Passing Notes


It recently occurred to me that passing notes – at least notes made from paper – is an antiquated notion to many children.  I know not every school-age child in the country is armed with a cell phone, but a good many of them are.  By the time kids are in junior high or high school they’re frenetically texting their friends and classmates, and these texts have relegated paper notes to the back of the class.  Pens, pencils and paper have been replaced by handsets and pixels.

I’m a bit sad about this, truth be told.  I’m all for technology, but miss some of the tangible things that used to exist in place of pixels:  real mail – cards, letters, and postcards.  Notes, folded in special ways and passed during class or handed to a friend in between classes.  I guess this nostalgia is proof I’m getting older, but there’s a big difference when something is tactile – when the edges can be worn by the touch of your hands.  I’m a sentimental artist and writer though, so maybe this twinge of sadness and nostalgia is mine alone.

My note-passing zenith was in junior high, though note passing certainly went on in elementary school and high school too.  In junior high a friend and I wrote what were basically letters to each other.  They were passed in between periods since she was a year older than I was and we didn’t share any classes.  Easily a page long, some were illustrated with drawings or doodles, and most were folded in a special way.  I usually folded the “pull this flap” style, or an arrow, and I can still fold both as evidenced by the photos I’ve included with this post. I guess it’s like riding a bike – you never forget.  It was good to access that little section of my brain and my history – if only for a few minutes.

For me, digital and traditional will always go hand in hand.  I frequently send texts and emails, but I also send cards, notes, and postcards by snail mail.  I’ve switched to digital photography, but often use vintage elements and traditional methods when creating collages and other artwork.  And while I do most of my lengthy writing on the computer, I continue to write things out with a pen and paper every once in a while. I strive to move boldly into my future, but also look back from time to time…

Warm regards,

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  1. Posted October 26, 2010 at 9:04 am by Terry | Permalink

    This post instantly took me back to my freshman year of high school and the girl that I was “involved with” in a totally PG-13 way. We would write notes back and forth all day – I wonder how the hell any work got done when so much time was spent in personal correspondence. Great post, Melody!

  2. Posted October 26, 2010 at 11:02 pm by Melody | Permalink

    You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I agree, it’s totally amazing that I learned as much as I did with all the notes flying around. 😮 Now it’s texts, of course. One of my nieces can text without looking at the phone!

  3. Posted July 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm by Kevin | Permalink

    I really enjoyed your post as well. But as one of the younger generations now in his twenties, your post really got me thinking from a different perspective: about how people feel nostalgic and focused on all the lost value because some things from their past don’t happen anymore. But to think about it, all those values were emotional in essence, and emotional values are never lost, because people develop the same emotions, they just get attached onto different experiences.

    I’m a sci-fi reader, and sometimes I’d be thinking there could be a time, when some future-generation kids simply scribble on their desk with a finger and it pops up at the corner of another kid’s desk. Who knows? Maybe one of the current young generation would feel sad for these kids because there’s no longer a cell phone to hold and a few cushy rubber buttons to push.. People could create special emotional attachments out of every little thing. So in the end, I realized I probably shouldn’t feel sad about younger people for what they seem to ‘miss out’, because I know they will still get special feelings from many things I don’t get feelings for, and those feelings are no less special than mine. Everyone has something to reflect dearly on their past when they grow older, and for anyone the only important part is ‘feeling dearly’, not feeling the same past as everyone else.

  4. Posted July 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you for reading my post, and for your thoughtful comment. You’re absolutely right – every generation has certain things they look back on with fondness, and those things will always vary based on a person’s age, culture, etc.

    I think it’s human nature to be a bit nostalgic about earlier life experiences, and certainly own up to the fact that I may be more nostalgic than most. I love wandering through antique stores, am the one who had my family’s old black and white photos scanned and saved for future generations, and enjoy mixing worn vintage elements into my artwork alongside new modern materials.

    I look forward to seeing what happens in the future, both technologically and socially. I also look forward to seeing what my nieces and nephews are nostalgic for when they’re in their 30’s – as I am now.

    Thanks again for commenting…