Can a person have too many note cards? A recent home renovation project required that I pack and move the contents of one large closet, four bookshelves, a lateral file cabinet, and two writing desks. Along the way, I rediscovered more than a few boxes of stationery and note cards, as well as holiday cards, postcards, and assorted greeting cards for all occasions.
A move can be a very effective way to discover things that are no longer needed. While downsizing, I donated several boxes of books to the Friends of the Library for the Annual Big Book Sale (though I admit that I might have bought a few of them back!). Bags of clothing, costume jewelry and household items were set aside to give to charity. Mountains of paper got sorted and either recycled, filed, or taken to a professional shredder. Some lost items were found, and a handful of items were relegated to the trash.
As one who loves to write cards and notes, I sometimes am the recipient of beautiful cards or booklets of postcards given to me by friends and family, a gift they know I will treasure. In this era of diminished letter writing and first class mail, small independent stores that specialize in writing materials have become more difficult to find. The slack has been taken up by chain stores that tend to feature more elaborate, expensive, and, at times, gaudy cards.
An simple, elegant box of note cards is a treasure. When I find a unique, humorous, or artistic card that appeals to me, I rarely pass up the opportunity to bring it home. Independent bookstores, museums, small shops that specialize in miscellaneous household gift items, and other specialty stores are good places to look.
While attending my undergraduate university class reunion this fall, I was pleased to find that card shops can still be found near college campuses. What better way is there to avoid long, inquisitive phone calls with one’s parents than to send them a handwritten note in the mail? The note will have lasting value, provide (hopefully) some detailed information about what the student is experiencing, and satisfy the recipient’s curiosity without raising unwelcome questions.
Visiting the town of St. Ives in Cambridgeshire, UK this summer, I was struck by the number of card shops within this small town. The historic brick-paved streets include many amenities that are disappearing in the U.S., such as tailors, a toy store specializing in dollhouse miniatures, non-chain pharmacies, and other independent shops. The card shops, all located within blocks of the Post Office, featured an array of cards not to be found in the U.S. My only regret is that I did not buy more of them!
Who among us has not gone in search of the perfect special occasion birthday or wedding anniversary card, only to be disappointed by what is offered? Sometimes, simply through serendipity, exactly the right sentiment on the right card is spotted on the shelf. But most of the time, this doesn’t happen. That is the time to bring out those boxes of note cards, pick the image that you deem most appropriate for the occasion, and create your own personal message.
While writing such a message, here are a few things to think about. Perhaps you think that your note is not as eloquent as those written by professional greeting card writers, but that is okay. Letter writing books, online advice, or a meaningful quote from your favorite writer or poet might help, but only if it will make a meaningful connection with the person you are writing to. The most important point is that your handwritten note will demonstrate that you care.
And this is when those boxes of note cards or single greeting cards will come in handy. When does one decide when one has a sufficient supply, or even too many note cards? Never!