Monday, February 14, 2011


I found some neat Valentine's in an antique store in Andover, Vermont this weekend. I came across a whole basketful, but limited myself to just three. It's clear that postcards were the original e-mail (which from now on I am going to call p-mail). These two were written by the same woman, Julia, who lived in Vermont, to her cousin Etta M. Gee, from Etna, New Hampshire (yes, Etta from Etna). The cards are postmarked October 5, 1912 and February 12?, 1914. A lot of the cards I sifted through were written by this woman to her cousin. I also discovered that people seemed to have used Valentine's postcards year round with no particular attachment to St. Valentine's Day. I found one that said on the back "Have a gorgeous Thanksgiving!"

In case you can't read it, the first one says:

Dear Cousin: - Your card received and was glad to hear from you. How are you all this lovely morning? Papa is sick abed with the grippe and a hard cold, the rest of us are well as usual. Yes I had a good time at the fair and did not get wet any, as I was under cover when it rained. Yes they did have a poor weep for the fair. I went down to Bellows Falls to the street fair, and had a good time.
Write often.
From Julia

The second one says:

Dear Cousin: - Your card received was glad to hear from you, and should have answered before but have been busy so letter writing was an easy job to put off. Many thanks for the cards you all sent grandpa up that way, and he received a shower of 91 cards. Hope this finds you all well. We are well as usual. Is it cold up there? 20 below here yesterday.
Write often.
From Julia

Perhaps it's heartening to know that even in 1914 people found it hard to find the time to write postcards, and so we are all still battling a timeless and universal pull to do other things.

To whom would you send a note if you could take a moment to write it? P-mail postage is only 28 cents - 28 cents! - within the U.S. How can you not avail yourself of such a bargain?

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are spending it surrounded by love.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pattern interrupt

If you know me, you know I like stripes. Stripes do occasionally take a turn for the worse, but usually if there's a stripe involved, I am going to like it.

What you might not know is that I have a low tolerance for plaid. Seriously, it's a rare plaid that won't give me a headache. If it's made out of cotton flannel, the fuzziness can make it bearable, but beyond that, I steer clear of all things plaid. I can only look at houndstooth sideways, and glen plaid is like a three hour car ride on a rainy day while sitting in the middle of the back seat. People's fascination with the Burberry plaid (which they call "check") is totally lost on me. It's a good thing I have no pedigree and therefore am not forced to wear my family's tartan on special occasions.

This issue with plaid extends into the patterns you see inside of "security envelopes". These patterns are always a risky thing to encounter. If I was prone to seizures, these would be a trigger for sure. When I pay my rent each month, I slip my check into the envelope by feel, not by sight.

A while ago, I came across a collage that someone had made using all the envelope insides they had collected. At the time I thought "How could they stand to even look at it long enough to make it?!" But, it did get me wondering about the variety to be found inside a seemingly boring envelope. Then, recently, I came across an envelope, and lo and behold, I ~kind of sort of~ liked the inside.

So, like slowly introducing a food to which you are allergic back into your system, I decided to practice exposing myself to the insides of envelopes. I started looking around as I went about my days, and in less than a week I managed to accumulate a pretty good variety. It's amazing how many discarded envelopes you can find blowing around if you have your eyes tuned to look for them! I almost got rid of each one when I found it, since they were each so hard to look at, but I decided to keep them after all, for the sake of my experiment. And I think I now can handle the insides of envelopes a little better.

That being said, Glen Plaid and I have a long way to go before we will ever be friends.