YOU GUYS. I got an email from one of my penpals yesterday, he lives in Belgium. I have 3 penpals from that tiny country. And sending postcards is HUGE in the Netherlands, half of my Postcrossing postcards are from Dutch people. The Dutch postal system even released a Postcrossing stamp. Snail mail must be a Low Countries thing.
ANYWAY. He found an old camera while he was cleaning out his father’s attic, and he wanted to give it to someone who appreciates old cameras. So he’s sending it to me!
Gevabox is a German-made Bakelite box camera from the 1950s that shoots 120 film. He doesn’t know anything about non-digital cameras, so he couldn’t tell me if it worked, but I would be very surprised if it didn’t. Those old Bakelite cameras are practically indestructible; they’d probably survive a nuclear blast, along with cockroaches and Keith Richards (my apologies to Bill Hicks).
This is the nicest present I’ve ever gotten from a penpal, but by no means the only. I’ve gotten stationary, vintage postcards, samples of tea and candy, a fortune-telling fish toy, a tiny abalone shell on a silk cord, a hand-carved rubber stamp, and a pencil sharpener shaped like an old TLR camera.
I send things too; photos, of course, whenever I have anything new developed. And lately I’ve decided I have too many little notebooks–mostly Field Notes and things I got when I was subscribing to Lost Crates–and I’ve been giving those away. I’ve sent tea bags as well, and sealing wax sticks, ink samples, and cheap little jade charms I bought at Laos New Year. Whenever I go to any kind of festival, I look for small items that I can buy a lot of to send to my penpals.
I’ve been doing snail mail for about a year now, and it’s become a really fun and rewarding hobby. My penpals are smart and interesting people, and I get seriously bummed out on the rare days that I don’t get personal mail.