Riding the Train
BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum

Riding the Train

BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum Riding the train is one of the great joys for my three-year old grandson.   Specifically, he likes to ride the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) F train, although the G train might do in a pinch.  The F train runs from Jamaica, Queens to Coney Island, Brooklyn, and my grandson is familiar with every Brooklyn stop.  As he pushes his toy trains across the table or floor, he mimics the automated train voice that intones, “Stand clear of the closing doors, please.” …

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The Art of the Stamp
EllsworthKelly2019-Block10-v2

The Art of the Stamp

EllsworthKelly2019-Block10-v2 For those of us who write and mail letters, consider the art of the stamp.  Gone are the days of simply buying a roll of one hundred flag stamps.  Today, there are many options of Forever First Class stamps to coordinate with the mood or theme of your letter or note. Perhaps you are a lover of modern art.  If so, you will enjoy the recent issue of stamps highlighting the abstract art of Ellsworth Kelley.  A set of 20 of the new stamps feature ten beautiful paintings. “Ellsworth Kelly honed his artistic voice as…

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A Box of Old Letters

One day, while in my mid-teens, I came across my mother looking through a box of old letters. This box, always on the top shelf of her closet, had followed us from house to house and from town to town, but this is perhaps the first time I expressed curiosity. The letters, it seemed, were written during World War II, letters that my parents exchanged with one another during those war years. Most likely, some of them would have pre-dated their marriage in 1943, while others may have been written later. I wanted to read them, but my mother said that they were personal, and she did not want to share them.

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Never Too Young

An expression of gratitude is always welcome. An expression of gratitude is always welcome, and one is never too young to write that all important thank you note.  As an added bonus, children who are taught to write thank you notes tend to craft more creative and thoughtful notes when they become adults The act of hand writing a thank you note has the added benefit of becoming a learning experience for a child.  It is an exercise in manual dexterity, helps teach spelling, and encourages creativity.  For this reason, some schools sponsor letter-writing exercises, such…

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About Books and Reading
Bedside reading

About Books and Reading

Each year, I look forward to the fall months for news about books and reading.  Magazines, newspapers and trade organizations choose the fall to announce their selections for “best books” of the year.  It is a good time to compare our favorite books with these lists, hoping to add undiscovered gems to our reading lists. Many prestigious book awards also are announced in the fall.  The National Book Awards were unveiled in November; the Man Booker Prize was announced in October.  The publication of outstanding books and the awarding of prestigious prizes, however, are by no…

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Resolutions

Another year has arrived, and I am reminded that it is time to update my New Year’s resolutions! Most likely, some of mine are similar to or overlap with yours. Resolutions: Fitness First off, there is that pesky weight gain that coincides with fall celebrations. Whether they come from too much partying, excessive sweets, calorie-laden holiday meals, or simple inactivity, daily walks and other forms of exercise are part of the antidote. My father, gone now for 25 years, would have been 99 years old this coming May. He had a sense of humor about my…

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More About Stamps
Birds in Winter. Image courtesy of USPS

More About Stamps

  Stamps have been in the news recently. The surfacing of a rare inverted Jenny stamp, a dispute over the use of an image of the Statue of Liberty, and new releases of novel, innovative and popular stamp motifs have all received media attention in recent months. New stamps, now on sale at post offices or online through USPS.com, include four new holiday stamps as well as re-releases of past popular images; a World War I commemorative stamp; Hot Wheels; Birds in Winter; Dragons; the much anticipated John Lennon stamp; and others. John Lennon The John…

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What’s New at the Post Office
John Lennon stamp will be releases on Sept. 7

What’s New at the Post Office

Services, facilities and politics are evolving at the USPS.  So, what’s new at the post office? One service I tried out this year and have found very helpful is Informed Delivery.  Launched in the spring of 2017, Informed Delivery provides the postal customer with a daily email, which includes photocopies of the letter sized pieces to be delivered in that day’s mail, as well as notification of anticipated packages. Given the massive quantities of junk mail that the average customer receives, this service is valuable in anticipating important letters and documents. If you haven’t yet signed…

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Post Office Boxes by Kay Roberts
Post Office boxes, Calistoga, CA

Post Office Boxes by Kay Roberts

On a recent little vacation in Calistoga, I realized I would miss a friend’s major birthday if I didn’t find and mail her a card.  So I got myself out of a steaming pool and over to the post office.  I go to Calistoga for those steaming pools at least twice a year, but I never had occasion before to visit the post office, and when I saw the rows of beautiful old post office boxes, I became (excessively, says my husband) nostalgic. What memories of growing up in the 1940s and 50s in Cumberland, Wisconsin…

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Love Letters
Valentine greeting card

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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