When you are in isolation/lockdown/ quarantine…whatever this is where mobility is limited….the mail becomes so important. Even junk mail is worth perusing. Lee loves it because junk mail is usually addressed to him. He can’t really read that well anymore but he knows what his name looks like. After looking at the pictures he will ask if he should throw it out. Yes, put that one in the trash.
My mail is like a life line. I can’t seem to throw it out. I keep it where I can look at it over and over.
There is actually a very big bowl on a large chest in the living room that has at least three years of Christmas cards in it. Once a year I used to take them out, put them in a zip lock bag and stuff it into a cupboard. Now I leave them in the bowl. It was the signatures that got to me. Their name coming to me through their hand.
The form letters about family members and social doings for the year hold little interest anymore. It is the signed name that matters. I make my own Christmas cards like I have for many, many years. And I sign my and Lee’s name to them. No printed form letters for us. Each year there are fewer people to make and mail cards to. It gets easier to keep with the tradition.
A favorite sister that passed away several years ago never forgot my birthday. She was the only one who it mattered enough to to send a card. Usually a card of some sweet Nature drawing or painting, usually a Hallmark card. But she always signed it “Lovingly, Normae”. When she passed the first thing I thought of was that that was the end of cards signed, “Lovingly”. And it was. I never knew of anyone else who signed cards or letters that way. She also had a destinctively pretty handwriting. Her cards always made me feel loved. She was a very thoughtful person…probably the most thoughtful of the six siblings I was part of….most are gone now.
I remember a movie that starred Paul Newman and Sally Field. They played a couple falling in love and one night she said she had to write a letter to her father. He asked why she didn’t just call him. Her answer, “Because when I hang up, he has nothing to hold onto.” That has always stayed with me. Letters and cards matter.
I have a special drawer where the good cards and letters go. They are the ones I can look at over and over and over.
Here are some.
All of these are from Australia. I keep them in their envelopes so I can smell the country they come from. So many of these cards come anonymously and are so funny in the way they are collaged together. A simple thoughtful greeting on the back, tucked in envelopes bearing exotic foreign stamps.
Another one on the left is from a papermaker/printmaker and feels delicious in the hand. Some come with treasures inside that the senders know will thrill me no end. Lee loves how excited I get when one of these comes in the mail.
And here is one that came just the other day. Just reading her words out loud was impossible without them catching in my throat. She was sending love and wanted me to know she has conversations with me in her head quite often. How good is that!
The card is a reproduction of my most favorite Australian printmaker, Cressida Campbell, who carves one block, adds watercolors to it, dampens it before going into the press for one print only. I always showed pictures of Cressida’s work when I taught white line printmaking. I love that the sender remembered how much I liked Cressida’s work. Also inside was this perfect gift, hand printed by an Australian artist whose towels I dry dishes with daily….it’s a block printed handkerchief for crying into.
Isn’t that lovely?
More later….with drawings.