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Shannon Brady

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Serially lost and found (part 3 of 3): the art of the thank you card

*Note: this post is part of a 20-day writing prompt 101 program I’m participating in. Today’s Prompt: “Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you came up on something peculiar.”

found: a thank you card

found: a thank you card

I’m not sure when it began….my love affair with paper cards. Could have been the grocery bag of Valentine’s Day cards I collected from every classmate in my third grade class. I spent days flipping through them – analyzing the handwritten notes for clues to what that boy in the back really meant by “be mine”, or whether the popular girl was truly my “BFF”.

Perhaps it was the genuine smile that would emerge on my late papa’s face upon opening a birthday card I painstakingly chose from a wall of others at Papyrus (do I go with funny? sentimental? cynical?).

I just love paper cards. Even thank you cards – the bane of many a newlywed sorting through a sea of gifts post-honeymoon – get me excited.

It wasn’t always that way. Before the ribbon or tape was off the package my brother, sister and I were prompted to whip out the pens and starting thanking.

“Think of all the kids out there who didn’t get anything.” If pressed, the decibels would rise. “I will not tolerate greedy little bastards!” Or something along those lines…

So we wrote. To Aunt Barbara for the hand-sewn stuffed frog on roller skates (I still have it – 35 years later). To Dad for the autographed Rawlings baseball glove. To the delivery guy who left a fruitcake on our porch.

And as I grew past the age of “it’s the thought that counts”, and warranted a few thank yous of my own, I loved the cards even more. The best ones came with multiple paragraphs describing how much they loved the handmade polar fleece hat (during my temp job days) or Donna Karan eau de parfum (in better years) I wrapped and sent.

But since moving to five locations in five years, it’s a wonder I receive anything in the mail. I’m hard to track down. But since those “I will not tolerate greedy little bastards!” days of my youth, the thank you cards keep on coming. That’s because my well-trained nieces are proudly carrying on the tradition, despite their e-generation and backpacks full of techie gadgetry.

Case in point: as I rummaged around for an empty envelope to stuff a check for my cat sitter into, I found a few recent thank you cards from my niece, Claire. And it wasn’t enough to simply state what she loved about her gifts. She drew them – a green frock dangling from a hanger; an assortment of books and B&N gift card.

Handwritten thank you cards, I found out this morning, are not a lost art after all.

*read parts 1 and 2 here:


3 comments on “Serially lost and found (part 3 of 3): the art of the thank you card

  1. Greg Weaver says:

    Brady. These stories bring me joy. ..I’ll look forward to seeing the next. Thank you for writing these, I think they are each a gift to me 🙂

    Greg 267-400-0136

  2. finkelstein says:

    I still send paper invitations for the birthday parties of my sons, while most people already switched to text messages through What’s App. I use a web service onto which I uploaded my hand writing, so it looks like a handwritten card. But you’re right. A handwritten note has so much more value. Thank you for this post!

    1. That’s great finkelstein – love that web service idea of uploading handwriting – what is it?

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