You Got MailOctober 09, 2014

Helene Hanff, playwright and screenwriter, is most remembered for "84, Charing Cross Road" (1970). It's a chronicle of her correspondence with Frank Doel, an antiquarian bookseller for Marks & Co in London. He was the source of hard-to-find titles, which the writer was passionate about. Their letters were formal yet amusing, revealing Hanff's love of the British capital. Her aversion to travelling was the reason why the two didn't meet. Only Doel's death (due to peritonis) prompted her to leave New York, where she lived most of her life.

This happened when e-mail was nonexistent. In this day and age, only a few would choose snail mail. But the Universal Postal Union (UNU) don't mind at all. The friendship between Hanff and Doel could be an inspirtation.

About World Post Day

World Post Day, which falls on October 9, coincides with the founding of the UPU. But the ocassion became significant as the years went by. The Jamaican Postal Service, for instance, commemorated last year's event with an exhibition and trade fair at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St James. There was more to mail than keeping in touch.

Letters appeal to young students for one (and only one) reason, which is to find mates from other countries. Nothing wrong about it. As a matter of fact, this is the best way to know the world. But schools can point out the other wonders of the postal sector, one of which is its contribution to the social and economic development of countries. But let's make it simple. Here are three of them:

Writing can be an enjoyable experience. Let's not talk about students who want to embark on a literary career. School is where they learn to express themselves. Tests require writing, but why not make it a vocation. They can send letters to kins and friends, the content trivial or grand. They must be enthusiastic about it.

Stamp tells a thousand stories. Apart from receiving a response (to your letter), the best thing about snail mail is buying a postage stamp. This small piece of paper, which is usually found on the upper right side of an envelope, contains a wealth of information. The illustration can be a commemoration of a certain event, a popular figure, flora and fauna. Students can collect stamps as a (school) project, but making it a hobby is even better. The school can be supportive, but let's not force them to pursue philately. Awareness is what matters most.

The post has something to tell. Let's not forget the obvious. We love to learn new things, find out about other experiences, update others. The letter does it all. A trip to the postal office will make students become aware of these. This is a suggestion, and in case it pushes through, there's no need to compose a letter right away. It will come sooner or later.

It's your turn to tell us how to celebrate World Post Day.

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