Cards and Conversations

Observations about life, people and relationships from the card department.

Cards and Connections

In the card department the other day, a woman came up to me asking for the 99 cent designs. “I need to send lots of cards to my grandchildren,” she said, “because they love getting mail.”

I love getting mail, too. Nothing beats a personalized letter with a stamp on top. Mail delivery gives us the chance to send notes to each other in lieu of a personal visit. I have an overflowing box full of greeting cards and handwritten notes, all of which I treasure.

I tried to select one particular card for this blog but couldn’t. When I started to read them, my trip down memory lane caused my eyes to flood with tears and my heart to overflow like the box in front of me. The cards and notes all shared messages of love, hope and connections, in abundance.

Words matter.

Do you have a box full of greeting cards, too?

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My season of being a card department merchandiser has ended, and this is my final post into this Cards and Conversations blog. However, the significance of connecting people with each other through greeting cards will always continue.

Back to those grandchildren. I loved the grandmother’s commitment to send notes to her grandchildren instead of quick messages through texting. She’s continuing a tradition of taking the time to write a sentiment and send it in the mail. These are the cards and notes we will keep and look at many years later. These are the kinds of notes which bring a smile as they trigger our memories and kindle our relationships.

Yes, the mail system also delivers what I don’t enjoy: the bills, the junk mail, and the ads. One of those ads I received recently was sent in an envelope printed with my name in a computerized form of cursive, and I noticed it. Maybe it’s personal? When I realized it was perfectly printed, I dismissed it along with the others, and looked for something personal instead. When my address is printed in imperfect cursive, then I know it’s a perfect note.

Think of me when you buy a card for someone. Cards will always enhance connections in my life. I hope they enhance connections in your life, too.

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The Blank Card

I recently started a part-time position with a card company, stocking the little beauties in a retail setting. I’ve loved cards since I was a young adult, always striving to send the perfect note at the perfect time to a friend or family member and loving each minute of it. Why? Because words matter.

Words are the salve to heal our wounds when we’re hurt, the strength when we need a boost, the comfort when we’re down, the reminders to us we are important. Life is sometimes too busy to have a much-needed face-to-face conversation with a friend, especially when life’s ups and downs are thrown at us. The cards fill those gaps in their special way.

Until it was my job to return cards to their correct pockets, I hadn’t realized the importance of those cardboard sheets categorizing the cards with labels called “card captions.”  Those captions define life in its simplest forms: birthday, congratulations, sympathy, thinking of you, and my favorite, the blank card.

On one of my first weeks at the job, a woman was wandering the department for a while, more than ten minutes. She had a couple of selected cards in her cart, but seemed to still be searching for the right one. I asked if she found what she was looking for.

“I need a sympathy card,” she said. “It’s for my dad.”

I wondered what that meant. Was it because her dad knew someone who died? Then wouldn’t she also know that person who died? Did her dad die? I was confused.

“Well, I’m not sure what kind of card to get,” she said, “because I haven’t talked with my dad in quite a few years.”

Hmmm, it wasn’t about a sympathy card, it was about a relationship. I suggested she get a blank card instead. Cards can change everything, even the blank ones.

Have you had a situation where a card changed your life in a memorable way? I know I have. Many times.

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