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I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write.

That's from the book of Revelation in the Bible.

I once read in a novel, I can't remember the title or the author, "Finding a handwritten letter in the mail is like spotting a cardinal in the bird feeder."

Charles Addams cartoon, A cardinal in the bird feeder

What's so amazing about a cardinal in the bird feeder?

I couldn't resist that. Thank you, Charles Addams.

Here's a cardinal caught by my brother, Rob, at his birdfeeder.

But enough about birds--I really want to talk about letters.

Barbara Swanson Sherman, collage, red bow tie, checked shirt

This collage is from 1998, in my early days of decorating my datebooks. On the right is the envelope for a birthday card from my friend, Doug. I remember the lift I felt at finding it in the mail-- seeing his distinctive writing and the Georgia O'Keeffe stamp.

My grandmother was a letter writer. Dad told me that when he was in the army, in training at Camp Hale in Colorado, he got a letter every day.

A man who worked in the mess hall said to him, "How's Janet?" Dad realized he had been reading the letters Dad threw in the trash. I so wish we still had those letters--they must have provided a lively picture of life at home. Uncle Dan told me that each one of her children, and she had five, received a letter every day when they were away at school. She had a laundress and a cook, but still.

I love getting letters. When I was teaching at Trinity School and Robin Lester was the Headmaster I would frequently find a handwritten note in my mailbox--"Great job!" "I passed a group of kids admiring your pictures in the hallway!" "Congratulations!"

I wasn't alone-- my colleagues said they got notes as well. I've kept those notes and read them over once in a while, to bring back those days. Robin believed that teaching is a noble profession and he made his encouragement real--he put it in writing!

I've also kept letters of condolence and I sometimes re-read them. Yes, it makes me sad, but it also brings back my lost loved ones and reading that someone else knew and loved them is a lovely thing.

My mother used to say, "To get a letter, write a letter." So I try. I'll never live up to MomMom

but I try. If I could send you each a handwritten letter every Friday--Wouldn't that be nice?

Mary Cassette, The Letter, watercolor

October 3, 2019

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