Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beautiful Letter

Cole Imperi at the Simplicity Embellished website has a great feature on beautiful letter she received. It's worth your time to click over there and see the gorgeous handwriting and artwork in the letter.

Letter #181 -- They did a great job!

Today, write a letter to a store manager or owner, telling him or her what a great job the employees did today. Maybe a stocker at the grocery store helped you find the olives, or maybe the salesclerk was infinitely patient while you tried on six pair of shoes. Maybe the cashier just had a nice smile for you today.  Don't let it go without notice. Write a nice letter full of praise!

Letter writing topic for June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Nothing like a handwritten letter"

Last month, CNN's website featured an article on the letter writing. There are several photos and lots of support for snail mail.

"For all the fancy, multimedia modes of communication out there, nothing beats the thrill of opening the mailbox and finding a personal letter, written and addressed just to you," Rachel Rodriguez writes in the story.

Even the comments are interesting.

Letter #180 -- Dear Grandma

Today, write a letter to your grandmother. (If that's not possible, write a letter about your grandmother.) Tell some happy news, share a little of your world with her.

Letter writing topic for June 29, 2010

(Grandma clipart courtesy of

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mark Twain on letter writing

"There is only one brief, solitary law for letter-writing, and yet you either do not know that law, or else you are so stupid that you never think of it. It is very easy and simple: Write only about things and people your correspondent takes a living interest in."
--Mark Twain in "A Complaint About Correspondents"

Letter #179 -- Patriotic

Next Sunday is Independence Day in the United States. It's time to get your holiday letters in the mail. If you can't find any "Happy Fourth of July" cards at the store, make your own.

Letter writing topic for June 28, 2010

(Fireworks clipart courtesy of

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Envelope Project

Pip at Meet Me At Mike's is hosting something called The Envelope Project.

She is asking participants to send her decorated envelopes with a few bits of crafty items inside (ribbons, photos, stickers, paper, etc.). Then, she'll take a photo of each envelope and post it online. At the end of six weeks (less than 4 weeks from now), she'll have a drawing for all of the things that are sent in.

Oh! It sounds like great fun!

Go on over to the blog for all the details!

Letter #178 -- Seeing the beauty in the simple things

Look around you...what beauty do you see in the little things nearby? A butterfly, a dandelion? A postage stamp, a pool of sunshine. Glance around, specifically looking for the beautiful little things. Then, write a beautiful letter about what you see.

Letter writing topic for June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Great information on writing letters!

Joana at the Ecological Storyteller blog has several great posts on writing letters and penpalling. From reading her blog, I see that she likes to write long letters and that she's a long-time penpal.

She's written a couple of posts with tips for writing long letters: Tips 1-10 and Tips 11-20.

Visit Joana's blog and see what she has to say.

Letter #177 -- Bell-bottoms?

What is your favorite fashion style from the past, your past? Did you love wearing bell-bottom jeans? I specifically remember a pair of purple (probably bell-bottomed) jeans and a purple tie-dye T-shirt. I had long hair, and my mom wanted me to pull my hair back out of my eyes with barrettes. Of course, no self-respecting hippie wore barrettes -- that hair had to fall straight into our eyes! (Keep in mind, I was only in the fourth grade, so I wasn't really a hippie.) So, every day, I left the house with nicely brushed and clipped-back hair. Just a few steps down the street on my way to school, I pulled out those barrettes and stuffed them in my pocket. I tried to remember to put them back on before I got home that afternoon. My mom knows that story now, and looks at me with that evil little grin moms get when you know they're thinking of all the trouble your kids will cause you.

To me, that was a fun fashion time. But, a few weeks ago, I came across a stack of sewing patterns from the 1990s...did we really dress that awfully then? These patterns were for a bunch of one-piece jumpers with poofy sleeves and pants. They were rather clownish looking. And bows! Oh, there were bows everywhere. I think I've already blocked out that fashion style. On the other hand, I was in a store recently, and saw some one-piece shorts outfits...surely they're not back in style?

What was your favorite fashion trend? Write a letter about it today!

Letter writing topic for June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Profile: Cathy Thompson

This week's profile personality is Cathy Thompson who recently moved to Springfield, Ohio, and is a member of several online letter writing groups. She blogs at The Older Side of Life and can be contacted at

Here are Cathy's answer's to the profile questions:

1. Why do you write letters?
Oh, it is an art form.

2. Which is more exciting for you (and tell us why -- elaborate) -- finding a letter in
your mailbox or dropping a letter into a mailbox?

I think both

3. Who do you write to?I have several ladies including you  Why?
Well because it is a traditional way to connect.

4. Do you write to people who never write back?
Oh no.  Why or why not? Because some just dont have the time, and I dont want to pressure them to feel the need.
5. Do you use fancy stationery or plain notebook paper? Why?
Both. Again it is a personal expression of art.

6. Do you e-mail, text,e tc., too?  If so, what determines who gets an e-mail and who gets
a letter?

Of course. Well if i dont have your address then you get an email

7. Do you always handwrite letters? not always Or, do you ever type them on a typewriter or print
them out from a computer?

Of course if my hands are hurting.

8. Tell us about your blog/website.
My blog is about a little of it all my diabetes , the books I read, my favorite ppl in the world.

9. Why should people write more letters?
Because it is such a more personal way to connect.

10. What is your favorite letter?
I dont have, per se, a favorite.

Letter #176 -- Your favorite meal?

What's your favorite meal? Do you prefer steak or tofu? An all-American burger or some exotic dish? Are you into fresh and organic or straight-from-the-jar? Think about your favorite meal and then write a letter to someone about what you like to eat. Don't forget to ask about their favorites, too. That gives them something to write back about.

Letter writing topic for June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Decline of letter writing may have broader impact

According to Peter Geoghegan's blog post on The Guardian, the decline of letter writing, in favor of e-mailing, posting on Twitter, etc., may affect more than just personal correspondence. The future of literary history, as we've come to know it, may also be changed dramatically, according to "Epistles at dawn: the dying art of letter writing."

"Loquacious letters and epistolary exchanges between authors are falling by the wayside in the digital age – and readers and literary estates are all the poorer for it," says the opening to the article.

"The digital age may have sounded a surprisingly quiet death knell for edited collections of literary letters. With so much material digitalised (and often wiped), writers will no longer leave behind stacks of corrugated boxes stuffed with missives, ripe for investigation and possible publication. Heirs to literary estates will be saved the hassle of having to burn potentially compromising material – as Stephen Joyce once did to a significant portion of his grandfather's letters. They can now simply delete anything, or everything, with the push of a button; and readers – not to mention literary biographers – will be denied the humanity, humour and, of course, occasional nuggets of gold that the best-collected letters contain," Geoghegan writes.

It's an interesting blog post. I hope you'll read it.

Letter #175 -- Let them know it

Today, write a letter telling someone you're proud of him/her. Maybe you'll be writing to a recent graduate, some who just got a new job, or even someone who failed at what they tried but at least they tried. They'll be happy to know someone was paying attention to them.

Letter writing topic for June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Interesting Letter Story

Here's a link to an interesting story about a pen pal relationship that got started with a message in a bottle.

Take a look:,0,7260083.story

(Clipart courtesy of

Letter #174 -- Good Reading

Summer is a great time for catching up on your reading. The days (and sometimes the nights) are warm, and we have several extra minutes of sunlight. Everything seems to move just a little bit slower in the summer. It's time to find a hammock in the shade and lose yourself in a book. But, first, write a letter about what you're reading. Write a little book review. Share your life!

Letter writing topic for June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup Stamps

Arago, the online database of the National Postal Museum, is featuring an exhibit titled "2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa." The exhibit focuses on the many stamps issued in connection with the World Cup through the years.

For more information about World Cup Stamps, visit the National Postal Museum's article on the "1962 World Cup First Day Cover from Chile."

Letter #173 -- Dear Editor

Today, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Comment on an article or column that was recently in the newspaper, thank someone publicly, make a request...but write and mail that letter! Be sure to check with the newspaper to see what their Letter to the Editor guidelines are. Some newspapers limit the number of words or pages you can submit, and others require certain information, such as your name, address and phone number. Those guidelines might be printed in the newspaper or posted online.

Letter writing topic for June 22, 2010

(Newspaper clip art courtesy of

Monday, June 21, 2010

New US stamp to be released tomorrow

On June 22, 2010, the U.S. Postal Service will the 44-cent commemorative Oscar Micheaux stamp.

This is the 33rd stamp in the Black Heritage series, and it honors pioneering filmmaker Micheaux, who wrote, directed, produced and distributed more than 40 movies during the first half of the 20th century. According to the USPS, Micheaux was an ambitious, larger-than-life figure who thrived at a time when African-American filmmakers were rare, venues for their work were scarce, and support from the industry did not exist. Micheaux's entrepreneurial spirit and independent vision continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers and artists.

The stamp, designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, D.C., features a stylized portrait of Oscar Micheaux by artist Gary Kelley, Cedar Falls, Iowa. The artwork is based on one of the few surviving photographs of Micheaux, a portrait that appeared in his 1913 novel, "The Conquest."

Collectors may order a ceremony program online at for $6.95. Additionally, the Oscar Micheaux Cultural Diary page is available for $13.95. The page goes in the Black Heritage Cultural Diary, which also is available online.

Letter #172 -- First Day of Summer

Today is the first full day of summer of 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere (it's the first day of winter in the Southern Hemisphere). What will you do to keep cool this summer (or warm this winter, if it's cool where you live)? Do you have a pool, a lake, an ocean to dip into? Will you be sitting in an air conditioned house? Wearing shorts? Drinking lots of water? Write a letter to someone today, letting them know how you're dealing with summer (or winter).

Letter writing topic for June 21, 2010

(Summer beach clip art courtesy of

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Letter #171 -- Happy Birthday, Anna!

Today is my daughter's birthday, so in honor of this special day, write a birthday letter to someone. If no one in  your circle of family and friends has a birthday, look up Celebrity Birthdays online (one example: and find someone to write to!

Letter writing topic for June 20, 2010

(Clip art from

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letter #170 -- Father's Day

Tomorrow, Sunday June 20, is Father's Day in the U.S. and quite a few other countries. So, today, write a letter to your dad. For him to get it on time, you'll have to hand-deliver it. but if you have to mail it, I'm sure he won't mind waiting a few days to get a hand-written letter from you.

Alternative letter topic: Write to any father you know, your son, your husband, a good friend, etc. Tell them how much they are appreciated.

Letter writing topic for June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Profile: Samara O'Shea --

Samara O’Shea is the author of the blog Letter Lover, as well as two books, For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing and Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

She lives just outside Philadelphia in a home she shares with her sister. She graduated from Duquesne University and has worked at Pittsburgh magazine, All You, and Country Living. The 30-year old says hers is the typical all-American family of four. In addition to Samara and her sister, the family includes their parents, who have been married for 30 years.

Samara was so kind as to answer all of my questions for this first Profile feature on 365Letters. More Profiles will follow each week. If you have an idea for a Profile subject, please let me know!
Now, on to Samara’s answers:

1.  Why do you write letters?
I started writing letters because it was the age just before texting and e-mail, and that’s what we did. We passed notes in class, and I hand-wrote letters to the boy I met at summer camp. As time went on and technology progressed, I realized that people still appreciate letters like no other medium. I also thoroughly enjoy sitting down to write a letter. It’s a great escape from all the noise spouting from the computer and the TV. 

2. Which is more exciting for you (and tell us why -- elaborate) -- finding a letter in your mailbox or dropping a letter into a mailbox?
At one point in my life, I was more excited to receive letters, and now I’d rather send them. I imagine this changed in the same way that I once preferred receiving gifts and now I enjoy giving them more. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I love surprising people, and a letter is a sweet little surprise.

3. Who do you write to? Why?
I write friends, family, and complete strangers. Some people I write because they write me and say they’ve come across my Web site or read my book. I write friends to say hello. I write family—usually to say thank for a gift or throwing a get-together. There is no rhyme or reason really. I do it when the mood strikes and when a certain person is on my mind.

4. Do you write to people who never write back? Why or why not?
I do. My friend Blake, for example, I write him often and he always replies with a text message. “Got your letter. Loved it!” I don’t mind that he doesn’t respond with a letter He’s good to me in many other ways. I understand that letter writing isn’t his thing. It’s my thing.  

5. Do you use fancy stationery or plain notebook paper? Why?
I wouldn’t call it fancy or plain. The paper I use is light-blue letter-writing paper from Papyrus. It’s clearly meant for writing letters, but it’s not too ornate. I use it because it’s a little old-fashioned looking, and I want the person I’m writing to receive something out of the ordinary. If I’m not writing on that paper, then I’m usually writing on a thank you note. Stacks of thank you notes from stationery stores or Target are my weakness. I have to stop myself from buying them all.

6. Do you e-mail, text, etc., too? If so, what determines who gets an e-mail and who gets a letter?
Yes, I e-mail, text, Tweet, and update my status on Facebook. It’s the message that determines if I send an e-mail or write a letter. If it’s something quick or urgent, then I’ll go with the faster means of communication. If it’s a message that has no time constraints, I’ll send a letter.

7. Do you always handwrite letters? Or, do you ever type them on a typewriter or print them out from a computer?
If it’s a long letter then I’ll type it. I type for spell check’s sake as well as being able to make changes more easily. I never use a typewriter, but I do love the sound they make. It’s the sound of work getting done. 

8. Tell us about your blog/website.
In April 2005, I launched as a letter-writing service—meaning I write letters on behalf of others. I had had the idea for two years prior, and I finally got it together and launched the site. Since then, the site has changed a bit. I use it as a place to promote my books and other projects, but the letter-writing service stills stands. I’ve been playing Cyrano de Bergerac for five years now, and I still get a kick out of it. I’m in the process of expanding my letter-writing service to include helping people write wedding vows. 

9. Why should people write more letters?
Because more communication isn’t always better communication. We get lazy with the things we say because we have so many ways to send messages. A text that says, “Luv you,” does not have the impact that a well-thought-out love letter does. A letter requires the writer to stop and really think about what he or she is saying, and a letter is now and always will be a gift for the reader.

10. What is your favorite letter?
I have two. The first is a letter I received from a boy after a week-long romance at summer camp. You can read if you’d like: The second was written by Mark Twain to his wife Livy on her 30th birthday. It’s precious! Read here:

Profile -- New Feature on 365Letters

I'm starting a new weekly feature here on 365Letters -- Profile.

The Profile will feature a different letter writing blogger each week. I have developed a set of 10 standard questions that I will ask each blogger/letter writer. If the profiled blogger wants to send a photo or two, I'll be happy to include those, so you'll know a little more about who you're reading about.

Right now, I'm sending my questions to a few bloggers every week, based on my list of bloggers. If you know of a letter writing blogger who you think would make a good profile, feel free to send me their blog site or e-mail address.

I hope you enjoy the Profiles.

New Letter Writing Blog -- I Love Letters

Have you seen the new blog about letter writing? Kaz, who lives in Australia, recently started the blog I Love Letters about just that...her love of letter writing and receiving. Check it out -- I think you'll like it!

Letter #169 -- Green Acres

Does anyone remember that TV show "Green Acres"? It was a comedy that was on TV in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The show featured Oliver Wendell Douglas and his wife, Lisa, who leave their penthouse in New York City and buy a farm. Lisa has no interest in country living, but it's all Oliver has ever wanted to do.

Where do you stand on the city vs. country debate? Do you prefer high-rise apartments or acres of farmland? City blocks or country miles?

Describe your city or country preference in a letter to a friend today.

Letter writing topic for June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Letter #168 --

Today, write a letter about something that is very important to you. It might be your family, your beliefs, your job, your grades, your collection of antiques, your pets....not necessarily the most important thing in your life, but something that rates the ranking of "important." Tell your letter recipient why you find this thing or person to be so important.Share a little bit of your life.

Letter writing topic for June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New stamp especially for greeting cards

The U.S. Postal Service announced in May the first in a new series of postage stamps that will make it easier for card customers to know how much postage to put on their envelopes. The new 64-cent Butterfly stamp is designed to be used on cards that have an irregular shape that require additional postage.

Participating manufacturers will print a silhouette image of a butterfly on their envelopes, which will start to appear in retail stores in mid-summer, making it easy for customers to understand the new butterfly stamp or equivalent postage is all that is needed to mail the card.

The first stamp design in the new series features one of the most recognizable butterflies in North America, the monarch. Monarch butterflies can be found in most of the continental U.S. While they are concentrated in North, Central and South America, they can also be found in the Pacific islands and other locations.

The was dedicated, in conjunction with the Greeting Card Association (GCA), at the National Stationery Show held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. The stamp is published as a pane of 20.

“This stamp was designed in conjunction with the Greeting Card Association for the convenience of our customers,” said Stephen M. Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations, U.S. Postal Service. “These stamps take the guesswork out of how much postage to put on the square greeting card envelopes that are so popular with consumers.”

“The Greeting Card Association is extremely pleased to see the Butterfly stamp become a reality,” said Valerie Cooper, GCA’s executive vice president. “Our members have worked long and hard to help develop this special stamp to meet the needs of card senders.”

Nationally acclaimed artist Tom Engeman used images of mounted butterflies to inspire the stamp art he created by computer. The result is a highly stylized, simplified image of a monarch rather than an exact replica. Engeman, of Bethany Beach, DE, has designed a long list of stamps for the Postal Service, including the Liberty Bell Forever stamp, various stamped cards in the Historical Preservation series and 60 stamps for the Flags of Our Nation series that began in 2008.

Letter #167 -- Funny, funny

Today, write a letter to the creator of your favorite comic strip. If you don't know where to write to him or her, do some checking online. Many comics are distributed by a syndicate, and most of them have addresses to which you can write to the creators. I love the comics!

Letter writing topic for June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Letter #166 -- It's all about perspective

Yesterday evening, looking out my kitchen window into the backyard, the night looked normal and pleasant. The sky was bright and blue with a few wispy clouds floating by. But, when I looked out the front door to the west, the sky told a completely different story. In that direction were rolling dark thunderheads, coming our way. Before the night was over, a fierce (but not damaging) storm had blown in. We had hard rain, high winds, lightning and thunder. Everyone was safe and sound, but it was interesting how much difference a change in perspective made. If I had only looked out the back window, I might not have known that storm was coming.

My journalism experience has taught me the importance of looking at situations from different angles. Today, take a look at a situation in your life from a different perspective and then write a letter about what you discover.

Letter writing topic for June 15, 2010

(Thunderstorm graphic from 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Letter # 165 -- Flag Day

In the United States, today is Flag Day. I can see by a little online research that many other countries have days that celebrate their flags. Today, write a letter about your country's flag. If you need to, do a little research to get some facts. Or, just write a little story about a memory or experience you have with the flag.

Letter writing topic for Monday, June 14, 2010

(Flag art courtsesy of

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Letter #164 -- Why You Write Letters

Today, write a letter to someone telling him or her why you find it so important to keep in touch. What are your reasons for choosing paper and ink over e-mail and tweets? Are you sharing your life? Are you seeking information about people you care about? Why do you write? Tell someone today! In a letter!

Letter writing topic for June 13, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Letter #163 -- What toys did you play with?

Just a reminder: These are letter-writing suggestions. So many people nowadays say they don't know what to write about in a letter. So, I came up with some ideas. Of course, everyone isn't looking to write a letter every single day, but if you're looking for some ideas, browse through these daily letter topics and see if you find one you like, and then write a letter!

Today, think back to when you were a child... What toys did you play with? What were your favorites? What were the popular ones, even the ones you never had but always wanted? I played with Barbies when I was in about 4th, 5th, maybe even 6th grade. My friend Lori who lived down the street had the Barbie Town House, and I had the Barbie Camper. We drug those Barbies from one house to the other, playing with them for days at a time before we got bored and moved on to something else, only to pick the Barbies up again the next week. One summer, Lori's dad had a load of sand dumped in their front yard. We and our Barbies played in that huge pile of sand for what seems like all summer long. Finally, he got the time to start moving it to the backyard, where he planned to use it. We thought it was horribly unfair that he took away our pile of sand.

Think back to your childhood and what toys you played with. Write a letter, maybe to one of your friends that you played with, maybe to a child of today who plays with similar (or drastically dissimilar) toys.

Letter writing topic for June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Letter #162 -- Here or There?

It's summertime here. School is out, the weather is warm -- make that, the weather is hot -- people are taking vacations. Some people are traveling far away; others are driving just a few miles down the road for their getaway. Still others are taking what's come to be called a "staycation," that's a vacation that you take without going anywhere, you stay at home or at least in your hometown, visiting local sites and spending much less money. What's your preference? A true vacation far away from your everyday life or a staycation, taking advantage of what you already have but enjoying yourself? Write a letter and tell someone your plans for the summer.

Letter writing topic for June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Letter #161 -- Please

Is there something you've been needing from someone? A job, a date, a hug, that jacket she borrowed last month? Today, write a letter asking someone for something. And, don't forget to say please!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cowboy Stamps

Four legends of the silver screen got their first-class stamps of approval earlier this year when the Postal Service issued the Cowboys of the Silver Screen stamps and stamped postal cards. The stamps honor four extraordinary performers who helped make American Westerns a popular form of entertainment — Gene Autry, William S. Hart, Tom Mix and Roy Rogers.

The April 17 dedication ceremony took place at the National Cowboy & Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK, when the 44-cent first-class stamps and 28-cent stamped postal cards went on sale nationwide. The ceremony coincided with the museum’s 2010 Western Heritage Awards Weekend, honoring the legacy of those whose works in literature, music, television and film reflect the significant stories of the American West.

”The Postal Service has a long-standing tradition of honoring men and women who have helped define our great nation,” said James C. Miller III, of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. "We continue that tradition by celebrating the ‘Cowboys of the Silver Screen’ — William S. Hart, Tom Mix, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers — four extraordinary performers who helped make the American Western a popular form of entertainment. They rode the silver screen nearly a century ago, and decades from now, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will talk about them when discussing the history of film, radio and television.”

Stamp artist Robert Rodriguez of Los Angeles, CA, created the artwork under the direction of art director Carl Herrman of North Las Vegas, NV.

“We are delighted that the Postal Service selected these popular stars for the ‘Silver Screen Cowboys’ series,” said National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum President Charles Schroeder. “Each of these fine actors took seriously the values they would model in their film careers. Collectively, they used their considerable talents to make the American Western movie a popular and inspirational form of entertainment. We at the National Cowboy Museum believe they did something of lasting importance, and we hope these beautiful stamps remind folks everywhere to revisit their message. It surely remains relevant to our culture today.”

Gene Autry
A successful radio performer prior to becoming the silver screen’s first singing cowboy star, Gene Autry (1907-1998) is known for his distinctive singing style and easygoing personality. Autry entertained countless fans in nearly 100 films and recorded more than 600 songs, including the popular hits, “Back in the Saddle Again,” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” He is a 1969 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.

William S. Hart
Before making his first appearance on the silver screen in 1914, William S. Hart (1864-1946) starred on Broadway and in theatrical productions nationwide. During his cinematic career, the acclaimed actor insisted on authentic depictions of the Old West and its people. He frequently played a stalwart, tough-as-nails cowboy.

Tom Mix 
As one of the most popular stars of silent Westerns, Tom Mix (1880-1940) made his movie debut in 1909. In his action-packed movies, he displayed athleticism, fearlessness and expert riding and roping abilities. In 1922’s Sky High, for example, he climbed the steep walls of the Grand Canyon, leaped deep chasms, dropped from a plane into the Colorado River, lassoed villains and rescued a damsel in distress.

Roy Rogers
Often remembered for his signature hit song, “Happy Trails,” Roy Rogers (1911-1998) sang his way to silver screen stardom in the late 1930s, and by 1943 Republic Pictures was calling him “King of the Cowboys.” For millions of fans, Rogers was the essence of the Western hero — the good guy with the white hat, warm smile — and exemplary character. Rogers is an 1980 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Letter #160 -- On a positive note

Is there something that you've purchased lately that you just really liked? Maybe it was a different brand of laundry soap? Or maybe it's the same ol' cola you always buy, but while drinking a glass of it this week, you realized how much you like it...Today, write a letter to the president and/or CEO of the company that makes your favorite product. Sure, it'll take a little work to track down the information, but it'll be worth it. If you bought it locally, you might want to photocopy the letter and send the copy, along with another hand-written note, to the local manager or store owner. Tell them what you like about the product, where you buy it, how long you've been buying it, etc. Your letter is sure to make someone's day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Letter #159 -- Neighbor to Neighbor

Write a letter to an old neighbor. Maybe you moved away; maybe he or she moved...dig out that address and send a letter today! Tell them about what's been going on in the old or new neighborhood, remember old times, invite he or she over. Tell him or her how much you enjoyed being neighbors.

Letter writing topic for June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Letter #158 -- Your Best

Today, write a letter on your best stationery. Use the good stuff. Make your letter recipient feel special. While you're at it, use a good pen and your best handwriting, too.

Letter writing topic for June 7, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Letter #157 -- Joy

Today, write a letter that is filled with joy. Just for today, if necessary, leave out all of the bad news and negative comments. Look on the sunny side of life and share that optimistic attitude with someone you know. If you can't think of any joyful news, look around at some of the blogs. There are many bloggers posting good news stories. If you know of someone specific who needs cheering up, send your letter to him or her. You don't have to tell him/her that you're writing specifically to cheer them up; just do it.

Letter writing topic for June 6, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Letter #156 -- Favorite Movie?

What's your favorite movie from the past? Do you like the movies you saw when you were a kid, or would you rather watch an old black and white film? Do you like musicals or action movies? Romantic comedies or serious dramas? Share your movies favorites with a friend in a letter today. Connect your favorite movies to something in your relationship with your letter's recipient. Maybe talk about a movie you saw together or a film you think she'd really like. Ask for her recommendations for a movie you should watch. Encourage her to write back.

Letter writing topic for June 5, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Letter #155 -- Sunrise or Sunset?

Which do you prefer? Sunrise or sunset? Do you like to get up early in the morning, when the air is still cool, and sip your coffee while the sun peeks over the horizon, greeting you and the new day? Or, would you rather sit back in a lawn chair, drinking lemonade as the sun says it's nightly good-bye? What does your preference say about you? Do you know what your letter's recipient prefers? Write about it in a letter today.

Letter writing topic for June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

US Stamp Honors Katharine Hepburn

Last month, the U.S. Postal Service immortalized one of America’s true cinematic treasures — the only recipient of four Academy Awards for Best Actress — on what would have been her 103rd birthday, May 12. The stamp issued today pays tribute to Katharine Houghton Hepburn, known to many as simply “Kate,” a great actress whose almost 50-year career made her an icon of the silver screen and a trailblazer for independent, progressive women.

The dedication ceremony took place at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, CT, and the 44-cent, First-Class Mail stamp is on sale nationwide. The stamp, designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, captures the beauty and thespian brilliance Hepburn so distinctively personified. It is based on a publicity still from one of Hepburn’s Oscar-nominated movies, Woman of the Year (1942), photographed by Clarence S. Bull.

“With the Katharine Hepburn commemorative stamp as the newest in our Legends of Hollywood series, we continue our proud tradition of honoring the special people who epitomize our nation’s character and aspirations,” said Postmaster General John E. Potter. “Katharine Hepburn will be remembered for generations, for both her unparalleled acting ability and being a role model for women who chose to live life on their own terms.”

Potter was joined in dedicating the stamp by Actor Sam Waterston, who served as master of ceremonies and starred with Hepburn in a 1973 TV movie adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie; director Anthony Harvey, who directed her third Oscar-winning film, The Lion in Winter in 1968; and Chuck Still, executive director of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Hepburn’s nephew, Mundy Hepburn, was also in attendance.

”Katharine Hepburn filled the screen in real life just the way she did in the movies. Meeting her and working with her was one of the best experiences of my professional life — it certainly made me a better actor; I hope it made me a better person. It was unforgettable fun,” said Waterston.

Born May 12, 1907, in Hartford, Hepburn was the second child and oldest daughter of Dr. Thomas N. Hepburn, a surgeon, and Katharine Houghton, an advocate for women’s rights. Hepburn’s progressive and freethinking parents contributed greatly to the development of Hepburn’s bold and adventurous outlook on life. They encouraged her to take risks, speak her mind, and challenge convention: “I was taught,” she has said, “not to be afraid of anything.”

Like her mother before her, Hepburn went to Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia, and fell in love with acting. Soon after her graduation in 1928, she headed to Baltimore, MD, and then Manhattan to pursue a career on the stage. Her father was “heartsick over the fact that I wanted to act,” she wrote many years later in her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life. Nevertheless, she had made up her mind.
With her freckles, mass of red hair, preference for wearing trousers and occasional quirkiness — such as draping a live gibbon around her neck — Hepburn stood out in Hollywood. She quickly found film success in Morning Glory (1933), for which she won her first Academy Award, and Little Women (1933), playing free-spirited Jo. Hepburn’s unconventional persona, both on and off the screen, occasionally drew detractors, and in the mid-1930s, several of her films flopped at the box office. In 1938, a poll of film exhibitors labeled her (along with Marlene Dietrich and several other stars) “box-office poison.”

In 1939, Hepburn was back on the New York stage, taking bows for playing Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story. Writer Philip Barry, who had received direct input from his star while crafting the play, had penned “Miss Hepburn’s ideal part,” wrote a reviewer for the New York Times. “It has whisked away the monotony and reserve that have kept her acting in the past within a very small compass.” With encouragement from her friend Howard Hughes, Hepburn made a shrewd business move and acquired the screen rights to the play. In relatively short order, filming got under way with Cary Grant and James Stewart. The movie proved to be a hit. It not only revived Hepburn’s career but ensured she would take her place among the greats of filmdom.

Over the course of her career, Hepburn made more than 40 motion pictures, including the comedy classic Bringing up Baby (1938) — with Hepburn as a leopard-owning heiress and Cary Grant as a paleontologist — and The African Queen (1951), in which she played a prim missionary spinster to Humphrey Bogart’s scruffy riverboat captain. She made nine pictures with her friend Spencer Tracy, starting with Woman of the Year. Hepburn received 12 Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and won four Oscars. In addition to her role as Eva Lovelace in Morning Glory, she was honored for playing Christina Drayton in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter (1968) and Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond (1981). She also received an Emmy for her performance as Jessica Medlicott in Love Among the Ruins (1975), a made-for-television movie.

Hepburn left her indelible mark in the annals of American film history. She is ranked the number one female in the American Film Institute’s “50 Greatest Movie Legends.” In 2003, at the age of 96, Hepburn died at her home in Fenwick.

Letter #154 -- Thinking of You

Today, write a letter to someone -- anyone -- telling them that you're thinking about them. True, the fact that they're getting a letter from you should indicate that you were thinking about them. But, still, point it out. Make sure they know. If there's a reason you were thinking about them, tell them. If there's not a reason, tell them that too. Everyone needs to know that someone out there in the world is thinking about them...let them know.

Letter writing topic for June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Letter #153 -- School's Out!

For many kids, school is out for the summer. If you're an adult, remembering the excitement of the last day of school can be difficult. But, think back...what were your summer vacations like? Were you excited to be out of the classroom or were you sad that you wouldn't get to see your friends every day? I can remember on the last day of school, helping the teacher clean out the classroom. I imagine that I took home lots of extra school papers that I later used to "play school" with my younger brother and sister. Of course, back in those days, there was no Internet, not even home computers. We had the TV... mornings filled with old re-runs...and the great keep us entertained. Today, write a letter about your memories of the last day of school and/or summer vacations.

(Above graphic from

Letter writing topic for June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flag Stamp Series Continues

Last month, continuing its proud tradition of honoring state and territorial flags, the U.S. Postal Service today dedicated the fourth set of the Flags of Our Nation stamp series.

The series features the state flags of Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and North Dakota. As an added bonus, the Stars and Stripes that depicts the “purple mountain majesties” inspired by the opening lines of “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates also is included. The 44-cent First-Class Mail stamps, printed in coils of 50, are available nationwide.

U.S. Postal Service Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mary Anne Gibbons dedicated the stamps at the American Stamp Dealers Association, Inc. stamp show in New York City. Additionally, events were being held throughout April at the various state capitol buildings with state flags featured in this historic stamp series.

 “The flags depicted in nine of these stamps we dedicate ...  represent contributions these states have made to the development and growth of our nation,” said Gibbons. “Many principles these states exemplify also can be recognized within the Postal Service — diversity, unity, pride and values. As the nation works to recover from the current economic crisis, the employees of the Postal Service work to bring you record-breaking service and a continuing commitment. I want to assure you, just as these flags wave and this nation holds strong, the Postal Service will continue to deliver for you.”

Joining Gibbons to dedicate the new stamps were Mark Eastzer, vice president, American Stamp Dealers Association, Inc.; Howard E. Paine, art director, designer and typographer; Raschelle A. Parker, manager, Customer Relations, New York District, U.S. Postal Service; and Percival Prince, manager, Business Mail Entry Unit, U.S. Postal Service.

Last year, the third set in the series included the Stars and Stripes and the state and territorial flags of Kentucky through Missouri. Stamps depicting Northern Marianas through Tennessee will be issued in 2011, Texas through Wyoming and the U.S.A. Fruited Plain Flag stamp will conclude the series in 2012. The series began in 2008.

Artist Tom Engeman of Bethany Beach, DE, working under the direction of stamp designer Howard E. Paine of Delaplane, VA, created the highly detailed flag portraits on the stamps. Past designs created by Engeman include the National World War II Memorial stamp (2004) and the nation’s first Forever stamp (2007), featuring the Liberty Bell.

The Flags of our Nation stamps can be purchased at Post Offices at and by calling 800-STAMP-24.

 Flags of our Nation Stamps, Set 4

Flags of our Nation, Set 3

Flags of our Nation, Set 2

Flags of our Nation, Set 1

Letter #152 -- New Beginnings

Today is the first day of June. The first day of summer is just 20 days away. In many places, school is out until the fall. This seems like a great day for new beginnings. Start something new today. Write to a new penpal, write to an old penpal about something new you'd like to begin, a diet, a book, a project, a garden...what is new for you today?

Letter writing topic for June 1, 2010
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