Wartime Letters

High on a shelf in the closet of my parents’ bedroom there was a box full of letters, written from 1942–1944. It was wartime, and my father, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, was stationed in Tiburon, but spent his days on a World War I era minesweeper, the U.S.S. Eider. He was 21 years old in 1942, and my mother was 19. As a teenager, I very much wanted to read the letters, but because I was told not to, I didn’t. There are two kinds of children, it seems: those who won’t take no…

2 Comments

Readers Corner – Wedding Etiquette

Dear Readers, As always, I enjoy and appreciate receiving your comments and letters. The following are excerpts from letters received about the post "Wedding Etiquette," See also comments posted on the site. "Happy mother of the bride!" LETTERS Just read your posting and enjoyed very much!  As for timelines, I'm happy to receive a thank you anytime!  I know manners have changed dramatically in the past decade or so, and I'll accept any form of thank you!  Although with my limited experience, because my kids or their friends don't tend to get married, it seems when…

0 Comments

Winter Mailbox

It’s that time of year again. As fall moves into winter, the days grow shorter, darkness comes early, the weather turns gloomy and our mailboxes are filled to capacity, thanks to a series of cyclical events. First, election season mail begins as early as August and generally ends the first week of November. Campaign flyers and brochures, endorsement cards and newsletters pile up quickly. Smiling candidates, often posed with adorable children, become familiar faces. The closer and more heated the race, the more likely it is that the direct mail pieces will multiply and take on…

3 Comments

Lunchbox Notes

Here is a tip for parents. When you pack a lunch for your son or daughter, write a little note on the napkin, to remind your children of how much they mean to you. It is a simple, ephemeral, yet effective form of communication that can create lasting memories. Nancy in Honolulu raised five daughters, and while the girls were growing up, she worked for a foundation that required travel, sometimes to the mainland, and at other times, to international destinations. Days before each trip, she stayed up late at night, writing and sometimes illustrating notes…

1 Comment

Early Letters of Harvey Milk

San Francisco celebrated Pride in big style this past weekend, a fitting time to pay tribute to the late gay activist and internationally famous icon, Harvey Milk, with a look at letters from his early, pre-political life. Harvey Milk was born in New York in 1930, nearly 40 years before Stonewall and 42 years before his move to San Francisco that changed the course of history. Through his letters, written 1956–1962 to his good friend, Susan Davis Alch, a picture emerges of a young man preoccupied with universal concerns: love, work, money (mostly, lack of), where…

3 Comments

Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing

Books to Read Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Nina Sankovitch When Nina Sankovitch and her husband went house hunting “years ago,” they find a run-down house on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, built in 1888, but unoccupied for the past15 years. The house includes some old, dusty furniture, rotting floors and obsolete plumbing and electrical systems, but somehow, it is just right for them. Despite escalating real estate values, their offer is accepted, despite better offers that come in after their bid. Thus begins the saga of Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing (not…

0 Comments

The Fountain Pen

For many years, I wrote with a fountain pen. Unlike some of my friends, who have used the same pen for 20 – 30 years, none that I have owned was special or memorable enough to be deemed irreplaceable. Eventually, the last of my fountain pens began to leak, hastening its reunion with its brethren in the landfill. I turned to what soon became my new favorite, a disposable pen that I first discovered in Paris, made by an American company, which I now buy by the dozen. That is, until recently. My friend Deborah and…

2 Comments

Sometimes It Is Difficult to Love the Post Office

  Last week was a great week for personal mail. Each day my mailbox revealed a new treasure, including an oversized post card from Sandra, two beautiful Mother’s Day cards (Happy belated Mother’s Day, everyone!) with handwritten notes from our daughters – thank you, ladies, for those amazing messages! – two additional personal notes from Nancy and Jane, and an article about social calling cards from Joan. Postmarks on the letters included Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, New York, Honolulu, Hawaii, and my home city, San Francisco. How much better can things get than receiving six letters and…

6 Comments

Your Handwriting/Your Signature – Do They Matter?

In Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 gothic novel, Rebecca, memorialized by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film of the same title, the shy young bride of Maxim de Winter finds herself out of her depth in her new husband’s ancestral home, Manderly, overseen by the creepy Mrs. Danvers. The lingering presence of Maxim’s dead first wife not only intimidates her, but reminds her of her own seeming inferiority. First, it is an inscription in a book, “written in a curious, slanting hand…the tall and sloping R dwarfing the other letters.” Mrs. de Winter responds, “I noticed for the first…

2 Comments

Letters

From Rob, New York City - Marcia, two aspects related to your blog come to mind: one is the issue of technology transforming necessities to luxuries, sometimes for the better. A poor example might be horses changing from messy requirements for transportation to luxuries for recreation. A current example is the book, morphing from the only way for substantial bodies of content to be stored, transported, and retrieved, to a bulky, unsearchable, environmentally wasteful luxury item for those who prefer the heft and balance of a physical book (the issue of whether the book--print or digital--is an…

0 Comments
Close Menu