From Miroslav Sasek’s beautiful 1960 children’s book, This is New York.
I think this fantastic mailbox embellishment may be the work of the women behind Good Mail Day but in the un-credited world of the internet jpeg, I am not certain. In any case I LOVE it!
My family got several hand delivered valentines- so sweet.
The handmade cards, of course, slay me but I am also so fond of this store bought card that my son got from a friend at school.
But by post the yield was small this year. Good thing I got valentine mail on Wednesday and Friday because on Thursday, Valentines Day, all there was in my mailbox was a real estate brochure and a credit card bill. I was actually quite depressed. But then I remembered that whole ‘better to give than receive’ thing and all the other blessings in my life and I stopped pouting. Thanks so much to all the people who gave us a little paper affection this year.
VSM hosted another fantastic Make Mail! event this week. Some very enthusiastic kids at our local playground made pictures and letters, picked out either a bicycle or cartoon postage stamp, stuck them on envelopes, carefully wrote out addresses, and sent them off to friends and family. One kid even wrote to the President! And since we know that Obama is a stellar correspondent, he might just get a reply. If not, we’ll cut him some slack. I mean, there are just a few things on the POTUS’s plate right now.
I love hosting free mail making events for kids. And I am so grateful that supplies have been covered by small donations from people who like what I am doing. Please consider making a donation so that I can continue this fun mission. Thanks and Viva Snail Mail!
Some highlights from this month’s Make Mail! table at The Green-Woodstock Spring event in Brooklyn:
A letter to Katy Perry written by a Kindergartener, with hardly any spelling help.
The first time I had seen the keyboard heart symbol written by hand.
Visits from creative friends and neighbors.
And almost 50 pieces of mail made and sent!
I just learned that it is unlawful to tip your mail carrier, since monetary gifts would put USPS employees at risk of violating federal ethics laws. However you can give your mail carrier a gift worth 20 dollars or less.
I am going to buy our mailman some chocolate bars (like those dark chocolate Lindt ones with sea salt? OMG! and the Theo ones with salted almonds?) and tuck those sweets inside a big decorated envelope, along with a handwritten note of appreciation. I am going to address the envelope to my mailman by name and then stow it away inside my mailbox. Hopefully he’ll like receiving mail while busy delivering mail.
P.S. My mailman looks exactly like this guy, except he’s not white and his delivery route is a bit more densely populated.
This past weekend we went to the Ezra Jack Keats show at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. I have always been a fan of Keats’ collage illustrations and his unprecedented choice in the 1960′s, an era of racial segregation and oppression, to portray children of color in his stories. I got a bit emotional seeing his original work. My kids loved spotting panels on the wall from some of their favorite books. Before I was scolded by the security guard I took this snap of a panel from Keats’ book, “Letter To Amy,” which will be a Christmas gift for my daughter. Shh. Don’t tell.
There is also some original Keats related correspondence such as a letter from 1963 to a publicity person for Viking Press, the publisher of “The Snowy Day.”
Dear Miss Crittendon,
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a perfectly charming little book. I wish I had some grandchildren to give it to. Yes I do!
The show is up until January 29, 2012 and worth the trip.
Thanks to extremely rapid digital technology I am posting this photo that my pal Randi Cecchine took in Philadelphia today, the city where our postal service got its start way back in 1775. I am certain that if Ben Franklin, the inventor of the USPS and our first Postmaster General, were transported to now, he would be fascinated by the internet. How could he not be? He would be googling for days! But after the novelty wore off a bit I think he would also take some time to write and send paper mail, for old times sake. The price of postage would be a shock but then he’d recover and drop some postcards in this mailbox to his 16 siblings, telling them how insane and amazing the future is and how much birth control has really changed things.
So before I had kids I was a film-maker. Call me a film-maker on hiatus. I made a film called “Grandpa’s Apartment: A Grand Street Story” about my grandfather’s neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I also made a short film about a rooftop beekeeper in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. And as you know, the new focus of my attention is paper mail. So this post on Gawker about a honeybee swarm on a mailbox on Grand Street in Lower Manhattan feels a little bit like various interests of mine getting all intimate. I think maybe I made this story up. But alas, it really happened.
Image from Gawker via INF.
Last month I went to my son’s class and led a mail making activity. Each kid picked a name of one of their classmates out of an envelope and made mail for that person. Since they don’t write too much yet, I asked them to think about what their person liked and draw a picture for them. I also gave them some stickers to use. The ridiculously cute girl who picked my son’s name drew him the most amazing picture of Spiderman. When the drawings were complete, we helped them put their offerings in envelopes, apply a postage stamp and a sticker with a mailing address on it. On the back of the envelope they applied a return address sticker and wrote their name. Then they mailed their letters in a mail box near the school. The kids seemed to really love doing the project. They were in it!
And thanks to Rai Ariz, who took pictures of her daughter Viva opening her letter at home, I have proof that one kid also loved receiving her mail! Thanks Rai and Viva!