Day 86: In Which I Write 5 letters

I awoke extremely happy (as I’d done for the past week — something I’d forgotten to write about, but there you have it, I have been very happy for over a week now) and eager to head to the study to continue sorting out my belongings. Today I’d planned on attacking my physical in-box.

I dug down to the very bottom of the pile of stuff in the in-box and worked on the least exciting task first: contacting the roofer again about a leak and contacting the retirement folks from when I was a teacher to gain access to my account. After that I wrote a condolence letter to Clare’s boyfriend on the loss of his grandmother. Then realizing I’d never actually written Clare a letter since she’d moved to Olympia, wrote her a quick note telling her how proud I was of her (oops, another thing I forgot to write about — stay tuned). I also wrote a note to my mom’s best friend, sending her a note she’d sent my mom and a note my mom had written to her but never sent. I sent my sister-in-law a note she sent us in 1981 and wrote her a small letter. Finally, I sent my childhood friend, Lori, a note just because she’d sent me a sweet birthday card (we share a birthday, including the year) and I’d not sent her a card this year because she was at Yellowstone all summer.

The thing I was proud of Clare for was that she was named as Emerging Leader in a Conversion!

Here’s what the US Federation of Worker Co-ops had to say on Instagram:

Clare Follmann joined @orcabooksoly last September prior to its conversion to a cooperative. She became its president in February and led the board and staff to finalize the conversion on April 1, 2020 – all during a stay at home order. Conversions are businesses that have transitioned from a traditional business structure to a cooperative one.

Clare led the staff in planning a move to a new space, hiring new staff collective members, and securing EIDL and PPL loans during the pandemic. Clare’s leadership and commitment to cooperation made Orca Books Co-op’s recovery and conversion possible and successful.

US Federation of Worker Co-ops

Day 22: Analog Correspondence

Hard to believe, but there was a time in my life when I delighted in writing letters. Besides writing daily (mailing weekly) to a boyfriend in England, I became acquainted to several of his friends and we regularly exchanged letters too. Before that I wrote to my school friends over the summer when we were away on family vacations or at camp. I also wrote to my grandparents when they moved to Wisconsin and my parents when I was visiting my grandparents or visiting my boyfriend in England.

I’m going to blame the Internet for making me quit writing letters. Why would I want to find the stationery and pen, write a letter in longhand, find the address, find an address, find an envelope, find a stamp, and mail the letter when I could type an email and send in the same amount of time it would take me to find the stationery? Why would I want to wait weeks or months for a reply when all the receiver had to do was hit “reply” and type their response?

This reluctance to write letters led to a reluctance to send Christmas and birthday cards too — Christmas cards were the worst since I never had everyone’s addresses handy and had to go scrounge around for those and often just left the cards unaddressed, unstamped and unsent until I decided to stop altogether. I didn’t need more stress at Christmastime.

I finally stopped sending anyone birthday cards when the youngest nephew turned 16 which was deemed the age we needn’t send birthday money. I’d already gotten so bad at getting cards out in time that I pre-bought belated birthday cards in bulk.

Yesterday I began and today I finished going through my physical in-box — the silver metal one that sits on my office desk. The in-box whose contents were about to collapse on my keyboard. Near the bottom was a letter from my friend Sue whose Christmas card is always one of the first to arrive. Now Sue has an email address, but she doesn’t use it. Her husband, Will, checks it and lets her know if she’s received an email. Nor is she on Facebook (although Will is) so connecting with her online is pretty much not something I can reliably count on.

So I decided that it was time to answer her note in the Christmas card. I’d been wanting to tell her that I ran into a mutual friend when I was at my aunt’s funeral back in February, but never sat down to write. Today was the day. But I first had to find stationery.

Our stationery is kept in a large canvas storage container. As I locate more around the house in my journey towards organization nirvana, I add them to the container. As I looked in it for an appropriate notecard for Sue, I decided that this stationery container needed organizing. I spent a couple of hours putting the types of cards (notecards, birthday cards, belated birthday cards, Christmas cards, postcards, etc. into separate piles, wrapping the piles with paper, labeling what kind of card they were, and matching envelopeless cards with cardless envelopes. Imagine my delight when I finished something that wasn’t even on my list!

I found a notecard with a Brian Andreas story on the front, wrote Sue a note, addressed it (her address is in my contacts list online), stamped it (stamps are in a drawer next to my desk), and mailed it.