A friend of mine has an amazing postcard collection she shares on her website. You should probably check it out. This link will take you to a particularly fun post celebrating the official start of the USPS back in 1789!
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.
Rough Outlines is my more traditional blog where I hash out the bundles of thoughts that pass through my mind daily. In this most recent post, I get into a little more detail about why and how I started Lovely Handwritten Notes and what the greater meaning of letter writing is to me. I also display a few more of the postcards I picked up in an antique store in West Virginia!
I got so wrapped up in the loveliness of all the handwritten responses filling my mailbox that I almost forgot it is Wednesday. That means you all need a new QUESTION OF THE WEEK!
There has been a theme in many of your letters to me revolving around the idea that letters preserve history and that sometimes they are the best medium for saying what needs to be said.
With this thought in mind, here comes this week’s question…
What is something that you would like to be remembered for?
Let’s start preserving those special parts that make you — you. I’m excited for these responses!
Please send your lovely handwritten response to:
Lovely Handwritten Notes
P.O. Box 2674
Washington, D.C. 20013
United States of America
If you’re wondering what the Question of the Week is and how it works, start here.
Allison is a pal of mine residing in Colorado. We met in New York when we were both counselors at a summer camp. She is fantastically crafty and perfectly creative.
In this lovely card she made, she responded to the past Question of the Week: Have you ever received a letter from another country? Where, and from whom? Do you remember what it looked like? Had you yourself ever traveled there before, or did the letter make you want to? If you haven’t received one, have you ever sent one to someone while visiting another country?
May 3, 2012
I’ve been thinking about the latest “Question of the Week” and thought using this little detail from a map on the card would be appropriate.
I have been fortunate in receiving and sending mail from far off lands. I guess as you know from my Facebook postcard album, I received many postcards from my mom as she went from city to city on book tours when I was a child. One was a European tour, and reading her accounts of different countries solidified those countries as real, accessible places for me. When postcards from my mom became quite a collection, other family and friends started making sure to send me postcards from their travels too.
One of my favorites my dad sent me from Brazil. It didn’t arrive to me in Los Angeles till six months later! I like to imagine it traveled from post office to post office all over the world before finding me.
Until next time,
I loved reading Allison’s response and thinking about the far off lands where her postcards have traveled. It makes this big beautiful world a little more connected. It takes places with different environments and cultures and brings them to your mailbox to learn from.
Thanks for the letter, Allison!
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!
“Letters From Home,” by John Michael Montgomery, 2004
Happy postal music Sunday! Last time I was at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, I stopped by one of their exhibits on military mail. The incredible efforts of the postal service to make sure that soldiers received their letters was touching. You don’t have to support war to show kindness to a solider far from home, and that simple act can really make someone’s day. Before technology, letters were all families had to know that their loved ones were safe. They could hold on to the cheer of a letter for months.
Not only can a letter mean a lot to a soldier, but it can also mean a lot to their families back home. My box of Cheerios the other day explained a postcard project they’re teaming up with USO (United Service Organizations) to do. Basically, you cut out the postcard provided on your Cheerios box and write a little note to a military family, and drop it in the mail. USO makes sure it gets to families that could use the support. You can read more about the partnership here.
I recently got this beautiful response from Becky in Colorado 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?
I loved Becky’s bright pink paper and cursive writing. I adored her thoroughly decorated and colorful envelope.
But, mostly, I loved what Becky had to say in response to the question:
May 1, 2012
Dear Lovely Handwritten Notes,
Hello! I am writing (rather late) to reply to your first question of the week. You ask what it is I like about letter writing and why I am interested in this project. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in letter writing until about a year and a half ago. I have always enjoyed getting mail, of course. My grandparents and aunt in Arizona were usually the main source of any mail I received. I had pen pals in grade school, but once I got into those self-centered angsty teenage years, I guess I didn’t have time for that anymore. But then about a year and a half ago, my grandma got sick and entered hospice care. I flew to Arizona to be with her those last days. Out of that sad time came a closeness with that part of the family that wasn’t there before. While still in Arizona, I decided that I wanted to start sending things in the mail — the way my grandma liked to. It was a way to keep in touch with family, but also a way to connect with people more personally than through social networking, email, and text messages. My little mission was going very slowly at first. Many friends said they wanted to get on board — few of them actually wrote back. It was a couple months ago that I decided to start the Facebook page called “Why I Live At The P.O.” which then allowed me to stumble across all kinds of like-minded folks who are passionate about connecting through mail and the handwritten word. And there are great projects out there (like yours!). I wish you the best and I am excited to find your project at the beginning. I hope it brings you lots of joy and meaningful connections—
I certainly encourage everyone to check out Becky’s Facebook page, “Why I Live At The P.O.” — http://www.facebook.com/WhyILiveAtThePO. It helped me open my project up to an ever-growing community of letter enthusiasts, and Becky always has some great posts to share.
Becky’s response warmed my heart, and reiterated to me how much letters are a part of history and of vital human connection.
Thanks so much for writing, Becky. Expect one your way soon. :)