i’ve kept every card and every letter i’ve ever gotten through the years. i’m a minimalist when it comes to most things, deploring clutter and saying “pack rat” as if it has nothing to do with me. when it has come to letters and cards from family and friends though, they’ve staked out a slice of real estate wherever i’ve lived and have stuck with me through every move. the boxes of letters as time capsules of sorts, i suppose.
i love their tangible quality in much the way i will always love paperback books. you can feel the weight of them in your hands, the glittery or sparkly texture of some, and smile at a dear friend’s round handwriting that you’ve grown to love over the years. i love the handmade cards of one friend especially. when i was about to graduate from stanford law years ago, a handmade card arrived from her in the mail. it was one of the best graduation gifts to open up the envelope and find her card. she had procured a miniature cap and gown, a tiny diploma, and glossy paper with the stanford “S” logo and had assembled all those pieces into a card that made me smile. in it, she had written, “i want to remain life long friends with you and of course, someday, i would like you to be in my wedding! well, when i find the one that is … I love you so much and you are the only person i can laugh like crazy with.” reading those words and seeing her card will always make me smile.
there are also ones from my grandma. i opened one up recently, to read the year “2003” written in her beautiful hangul (korean). she, who also loved to read and write as much as i did, always sent me a handwritten card for at least one occasion every year.
i also love sending cards and letters. in the midst of frenetic work weeks (though happily shortened as of late), weekend goings on, and chores … it’s a happy respite to be able to sit down with a card chosen especially for a dear family member or friend and scrawl a few lines or more.