Love Letters

Does anyone write love letters anymore? Last week, my husband and I attended the beautiful wedding of his great niece in Las Vegas.  There was so much joy, happiness, and tears going around that one could literally feel the love in the air. The young bride and groom met in a creative writing class at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Their writing instructor served as the best man at their wedding. The couple bonded over their shared love of reading and writing.  I like to think that there will be many love letters in their future,…

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Frederick Douglass: Gentleman of Letters

  Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895), African American writer, orator, and social activist, was a gentleman of letters. Born into slavery, he was largely self-taught, learning to read and write prior to entering his teens. His eloquence and fiery oratory gave him great influence as an abolitionist, social activist, and diplomat throughout his adult lifetime. Last month, on a visit with my daughter in Washington, DC, we had the opportunity to tour Frederick Douglass’s final home, Cedar Hill, located in Anacostia. Douglass, who purchased Cedar Hill from the Freedmen’s Bank in 1877, lived there for seventeen…

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Favorite Books 2017

New enticing titles are on the horizon in 2018, but looking back, I would like to share some of my favorite books from 2017. Many “best books” of the year lists are compiled near the end of the year – check out New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and Publishers Weekly, to name just a few. While some of my favorite books are crossovers from these lists, and/or appear on local and/or national bestsellers lists, my lists are by no means comprehensive or definitive. The following reading suggestions are merely those that I found most enjoyable…

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Postcards and Notes
Volkswagen buses meet on Old Route 66

Postcards and Notes

Summer and fall are excellent times for vacation, and there is no better way to share those experiences than by sending postcards and notes by mail. It’s quick, it’s easy, and there are beautiful options to represent those good times. But more to the point, postcards and notes are a great way to communicate, anytime and any place. “Having a great time in (fill in the blank). Wish you were here.” This is a standard cliché about messages on postcards, that they are rote and say very little. But nothing could be further from the truth.…

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Royal Mail Delivers Your Letters – and Packages, Too!
Letterbox pillar, St. Ives

Royal Mail Delivers Your Letters – and Packages, Too!

My recent visit to the United Kingdom would not have been complete without checking out the Royal Mail. Picturesque letterboxes led me to believe that a sweet, old-fashioned post office would be just around the corner, but that turned out not to be the case. The post office in St. Ives (Cambridgeshire) is co-located in the back of WHSmith, which is, in this location, a news and sundry store. One can purchase any one of three daily newspapers, a bottle of water, an umbrella, a Cadbury’s (now owned by Hershey) chocolate bar and various other snacks…

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The Epistolary Novel

Epistolary adj epis·to·lary \i-ˈpi-stə-ˌler-ē, ˌe-pi-ˈstȯ-lə-rē\  1 :  of, relating to, or suitable to a letter 2 :  contained in or carried on by letters 3 :  written in the form of a series of letters an epistolary novel – Merriam-Webster Dictionary What exactly is an epistolary novel? As Jenny Baum of the New York Public Library notes in a blog post, the word epistolary “is one of those words that are just fun to say or think about.” But not everyone knows what the term means. Readers, however, are familiar with the epistolary novel, even if…

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Endings: Finding a New Future
Dandelion, 55 Potrero Ave. closed Fall 2016

Endings: Finding a New Future

2016 was a year of endings. Mostly, we think of beginnings as we approach a new year, but it is equally important to examine those things that now lie only in the past. Often, they reflect our values, contribute to our history, and reflect our sense of personal self. Some endings are self-evident. Farewell to the integrity and quiet dignity of President Obama and his beautiful family. Farewell to the talented, too numerous to name, musicians, actors, artists, journalists, intellectuals and loved ones lost in 2016, who, through their extraordinary contributions, made our lives richer and…

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Flying

Joy is not a word that comes readily to mind when one thinks of flying. An airplane flight often involves getting up at the crack of dawn, waiting in long lines, struggling with luggage, flight delays, missed connections, and even unscheduled landings. Arrival at the final destination might be hours behind schedule, leaving the traveler overcome with jet lag. Bumpy air, lost baggage, intrusive conversations by fellow travelers, and other indignities are also among the hazards of air travel. The thought of crashing is high on people’s lists of things most feared in life. But for…

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Call Me Grammy

As a child of the ‘50s and ‘60s, I grew up knowing three of my grandparents, my maternal grandmother and grandfather and my paternal grandmother.  While my paternal grandfather passed away when my father was still a toddler, I also was fortunate to grow up having a living great grandmother and three great aunts on that side of the family. But here’s the rub. None of them lived near me.  My parents, who met in San Francisco during World War II, chose to live in the Bay Area, with only one paternal family member in proximity,…

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On Being a Grandparent

Just over a month ago, my life took a new turn. I became a grandparent, an event long hoped for, though it wasn’t something I readily admitted, even to myself. It certainly was not something to be taken for granted. In fact, my grandson’s eminent arrival caused me a bit of trepidation. He would live so far away, how would he even get to know me? What if he didn’t take to me? Would he cry if I held him? How would being a grandparent affect the activities that otherwise keep me busy and engaged in…

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