Yesterday was the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express. I know this because Google Doodles (those thought-provoking sketches above the search box) featured it. It made me think of all the letters I wrote in my younger years and how my kids probably aren’t going to have that experience.
Communication is almost instantaneous these days. It took weeks to get a letter from a friend when I was eight (my son’s age). I grew up in Louisville, KY and had pen pals from Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland and other smaller cities. As a special treat, my Mom would let me make a long distance call once or twice a year. Those letters were my treasures. I valued them more than anything else. In fact, I still have most of them in an old, faded blue gift box.
The Pony Express Google Doodle also made me think about how it took my son two months to write thank you notes for birthday presents. He struggles with impulsivity and the thought of sitting down to write a letter was, according to him, akin to torture (he’s read too many books about World War II). After numerous threats and bribes, we got through it, but I had to address the envelopes for him.
I’m as guilty as he is of wanting instant communication. I get irritated when my husband doesn’t answer his cell phone or respond to texts right away. If someone takes more than an hour to respond to a text, I worry if I’ve offended them. I’ve lost the ability to be patient. My son has never had that skill. I’m hoping he will develop it. And I’m thinking that finding him an old-fashioned pen pal via USPS might be a good exercise in patience.