13 April 2006

thursday love

(gorgeous handmade bracelet by superfresh madness-- sent to me just because-- a whole lot of fabulousness in a nondescript manilla envelope)

I love mail. obviously, not the kind that is financially draining (aka: bills) or the endless stream of junk that comes our way but the occasional postcard, personal letter or unexpected package? love. it's the teeny tiny hint of pink in a sea of grey, a little bit like gold.

I have not always loved it like I love it now. I mean, you learn to love mail growing up-- what, with all the postcards from friends and letters from penpals and boyfriends and birthday cards with crisp dollar bills inside and fancy holiday packages from grandparents. and the church camp that I grew up going to each summer made a big deal over mail. each day during lunch, they called your name over the loudspeaker if there was any sort of mail for you. and if there were three pieces or more, you had to SING for it-- into the microphone, in front of EVERYBODY (horrific for the completely insecure preteen, I know). my cousin kristy jo, she knew this. she sent me three letters almost everyday, some with nothing but hand-cut confetti inside. because she knew I'd have to sing for it and (even with as much as I protested), she knew I secretly loved the attention.

(package of goodies from superbrilliant lisa that magically arrived in the middle of dreary january, all because I happened to mention a desire to try out blender pens)

when I was sixteen, we moved to cincinnati. leaving behind a serious boyfriend and a couple of best friends made the receiving of mail the most important thing to me that year. thankfully, one of my best friends purchased a journal that we each wrote in, filled with gossip and c-o-o-l collages and sent back and forth through the mail (beth, you know I still have it and treasure it-- is it my turn to send it back to you? you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers). but really, I lived for the letters from my boyfriend: plain white envelopes filled with clumsily folded college-ruled notebook paper, letters that promised longing and faithfulness and undying love (sixteen is such a dramatic age). my family lived in a one bedroom apartment those first six months (all five of us, which is an entirely different story for another time). each day, I'd walk down to the foyer of the old apartment complex where the brass mail boxes were, hoping and praying (mostly closing my eyes and crossing my fingers) for mail. on one of my more memorable trips, I peeked into the dark slot to find what looked like a thick love letter. a surge of electricity filled my body as I went to open the little door. but the box was jammed and I was forced to resort to frantic banging and pulling. when that didn't work, I thought maybe I could access the letter by going in through the top of all the boxes. I had seen the mailman drop the mail in like this, was sure I could figure out a way. I jumped and slammed my hand in as deep as I could, but nothing. you know, love makes you so loco sometimes and so I continued to jump and reach like that for what felt like hours (more like fifteen minutes, I'm thinking). on what must've been the seventh or eighth try, I made contact but my arm stuck and I hung there-- helpless, ridiculous. my fingers still gripping the letter, I cried out and my eyes quickly filled with tears over the surprisingly sharp pain and the thought of my arm snapping in two. finally, I gave up and dropped the letter which somehow released my body. I cried like a baby that afternoon as I walked back to our small apartment. I cried because I was humiliated, because I was empty-handed. I cried because I wanted that letter more than anything. for those few months, mail was absolutely everything to me-- almost worth a broken bone.

(rad turntable baby tee: ordered from the supertalented anatomist, given to ezra for christmas)

(the best pink and red swap EVER from cool girl/color genuis jek-- the tiny red suitcase filled with joy arrived wrapped in brown paper and I'm just a little ashamed to admit that I tore into it while driving in traffic)

then you become an adult and the mail is more about bills, credit card offers and bad news-- an ongoing reminder of obligation, responsibility and disappointment. I went through this thing where I truly dreaded that daily walk to the mailbox. I blame this perpetual state of anxiety on more than a couple of things: a) credit card bills. b) summertime electricity bills. c) crazy tax mix-up. d) the time the health insurance company sent us a bill for $18,000 for the special care ezra required for the three days after he was born (again, another story). I found myself having to work up courage for that daily trip, having to take deep breaths, having to say little prayers. each day that we received only the garden variety assortment of junk and expected monthly bills represented a small victory whereupon I celebrated by exhaling slowly and smiling all the way back to the front door.

(lovely flower power mug from england, courtesy of an anonymous thrift store swap and a splendid vintage chiquita banana recipe booklet from the superlovely ozhiaz)

(march's color-iffic swap-o-rama had me weeping with joy over greengreengreen delights from the superfantastic oneye-- goods from the netherlands? always cool)

so, no. I have not always loved mail like I do today on this day of thursday loves. at best, it has been more like a lifetime of love/hate/fear/hope. but lately, the mail has been great. and I'm not afraid to say that this here blogging gig has cracked the world of good and lovely mail wide open for me. you can see it all here, beautiful things that have made their way to me, all from fantastic people I've met through THE INTERNETS (and man, I don't even have photographs of the postcard swap I participated in to show yet either-- ah yes, next week). that's not to say that I don't occasionally receive an unbelievable package from my cousin (the master, for sure) or my mom and dad. but mostly, good things have come my way through friendships and swaps found via THE INTERNETS. the internets, they have been good to me. I used to think that this internet business was the whole reason I would never receive any quality snail mail again (forever and ever and ever, amen). I was wrong. and this (miss alanis) is the definition of ironic: the very phenomenon that should be keeping me from loving the regular visits to my mailbox is precisely the reason I am receiving so many incredible packages, letters and postcards these days.

thank you to everyone who has sent love my way, thank you to those who are even thinking of sending love my way or will, sometime in the near or far future, send love my way. it will come back to you tenfold, I promise.

(more thursday love here and here, more of my thursday loves here)


  1. I have thought the very samething recently- how the USPS will so not go out of business because of what is occuring out here- that the world of trade and barter is strong and lovely- and how just because we are in different time zones or dfferent contentents we all love to get a big-o-box of goodies in the mail, especially when we don't expect it, especially then.

  2. sweet mail! I have some for you too, but you know how that goes:) It'll get out to you before christmas:)

  3. Mmmm, I love this post...stories interspersed with storytelling photos. I love mail and always have and always will, and your post has reminded me to google my old junior high/high school penpal RIGHT NOW.

  4. Mail is always, always exciting. And I love the green package you received! - so cute!

  5. oh honey... you get what you give... you give so much love that you deserve every bit of happy mail that comes your way!

    and i LOVE how mail has changed for you... b/c it's true... as an adult it was so so dull until those internets...

    [and may i say i practically fell on the floor laughing w/ the alanis reference.]

    much much love!!

  6. Your posts, woman, they rock. They just keep being better, and better, and more wonderful and delightful. Oh I just love coming here. This one was so full of goodies, and little profound truths. You rock.

  7. I love the mail, which is why i'm always ordering things....oops! Doesn't work with the budget.
    How to get into those amazing colorful swaps? I think I'd love putting together a package almost as much as I'd like getting one. The photos are terrific, I always love seeing miss A....you got GOOD mail girlfriend!

  8. This might be my favorite post you've written - so colorful with the words and the photos. Keep up the writing....it inspires me to be better at what I do.

  9. YO - spectacular post. So warm and fuzzy - I feel like I just drank some hot chocolate. The Mail! Yes, genuis with how hopeful it can be. I suppose as an adult waiting for certain emails give me the same butterflies, but the touchy-feelyness of a great letter or package really is the best.
    All these photos are great.
    xoxo, Superfresh M.

  10. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!! If you ever need a NYC color swap, you let me know!!! You inspire me!

  11. oh mailmailmail goodness...we love it, too!

    also, check out more of my photoboothieslove!

  12. I love getting mail too. I think I need to join some swaps - unexpected mail is always better than something you've ordered.

  13. i love this post, i always feel like good amil is like getting a hug from the people i never get to see in real life... (and i am honored that you posted ezra's shirt, he looks so adorable in it!)

  14. I was just thinking about our book and hoped that you had it. Would love to see it when I'm there. Love you!