15 March 2011
two memories come roaring into focus when I think of my maternal grandfather-- the time I tap danced for him in white plastic dime store sandals and the image of him hard at work in the back room of his printing shop. the rest is as mysterious to me as the massive printing presses we often tiptoed around when we visited him at work.
I was seven when he died. eventually, my grandma was forced to sell the business, equipment and all. I remember the last time we stood in the shop, how it still smelled the way it did all those times we visited-- sharp, like paper and ink, like hard work and long nights. my grandma opened a long, slender wooden drawer (one of what seemed like hundreds) and told us to pick a few pieces of type out. go ahead, she said. something to remember your grandpa by. I was too young to appreciate the significance behind the gesture but I reached in and chose a few pieces anyway. a lowercase letter 'a' and a rose. they were small but heavy in my hand and left faint charcoal smudges on the pink of my palm.
letterpress: tis the subject of my latest covet column in issue eight of UPPERCASE, an issue solely devoted to the art of letterpress. gorgeous, I tell you. every last letterpress-loving page. as always, I'm honored to be a contributor.
I do believe my grandpa would be proud.