How to Send a Letter?

In Morocco a lot of people don't use snail mail never. Therefore some people even don't know the address of their house. This is normal, and not just in little villages, but in the city (some of my neighbours, for instance!). Nowadays the service is like most postal services in Europe (well, a lost letter from time to time...). However, most people maybe have kept a image of the past, when service wasn't all but reliable. And, of course, for some people is just too expensive.

In Spain people in general don't use snail mail for personal communication any more. I mean, in general. But it never had occurred to me that there is a generation who doesn't know how it works, that writing and sending a letter isn't a basic skill any more.

Central Post Office in Barcelona
Picture by William Avery

One day I was in the queue of the main post office in Barcelona and before me two girls around 20 asked to the post office worker how to send a letter to Cuba. They seemed amused with the idea of communicate through snail mail for the first time.

The postmistress thought they were asking about the fees. But not: the girls really wanted to know how. The astonished woman explained to them that they needed an envelope, a stamp, the complete address of the receiver... It was strange to me discover that those youngsters have never sent a letter or a postcard in their lives. And more sad: they have never received a handwritten piece of mail.

I am not sure if the letter was finally sent. The faces of the girls were worried, as if all these steps were too complicated. 

14 comments:

  1. Anonymous21.11.14

    OMG, what would I have missed if I did not know how to write and send letters....poor girl!
    EvaJ

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    1. I thought the same. But anyway, we can't miss what we don't know, can we?

      I'm writing a letter for you today :D

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  2. Agggg I had written so much and it is deleted now :((((((

    I learnt how to write a postcard at school. My teacher managed to ask us to send her a letter or a postcard. It was very fun. Some years later I received a postcard from my homerown. It was from my godson, who had done a similar exercise at school and he chose to write me.

    After the first experience I always sent a postcard to my grandparents when we were in Peníscola (every Summer for three years). :)

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    1. We did the same in the school. It was a big problem, because I didn't know anyone living far away... Finally I sent the postcard to a classmate (she used to spend the week-ends in another village).
      I'm not sure, but maybe I got hooked in that very moment!

      You have to tell me more about those three summers!

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    2. I remember a lot of things: the castle, the boat, the story of Papa Luna, the souvenirs, the attractions (cavallets!), the sand sculptures and the puppets (les titelles del passeig!). Two Summers ago I went there with Jordi and there were still puppets performances (they haven't changed a lot!).

      També recordo a la fira una parada on et feien unes dibuixos amb pintura. L'abocaven en unes rodes i quedava una pintura abstracta que a mi m'enxisava!

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    3. No, no és que ho hagen canviat molt: són exactament les mateixes persones repetint exactament els mateixos quatre guions. Els vaig "patir" amb el meu fillol que ara té 23 anys, i després amb les nebodes (que are en tenen 9). Vindrà el dia del judici final i els seguiran amb els seus quatre contes... :(

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    4. hahaha però jo no havia vist res semblant a Tortosa i m'encantaven :D ara bé, no m'esperava que encara fossin els mateixos! la inversió els ha degut sortir bé!

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    5. I tant! Però com que sempre els he vist amb els ulls de l'adult (són una parella; argentins, em sembla), sempre he pensat que tenien molt mala llet amb els xiquets. En fi, és pura enveja... Ja voldria jo que se m'acudís una idea de negoci que durés tants anys! :P

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  3. Sadly (for my aching bones) it was all we had when I was young apart from the telephone which was very expensive to use and calls to my uncle abroad were limited to one a year - at Christmas.
    My children are old enough to have been taught to send postcards every holiday since they were young (and wrote to me regularly when they were at university). I think the handwritten word means so much more.
    But it is interesting that a lot of businesses don't have contact details for the written word. it is so unusual that the other day I actually told my wife 'Oh look, Nationwide have a correspondence address as well as e-mail and phone'.

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    1. I think in the UK you used (and still use) more the traditional mail than in Spain. I never was told to write a "thank you" letter as a child for instance. The people I knew never wrote letters... However, I'm a snail mail lover! :)

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  4. I am sooo old I learnt letterwriting early on ... actually I got a letter when I was 8, from a girl who moved & left my school. I got hooked! That was in the 70s.

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    1. What do you mean? That I'am also sooo old? ;)

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  5. Tea & Letters24.11.14

    Haha, I don't know how old you are! :-) I'm 44 and sometimes I feel like a granny talking about that famous old times.

    By the way, I also think it's to do with examples kids see: My mum introduced me to letters (and even had me place an ad in a kids newspaper, nobody would do that today I guess for privacy) & my teachers also encouraged us to write letters to use our foreign language. I even tried at french for a while but I could never express myself well enough to really discuss something in letters. In class, only few really got into letterwriting, but later I also had work colleagues who said "oh is this a penpal letter in your hand? I also write to ...."

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    1. I think writing letters is becoming fashionable again. Well, we should distinguish between "snail mail" and "writing letters", but this is a different matter. As far as I'm concerned, I've never stopped writing letters, so I can see that it's "a way of life". I'll be 40 in some weeks, so here I am: writing letters in my old age... ;-)

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