Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

 I love this bumper sticker from the gift shop at the Whitney Museum in New York. Of course, being a frugal downsizer, I took a picture instead of buying one:

Earth bumper sticker in Whitney Museum gift shop (NYC)

Letters form words within words — Earth/Art bumper sticker.

On the subject of earth and art (two of my favorite things by the way), here’s another example of ‘letters’ — this time on a tree trunk.

Tree trunk carving.

Tree trunk carving… ouch, I don’t think we should do that.

And an example of letters on art (being a pot, that’s art made of earth, so we’ve come full circle)…

Met Museum, NYC,  Vase in the shape of a cockerel.

Met Museum, NYC, Etruscan vase in the shape of a cockerel.

Of course, ‘letter’ doesn’t just refer to a sign or symbol, or a unit of a word we use to communicate, it’s also the term for a finished product. Remember ‘letters’? They’re what we wrote to each other before email and texts. I saved dozens that my mother wrote to me over the years, and when I sort through papers here at the house, I find I often saved old letters from other family and friends. The loops and dips of handwriting are so personal, that seeing them brings people and relationships back in an immediate and sometimes overpoweringly emotional way.

In a box of Bob’s father’s things, I found a packet of Bob’s letters home, written during his freshman year in college. That was years before I met him.  I debated whether I should invade his privacy and read them, but curiosity won out. I did.  And no, I’m not going to post an excerpt here; that wouldn’t be respectful. But I will share one tidbit: he mailed his laundry home to his mother.  (I thought that was pretty interesting, considering that when we lived together, he did more of the laundry than I did.)

I used to have a nice collection of stationery and note cards, but that’s no downsizing challenge. I’ve already packed up those supplies and passed them on to friends who are still so civilized as to write letters. Met Museum, NYC, Etruscan vase in shape of a Cockerel

When was the last time you wrote a letter? And (don’t answer this one, just think about it) — who does your laundry?

Related Posts:
WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

12 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

  1. I think it was common to mail laundry home.
    I think my family has Bob’s beat: my great-grandmother MOVED to Lincoln NE when her only child, my Grandfather, went to the University. I amazed he managed to ever get married…to a home-town girl who also went there…

  2. I agree that hand-written letters are so nice to keep and treasure. I worry about this generation. They are one good power failure away from disaster. I was just out to eat tonight and watched a couple at another table. She was talking on the phone and he was texting. Why bother going out together?

    • I’ve considered scanning letters to digital files, but then I’d need to keep the files updated when technology changes. In that way, paper is more archival, and much nicer when it comes to reading our loved-one’s handwriting. I have been scanning old photos though, mostly because I can then pass them on to family and friends. (and I agree that it’s important to say ‘no’ to the phone when there’s a friend there in person)

  3. I quite like writing letters, and my friends and I used to write when we were at university, even though we all had email addresses – there’s just something nice about receiving a letter! Now I sometimes send cards with a letter written inside (I’m not a huge fan of cards particularly when all is written inside is: “To X Love from Y”) but I can’t honestly say I’ve written a letter in the last year.

    I think the “bring your laundry home when you’re at uni” is a bit of an urban legend. (That’s the quote in the UK, we don’t post it!!!) The first term I was away, I brought my laundry home at Christmas. I just thought it was something that students did. My mother obviously had other ideas. At the end of the Christmas holidays, it went back to uni still dirty. (I really don’t know why I didn’t just do it myself, but still…) That was the first and last time I ever took it home!

  4. Thanks for posting your blog on the “Hometown” site. I have now read a few of your blogs but also the comments – where real life happens. I was telling Luwana that I missed hanging the sheets and towels outside just the other day. Nothing better than country air smell.

    You were a joy growing up with and it is such a treat to reconnect.

    • Thanks Mitch, it’s great to hear from you, and I love getting comments. (Actually, on facebook sometimes I get in a hurry and don’t pay close enough attention to where I’m posting) — and, NH-wise, there are many things I miss about the way our lives were when we were growing up. All the best to you and Luwana — Sandy

  5. Really nice thought-provoking post. I like your blog. Inspiring to keep clutter under control. I fight it here constantly. So much so, that I established a policy this past year. I’ve told my husband and son whatever they buy new, something old and no longer useful needs to go. Period. They comply pretty well, I must say. They don’t want to be bogged down with clutter. We like to be on the move and not chained to the stuff.

    • That’s a good policy, nothing new without finding a home for something old… I wish I’d started it sooner. Thanks for reading and commenting, it’s encouraging, and I really appreciate that right now! — Sandy

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