I tried a dozen ways to start this but nothing does it justice. Two important facts about me: I hate things, but once I’m attached to something it’s impossibly hard for me to let go. Separately, I love letters/cards/written correspondence. I take great pride in the greeting cards I send, and am woefully in love with every card sent to me. So much so that I saved (almost) every card I received for the last 10-15 (the oldest might be 13) years.

Matthew returns from North Carolina this month, bringing back more furniture than he left with. He has an awesome IKEA desk so my old desk needs to go. In addition to a mass of Sharpies and some homemade Medieval Times popsicle-stick puppets, my desk is contains mostly old cards.

In order to let go of the physical collection, I decided to photograph all of them (and then the Playbills and concert programs). It felt like work more than nostalgia, which so far has made it easier to trash the collection of happiness I gathered over so many years. Here are my favorites, all overly-dear to my heart.

This is your pony.
Whenever I think “My cards must be kept forever!” it’s this one that comes to mind. From my brother Brian on my 21st birthday, he finally came through on that pony he promised me. Could you ask for a better sibling?

This creeper came from Solomon on my 23rd. He asked me for a piece of paper, markers, and scissors then returned with this. At the time I lived with Sarah, who wouldn’t let me put the card on the fridge for sanitary reasons. Solomon claims he heard a story that Tim Armstrong once did the same thing, though probably with considerably more/less class.

Multicultural Moose
This fantastic multicultural moose came from my mom last winter. She knows that my biggest pet peeve is Dad never leaving his own signature, but I’ve come to expect as much.

Will Work for Food
I don’t recognize this squiggle signature (that I guess is high school-era?), but if they’ve still got cereal and toaster strudel, I’m on my way.

Britney ain't got nothin' on you!
Another fabulous piece from Brian. I especially love the inscription “Brittney ain’t got nothing on you!” which dates this card farther back than I’d like to admit. Who would have thought I’d watch JT on Saturday Night Live so many years later?


Not technically a card, but an eerily straightforward note during my time of gauging my ears. Melinda and I used to write oddly creative letters back and forth, this one being an exception in that she failed to include a word bubble or illustration. The wax seal convinced me this came from a Medieval Times colleague, but I was instead reminded of a friend and old self-image I’ve fallen out of touch with.

Maleah Bookmark
May I first clarify that this bookmark from my brother Tony was with my other bookmarks, not tucked away and forgotten like the cards. It’s crazy having this super young Maleah pressed forever when she just turned seven and I’ve only seen her twice. Also a not-so-subtle ball joke that made me smile.


Among so many shamelessly sincere and (platonically) loving handmade cards from my dear Laura, this one may be the best. It reminded me of a long-forgotten AP US History presentation in which I sung Zoot Suit Riot, how truly fantastic our friendship is, the number of epic movies that came out while we were high school, and how much I hate riddles.


Another dog card from Tony, four years earlier than the one shown above. It’s not this card that caught my brain but the combination of this and the (unfortunately undated) card below that makes me wonder how the greeting card industry really works.