Cards on the Mantle

I’m not one for sending cards (or making phone calls, either). But there was a day that I was into sending cards. And it was when we were on 25 Alston Ave.

I think it was August when someone would come to our house with samples of holiday cards. Mom was in charge of selecting an appropriate card, the greeting on the inside, and of course the “signature”. Nothing too Christmasy, “Happy Holidays” or something else neutral, Sid and Eve Winston (or maybe just Sid and Eve).

And then I was allowed to do the same. Mom’s order would have been for fifty (probably more). I had the minimum for personalization: twenty-five.

The cards would come in late November.

I can see Mom working from an extensive list of recipients in the dinning room (or the breakfast room?). She would carefully address the envelopes with a fountain pen in her neat script. I’m sure she would have selectively added extra words on the inside. She would be sending cards to “everyone”… family members, the close friends (the “Boopies”), Dad’s work related friends (Norman Hilton, Abel Greenberg, Elliot Gant, Seymour Landman & etc.), YPO folks, and maybe Racebrook friends (Frank Piazza, Lou Bush), neighbors (the Gordons, the Cohens)…

Oh, I can imagine the numbers could get up there. And I reckon that 70% of the folks who got “holiday cards” from Mom and Dad were Jews.

For me the joy was two fold… First, picking the card out in August. I didn’t find particular joy in the addressing part (it seemed too much like homework). But the real joy was getting cards and putting them on the mantle in the living room alongside of the cards that Mom and Dad got. My take was small. Made no matter. I still contributed to the appearance of our mantle. Chock-a-block full!

All those cards! Pretty impressive! Sorta like measuring the status of the deceased by the length of the cortege.

But I loved looking at all those cards. The variety of sizes, colors and the drawings or scenes. The inscriptions never interested me, although I am sure that Mom and Dad would make a careful note who sent us cards. I guess the idea is that if you send someone a card, they should return the gesture.

I can’t imagine getting into the card-sending again. Although – maybe if I found the right card???

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