It has been nice finally getting caught up on some of the lovely mail I’ve received over the past couple of months. Life gets so busy, but I think it’s always important that we make sure to schedule in the time to do the things that just make us smile. So, in between work, studying, volunteering, networking…I’m trying to get back into also just being creative, reaching out to those I love, and having a good time with this bright little life we all get the chance to live.
This letter arrived in my box back in June, and was in response to the following Question of the Week: Tell me about where you live or where you are from. How does it look, feel, smell? What are the people like? What do you love about it? Is there something you would change about it?
Wren had a wonderfully detailed response to this question. Here is what she had to say:
June 15, 2012
In response to “Tell me where you live or where you are from…”: Those are two different places; very different! I live in the deep south where I enjoy the greenery and warm weather. I am very cold-blooded and this prevents me from living where I grew up.
I was born in Connecticut, but moved to Rhode Island when I was about 2 years old. My father’s family is from Rhode Island, and have been living there since around 1780. I miss the formality of New England. I think it’s nice to get out of the jeans and t-shirt and go out in a dress or a skirt and a blouse that actually has a collar! Of course the fall foliage in New England is a highlight. My most fond memories are of my birthday (late July) when it’s a comfortable 85 degrees (at last!), having steamers and lobster seaside. The best time and place to be is at the ocean in September, just after all the “summer people” have left. How does Rhode Island smell? Salty! Like low tide! Sometimes there is too much dampness and you need to turn on the dehumidifier. In the winter, the snow will come in January and maybe leave in March. Look out the window and count the birds in the birdfeeder: cardinals, chickadees, blue jays, tufted titmouse — lots of nature in R.I. — chipmunks live in the stonewalls that the pilgrims built. Rabbits and field mice are living in the backyard. You can see foxes, woodchucks and raccoons, too.
The people are quiet and reserved and dead honest. If they don’t like you, they’ll look you in the eye and tell you so! Nobody pretends to be friendly; not even salesmen. There’s no second-guessing, and I like that!
My thoughts about my first home; thanks for the opportunity!
I think that was such a beautiful description. I could see what Wren described and feel myself there in the different seasons. Thank you so much for sharing with us where you grew up, Wren. I love how letters can make me feel like I’ve traveled the whole world!
Back in April, I wrote a post about letters from my grandma. It is with sorrow that I share that she passed away last month. When I went to her home, however, I found a final letter she had written to me, but had forgotten to send. I wrote more about it, and the wonder that was my grandmother, on my other blog, Rough Outlines:
I will treasure our letters for a lifetime, and still highly encourage everyone to start a handwritten correspondence with a family member. It’s the type of thing that can leave behind some true wonder and love when it is all said and done.
Yesenia’s handwritten wonderfulness from Puerto Rico came in a fantastic envelope.
It was complete with this lovely quote stamped on the inside.
Yesenia responded to the following Question of the Week: If you could receive a handwritten letter from anyone throughout history, who would it be? Why, and what do you think they would tell you? What would their letter be like?
May 17, 2012
I would’ve loved to receive a letter from an unknown ancestor of mine. Someone that did not know of my being, but that thought of me decades before my existence and that decided to leave a letter for me, knowing that someday I would read it. I imagine that it could be from a great grandmother that lived at the beginning of the past century. I think that her letter would include words of love and encouragement to live a life well lived and to enjoy the opportunities that destiny brings to me; to be enthusiastic about life and the future that awaits.
I imagine that her letter would include words of wisdom that tell the tales of the struggles of life, that a girl of her time would encounter and that she supposes, I would go through too. Her letter would store some anecdotes worth saving for over a hundred years in a drawer, where she talks about people I would never meet, customs I would never understand and a time I would never know. Dreams, ideas and secrets would be addressed to me, just for her desire to create a deeper connection with a girl that would “hopefully” understand her and make her live forever through “time-capsuled” handwritten words. Always meant for an unknown yet familiar girl, living in an unrecognizable and uncertain future.
How did I analyze and think about my answer, the truth is that THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO for a future, yet unknowingly existent great great granddaughter of mine or a relative that I won’t have the opportunity to meet, but that I know will live someday. I’ve always wanted to do it and I hope I will!!
I guess it sounds weird and maybe a little conceited, but I would just like to let her know that I existed. I would like her to know, that somebody had the hope that she came into this world and that somebody thought of her before anybody else did.
I think it would be great to find words of wisdom left just for you, kept for years hidden or stored God knows where, just waiting for you; no matter how random they might be, in the end they might take a meaning of their own.
The first time I read Yesenia’s response, I just about melted. What a romantically beautiful idea. A handwritten note, all folded up, waiting to touch the heart of a future dreamer. I receive letters from truly sensational minds.
Thank you so, so much, Yesenia, for such a thoughtful response that tickled my own dreaming heart.
This one is coming from that delightful Pacific Northwest state that goes by the name of Washington. And first off, I love the elegant cursive writing of the address.
Ann, of Washington, scrawled her fabulous answer on delightfully quaint stationery to the past Question of the Week: Why are you interested in this project? What is it that you like (or don’t like) about letter writing?
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Dear Lovely Handwritten Notes,
What a fun project! I have always loved stationery and probably got my letter writing interest from my grandmother. She wrote letters her whole life and as she got older, the one thing we gave her for gifts was stationery.
My letter writing goes up and down, but I often send notes to my nieces and nephews, kids from church, and a sister who has lived overseas (and in DC) quite a bit. I also write once or twice a week to a senior woman who lives in a nursing home. I’m not working at the moment, so have more time to write notes.
Good luck with your project! I’m looking forward to more questions of the week. They might provide inspiration for my letter writing.
I am also thinking about hosting a letter writing social sometime. I’ve read a little about these events and they sound like a lot of fun.
I’m really enjoying hearing about how many people’s letter writing interests stem from pieces of their family history. It is quite beautiful indeed.
I also love that Ann writes to a woman who lives in a nursing home. As I’ve been sketching out plans for this project, I have considered teaming with a nursing home or a nonprofit serving people in need in order to target individuals who could really benefit from receiving a letter of cheer.
Thank you so much for writing in, Ann! I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the Questions of the Week. Expect a handwritten note your way as well!
Some days, you leave work and feel like you were in meetings all day. Some days, you leave work, and realize that you literally were in meetings all day. When this happens to occur on a Monday — yikes — it can lead to a very sleepy being. Yesterday, this scenario was a portrait of me. Luckily, however, when I slothfully walked through my front door upon arriving home, I was met by not one, but two lovely handwritten notes! My exhaustion quickly turned to excitement.
The first was from a dear, dear friend currently exploring her soul and the beauty of the world, while doing service at a hospital in Germany. Overseas letters — now there is something that can really tickle my heart. That topic deserves a post of its own at a later date. For today’s post, I’d like to focus instead on the second letter I received. This letter was from my grandma.
Letters from my grandma always arrive on wonderful stationery adorned with pictures of painted flowers, birds, and butterflies. They’re always sealed tight with a delightful, matching sticker. There are many reasons why I love writing letters with my grandma. First, she is so darn prompt in sending her responses! It is really great. Second, it makes me feel close to her when in reality I feel so far away. I’m never sure when exactly I’ll get to make it back to see her, but when I write letters with her, I feel as if I’m right back in Napa, sitting on her couch in the mid-afternoon, watching Days of Our Lives and plotting our next moves once we win the lottery. Finally, I love writing letters with my grandma because of the loving, encouraging words and incredible nuggets of history that fill her pages.
I’ve started printing out my blog entries from Rough Outlines and mailing them to her. She’s really enjoyed them and it makes me feel more connected to her. With the last batch I mailed, I described to her how much I love to write and how neat it would be if someday I wrote something that people really, actually read. I also shared with her my doubts surrounding this dream — it felt good to get them out. The handwritten pieces of the alphabet that formed her response to this put a smile on my face and a renewed sense of purpose in my step. It is good to feel loved and supported.
Her kind words transitioned into an incredible nugget of history that I’ll hold onto for a long time. She described to me how growing up she had been a close and personal friend of Jack Kerouac. They were neighbors when she lived in Denver, and she would babysit his nephew, Paul Jr. Matter. Her mom (my great-grandma) used to go to the bars with Kerouac and his friends. My grandma became one of the characters in Kerouac’s 1957 novel, On the Road. I loved reading this history in my grandma’s penmanship, and now I’ll have this letter, this sliver of the family history, forever.
Mondays may sometimes be a rough start to the week, but they sure can take a swing towards wonderful when you have a little snapshot of someone’s heart waiting to greet you when you get home.
My project for you today is to pick a family member and start a handwritten correspondence with them. It’s not only a fun way of being better about keeping in touch, but it’s also the best way to start recording some of your family’s history for the generations to come.