Wednesday, September 2, 2009

To date or not to date?

I always date my letters and postcards. In fact - surprise - I am a wee bit compulsive about it. A lot of my correspondents don't date letters or postcards, though, and I'm genuinely curious about that. For those of you that don't put a date on your items, why?

16 comments:

  1. I always date my letters and I dont understand why either that folks dont date their letters . I often wonder why myself . Oh well I guess some folks do , some dont . I am glad I do .

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  2. Momentarily delurking to say, first, hi and I'm really enjoying your posts. It's gratifying to find a fellow postalphiliac.

    Second, just wanted to weigh in on the dating. I date my letters but not my notecards or postcards. My excuse for this began, I think, in grade school when we learned the conventions for writing formal letters. Dates were mandatory in formal letters but not in shorter (and thus less formal) correspondence such as postcards and notecards.

    Still, I imagine back in the day, dating any and all written correspondence was the habit and probably should be so today, if only for the sake of history. Indeed, the sentiment for history (or lack thereof) might well be the driving force behind the dating issue. Because letters travel more reliably and speedily, no one pays much attention to the interval of post and receipt. And because there is so much else cluttering our lives (and closets), perhaps people don't believe anymore that anyone would keep letters for posterity.

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  3. i sometimes leave the date because it might be a few days before i find/buy stamps to mail off my letters/cards...it's funny you write about this today since i DO have a letter ready to go to you but need some more stamps! this topic popped into my head that you might want your mail dated...

    i will make a mental note that you would like all correspondance to be dated...

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  4. I dont like dates. Theyve always bothered me starting in school when people date their notes. You arent going to go and review the notes you took from april 3rd 2009 to april 18th 2009 for a test, youre going to go from unit one through unit three. So theres really no point in putting the date on notes, worksheets, anything. I also feel like its a little too specific for letters. Maybe putting the year, or month and year. I just dont particularly believe in the idea of dating things

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  5. I date my letters and cards, not so much my postcards. I don't really know why. Maybe because it feels a bit more like "instant" communication to me?

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  6. I do like dates, because I actually do keep my letters. Often a postmark is illegible, and if they're undated, it's anybody's guess. For correspondents with whom I'm not so close, it doesn't matter so much as I may not end up saving the letters... but my beloved mother never dates her letters. I always end up writing in the "date received" on the envelope. I certainly keep her letters!

    Also, I sort my "letter pile" in order of postmark, for determining order of responses. I recently started keeping track of what I receive as well as what I send, and I list the postmark date as well as the date the writer used (if they dated it). If the postmark is illegible (which happens fairly frequently, moreso from foreign countries) and the letter is undated, it gets put in my pile by the date it arrived.

    I think there's a basic difference in thought here, though - xxlullaby just doesn't particularly believe in the idea of dating things, and I can't disagree with that, as it's personal opinion. (Obviously I'm an ordered, tickety-boo kinda gal! Yep, a wee bit anal about some things...)

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  7. Here I am! *jumps up and down waving* Firmly on the compulsive side. I admit when I write the date in my journals I also write down what day of the week it is -- because when I'm looking back later I know that what I was doing on certain days of the week probably affected what I wrote, and I'm not going back with a calendar to figure it out.

    For postcards I waver on both sides of writing the date or not writing it, and now that I'm keeping track of the dates I send out postcards I'm a little more lax about dating the postcards themselves. But for letters I definitely date them. Curiously, in Berlin I learned that it's customary in German to add your location to the date, and I've begun doing that as well. I like to see on the letter where the letter is from and how far it traveled - as well as imagine the writer in that place and how the writer fits into it.

    Hmm, though I wonder how people will see *that*.

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  8. Stephanie - glad you join me in the compulsive club! And now I finally understand what those little letters are before the date on your letters. :-)

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  9. I have a correspondent who always puts his current location along with the date -- the patio, the bedroom, the local park, etc. I always thought that was kinda odd, but at the same time interesting. I almost always write my letters while sitting at my bedroom desk, so I don't bother to do this myself.
    As for dating, I not only put the full date, but the DAY as well. I'm more compulsive than you are.... ;P Hehe.

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  10. Yeah, I started just doing the initials of the town while I'm home, since it's too long to write out. ;) I'll write out the name of the city my college is in, or perhaps figure out other locations to write down, since I like the city name there better.

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  11. I agree that dates are important--for history, for the recipient if s/he likes to go back and reread and also so the receipient can see how long it was in the mail! However I always leave a space then put the date on the day I mail it because I tend to send it a few days later than I write it (mostly due to forgetfulness or lack of stamps/envelopes). So sometimes the date gets forgotten!

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  12. I have never been a person that puts down the date...on like anything. It was actually one of my resolutions for the year because it bothers a friend of mine so very very very (very very very) much.

    When I was younger and I started journaling I would keep track of time by what ink I was using. I knew roughly I would date every once in a while, or if there was a birthday or something in the news that caught my eye, and I could tell when the ink changed based on the last date about how much time had passed.

    I like that people date things, I am not bothered when people don't, but if it weren't for my resolution for this year I would still be in a time-free flow of handwriting and color association rather than any kind of date association.

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  13. I not only date my correspondence, but if a fair amount of time has passed (couple of days) I will date the sections as well. I see it as a warning that the flow is likely fractured and it helps provide a reason.

    Adding the location is interesting... hadn't thought of that. I might have to try it.

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  14. I try to remember to date letters and postcards, but I suspect I forget half the time. I used to be quite compulsive about dating letters since I would spend a week writing them and wanted to make sure the reader knew it was a different day. I really don't know why I forget to date now. Some sort of repressed something, I'm sure.

    I'm also horrible at responding in the first in/first out method. Those letters I receive that are really interesting always take me longer to respond to and that is just so counter-intuitive. I suspect that if someone ever did a study on turnaround, I would be the one that would be the exception to the rule because it seems ALL my penfriends respond immediately to my letters and notes and postcards.

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  15. Postmuse, I have to be the exception to your "exception to the rule" rule - I've got a few postcards and a letter in my pile from you that are still awaiting responses... eek.

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