Story Weekend: Stationery
I was going to make taxes the topic for this weekend, since I’m sitting here drowning in statements and receipts, but I decided that could lead to a dicier conversation than I want on Story Weekend. So then I thought, what would be a non-controversial topic? And here it is: stationery. I don’t know about you, but that word immediately brings back memories of letters and thank you notes and dear friends and pretty paper with special watermarks. How about you? What story comes to you when you hear the word ‘stationery’?
If you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:
▪ The story must be true
▪ Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.
Inevitably, the first thing that comes to mind for stationery: “is it an ‘e’ or an ‘a’?” If the answer stops you in your tracks then, in this case, you picked incorrectly!
I recall the year 1985 and hosting a gallery of friends for the U.S. Open golf tournament. While a major event and sleeping eight buddies in my one-bedroom apartment makes for an epic experience, one special detail was finding a terrific invitation card. I still have one as a keepsake. With the pudgy cartoon character Ziggy on the cover, the small card begged the recipient to “Keep this Date OPEN.” I embellished the big letter ‘O’ with green marker and a tiny flag giving it the appearance of a golf green, then added the date and location inside. Viola! A simple card became a themed greeting.
Having stationery that looks right for the occasion is too rarely achieved, but very special. Today I often use cards featuring Topsail Island photos from a Raleigh artist or my own collection. Will I remember them 28 years from now?
Many years ago I was blessed to be asked to read my work on National radio in Canada and I did after much sputtering and ummms later that were edited out:} The producer there at the time who spent countless hours helping me perfect my craft sent me a thank you note in a non stationary fashion. I had sent the radio station a thank you note and he sent me in return a thank you for the thank you note..lol God I love creative people:} It came in an envelope and was a jigsaw puzzle that said. Thank you for your Thank you. When can you come to be on our show next? The absolute joy i felt when piecing that note together has stayed with me after all of these years. The producer and I went on to become great friends and he taught me that if life is a puzzle, all you have to do is sit down, set yourself to the task at hand and the pieces will in thier own good time will fall into place:}
I love this!
I learned about stationery when I was very young. My Mom was born in England, married during WWII, and eventually moved to the US where I was born. I remember one day sitting in my room and crying because everyone else at school had grandparents and I didn’t. My Mom sat down next to me and explained that I did have grandparents, they just lived very far away. That day she and I sat down and I wrote my first letter to my Grandma and Grandpa. We went to the post office to mail it, and a few weeks later, I got my first letter from them! That first letter began a wonderful relationship. I finally got to meet them when I was 11 and Mom took me to England for the first time. Now England is my second home.
Stationary reminds me of my youth when the most coveted relationship was a pen pal from far away. One from another country was the best. You could sign up through a few magazines to be a pen pal. I had a few pen pals, but not many.
Stationary also reminds me of the pleasure of getting letters from family and friends.
Emails and social networks have replaced stationary for many if not most people. It’s kind of sad, but, on the other hand, we stay in touch much more than during the stationary days. Technology often has a trade offs.
Ah, stationery. This was always a Christmas gift from an aunt or cousin, and sometimes my sister and I would trade.designs for whichever we thought would be more impressive for our church newsletter penpals. One summer we made our own with potato and sponge stamp designs, complete with envelopes to match – how fun. We went by train to Richmond (VA) with our mother expecially to order personalized stationery for her and out father, and we had a special cubbyhole where all the paper was stored. I still sometimes find appealing stationery at garage sales that I use for notes and lists – doesn’t take much to make me happy!
For me, Christmas was a time that we always received it from an aunt or Grandma. I didn’t write many letters, but always enjoyed the stationary. I always wanted a pen pal, but never had one of those either. What I do remember is my Grandma and Granny had writing tablets. It was always a treat when we’re allowed to write on those. I didn’t understand at the time why they were so protective of their writing tablets. It was almost as if they were made of gold. I never understood that as in my generation, paper is about the cheapest “Toy” you can give a child. All of my Grandkids love to draw. Not until I was older did I understand that it was about wasting. In the generations before mine, when they lived in the depression, they did without somethings so they could buy the things like food.Of course the depression and WW 2 they also had rationing. When things were broken you fixed them. People darned socks and sewed patches in jeans. You used what you had and didn’t throw things away. I imagine that wasting paper was one of those things you just don’t do.
I always loved to write letters to who ever would read them and reply, but only once in my life did I receive stationary as a gift. It was so pretty to me as a child that I never used it, not wanting to waste pretty flowered paper! Except, I think, to write a thank you to the person who gave it to me. I would bet money that paper is still in the box it came on, in my childhood bedroom closet at my dads house… Now, I still love writing letters but usually use plain paper, only occasionally decorated to suit the recipient, usually with stickers- I write to my sponsored kids in Haiti and Guatemala more often than anyone else. Everyone else gets email or a text lately.
I use to write lots of letters before the internet. My husband and I dated for 5 years before we were married and we lived 350 miles apart. We did talk on the phone but, that was also before cell phone and free minutes so, our conversations were limited. We wrote to each other and I still have a box with all those letters. He was not that interested in writing on anything but lined paper but, I made sure I had some nice paper for my letters. We have been married for 29 years so, I guess our letters helped.
I also wanted to say a friend told me about your books recently and what I have read is amazing looking forward to reading more!
When I think of stationery it reminds me of my Nana. She was the one person I wrote when I was younger. She would send me pretty paper and stamps so we could keep in touch. Sadly, in today’s world, I am a texter/emailed only. Diane, I have to tell you that I came upon The Good Father while on vacation and am totally hooked on your books!! I am loving that they have a little of everything and I cant put them down! Thank you for writing such great books!!
Michelle, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed The Good Father!
When I think about stationery I remember that I once wrote a letter that was critical of my parents and thought it was a bad idea, so I crumpled it up and threw it in the wastebasket. My little brother found it and showed it to them. It did not go over well and I was very embarrassed and hurt. My boyfriend at the time wrote very funny and nasty letters that I still reread. We continue to correspond in longhand.
When I was 13 my best friend moved down the shore. Although I knew I’d be spending more time in the surf it did not ease the pain of losing a friend I shared many firsts with, confided in, planned, dreamed and laughed with.
We selected beige stationery bordered with sea shells for correspondence and decided she would write first. I still recall receiving my first letter and immediately knew I was in trouble when reading “crabs for the crab” on the envelope. Sure enough, tucked inside a tissue was a decaying, smelly ol’ sand crab and I can still smell it now! GOOD TIMES!!!
Letters from my grandmother come to mind when I think of stationary. They are usually embossed with pretty pictures of quilts or kittens and full of sweet words and advice. My grandmother is not always “there” anymore and forgets a lot, but when she is coherent she writes me little notes about the weather or her life as a girl or her dreams. They are beautiful memories of a woman I admire greatly
This reminds me of my mother. Even now with electronic everything she still uses staionary. I always loved getting her sweet letters in college on her lovely stationary. She has the best handwriting. She still writes beautiful thank you letters!