Monday, March 9, 2015

From E.

Loads of wonderful mail, letter after letter - creating an impressive stack: 
Mail art from E
Hand-decorated envelopes, intriguing contents - old photos, stories written or typed on recycled vintage ephemera, magazine snippets.  My opinion - good mail far surpasses most TV and most cinema available today.  E pastes pictures to her correspondence, but is also an accomplished describer-of-things - and imaginative.  Some of her recent mail is so excellent, it needs to be shared.

"Today I saw the strangest sight! A couple around 70-ish parked at the bank - both in white,black,gray argyle sweaters - both with frizzy gray hair, both combing their hair on opposite sides of the car while using the windows for a mirror. They were mirror images of each other. It was an Alice in Wonderland kind of scene - I can't imagine what their story was!"

One snowy day, two sparrows collided with themselves reflected in E's (probably-very-clean) windows - she tells me how she came to their rescue:
"I held them in my hand until one flew away but the other showed no sign of flight, so I ran around the house looking for a box to put him in - to keep in the house while he recuperated... . I kept him in the box on my lap for a while then set the box outside - slightly open - and he eventually flew away"
Throughout our correspondence, E has sent me a treasure trove of beautiful vintage stamps from her own philatelic collection, vintage photos, and many many items of ephemera - particularly handwritten letters from the 40s, many of which she found in an abandoned house on her property... marvelous to hold and read.

Alongside one vintage photo of a little boy playing on an old-fashioned metal slide-and-swingset, E wrote a bit of Lord Byron's poem: "There is a Pleasure in the pathless Woods, There is a Rapture on the Shore. There is society where None...".

I sent E a collage and some old family photos after my mother sorted a stack - kept in our family for a very long time. Some were so old and unfamiliar, none of us knew the faces.  E returned to me some of these long lost family friends/acquaintances/relatives - with a few of her own, accompanied by short fictional biographies.

One of these has a very distinct family resemblance... but I'm not revealing which.
Next to photos of a little sister watching her mother sweetly holding a toddler's hands while he learns to walk, E wrote:
"These children had a happy childhood - not easy - hard work - but they were loved and had all they needed. This is the old homeplace - family cemetery is just down the road - lots of happy ghosts about. For them death is just another part of life - not to be feared or misunderstood. Simple acceptance."
In a wee envelope, E placed these ladies for me to admire:
I love seeing their look at that particular moment preserved. They are preened, groomed and fresh, and for the most part - happy, I believe.  On one photo - the fingerprint of the photo processor is visible. These old photos made my day! I just love the coiffures, the fashion, the look of the photography, the contrast... ahhh, delightful! And something about E's sisters/friends photo (lower,center) reminds me of the lady with the collar - who I sent to E... the one she said looked like "she has a lot of mischief behind those eyes".

More contents: a secret garden and antiquarian books - E found in magazines. She loves antiquarian books and very often seems to enjoy the jackets as much as the content.
garden E sent me from a magazine

antiquarian books E liked in a magazine
From E's letters, a few more favorites: John Everett Millais' little Victorian girl - in fancy dress, someone's library cut into the shape of a skirt, a lovely stamp featuring a black man with his hair smartly parted - wearing an exquisite pairing of high collar, fat tie, and handsome, a lady in a pompon hat admiring cross-stitch patterns for gingham (love that idea - for spring!), and a lady wearing the same style of pompon hat - posing in a charming family photo with her nice-looking husband and little son. Oh, and look at that snippet of fabric with the blanket-stitching next to Mr. Stamp. I love the texture of the stitching and the grain of the linen/hand-loomed fabric.

someone's library E cut as the shape of a skirt

pompon hat, cross-stitched gingham

pompon hat