Years ago, I hosted a Valentine's Day letter event and wanted to offer people some suggestions for writing a love letter. But I had two concerns:
1) it had to be easy
2) it was important to emphasize that love letters are not just for lovers
So I created a template, an easy fill-in-the-blanks love letter. And people really liked it.
This year I wanted to create a new version. Because I've been wanting to experiment with collage, hand-lettering, working off-line, and keeping things loose, this was the project I picked.
Below is the finished piece. Be sure to download the fill-in-the-blanks love letter along with a stationery sheet, write a letter, and say something nice to someone you love.
Whenever I stop to talk with my neighbor, he gives a big parting wave and says, "Hug your baby!" Turns out, that's good advice, hugging is good for us.
Chalk lettering in progress . . .
This is a Calendar of Days post.
We were young twenty-somethings, just settled in a new apartment when a large box arrived—an unexpected box. It was a gift from my husband’s grandparents who had just returned from a trip back to Ireland, the country they had both emigrated from years before.
Inside we found a lovely tea set.
To say we were delighted and surprised would be an understatement. We were at the time, living together, unmarried, with no nuptials planned anytime soon. It was, it seemed, a blessing of sorts.
A sign that they had faith in our union?
Perhaps, though its first service would be steeped in panic, sweetened with kindness and humor.
It was soon after receiving the box that we received word that “Big” Nan was coming to visit my husband’s parents. Nan stood nearly 5’3”, petite and utterly charming. Her Irish brogue as sweet as the apple crisp I would present at our first tea service.
Upon hearing the news I suggested we invite Nan for tea. And yes, my husband agreed. He promised to call his mother and arrange a date. But there was no rush, Nan would be visiting for nearly a week, plenty of time to make arrangements.
Or so we thought.
It was Friday, late afternoon when the call came. “Nan and I want to stop by for a visit,” my mother-in-law said, “and we’re on our way.”
What? I couldn’t refuse them, but I was alone. Their son/grandson had just left. Ten minutes earlier he jumped into the passenger seat of his buddy’s 1970s AMC Javelin and pulled away. This was before cell phones. No way to get in touch, no way to bring him back.
I was on my own. And if nothing else, I had to serve tea.
With a 20-minute window to pull things together I peeled a few apples, spread them in a baking dish, dotted them with butter and brown sugar and turned the oven on. Though I’ve overcome my early shyness, this was a stretch for me. I was nervous.
Stumbling through my first tea service, I forgot to put out forks for the apple crisp, only recognizing my omission when I saw sweet little Nan politely eating her dessert with one of the souvenir spoons I had laid out for stirring our tea.
Oh, we laughed, and they gushed over the dessert, the apartment, and how nice it was to visit. Their kindness soothing my nerves.
It was a lovely visit.
And then they, too, pulled away . . . 10 minutes before the return of my Irish sweetheart.
This is a Calendar of Days post.
Tucked in Drawers and Boxes
Like so many people, I save a lot of the letters and cards I get.
What is it about the cards and letters we receive that makes us want to save them?
I suppose it's because they make us feel a bit closer to one another. My grandfather passed away when I was in my late twenties, and I have one special letter from him. After sending him a copy of my very first poster design, he wrote a letter of encouragement, and it's one of my prized possessions. His handwriting, what he wrote, the stationery he used . . . it all brings him back to me in a tangible way. He was a wonderful role model, a man who carried himself with dignity and honor. And his letter, safely tucked away, is a reminder of that.
Letters of Note
Whether or not you have your own stash of letters, there is a wonderful website where you can read letters people have written about love, their struggles, their interests, troubles and triumphs. Letters of Note includes letters written by celebrities (Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones writing to his aunt about meeting Mick Jagger for the first time) as well as famous and not-so-famous people. It's worth a look.
Do you save the letters you receive? Tell us about it.