letters never sent


Sometimes I think social media fascinates me so much because I am of one of the last generations of letter writers.  I still have and use stationary.  It’s not always all about the instant message, text message, Facebook “private message”.

I save dribs and drabs of letters. Occasionally they fall out of books, which is where I have stashed some of them.  Usually the letter marks importance of some point in my life. Letters from a friend when they were in boarding school in England. Birthday cards sent to me when I was too little to read them. A random letter from someone in college who said I had owl eyes way back when.  Letters from a college friend after she went back to her native Sweden. Little notes with clippings of various things my father would send me, all addressed in his strong and sure handwriting.  Memories and history. Like old photographs.

I like to sent thank you and other notes. Real, honest to God, stick them in the mail handwritten notes. Now when I send them they age on the way thanks to the United States Postal Service and how they sort mail, but I send them. I have an ongoing battle with the teenager in my house and his father  about thank you notes.  Mostly I lose the battle and that makes me sad.

I think writing a thank you note is a really nice thing to do, but is becoming a lost art form. It shows (in my opinion) that you cared and is polite and gracious. It never hurts to say thank you. It is also a communication skill.

And letters. Don’t you remember the feeling of getting a letter? When I was in grade school I had a pen pal from Blackpool, England.  Her name was Peta. We were penpals for many years.  I remember buying special air mail envelopes just for my letters. I remember the anticipation of seeing a letter with a stamp from England in my mailbox.

Also  used to rush to the mailbox for my dear friend Marie Claude. I stay in touch with her still…we met as young teenagers when her family was my host family in Alsace one summer through the Valley Forge Historical Society. We were voracious letter writers for years and years. And now we are more e-mail correspondents.

Technology has allowed us to stay in touch in a more expedient manner, but somehow it doesn’t hold a candle to the old school lure and romance of letters. And so few people send actual thank you notes any longer that when I receive one I hang onto them for a while because it just makes you feel special that someone took that time just for you.

Social media like Facebook makes us all voyeurs on this bus.  You have a random thought of someone you haven’t thought of in years.  Sometimes it is a pleasant walk down memory lane, other times it is a good reminder as to why certain people are no longer in your life.

I had that happen today.  Someone I used to know whom I had “unfriended” on  Facebook years ago sent me a friend request. I literally laughed out loud. At one time, we were fairly close friends, but they are one of these people who basically are in your life when convenient for them.  After a couple decades of that I decided to quietly let this person go years ago.  The final impetus for my decision was when they were flat out rude and utterly inappropriate one time too many. Yet this morning, there they were with their friend request like nothing had ever happened.

This person once upon a time was a prolific letter writer. They actually made me think about letter writing.

The stages of life can still be followed in letters.  Only no one writes them any longer much at all. I am not the only blogger who thinks about letters oddly enough. Then Internet is peppered with posts about letter writing. People even write about letter writing being an essential skill for kids to still continue to learn today.

I read this blog post this morning called The Art of Letter Writing. Here is an excerpt:

In the days of cell phones, email, and text messages, letter writing can seem hopelessly outdated. But it’s an art worth bringing back, and not because of some misplaced sense of nostalgia either. The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why?

Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest.

I called this post letters never sent because there are letters I have written in my head over the years and never mailed.  They were a healing exercise for whatever reason at the time. But there are also letters I mailed and sent that captured the very essence of me in that moment. Kind of a neat little time capsule.

Anyway, not trying to go all Emily Post on everyone, but when is the last time you wrote a letter or a thank you note?

Thanks for stopping by today.

krapf school bus issues

 Meet school bus number 94 from the Krapf Bus Company. I was about a car length and a half behind this bus coming up to the stop sign of Collegeview and Morstein. Good thing I’m not a distracted driver, because this bus driver without warning and without really looking behind them threw it into reverse off Morstein to turn around and head in the opposite direction. Seriously, the bus was hauled around like it was a little sports car.

It must be a full moon for school buses from this company because when I was coming down Hershey’s Mill Road five minutes prior to this I was tailgated the entire way by bus 122 from the same company. 

Hershey’s Mill Road  is narrow and quite windy. I was going the speed limit. I am guessing that the bus was in a hurry to get to Villa Maria or something. But it doesn’t really matter, it’s kind of disconcerting to have a giant yellow school bus riding on your tail.

Fortunately I got to turn off so hurry hurry bus driver could be on their merry way. But to run into another Krapf’s driver with issues at Collegeview and Morstein was sort of like a full moon experience.

These bus drivers have a schedule to keep, I get that. But they  carrying precious cargo, so in addition to not hitting people on the road in their vehicles or coming close to doing that, they should have a care for the people’s children they are carrying.

Oh, and I’ve been noticing another bus related phenomenon  on King Road lately. People in an all fired hurry who seem to feel the need to pass the Septa buses when they stop around Immaculata and the William Henry apartments at high rates of speed. These people don’t even look to see where the people getting on and off the bus are crossing. And not even the enormous axle eating potholes on King Road seem to slow them down.

Thanks for stopping by.



I have always liked vintage Fiestaware. And over the weekend I scored some for myself and it’s from the 1950s and it’s really cool. And it was a bargain. Fiestaware can get quite pricey.

Something about it that just makes you smile – I think it’s because the colors are so happy. But I only like the vintage, the modern styles and colors do nothing for me.  

Years ago when my cousin Suzy was still alive I remember doing antique trips with her and there were a couple places in and around New Hope/Flemington/Lambertville that sold a lot of true vintage Fiestaware. One of the stores in New Jersey in particular still stands out in my mind’s eye. They had tons of Fiestaware and a lot of Russian nesting dolls. I wish I could remember the names of the stores but I can’t.

Anyway I just thought I would share this vintage score. And yes I am using it as every day china. That’s what it was designed for.

when non-profits become bad neighbors


Your eyes do not deceive you. This is  indeed a photo taken Monday of a parking lot resembling an obstacle course. This parking lot is not in Chester County thank goodness, the  location is Ardmore, Pennsylvania. In Lower Merion Township where West Chester’s former borough manager Ernie McNeely is now the Township Manager. 

The Junior League of Philadelphia is doing a huge renovation project at the thrift shop and headquarters in Ardmore. I applaud them for all the good works they have done for decades, but they are being astoundingly dad neighbors now.

Ardmore is a town that suffers from parking issues chronically. So if you add a construction project where construction vehicles park every which way and dumpsters get put and left in thru lanes for very tight parking lots,  it creates a driving hazard and an impediment to small businesses.  Believe it or not, close to that dumpster out of the sight line of the photo is an outdoor dining space for a small café. I can’t imagine they have much business with a giant dumpster RIGHT there.

One of my closest friends owns a store that you literally cannot get to through this parking lot a lot of the time right now because of these construction vehicles. So if customers and suppliers can’t reach the stores and store owners and employees are having a hard time, how are small businesses coping? The answer is not really well and it’s just not fair.  (I also have to note that many of these buildings have apartments and office suites above them and all of those people are having a hard time too)

Why can’t the Junior League find other parking close by for the construction vehicles?  Why does it seem like they are getting preferential treatment and everyone is letting them get away with murder in the parking lot? Other businesses can’t stop being in business because the Junior League is renovating their building.  

Don’t misunderstand me, the building they (The Junior League) are in has been long in need of renovation, it’s kind of a pit, but they should be more considerate of their neighbors and they aren’t. If there are projects which have to block portions of the parking lot at times during this project (which keeps occurring), why not start it a little earlier in the morning before businesses open or why not provide neighboring businesses advance notice that the parking lot will be blocked on certain dates for certain amounts of time?

I used to be a big fan of the Junior League of Philadelphia, and hopefully someday I will be able to be once again. But right now they are simply a nonprofit behaving badly. Think of this post as #dogshaming of a charitable organization. Somehow I don’t think when Mary Harriman founded the Junior League in 1901 being a bad neighbor was part of her plan.

This is yet another reason why I am glad I no longer live on the Main Line. I would however love to be able to navigate this parking lot safely so I can patronize my friend’s business. I  used to donate to the Junior League for their shop once in a while and I never will again after this. 


spring on the windowsill

A couple things here and there are popping up in the garden, so I had to bring a little bit inside on a grey and rainy spring day. The Rosenberger’s dairy bottle was a find in Lancaster County a couple weeks ago. For five dollars it makes the perfect size vase for my kitchen windowsill!