Old School

What IS that thing?

Paper. It’s called paper. And to accompany it: a pen. You know, that inky thing that once occupied pocket-protectors of nerds.

A dear friend of mine recently visited for the day and when we were out and about, she whipped out of her purse…are you ready for it? A calendar. A real-live, spiral-bound paper day planner. She even had to use that pen-thing to fully make use of it.

I gasped! “you have a…calendar??” “Yes” she said…”and tons of my friends make fun of me for it.” I pondered. I have always been a sucker for school supplies and paper goods, but have gotten sucked, along with the world, into the wave of technology (it’s convenient! it’s small! it’s with you ALL. THE. TIME.) *sigh*

(How could this be? Everyone has a calendar-multiple calendars-on their phone!??)

And you know what, in the very next store we went into, I stumbled on the best, happiest-looking day planner that even contained one of my all-time favorite quotes “Live Well. Laugh Often. Love Much”. I took it as a sign. A message from the paper-wielding, anti-technology, old school gods. I bought it in about 2.3 seconds.

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Paper. There’s something that we don’t see much of these days. We can take a picture of a check and deposit it in the bank without even being anywhere near the bank. That’s truly the kind of thing we pictured doing when we were kids and we thought about the “space age” as we spoke into our little, imagined cardboard “computers”. We can spend an 8-hour day on our computers conducting all sorts of business in a completely paperless state (what do they call the once-named “paper pushers” these days?). And what about letters? I’m not talking about ones from the IRS, I’m talking about the kind from your Grandma or your love or your sister who is currently doing a semester abroad in London. Where have they gone?

There is something that I do that I get from my maternal Grandma. I stash things in books that I want to keep (in a completely non-organized, never-need-to-retrieve-it-in-an-emergency-way). Namely, I put letters, notes from my girls and business cards from restaurants where I have had special dinners or memorable meals in my cookbooks. I just shove them in a random page and then, at some point in the unforetold future, I will stumble on them and it will bring back to me, on the wave of measurements and ingredients, a lovely memory.

My grandma went the photo route. She shoved pics in probably every book in her home (along with money, we came to discover when we were cleaning out her house after she passed away). You couldn’t open a tome without a memory of holidays, adventures and captured moments fluttering out.

So, in looking for a recipe to cook this week for dinner, a letter from my other Grandma fell out of the cookbook I was thumbing through. It was sent to me when I was in college (college!). Every week, for my four years in college, I received a letter that told me of her goings on and (this is my favorite part) some combination of $5. Either ones, a five, or a few dollars and the equivalent monetary value in stamps, presumably to write back to her (I did). This letter of hers was nothing earth shattering…it spoke of the relatives she had seen that week and was only a little over a page in length. But it was written on monogrammed stationery and to this day, all these years later, I have this little reminder that my Grandma thought I was someone special. She took the time to write to me.

What will fall out of our cookbooks in the future?

If we continue at this rate, the letters of our grandparents and parents will be the last letters in existence, in all of their monogrammed, cursive glory. Can you imagine a world where there are no letters to say hello or I love you or this-is-what-I-did-today? Just emails. And texts. Sweet jesus. How utterly unromantic and sterile.

I don’t know about you, but I feel the need these days to not live exclusively online via phone and computers. Hence, hello day-planner and hello cards and hand-written notes. I want to feel the pen glide across the paper, to something real before me. Even if it’s just writing something utterly banal like “April-Haircut 2pm”.

*she opens her planner*….What to plan today?…

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