Two friends here, Gail and Susie, each reminded me (separately, in totally different ways) of the value of snail mail. I will admit. I love it. As a writer, a lover of words, paper, pens, communication, and written expression, personal snail mail is more valuable to me than any expensive gift. I love stationery, wax seals, calligraphy, the lost art of cursive hand writing or even better, calligraphy. To further support this, I offer that I am a huge fan of Nick Bantock and his epistolary series of books known as The Griffin and Sabine trilogy. (If you have not read, you simply must).
Susie’s reference to snail mail and Gail’s real snail mail (thank you Gail!) reminded me how badly, in early reunion, I wanted my daughter to mail me something. I wanted to touch something she touched. I wanted to see her writing. I wanted a physical object, no matter how small in value from her.
It never came. She once alluded to considering sending me her senior high school portrait, but alas, she never did. I still find myself musing over the dream of getting something from her in the mail.
The term snail mail is a dysphemistic retronym. For the less word nerdy among you I will say it is a term that is used somewhat negatively to refer to the old form of mail or communication (versus the quicker more electronic versions of email, Facebook, etc.). You know, the United States Postal Service?
While I fully embrace modern technology, there is something huge to be said for the good old tangible stuff you can feel, smell, touch and inspect (and maybe even spray with perfume and kiss with your own lipstick). In pondering snail mail as it relates to adoption reunion, I found myself reflecting on an unrealized dream I had in early reunion…sharing a circle journey book with my daughter. If I couldn’t meet her, oh how I would have welcomed something that came from her, had touched her.
A circle journey book or journal is a book that is created and maintained for a variety of reasons. Families may pass one back and forth to each member who writes something on each page. Good friends may do so to build on their friendships with each other. The book goes back and forth between two people, or it may be sent around to members of a community or family. In my case, I envisioned it being sent back and forth between my daughter and me in lieu of meeting. Since she is a writer and a collage artist, I thought it would be a wonderful fun way to share with each other. Similar to scrapbook, the parties can write words, paste stickers, photos, personal mementos, or illustrate the book. You fill out your page or two and send it to the other party. They do the same and return it to you. The cycle (or circle) continues until the book is full.
I am sharing this here as I still believe it is a wonderful idea. Perhaps someone else, yet to be reunited (or maybe currently in reunion but struggling through things) might want to consider a circle journal. Sometimes pictures, drawings, cutouts from a magazine can say far more than an email or letter. Imagine the valuable artifact you have upon completion! What a piece of your history!
Below are a few links I found that explain the books and process in a bit more detail.
In closing, if any of my readers are fans of snail mail, send me a message with your address. I would love to mail you a surprise gift, card, quote or paper smile, just like my friend Gail mailed me this week.