Moncton — For the first time in decades, residents of Moncton are concerned about the lost art of letter-writing. Their collective interest in the activity was suddenly piqued after senior citizen Marge Franzen went to mail a belated thank-you card for a Christmas present, only to find the boxes covered in snow.
“I was un-decorating my tree — the needles were starting to turn brown, you know, and were dropping all over my nice shag carpet — and I saw an ornament my friend Hazel gave me. She’s from Plaster Rock. We met back in the ’40s. She has the cutest little dog, but I can’t for the life of me remember his name,” Franzen told our reporter for some reason. “I thought I’d write her a nice thank-you letter. I went to drop it in the mailbox the other day, and couldn’t get to the darn thing for all the snow.”
Franzen said she immediately went home to pen a complaint to Canada Post before remembering she’d have no way to send it. “I took the next bus to City Hall to complain in person,” she said. “And I guess my story has the people of Moncton talking.”
Not only are Monctonians talking, but they’re writing — with pens and pencils, on actual physical paper, for the first time since the advent of the Internet. Many young adults who’ve only just heard about the issue, for example, have suddenly become unreasonably angry about not being able to mail the letters they’ve crafted on their vintage typewriters.
“Usually I just text everyone or message them on Facebook, but after hearing about Ms. Franzen’s predicament, I’m thinking we need to bring back the art of the letter,” said Mayor George LeBlanc. “If we all start letter-writing again, Canada Post will be forced to pay more attention to the great city of Moncton, and to make sure mailboxes are accessible all year round.”
A Canada Post communications person in Ottawa said the company has hired outside contractors to clear paths to Moncton mailboxes and they were on their way to do so, but neither LeBlanc nor Franzen heard this news because they were so busy petitioning citizens to boycott non-paper forms of correspondence.
Mayor LeBlanc is spearheading an initiative he calls “Vintage Communications” that encourages Monctonians young and old to write letters and cards, instead of emailing and texting. It also urges residents to go back to paying their bills by mail rather than online, and even to resume ordering DVDs from Netflix rather than simply streaming their favourite shows. Schools will even reinstate teaching cursive — and this will no longer refer to the creative use of expletives.
Franzen intends to support the initiative in any way she can, which means she’ll just continue to avoid the Internet and send her regards on Hallmark cards through snail mail. “I don’t see why we need electronic mail when Canada Post can just send someone to clear away the snow after every storm,” she said, hauling out a box of brightly coloured ribbon candy manufactured by Ganong sometime in the ’90s and offering it to our reporter. “What’s your address? I’ll send you some Werther’s and some Chicken Bones if you don’t care for ribbon candy.”
Our reporter declined Franzen’s offer of stale sweets, but promised to write out this story by hand and mail it to her sometime in the next couple of months.