was denied. It just goes to show how effective a mere hand-addressed envelope can be in an age when nothing is hand written.