That title is no joke. What is this picture below, you ask? Why, that is the first letter to find its home in the P.O. Box of Lovely Handwritten Notes!
I can’t even begin to describe to you how much this letter made my entire day. I was smiling and jumping and giggling with glee. It was so lovely. It made me realize that this project is really happening now. Its sender is also serendipitously from my beloved home state of California. It could not have been a more perfect first letter.
Oh, and it is beautiful. It drips with the sweetness of handwritten care. It is honest and warm and straight from the heart.
Its sender wrote an answer to last week’s Question of the Week: Why are you interested in this project? What is it that you like (or don’t like) about letter writing?
Her answer was truly perfect, and was written in happy blue marker with smiling penmanship:
April 25, 2012
Dear Lovely Handwritten Notes,
Hooray for your project! I <3 letter writing. Growing up, I used to pore over my grandparents’ letters to each other from the 1920s, and stationery became a great love of mine after receiving a bag of Hello Kitty stationery for a birthday around age six. Midway through college, email became standard and my best friend and I quit snail mailing each other regularly. I’ve been mourning the loss ever since! Just recently, I made a personal goal to send handwritten correspondence at least 2-3 times per week, which was spurred by the unexpected death of my mom. Handwritten correspondence is so much more personal. Thank you for taking it public!
This response gave me goosebumps. It covers the history, love, healing, and connection that handwritten correspondence creates.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Heather. Keep your eye on your mailbox!
Since starting this project, my Mondays have received a whole bucketful more of cheer. This Monday, I’m seeing in triples.
This lovely tulip has an origin of Oregon, and an ability to remind me of the year Rho and I took that university by storm!
This one clearly came from a pal vacationing in both of our home states. I could tell the layout was conceived by a southern Californian since the Golden Gate is where the Redwoods should be! :/ My friend hinted at the mild love affair she got for southern California, just as I did when I last visited. This is a big thing for us northerners to admit.
Grandma, of course. I told you she was fast.
Last manic Monday, I shared with you my excitement about receiving not one, but two lovely handwritten notes in the mail. Well, my Mondays sure seem to be looking up because — you’re not going to believe this — today, I received not one, but two lovely handwritten notes once again!
The first was from my friend, Nicki. I haven’t seen her in far too long, but it’s because she’s been off immersing herself in the world. She’s spent nearly a year now teaching in Tanzania. Her heart-tickling postcard, however, came to me all the way from Zambia. I’m looking forward to reuniting with her when she returns home this summer, but for now I’ll look at this postcard and just imagine all the stories she’ll have by the time she gets here.
The second letter came from a mighty little force off in Minnesota who goes by the name of Katie. She’s pretty great. What I loved most about Katie’s letter was how it reminded me of how much I love letters written so simply on lined notebook paper. There’s something so elementary about it that makes me feel like I’m a little kid again, running around in the dirt outside and sneaking into the fort I’ve made to write secret messages to my friends. Lined paper is a timeless medium. I even enjoyed the torn edge of Katie’s letter that left the history of its removal from the notepad. It’s a delicate and quaint form of letter writing. Plus, I’m just crazy about Katie’s penmanship. I think it looks just like her personality — loyal, kind, creative, and friendly.
Thank you, ladies, for brightening my Monday!
P.S. Lovely Handwritten Notes now officially has its own P.O. Box! More exciting information and activities related to this will come later in the week — so stay tuned!
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.