When I teach literature from the Revolutionary War period, one of the things in our textbook is a letter from Abigail Adams to her husband, John. Before the students read this letter, I ask them to write about the last time they wrote a letter to someone. I'm not talking about e-mail, or about the notes that they write and hand to each other I'm talking about actual mail, placed in an envelope with a postage stamp, that is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
Some of the students look at me, puzzled. They are not letter-writers. A few write about how their parents make them write thank-you notes. And a few, sadly, write about how they write letters to relatives in prison relatives who are not reachable by e-mail.