• Kimberly

    Had the same feeling when I had to show my oldest daughter that! Is that Telly Savalas? He has a big head. or had, is he still alive?

  • Weirda

    That’s awesome. I wouldn’t expect a 9-year-old to know how to address and envelope. I would, however, expect an adult to know, and the couple of times I have seen one not know what to do at the post office astounded me to no end. The persons appeared to be recent immigrants, so, to be fair, I don’t know what conditions they came from, but it still astounds me. Just seems like something someone would learn in the same vein of, if you know how to obtain a mobile phone, you should know how to address a letter. And don’t you get letters delivered to you ever? Ever notice what they look like?

  • sarah

    I was shocked at the Fresh Prince episode where he uses a cell phone. those brick cell phones were pretty serious!

  • KathyB

    Love that Leta is sending a letter to her friend. My mother loved to send newspaper clippings in her letters to me. I liked using note cards with pictures she would like on the front. My daughter, who is your age, Heather, writes thank you notes and sometimes sends cards. With stickers on them.

  • Amy

    FYI, different countries have different conventions of how to write an address on an envelope, so regardless of the “conditions” in their home country, recent newcomers might need a refresher on how it’s done.

  • Courtney K.

    I had to write a check a while back, and had to think about it really hard; I couldn’t remember how to fill out part of it. Thank you, auto-pay.

  • Amy

    My brain read the title of the post as “A Rapidly Farting Aidform” and I didn’t bat an eye, because this is farts. I mean, Dooce.

  • LukePF

    I’m having such fun imagining that the letter was a thank-you note to Peter Frampton for the bow and arrow. Maybe handwritten thank-you notes could be the next Old-People Lifeskills & Etiquette lesson?

  • Necole

    When I tell my daughters that there was no internet when I went to college, they gasp. They are confused to how I looked anything up.

  • DenyseP

    Oh em gee! That is SO NOT Telly Savalas!!! Seriously?

  • Heidi

    Artform it is! I sent my grandmother and parents Valentine’s cards today. It wasn’t completely unselfish because I know that when I send anything by mail to my grandmother, she always returns the favor. Her return letters come a week later, written in her beautiful, delicate cursive writing, carefully written, carefully stamped. At 86 years old, I treasure her letters and always keep them with my other precious things. It’s something about the handwriting… it’s a piece of a person, I think…

  • Heidi

    My grandmother is 86 years old; not me.

  • periwinkled

    I brought a Polaroid 600 camera to the beach one year, and my young cousin and I got busy taking photos of things one afternoon (this was before you had to sacrifice your firstborn to get your hands on 600 film, so I had plenty). When I was explaining to her how it worked (push button, get photo), she stopped me mid-sentence to exclaim, “You mean, you don’t even have to plug it into the computer??” And suddenly Polaroid was the cutting edge of technology and efficiency.

  • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

    My four year old still calls letters in our mailbox “e-mail.” Fuckin’ kids. Also, I still write one check every month because landlords are all over 60 years old and don’t accept Paypal, and I just decided last month that I’m no longer using cursive on them. Why’d we have to use cursive on checks in the first place? Whenever there’s a machine-printed check such as a paycheck or tax refund, it’s all in OCR-friendly monotype.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rmorey Richard Morey

    I remember learning about writing letters, addressing envelopes, etc. in grade school English but I don’t remember what grade. We also learned how to fill out checks in math class but again I don’t remember what grade that was.

  • americanrecluse

    I have no idea why I loved this post so much. Probably similar to why you liked helping her with this so much. Showing her how to lift the flag and explaining how that bit worked just gave me the warm fuzzies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amber.robidoux Amber Robidoux

    THIS is why I do hand written cards with my kiddos… after birthday parties or just because. (They are 3 and 5 years old.)

  • http://kristanhoffman.com/ Kristan

    My best friend and I started passing notes in high school. Now we live hundreds of miles apart, but we still handwrite our most intimate correspondence. (Yes, email is easier for the daily whatevers.) :)

    I also love sending random cards and postcards to people. Yes, electronic writing is the more “valuable” skill, but handwriting is more personal, and I hope that it never goes away completely.

  • abby536

    If there’s no lollipop it’s not Kojak.

  • abby536

    I never learned. The first check I wrote in my campus bookstore was a mess.

    I had to initial all over it. That’s something I’d seen my Mom do but somehow we never reviewed the specifics of how to avoid making a hash of it in the first place.

  • MarilynInTheUK

    Please don’t tar all of us over 60 year olds with the same brush. We’re not all technophobes. And some of us even welcome technology into our homes. Having said that, one of my good friends who is twenty years younger than me absolutely hates all modern technology and wouldn’t have a clue what you meant if you said ‘paypal’ to her. Doesn’t even own a computer. Can’t use her cell phone properly and loses it on purpose. So please bear in mind, some of us still have our wits and our intelligence about us. And will have for a long time yet. God willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

  • MarilynInTheUK

    I think they should still teach letter writing the snailmail way in schools. The way I first learned was by my teacher suggesting that we had penpals, kids in another country that we could write to. We, enthusiastic 10 year olds, all loved the idea. And for one English lesson per week, we all wrote letters to our foreign penpals. They wrote back to us. It’s a fantastic way for kids to learn about other cultures. And it IS exciting to receive letters through the post. Whatever age you are!

  • http://www.tokenblogger.com ɯoɔ˙ɹǝƃƃolquǝʞoʇ

    I can’t believe I finally found the comment section!

    I had pen friends in France and England when I was growing up, plus my friend and I wrote to each other nearly every day (we had moved away).

    Blogging reminds me of pen friends. Probably why I enjoy it so.

  • MarilynInTheUK

    NO it is NOT Telly Savalas and sadly NO he is not still alive. (You could check the internet for the real Telly Savalas… As DenyseP said, ‘Seriously?’!!

  • Apache

    Recently realized my kinda smart 15 year old didn’t know how to read a clock with hands. I told him how I used to watch the hands move while sitting in church. He couldn’t relate to either of those things.

  • Neasa

    I have just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which is a beautifully story told through letters written to and from the narrator. The art of letter writing should never die. Delighted Leta is giving it a go… I hope her friend writes back. If not, I will!

  • amanda

    Welp. That just made me cry. WTF.

  • Arnebya

    My 9 yr old recently sent a letter to a friend who lives a good 7 minutes away and I treasured that moment. That she can pick up the phone or text via her iPod Touch but she opted to put something in writing, a handwritten “I miss you” note (again, seven damn minutes, y’all; we could walk to her house, knock on the door and say “Sup? I was missin’ you.”) I love that our kids are still open to some of the ways we communicated and willing to keep it going. Now I just have to remember not to mail shit after August and expect it to be delivered on a Saturday. WTF USPS?

  • Anny

    I’m 24 and I write letters because I like it, sometimes when I sit at work, co-workers not many years younger than me come up to me wondering what I’m doing with paper and a fountain pen. One of them actually admitted to never having written a paper letter in her life. I fear for the next generations, it feels like the art of hand-writing is dying and it makes me sad.

  • Amelia

    Err… while Leta sounds like a wonderfully thoughtful and kind child (the way she stands up for other kids! the way she loves Marlo!), my first reaction to this story (because I am an old curmudgeon with Opinions about Etiquette) was “wait a minute, does this mean the child’s never sent a thank you note? HOW CAN THAT BE?”

  • anoldkazoo

    I’m surprised they don’t teach it in schools over there anymore. But then I teach in England…where the education system is fairly Victorian still! We not only teach letter writing, but my classes all have penpals. Maybe that’s just my preference…I’m just old school that way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesuiseval Valerie Hogervorst

    Yesterday my 12 year old daughter came to the post office with me and my 27 baby shower invites to get stamps and I handed her half of them and some stamps and told her to get to work and she didn’t even know what to do with them!!! PREPOSTEROUS! They don’t even teach THAT in school anymore, apparently. It’s like she’s never seen snail mail or something! She GETS mail, for Christ’s sake! How does she not know. Now she knows.

  • maxg

    So cute! My kids’ school does teach the whole letter writing and envelope format in 3rd grade. Isn’t that where Leta is? Maybe they just haven’t gotten to it yet, and now she will be ahead of the game!
    And I am the type of mom who still makes her kids write formal thank you notes which are mailed for gifts they receive. So old fashioned!

  • http://twitter.com/heyjessicabates Jessica Bates

    I wrote a letter to my long-distance friend yesterday. I could have written an email, but, you know, gag. And I was surprised that halfway through my letter my hand cramped and I had to take a break! I write for a LIVING, for God’s sake (from a computer, yeah), but I couldn’t sit still long enough to write one damned letter. There’s something so satisfying though about walking to the mailbox and flipping up that cute flag. And it’s even better receiving something in your own mailbox that isn’t junk mail or your property tax bill.

    My sister and I recently found a box that belonged to our late grandfather. There were letters from him to his family written from France during WWII. God! Letters are amazing! They yellow and the paper gets thinner and flimsy, but I hold in my hand something that travelled from France to Tennessee! And it’s pure poetry. He ended every letter in “So bye, bye, bye.” Anyway, thanks for promoting old fashioned letter-writing.

    Go, Leta!

  • Jeanne

    I work in a school… I think at some point during
    the year, some of the older kids (5th grade?) write a letter to someone
    requesting information. Since I’m not a teacher, I’m not sure if that’s
    the only time they write a letter. I do know that their spelling and
    penmanship are abysmal and there is nobody teaching handwriting. All of their spelling work is done on the computer.

    I
    have a granddaughter, age 4 1/2. She lives 5 blocks away. I see her
    once a week for sure, sometimes briefly one other time in the week. I
    send her a postcard EVERY week. At some point I hope her parents will
    show her how to send one back, but if they don’t, I will, when she
    learns more about how to read and write.
    So
    if you know a child, or know a teacher, you could send them a letter or
    card and start a pen-pal relationship. If I had no kids in my life, I’d
    find some elementary school teacher or better yet, a home school
    family, and “adopt” them and send them mail. I think homeschoolers “get”
    this better than public school teachers, who are more hampered by their
    curriculum regulations.

  • Jeanne

    sorry for the weird formatting.

  • http://twitter.com/jenwilsonca Jen Wilson

    My then-ten-year-old discovered some old children’s tapes of mine (Adventures in Odyssey) and wanted to listen to them. I taught her how to rewind them, and how to flip them over when one side is done so she could listen to the other side. An hour or so later, I heard a lot of rewinding. Then I heard her flip the tape over followed by more rewinding sounds. WTF? I went to see what she was doing, and she said to me, “I came to the end of the tape, so I rewound both sides so I could listen to it again!”

  • Jackie Bragale

    I can’t wait till my kids are older and I can show them all the crazy things I had as a kid [or didn't have]. It makes me giddy in sorta of a weird way.

  • Peever

    I love how this comes down to teachers not teaching something in schools. Before you know it we will need to also teach children how to trim their fingernails, apply a bandaid, wipe their bum properly… What? He can’t wipe his bum? I am shocked that they don’t teach that in schools anymore!!! What a great example of the partnership that parents have in the education of their children.

  • http://twitter.com/dampscribbler dampscribbler

    It’s possible that Heather has done all of the envelope addressing for thank-you notes. :)

  • http://twitter.com/dampscribbler dampscribbler

    I’m so old that when I look at a digital clock I have to translate it in my imagination to a clock with hands to figure out what time it is.

  • http://twitter.com/dampscribbler dampscribbler

    Wow, what’s with people harshin on the girl who doesn’t know Telly Savalas? I’m over 40 and could have made that mistake.

  • Linda

    Did you know that many states are going to have printing only taught, not cursive? I guess they figure no one will be writing any more due to computer use.
    My grandkids are amazed that my family had the first TV on our block with only 3 channels to chose from and not on the air all day and that we had to get up and cross the room to the TV to change channels-and rabbit ears to fiddle with to get a clear picture. And a phone you dialed with shared lines, always black in color with a three digit phone number.

  • Sam

    Same here! I just kept on reading like, “farts…normal.”

  • Rhonda B.

    Fantastic! I sometimes find myself having trouble explaining things that were normal for us as kids, to my 5-year-old. She doesn’t understand that we didn’t have computers or digital cameras. It’s a fun (and odd) conversation.

  • Rhonda B.

    HA! Me too!

  • http://twitter.com/Jollyhose Mary

    Great post. Followed you since Leta was born- so I felt old before reading it. It was warm and mushy. We need more of that. Carry on H.

  • Marisol Lopez

    It wasn’t until my now husband came into my life that “writing letters” came back into my life. That’s because his mother (as well as his sister) are totally into sending cards, thank you notes, etc. It was exciting to receive so many letters, cards, etc that I got hooked into doing them as well. And now our nephews are sending thank you cards (in the penmanship of their mother, as they’re too young to construct sentences)! So, I felt like a boob when I didn’t send out Valentine’s cards, as they did, but quickly reminded myself that we had just returned from our delayed Honeymoon and was still getting over jet lag. I’ll get them next Valentine’s Day.

  • http://www.handbagsandhandguns.com/ Misty

    Know what’s better than 38134? 38127! Frayser, representin’!

  • Angela @Momopolize

    Me too! I think it’s hysterical how many of us read fart. I guess that shows just how rapidly that art form it IS farting, I mean fading.