Keeping in Touch: Remember the Postcard

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“To Make a long story short . . .”

I think we can all agree that it’s pretty sweet to receive a handwritten letter in the mail. We can also agree that though we love receiving them, it’s tough to find time to sit down and write them. That is why I take this moment to remind you (and me!) about the nifty shorthand version of a letter—the postcard. But don’t you have to be on vacation to send a postcard?Absolutely not! I find postcards sent from non-exotic places rather funny. (I once sent my friend Patrick a postcard from Wilmington, Delaware). Every convenience store you walk into has a selection of postcards. They are a cute way to let someone know you’re thinking of them. You can say, “I’m sorry I missed you’re call on Sunday night. I’ll call back this weekend!” You can send an inspirational quote. Tell someone you miss them. Give words of encouragement if you know someone is going through a rough time. Say, “It could be worse. You could be in Wilmington, Delaware!”
Postcards serve practical purposes, too. A few holiday seasons ago I headed to St. Marten’s right after Christmas. While I was there, I sent my cousin Jennifer (my benefactor in the family exchange) a thank you note in postcard form. My father asks me to send him a postcard wherever I go—exotic or not. For him, I like to find postcards with funny animals on them. (He’s a funny animal kinda guy). Postcards slip right into picture frames and scrapbooks easily. My friend Erica sent me a Valentine’s postcard that greeted me from my fridge for the rest of February. It’s made me smile several times already and I’m sure it’ll work it’s magic again when I comes across it years from now going through my letter box.
I once referred to a postcard as “the original text message.” I take that back. I think the telegram was the original text message, but telegrams are insanely expensive. I tried to send one to my friend Neal in Sao Paulo—it was a couple hundred dollars! Making the postcard the much more practical and arguably effortless way to make someone’s day.

Samara O’Shea is an author and professional letter writer. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter.