My daughter is working as a camp counselor this summer, and she asked us to send her letters. Not texts. Not emails. Actual letters.
So I dug out the stationery box. I have had this stationery box for nigh on 30 years. It was originally filled with 50 sheets of Eaton’s Royal Inlaid Bond writing paper and 36 matching envelopes. But over the years, it’s also come to hold all those free Christmas cards from various charities, a bunch of leftover envelopes that don’t fit anything, and some note cards that were a free gift with a magazine subscription.
I dug down to the very bottom of the box, down past the last 10 matching envelopes and … there was no writing paper.
And then I remembered I had used the last sheet sometime last year. I was actually quite proud at the time, because I’d been trying to use up that writing paper for nigh on 30 years, because who writes letters anymore?
Well, me. I need to write a letter, and I have no writing paper.
I thought about writing my letter on notebook paper, but that felt like writing an essay for English class.
So I typed out a letter to my daughter on my laptop, printed it out, stuck it in a white legal-sized envelope and mailed it off, which felt like paying the electric bill.
At least my daughter would be able to read it. Who knew handwriting proficiency decreases with age?
And then I went shopping for stationery.
At Target, I found 25 kinds of envelopes (white or manila, letter or legal, press-and-seal or lick-and-gag) and 20 kinds of printer paper, as well as lots of notepads and a few notecards.
I don’t want to write a note. I want to write a LETTER.
At the grocery store, I got all excited because one of the aisles was labeled “stationery” (even spelled correctly). “Stationery” is primarily defined as “writing paper, especially with matching envelopes.” There was no stationery in the stationery aisle. There were envelopes and legal pads and notebook paper and glitter paper, which was not at all suitable for letter writing but which I may or may not have bought anyway.
Craft store? Just journals and notepads.
Office supply store? Boring notecards.
All I want is a box of good writing paper with matching envelopes and maybe some of those nice gold foil stickers to stick on the back to seal the envelopes. Is that too much to ask?
Southern Living magazine describes three types of stationery that every Southern woman should have (monogrammed, of course): the folded note, the flat card and the small memo.
I’m a writer. I’m gonna need more space than that.
I finally found some nice stationery on Etsy, the online store for handcrafted items. My eye was caught by some lovely writing paper decorated with delicate drawings of leaves. Each sheet cost 60 cents. So a box of 50 sheets would cost … $30.
Thirty dollars. For a box of paper.
I decided to write my daughter a note on one of the free greeting cards from The Humane Society. I think she’ll like the one with a pack of dogs gathered around a Christmas tree.
Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.