Remember Being Excited When you Got Mail as a Kid?

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Article by Wendy McCance

It’s 12:11am and I can’t sleep.  I was laying in bed thinking about the most off the wall memories from my childhood.  I finally got out of bed when I realized sleep just wasn’t going to occur anytime soon.  I went downstairs, made some toast with blackberry jam and turned on my computer.  After surfing the web for a bit, I figured I’d write a blog about the memories that had been flooding my mind when I was trying to sleep.

I was remembering how much I used to enjoy getting mail as a kid.  Strange thing to think about, but that’s honestly what was on my mind.  I had a friend whose family travelled all around the world because of her father’s job in the air force.  This family had travelled to exotic places like Morocco and lived in the most ordinary places like Kansas.

I met my friend when I lived in Kansas and was in nursery school.  My family became close friends with her family and we stayed in touch for years.  Whenever my friend’s family moved, I was excited because we had become great pen pals.  Letters were always written on the most unusual stationery we could get our hands on.  Back when I was a kid, my friends and I actually collected and traded stationery (it was a big deal back then).

Well, every time I wrote to my friend or vice versa, we would put a little gift into the envelope.  We sent each other scratch and sniff stickers, gum, candy, erasers and tiny gumball machine type toys.  The best gift I ever received was sent in a thick envelope.  My friend had sent me a handmade leather wallet from Morocco.  I cherish those memories.

Along the way, I got hooked on receiving mail and found all sorts of ways to receive letters and packages.  I sent letters to favorite celebrities from my Tiger Beat Magazines and got a few autographed photos back.  I joined the Columbia House Record Club and got something like seven records or tapes (my choice) for a penny.  I then needed to buy just three more records or tapes over the course of a few years to complete the subscription.  I remember when I received that big package of music, I felt like I was on top of the world.  I had all this great new music and the dilemma of what to listen to first.

My introduction with the Columbia House Record Club made way for the various book clubs.  These clubs were based on the same principles as the record club.  I remember choosing risqué books most often.  It was great.  There was no embarrassment buying the books in person at a book store and the package came in a plain box.  I was in my late teens at the time.  My mom never knew and I was a curious teen who wanted more information on boys, love, dating and sex.

Of course I received magazine subscriptions from Teen and Seventeen Magazine.  I got letters from friends at camp or on vacation and I wrote to and received letters from my grandparents.

In some of the magazines, there were offers for free samples of lotion, perfume (my favorite), make-up and hair products.  I was a pro at sending in the offers for the freebies.  Sometimes there would be offers of a package of 3-5 samples from different companies.  As a teenager who was interested in all things girly, but short on cash, these freebies were a ton of fun to receive.

After all of these years, I still get that excited feeling just thinking about all the cool things I got through the mail.  I wish my kids had grown up with that same experience.  Things have gotten so techy these days that I have had days where there is no mail in the mailbox.  Yeah, it’s great when there aren’t bills in the mailbox, but I miss my Hang Ten, Roots and Winkleman’s clothing catalogs.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

9 thoughts on “Remember Being Excited When you Got Mail as a Kid?

  1. Hi Wendy - Wow after reading this I just had to smile. All these commercials on TV showing the Mom and child with the kindle or nook or whatever. I am like what happened to sitting together on the floor and doing a puzzle. That is why i started my new business, and when my 17 year old daughter heard what I was creating she said “I want to be your partner”.
    I met with my web designer the other day and said maybe I am the only one that feels this way about parent and children bonding over good old fashion fun. He laughed and said “do not give up”.
    Anyway I signed up to follow you, as I feel like we may have a lot in common and I would love to get to know you better. How old are your children?
    Thanks for ending my weekend on such a positive note. Just when I think I should give up something makes me change my mind.
    I am just learning how to blog.
    Best Maureen

    • Hi Maureen,
      You really made my day. Hearing such kind words about the articles I post is just incredible. I would love to hear about the business you are putting together. I think you are really going to love blogging. I had never blogged before this blog either. As for the kids, I have 3. 2 in middle school and 1 in high school. All the best! :)

      • You are so welcome and boy have you gotten a lot of blogging awards! Congratulations!
        Thank you for asking about my business. I have always wanted to own my own business but never knew what. I was teaching at Gymboree last year and sitting on the floor with the kids doing puzzles brought back such amazing memories for me. It then all fell into place I wanted to create a mail order experience for both parent and child. From the time they open the mailbox to having the parent hopefully say let me just put aside what i was going to do and spend an hour with my child. I am trying to keep this short - sorry. My daughter is the photographer and we turn her photos into puzzles. Each month is a different theme with educational facts included. If you have a few minutes this video sums it up, would love your feedback???
        Anyway enough about that…it is nice to meet someone online who has a child in High School it seems so many Moms online have children under 10. My daughter is 17 and entering college in the Fall. I want to wish you a wonderful New Year! Maureen

        • I love that you are working on a business with your daughter. That sounds just incredible. I’d love to check out the video. I hope other people on this blog see the link and check it out as well. :)

  2. I was just having this same conversation with someone the other day. Technology has definitely made things quicker, but it also means we’ve lost that joy of “Ooh, I got a letter!” I miss getting handwritten letters… That thrill of something tangible; that thrill of feeling Important; that thrill of knowing someone cared enough or thought you were important enough for them to Sit Down, Get a Writing Utensil, and Write to you. E-mail is just so impersonal, even if the topic is personal. It’s still the same computer font, read on the same white background of the same computer I use every day. No fancy stationery, no colorful ink, no handwriting, no personal flourishes.

    But I DO still get packages — I love getting my Amazon boxes, or books I’ve traded for or bought online. I don’t get letters anymore, but I get a lot of those packages, and every time one comes, I’m happy :)

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