From the Mailbag – Mailing Legacy with Liz

Our Mail Bag blog posts feature letters and postcards that members send to us at LetterMo to share with the community. You can submit content to the Mail Bag by following the instructions at Mail-In Blog Submissions.

We received a lovely card from Liz in the United States, along with a typed blog post, sharing her life-long love of the (hand)-written word, from childhood pen pals to today. You can read her whole blog post, Mailing Legacy, which we have transcribed, below.

Mailing Legacy

By Liz Hiles, Cincinnati, Ohio

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with mail – and, by association, writing utensils, cards, postcards, and stationery! I remember being very young and begging my relatives to write to me because I enjoyed even getting non-descript birthday cards without personal messages in them. My mom’s family lived across town and outright refused me. My dad’s side of the family lived three hours away, but still, the only person who ever obliged me me was my grandmother.

One of the few observant and thoughtful things my mother ever did for me was sharing her experience with having pen pals when she was younger. She didn’t really keep in touch with them as an adult, but she wanted to know if I wanted to have pen pals. I responded with a resounding, “YES!” I was in the fourth grade. That is how I became a mailing legacy.

Gradually, I began building my pen pal reach through some children’s and dog-showing magazines. I loved writing, building friendships globally and getting to learn about different countries and cultures By one point in high school, I was writing nearly 60 pen pals all over the world. I really treasured it. I still do!

When I went away to college, some of the people I exchanged letters with dropped off despite my best efforts to keep them up to date on my address. It made me sad, but I had a few tried and true friends who stuck that journey out with me.

Shortly after college, the boom of social media began. Some of my friends continued to write, others dropped further off, and others connected with me on social media, and we’ve maintained contact that way. Over the years, I’ve even reconnected with several via social media. While our ways of communicating may have changed, the significance each person has had in my life has not diminished at all. In fact, some have become a bigger part of my life than I ever imagined.

I’ve had the occasion to meet a few of my pals in the flesh over the years. The most notable time happened in 2005 when my dear friend Pato came to Cincinnati from Argentina and stayed ten days with my dad and me. We had the most amazing time and are closer than ever today. I got to show her some amazing places in Cincinnati, including my beautiful, historic high school. We took a day trip to southeast Ohio, hiked the big loop at Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills, and drove around my college town and campus. She got to meet my grandmother and some of my dad’s childhood friends that day, too. We were going to hit Serpent Mound on the way home, but we ran out of daylight. It was truly an amazing time.

Through the years, I have introduced my friends to letter writing and having pen pals. Some of my friends have moved away, and we’ve sort of become pen pals through that process. I’ve even assisted my friends in ways to find pen pals for their children.

I have recently reconnected with my nieces and learned of a nephew, and I now get to introduce them to the gloriously magical world of snail mail! They are between 15 and 22. They don’t even know how to send mail! They are enjoying getting mail, though! I’m hoping that eventually, I will wear them down, and they’ll feel at least a little of the joy I feel when I send it, too. Just being able to share my love of sending mail is a gift.

My love of letter writing has also led to a broader love of writing in general. I have been fortunate to have had opportunities to be published in print and electronic publications. I have volunteered and been paid to write, even recruited for specific pieces. I am working on a few books as well. Despite this general love and writing taking up so much space in my life, my heart has always and will always belong to letter writing. It is something that has truly gotten me through life; it is a supreme skill to have, and it brings me as much joy to send someone else something as it does for me to receive a magical surprise in my mailbox!

I am currently a 48-year-old, childfree-by-choice, bladder cancer survivor, ostomate, advocate, and writer with eclectic interests. If you would like to connect with me via social media or read any recent articles I’ve written, you can find most of the links on my linktree at

As always, happy writing!

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