Now that my boys are old enough to start enjoying sports, I have “won” the privilege of driving to towns an hour or so away to watch the boys play football for a league team.  Yesterday was their first game, and I had a great time watching them play rather clumsy football and enjoy the experience of playing on a real football field for the first time.

I’ve read stories about helicopter parents who just refuse to let Johnny make any mistakes out on the football field, but it was rather shocking and saddening to see it in person, and I know the examples I saw were mild ones.

Third and fourth graders played the first game, and there was one dad who decided that the refs were just WAY out of line, so he yelled his opinion out to them.  Luckily one of the coaches politely reminded him that parents were not allowed to harass the refs, but I was still amazed that this parent took this game SO SERIOUSLY. These are 3rd and 4th grades, for pete’s sake!  Adults are supposed to be the role models, not the ones doing embarrassing behavior.

Later on a mom did the ultimate helicopter thing when she went over the fence, across the track, and pulled her kid aside to COACH HIM in the middle of the game.  When the real coach saw this kid not with the others and not paying attention to the game, he told him to get back over there, but the mom actually followed him, continuing to bend down, point at the field, and give her pointers as the kid walked back to the sidelines.  Seriously, people?  Perhaps next year you’d like to devote your nights and Saturdays to coaching little kids’ football.  Until then, let the real coaches do their job.

Although I’m glad that parents are not allowed to voice their opinions to the referees, I heard a lot of the chatter while I was standing along the fence with the other parents.  So many times I wanted to remind them that this was supposed to be a friendly game of football for kids who are enjoying the game.  There will be mistakes.  In fact, there SHOULD be mistakes.  How else will they learn?

As a teacher, I watch these games and hope that the parents show as much enthusiasm about their kid’s academic progress as they do about their football skills.

Wishful thinking, I’m sure.



Fall is my favorite season, for various reasons.  There’s the excitement and bustle of returning to school, the beginning of football season, the changing of the leaves, and the return of milder weather.  (After a scorching summer like the one we’ve had here in Iowa, I am ready for mild temperatures!)  Normally I’d say that I’m excited to pick apples in my parents’ apple orchard in South Dakota, but I’m pretty sure the drought is going to guarantee zero apples for picking.  Oh well.  Maybe next year.

As I sit in front of my laptop and gaze out at the smattering of earlybird leaves that are beginning to fall (again, thank a lot, drought!), I notice a small Coleman tent sitting unobtrusively under a huge maple tree.

The tent.

Its color is faded on that one side facing the sun, and that’s because that tent has been there since June. I put it up as a favor to my two boys, ages 10 and 8. They have always enjoyed “camping” in the backyard every now and then and they’d always beg me to put it up.

This year, however, I thought it would be neat if we left the tent up all summer.

Why not?  It’s not a brand new tent, nor was it a very expensive one.  It has a rainfly to protect it, it’s a snap to set up, and I am not so attached to the grass in my yard that I’m going to cry if I have a little square patch of grass that dies.  That’s the nice thing about grass — it can regrow.

I remember the thrill of having a tent to crawl into — my own personal space where I could hide out from the world and pretend that I was on my own in the middle of the woods.  My house is not the palatial palace that I’d like it to be; therefore, I wanted a place for my boys to be able to call their own.

They wasted no time in making their own, either.  I slapped an eggcrate mattress down so they didn’t have to lie on the hard ground, and they chose the blankets and pillows that they’d keep out there.  Oodles of books, toys, booklights, and DVDs followed, and I gave them free use of a portable DVD player that was just sitting in my closet, collecting dust.  It was a modernized version of “roughing it,” of course, but my boys were more excited about having their own space.  They spent the first two weeks in there nearly every night aside from the nights that they stayed at their dad’s house.  Bedtime became something to look forward to, for a change.  They’d go into the tent about 8:30 and spend a couple hours reading books, giggling, playing with flashlights, or watching DVDs.  They’d usually konk out about 10:30, and I wouldn’t hassle them to get to bed, because it was summer and I knew they’d tire eventually.

When the sun hit the tent in the morning, they’d straggle in, a little groggy from lack of sleep but excited to do it all over again that night.  When friends came over, they’d show of their “house,” reminding kids to make sure their feet were clean before entering the tent, since they would be walking on their beds.  They took responsibility for the contents of the tent and cared about keeping it nice.  Perhaps in a way it made them understand why sometimes Mom gets so persnickety about the way her house looks.

Soon the earlybird falling leaves will become a steady rain as the maple tree sheds its summer coat, and the tent will have to be cleaned out, cleaned up, and put away until next summer.

And in June, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be getting out that tent and putting it back up for yet another summer of memories.  In twenty years, I hope my sons remember these summers, and I hope the memories make them smile.


A few weeks ago I wrote a post regarding some starburst flatware that I had picked up in various stores and my quest to identify the wide variety of patterns I encountered.  Read the original post here.  As I described in that post, what I thought would be an easy task turned into a frustrating series of dead-ends as I tried to match up the plethora of patterns to definite names.

Then I received a most helpful email on Etsy from a fellow Etsyer named Wardrobecat.  She took the time to correct my futile attempt to identify the pieces and provided oodles of great information.  Here is her email here:


I just ran across your website that had a post dated 7-18-12 talking about your recent purchase of many different styles of flatware similar to Mar-crest “Citation”. 

I happen to own a full service for 24 of this pattern, as well as having many new-in-box samples of it. Yes, I realize that I have gone a bit overboard in buying this stuff, but I just love it. I use one set of 12 for everyday use and keep another set of 12 in storage for when I have guests. Many of my pieces are nearly mint. Many I have found in thrift stores for 10-29 cents a piece, and others I must admit that I have paid a lot on E-Bay and Craig’s List.

So anyway, the true Marcrest Citation piece in your photo is the one on the far left. It should be marked “stainless steel USA” near the base of the blade. It will not show the word Mar-crest. Every other type of utensil made in this pattern will have the words “Mar-crest stainless steel USA”, but for some reason the knife does not have the word Mar-crest.

This pattern was made in the following pieces: dinner knife, dinner fork, dessert spoon, teaspoon, salad fork, round bowl soup spoon, iced drink spoon, grapefruit spoon, serving spoon, cold meat fork, butter knife, sugar spoon, seafood fork, cocktail sauce spoon and pie server. 

The knife that you thought was the real one, second from the right in your photo, I am fairly sure is a pattern called “Starette”, made by the National Stainless Company in Japan, which is often marked as “NSCo”. If it has the word Japan, it definitely is not Marcrest (Marcrest will always show “USA”).

I hope this helps you weed out the many variations of similar styles made by different companies. Good luck finding pieces to add to your collection!

and a later email …..

Here is some more info, just to add to the multitude of starburst designs!

The Mar-Crest pattern that you like is called “Citation Futuristic”. There are two additional patterns made by Mar-Crest that are called simply “Citation”. All three feature different starburst designs. The Futuristic pattern has three stars on a wavy handle; Citation variation 1 (often called MCF-1 by online consumers) has five large stars on a tapered handle with a rounded tip; Citation variation 2 (often called MCF-2) has three small stars and four swirling lines on a relatively straight handle that has a slightly square/round tip. I have included a photo showing all three together. 

Sorry it is not a better photo, I tried several times and kept getting glare spots. This is my original photo taken on 8-26-12, and you may use it if you wish.


Needless to say, I am eternally grateful to Wardrobecat for the helpful information!  I look forward to adding more pieces to my collection and seeing which one is truly my favorite, as it seems to vary each time I set a table with them.


All my travels have come to an end and I am facing the conclusion of summer.  School (for teachers, anyway) starts on Monday and the real deal begins on Wednesday.  It truly seems like summer began just three weeks ago.  I was so pumped for spending time with my kids and traveling and indulging in my hobbies … and now, I’m wondering why I didn’t use my time better.  Or perhaps I did?

I will admit it – my profession comes with some perks.  There are few other professions that allow people several weeks off in a row.  I get holidays off.  I have decent insurance.  My working hours are predictable.  I don’t have a boss yelling at me to stay late or come in earlier.  That’s stuff that most teachers do automatically because they have to. However, as the demands of our profession have risen, the time to get everything down has declined.  If I could change anything about how a school day is set up, I would demand that teachers have more time to plan.

Budget issues and emphasis on standards and benchmarks have whittled away planning time to one 42-minute period per day.  Yes, I know — most people would LOVE to have 42 minutes a day to do whatever they wanted.  However, this is not a break time for us.  It is a planning time.  If you use that period as a break time every day, you will never get anything done and will fall hopelessly behind.  Those 42 minutes are for cramming in all the stuff we need to do on any given day: ordering copies, writing lessons and handouts, contacting parents and answering emails, grading papers and entering grades, generation progress reports, conferring with other teachers, scheduling computer time, tracking down students, setting up A/V equipment, organizing handouts and packets … the list goes on and on and on.  For teachers who are actually trying to be innovative and doing something extra, those 42 minutes go by in a flash.  Therefore, I’ve gotten in the habit of using my lunch time for additional planning time.  I scarf down some yogurt and get to work.  Unless i’m really stressed out and just want to get out of the building, that is my daily routine.  When I am teaching a writing class, using my lunch is a necessity unless I want to bring work home with me, and even THEN that extra time isn’t enough and I end up correcting at home too.

If anything, that is where I feel the disrespect the most — when people fail to realize how much time it takes to plan and correct, particularly for those of us English teachers who get anywhere from 30-80 essays being handed in on the same day.  For a writing class, you are expected to get those essays corrected and handed back before the next batch comes in.  For me, correcting just one essay thoroughly (if I am marking all grammar and spelling errors and making suggestions) can take up to twenty minutes — and that is for an essay that isn’t riddled with errors.  Do the math: twenty minutes times eighty essays.  I need approximately twenty-four hours to correct all of those essays, and that is not even taking into account the essays that are so messed up that it can take up to 45 minutes to get all the suggestions written.

If all I taught was a writing class, then I’d be OK.  I’d use class time while the kids were writing along with my planning period and lunch to get them done in a week or so.  However, a writing class is usually one of the four classes that I usually teach.  I can’t use my planning period everyday to correct writing, because then I’d be neglecting the time it takes to keep up with my other classes.  Needless to say, those 42 minutes just don’t cut it on most days.  Even using my lunch as a planning period doesn’t seem to make much of a dent in the time it takes to correct writing and deal with other classes as well.

Teaching is a different animal, and sometimes I get tired of telling people I’m a teacher only to have them get that “look” and then say, “Must be nice to have summers off, huh?”

So often I have to bite my tongue to keep myself from saying, “Yes … and it must be nice to have a coffee break and actual lunch hours, huh?”

Our profession has taken some major hits in public perception.  The media, the government, disgruntled parents — all of them seem to be intent on making it seem like all we do in school is hand out worksheets and have sex with our students when we get a free moment.  That sounds crass and jaded, and perhaps it is.  How many good stories do we read about what schools are doing today?

If you have never visited your child’s school, do so.  Most teachers would be happy to open their doors for you and allow you to see what they do.  Having a parent in the room is nerveracking and a bit disruptive, but it’s also nice for people to witness the energy that’s required to get through a class period and the immense organization and dedication that is required.  Most people see what we do and say, “I’d never be able to do that; I’d go nuts.”  And for some people, that may be true.  At the very least, however, I’d love people to recognize that those of us teaching school actually know what we’re doing and we not only care about the subject we teach, we care about the students in our classroom.  Somehow schools and teachers have been made the enemy by a disgruntled public and the media, and it is this attitude that will do more damage in the long run than anything else.  There are bad apples in the bunch, but I guarantee that those people are the exception and not the rule.

School starts in approximately ten hours.  Time for bed.  🙂



My dad did it again — he scored a bound collection of 1953 House Beautiful magazines from Lincoln, Nebraska.  I think all my bound collections that I’ve gotten from him have been from Lincoln; since I was born there, that’s kind of neat.

Anyway … I am heading out of town this weekend for the last hurrah before the school year begins; this time it is a mom and sis weekend in Pepin, Wisconsin. A little sun, a little eating, a little relaxation — all of it needed before the chaos of school begins again.

First up, let me present you with an ultra cool and modern view of a kitchen:

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have counterspace like this.  I figure this kitchen can serve a dual purpose: when it’s not in culinary use, it doubles as a place for family 50-yard dash races.  I think if you called “Hello?” at this end, you’d hear an echo for sure.

My last post was about products you just don’t see anymore in today’s magazines.  I found a couple of doozies in this collection.

The idea of a squeezable flask is a little surprising to me, probably because I’ve never used a flask and can’t imagine a situation where I’d actually want or need one.  Just remember — this is “fine for the glove compartment.”  Wow.

There’s nothing really funny or unusual about this next ad ….

… except that it’s for candles.  When is the last time you’ve seen an ad for taper candles?  That there’s a bygone era, I tell you.  The Twistolites look nice, though.  They really would make me feel special — just like the ad says!

Next up: are you wondering how to get your mother-in-law to hate you for good?  Buy her some of these.

Just think of how delighted your mother-in-law would be when she peruses through a magazine and sees that you got her some earrings that were meant to alert people to a “snoopy old squaw.”  Yikes.

And as long as you have cultivated hate from your mother-in-law, you might as well go the extra mile and get these for your spouse:

Seriously … sometimes there are no words.

After you’ve taken a few sips from your glove compartment flask on the way home from work and are feeling a little chatty, this next little invention should suit you juuuuust fine.

Was there ever shame in being a chain smoker?  Apparently not.  Let’s enable it!

That’s all for now … heading out of the Land of Corn in about two hours.  Have a great weekend!


My dad (who always has a bead on some old bound magazine collections on eBay) recently snagged a bound collection of 1950 House Beautiful magazines.  Oh, it is so much fun to go through these — not only to see all the style elements that I love about the architecture and design from this time period — but it is also fun to see some old products and ads that just don’t exist anymore.   Some of the products are funny because they were considered rather taboo and the carefully-worded text is designed not to offend the most delicate sensibilities.  Some of the ads are just downright inappropriate because it’s not even trying to hide the racism behind them.

Case in point:

There’s just no way that you can call something “Sonny Boy” and make a “bank” like this without it being totally racist. I do, however, wonder how scary the clown bank looked.  Hello, nightmares!

What the …. ?  What IS this?  How is it a good luck charm?  How will I be able to sleep without those scary jeweled eyes invading my dreams?  Egads!

Over time copywriters have learned that there are just certain words and terms that you don’t put into a headline together unless you want people to look twice.  Back in 1950, however, this made perfect sense:

When they weren’t coaxing readers to find “gay pick-up gifts for men,” the 1957 Sears catalog was then anxious to make women feel shameful about their natural body functions.  Be dainty!  Get one of these!

Sears catalogs are quite a hoot, mainly for the vast array of things that they offered via their catalog that you just don’t see anymore.

More to come as I continue to peruse these catalogs and magazines.  Summer’s almost over and I’m working on getting all my traveling in so that I can pretend that school isn’t starting back up again.

(It’s not working very well.)




I’ve lived in Iowa for twelve years now, but it took me eleven years before I finally visited one of the coolest retro buildings around: the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  Doesn’t sound familiar?  It’s known as the last place that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper played on the Winter Dance Party tour before their fateful plane crash on February 3, 1959.

The building is open during the day for tours, and the tours are totally self-guided.  The first time I was there, my friend and I were the only people there.  We wandered around for close to an hour.  This time there were some other tourists there, but not enough to ruin the cozy feel of being inside the Surf.

The preservation of this building was done with the utmost care, as retro-loving people are struck by all the great art deco and Midcentury elements that the building and decor still exhibit.  Visitors will begin noticing these elements as soon as they walk in the door.

The coat check area has all the great qualities of early Midcentury design.

What’s really neat (and a little creepy) about this building, as I’ve mentioned before, is your ability to wander around the building at will.  No one is directing you where to go.  You can sit in a booth and look toward the stage and try to envision all of the famous acts that have played there over the years.  The ballroom area is kept quite dark save for the lights of the stage.  My camera lends far more light to this picture than will appear to the naked eye.

The booth tables are still sided with aluminum and still have the original reservation instructions.

Visitors are free to roam up on the stage to see what the view has been for decades of performances. (I assume there had recently been a wedding dance here, hence the row of tables and chairs at the front part of the stage.)

To the side of the stage is a little room for bands to get ready for their performance.  The walls are covered with signatures of all the people who have played the Surf over the past few decades.

Even the bathrooms are cool!

The more you wander around the building, the more your mind starts to work overtime to imagine all the scenes that have unfolded on the dance floor, the stage, the booths, and at the bar.

The best part of about the tour is noticing the little architectural and decorative detail.

The Surf also has a hallway of pictures that is rather fascinating.  It contains pictures of the various bands who have played there over time, along with some of the history of the Surf Ballroom itself.  You can read more about the Surf and its history here.



A few months ago I received some pieces of Mar-crest Citation flatware as a gift.  I had fallen in love long ago with the starburst pattern on the handle, but I figured that actually finding a set of such flatware was going to be nearly impossible or ultra expensive.

Oh, how wrong I was.

It started with that set.  I noticed some other small bunches of starburst flatware on eBay or Etsy, but being the impatient person I was, I wanted a full set instantly.  There were a few auctions for brand new boxes, but you can imagine how much THOSE went for.  <sigh>

Fast forward to last Thursday, when my significant other and I went thrift shopping for the express purpose of finding some good retro stuff.  What we found were a whole bunch of pieces of starburst flatware, and by the time it was all said and done, I had a pretty good set of it going.  At ten cents per piece, it was a bargain!

I took a brief glance at the flatware in the store, but I was just so excited to find this stuff that I just instructed my significant other to grab all the pieces he could find and call it good.  It wasn’t until I got home — no, wait … it wasn’t until I started to write this post — that I realized how many different pieces I actual had.  What I thought to be two different patterns going on actually turned into seven.  Yes, really.  How many different styles of starburst flatware can there be?

A lot, actually:

The more I looked at these patterns, the more confused I became.  The pattern on the left was what I was sure was Mar-crest Citation, but the the one second from the right looked like the same thing.  There was a subtle different in the style and placement of the starburst, but neither one was marked.  And what about the others?  None of them had distinctive markings except for a couple that just said “Japan Stainless Steel.”  Doesn’t help me a out a bunch.

After some research, I’m fairly certain that the second from the right is indeed Mar-crest Citation, and the one on the left is an imitation. I thought one of them might be a pattern by Wallace called Bright Star.   Here’s a page from a 1958 catalog from John Plain & Company.

Four stars on the handle.  But once I started looking at all the patterns on the knives, none seemed to match exactly.  So no Bright Star.  <sigh>  So I try to identify each piece individually.  There’s what I think is the Citation:

Then I have a smattering of others.  This first one I have found identified as Utica Silver Sheen:

This next one is Everlasting EV2:

The next one I found some pieces of from an Etsy sale, and that information identifies this pattern as Americana Star.

I think I’ve given myself a headache from squinting at pictures on the internet trying to identify these pieces.  Anyone know what these are?



I received my prized 1941-1942 Neighbor Lady cookbook last week and immediately took time to sit down and read it front to back.  It’s evident that after the first book they perfected the format, for the first one is nowhere near as organized as the subsequent books.  In fact, all the recipes are just lumped together without headings.  On the inside cover there is a photo of a very young Wynn Speece:

What I love the best about these books are the little comments that previous owners have written in the margins.  Many ladies have written little notes like “try” next to recipes that seemed promising, or notes about ones that were successful:

The rye bread does sound good, actually.

And toward the back of the book are the letters, favorite verses, household hints, and a list of people who won good deed dollars.  Here is Wynn’s explanation:

A novel idea, eh? — a radio station encouraging friendliness and helpfulness and actually rewarding people for their efforts.  The list was long and a couple pages in length.

See any familiar names? 🙂

In the letters section, I saw one that I think must have been the inspiration for these books to begin:

She was planning on keeping a notebook full of the recipes and helpful hints that she encountered during the show, and voila!  The Neighbor Lady books were born.  That’s my theory, anyway.

And yes, I’m sticking to it.



My recent purchase of a 1941-1942 WNAX Neighbor Lady cookbook has reignited my love for these books.  I particularly love the letters that are included in each book because they capture so much of the history and the way that people lived.  Here are some of my favorites from the 1944 book.

Dear Neighbor Lady: For many years I have spent my winter months making quilts and rugs.  But since the war came on my hobby is writing to those in service.  I began by writing the home news to the boys from our own community who were at Guadalcanal.  Later on there were others and as the young folks call me “Mom Fay” I always signed my name like that.  Finally boys who had no mothers wrote and asked if I wouldn’t be their “mom” too.  So up to date I write to 26.  I had always hoped to have a “baseball nine” of my own, but they were nearly all girls.  “My sons” in service all want to belong to my baseball nine.  My pitcher writes from India, my catcher from North Ireland, my first basement from Australia, my shortstop from Italy.  They write such good letters.  They seems as if they are my sons.  One is a red-head from the state of Ohio, and while in the hospital he wrote and said, “Dear Mom, you can’t imagine how good it was to have you call me ‘son’.”  My hobby takes a lot of time but I enjoy writing and how much it means to these boys whose mothers died when they were 3 or 5 or so.  They seem to feel that sense of belonging to someone, which is very important to all of us.  In a letter from a boy from the state of Texas, who is now across, he wrote, “Guess what, Mom.  I qualified as a bugler yesterday.”  He wrote and asked if I could stand just one more son, in April last year, as he lost his mother when he was 3 and he had been reading the letters I sent to his buddy.  So my evenings are spent writing to these boys of mine.  My southern boys always say, “Be sweet, Mom,” and I can hardly wait to have them all come home, although there are so many that I have neer seen

– Mrs. John Fay, York, North Dakota


Dear Neighbor Lady:  Maybe first, I had better ask you to excuse me for being so brassy as to address you as above, but you know us poor husbands have to listen to the ups and downs of women for 6 days each week through WNAX as our wives always turn their dial to this program at 3:25 p.m., but it could be worse.  The reason I am writing is because my wife has been in bed for three days with flu, she was pretty sick but is coming all right now and she said, “if someone does not write for me they will think I have forgotten them,” but you do not need to worry as she mentions something about the Neighbor Lady program all through the day and maybe the night as I do not stay awake to listen to her.  I guess she has tried every article that you advertise and of course there is no comparison and I suppose I will have to admit that they are all okay with me.  She sure has received a lot of letters from Neighbor Ladies all over the country and she wishes you to tell them that she will write to them when she gets her strength again.  I work out at the airport so if you women get too hard on us men, I can fly away.  I think I will write to Jack Paige and have him start a competitive Neighbor Man Program and name it “Neighbor Ladies’ Poor Husbands.”  Well, I don’t expect a good deed dollar, but pray for my wife to get strong fast.  Very truly yours, a batching husband.

– George R. Granger, Mitchell, South Dakota.

P.S., While I was writing this letter I forgot my Neighbor Lady meat stretcher in the oven, viz: meat pie, and the top cooked to a dark brown, so I guess it is done.  G.R.G.



Dear Neighbor Lady, and all you wonderful friends.  Usually I find it easy to write letters, but this time, I just don’t know how to begin.  How can a “thank you friends” convey my feelings and make you all know just how much I did enjoy those wonderful letters, cards, beautiful greetings, the pictures and the presents. Thank you, thank you all so much.  I wish every WNAX Neighbor Lady would have as pleasant a birthday as I did.  I wish I could write to each one and thank them, but that’s impossible.  I didn’t turn the radio off as you suggested, Neighbor Lady, as I’d had a letter telling me someone had suggested a card shower.  I was surprised that so many did write and the mail came so fast.  Hazel said, “Mother, you had better tell Neighbor Lady how excited you were.”  Just how did I rate such a surprise?  I kind of believe it was Mrs. Whitehorn and Mrs. Granger that got the idea started; with your cooperation, it was a huge success.  I especially like birthdays, and I can’t think of anything that could have pleased me more than did all those kind messages.  I received 170 cards, letters, and greetings, 18 lovely hankies, a bird of paradise brooch, a wool yarn flower for a coat lapel, a crocheted cross book mark, doily with lace edge of shaded pink thread, package of flower seeds and a Perfex hot pan holder.  Also a clever cut-out greeting from our Neighbor Lady.  Some very thoughtful person even wrote to Bertha Kott about my birthday so I received a lovely letter and a greeting and hankie from her too.  Again and again, “thanks” all you grand neighbors.  

Very truly yours, 

Mary Renn, Pine River, Minnesota


These letters make me realize a few things.  One, that we seem to have lost a sense of community to the point where we make connections with random strangers and take the time to really communicate.  The advent of the internet created a surge in that a little bit, with Yahoo groups and the like bringing people together.  Facebook has also allowed us to make connections with long lost friends across the globe.  However, we spend so much time “liking” statuses and not enough time actually talking.  How much do we really know about the people on our friends list?

These letters also make me feel guilty for my own lack of meaningful communication.  Nearly all of us enjoy getting actual mail from people, but how many of us actually send mail aside from the obligatory birthday card?  I need to make a point to be better about mailing letters and whatever else.  The card shower idea is not new, I know, but it is a lost practice.  Can you imagine getting 170 cards for your birthday?

And the lady who wrote to all her adopted “sons” — that is a heartwarming story and selfless act on her part.  Keep in mind that there was no computer to type letters quickly; no way to just copy and paste things to avoid having to repeat it.  She wrote to 26 boys and had to take hours out of each day to hand write the letters.

One thing these letters remind me of is the simple fact that it is important to stay in meaningful contact with people.  Facebook and smart phones give us a false sense of connectedness, I think.  We think a text means something, or a Facebook “like” means that we are thinking of that person, but in reality, that contact means very little.

Perhaps we should revive the concept of a card shower and start mailing letters to those who are important to us. Email has made us forget how fun it is to actually get a letter or package in our mailboxes.

OK, end of rant.  I will be posting more letters from other Neighbor Lady books in the near future.  More fun on the way!


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