There’s something about receiving a letter in the mailbox.
I might be old school, but I like getting mail.
I don’t care for the bills and the junk mail, but the personal letters are nice even if they are few and far between.
It’s nice when someone thinks enough to sit down and pen a letter, place a stamp on the envelope and send it my way. It is much more personal than social media.
Receiving Christmas cards with letters are fun, too. I enjoy reading about people’s life adventures. And it is nice to receive a birthday card and to be thought off to receive a personal invite to attend a wedding, graduation or anniversary party.
I’m not knocking social media. I use it daily. I do interviews via email and reach out to folks through Facebook, Messenger or by texting. I don’t care too much for Twitter or Instagram. I have both accounts, but never use them.
I received a nice note late last month from the daughter of Brooklyn’s own Harold “Pie” Keller, one of the six Marines who raised the American Flag at Iwo Jima during World War II.
She wrote to thank me for the article I did in this publication in October on her father regarding plans to build a memorial in his honor at the Brooklyn Flag Display.
I just mailed her a copy of the newspaper and a nice letter in return. I’m sure she will be happy to receive them.
I can remember many moons ago receiving a college course catalog in the mail from Rogers State College in Claremore, Okla. It was the summer of 1987. I looked through the catalog and there were photography darkroom classes offered. I called the college to ask about the photography program and ended up talking with the instructor.
He suggested I enroll in a black and white photo darkroom course. I soon enrolled in my first photography course in late August that year. It was a great experience and adventure that changed the direction of my life.
That one step and my experience at RSC, thanks to that course catalog, led me to the University of Missouri-Columbia where I went on to earn my BS degree in Agricultural Journalism at the age of 38, 19 years after graduating high school.
And of course from there, I came to Iowa, met my wife, Debbie, and continue to enjoy writing, photography and community journalism to this day.
I once wrote the chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia a letter to thank him and let him know that I appreciated the opportunity to attend school there and that I was going to earn my degree at MU.
Three weeks later, I received a hand-signed letter from the chancellor thanking me for my kinds words. He then went on to invite me to his office as he wanted to help me.
News of my letter soon made the rounds of the higher ups at the MU School of Agriculture. I received a call from my academic advisor asking me about the letter.
“Do you know that the vice provost of Missouri Extension can’t get a meeting with the chancellor?,” my advisor asked.
It was would six weeks before I would meet with the chancellor and the meeting lasted 5 minutes. I showed up at his office in Jesse Hall on the campus wearing jeans, a nice shirt and carrying my backpack.
He thanked me for the letter, offered me a cup of coffee and asked how he could help me. I told him I needed a job and he said to send my resume and he would help me.
So here I am, a 33-year-old non-traditional college student from Tulsa, Okla. working my way through college and soon would be attending one of the top journalism programs in the world and I’m sitting in the chancellor’s office and the man wants to help me.
I sent him my resume and later that year I received a phone call from the hiring office. I was in Tulsa at the time and had gone fishing with my dad when they called and left a message. This was before cell phones.
I landed a job as a custodian and went on to sweep and clean toilets while taking classes and attending journalism school.
What a great experience and it was thanks to a letter!
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.