Betsy Bird has a charming contest inspired by Sophie Blackall’s remarkable mailing, of hers and Matthew Olshan’s book The Mighty Lalouche, to a bunch of folks in the old-fashioned way — wrapped in brown paper with string accompanied with a letter sealed with wax. Having received one of these lovely, lovely packages I’m not going to participate in Betsy’s contest, but urge others to do so. And even if you don’t wish to do so, I highly recommend reading the contributions there already. They are varied and all so moving!
My own memories of packages are many. First of all, as a child living in East Lansing, Michigan where my father was a young professor, I recall the periodic packages that would come from my grandfather in New York City, filled with food that my parents loved and could not find in the Midwest — largely German as that is what they were. And then there were the packages my parents sent to me when I was in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone in the 1970s. I think there was also food in those, but most of all I remember toothpaste, the brand I liked which was unavailable in Freetown.
I need to ask my 4th grade students about their experiences with packages. Maybe at camp? Certainly, they aren’t receiving letters the way I did as a child.
2 responses to “Posting the Old-Fashioned Way”
Oh my! I’ve been enjoying your website for quite a while, but only now saw where you grew up. I grew up in Lansing, but East Lansing was a playground of mine. My father was first a young professor at MSU, then became one of the first professors at Lansing Community College, where he taught for 30 years. I have fond memories of the East Lansing Public Library, where I was a page in the children’s department for a while. Strange how nice it is to read that someone else is from an area I left years ago!
This makes me want to send packages to all my friends. They’re all the more special and precious these days.
How fun! I learned to ice-skate at MSU’s indoor ring (something quite uncommon back then), to dive at the Y, and a whole lot more!