What is Elegance?


Have you ever been going about your business and suddenly question why it is you do what you do? Do you ever contemplate your why? As a subscriber to this blog, something tells me you are no stranger to self-reflection. You understand the need to occasionally refocus and remind yourself of your mission, your goal, your raison d’etre.

Every week, I enthusiastically pound out two reflections on elegance for this blog and my newspaper column, Everyday Elegance. It is this word elegance that really has me thinking lately. Okay, over-thinking. What is elegance? 

I recently heard someone say with a feigned fancy accent, “Oh, she’s sooo elegant.” When you think of the word elegance, do you picture a woman dripping in diamonds and fur sipping from a bone china teacup with her pinky and nose in the air? I earnestly hope not. Because if that’s what you’re here for, I’m probably not your girl. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines elegance like this:

elegance /’elegens/ noun
1. the quality of being graceful in appearance and manner
2. the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple

Thank you, Oxford, for bringing a blurry word back into focus. If I’m interpreting correctly, elegance is synonymous with grace, wisdom, and simplicity. For me, there’s no question these are noble qualities that could do much to improve our personal lives and even our world.

To a large extent, I believe elegance, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Elegance can be found in a business suit or a plain white tee, an afro or a bob, leather pumps or bare feet, a rustic cabin or a contemporary condo, a chocolate chip cookie or chocolate mousse, a delicate harp or a wailing electric guitar, a wildflower or a hybrid rose, a Monet or a child’s drawing on the refrigerator. 

Although aesthetics can be important, I’m more interested in elegance in attitude and behavior. Going back to Oxford’s definition of elegance, let’s look at some synonyms for grace, wisdom, and simplicity to further clarify its meaning. I can’t imagine anyone arguing against the need for these qualities in today’s world.

Grace ~ decency, courtesy, and kindness
Wisdom ~ truth, prudence, and discernment
Simplicity ~ integrity, ease, and unity

Thank you for subscribing to The Simple Swan and allowing me to refine my purpose. There are endless ways to infuse elegance into our everyday activities, surroundings, presentation, health, relationships, and mindset.  Together, let’s continue to live more elegantly, seek wisdom from elegant sources such as nature, literature, and the arts, and inspire more elegance in our homes, workplaces, communities, and the world. §

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”
~Diana Vreeland


The Elegance of Quality Over Quantity


The famous oil painting known as Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer, features a young woman wearing an exquisite earring. Her bare face and turban-wrapped hair bring focus to the pearl earring and the simple beauty and elegance of the girl. 


I think of my own jewelry box and note the painting is not named Girl with a Bunch of Cheap Earrings. My jewelry is just one area that I could apply the concept of quality over quantity.

Quality can be defined as the standard of something as measured against other things of its kind. For example, one could indulge in a single luscious Godiva chocolate or a whole bag of check-out counter candy. Quality over quantity means choosing better over more. 

We don’t live in a time that supports this lifestyle. Fast food means we can eat a big greasy meal for less than the tip at a sit-down restaurant. Fast fashion means we can own ten trendy shirts for the cost of one well-made one. We can get the kids a cartful of plastic toys from the dollar aisle, or one classic board game. 

There are many good reasons to adopt the idea of quality over quantity. It reduces clutter. It’s more sustainable for the planet. It saves money in the long run. It honors fine craftsmanship and design. It helps us gain more clarity about our personal preferences. 

I’ve long understood the wisdom of quality over quantity, but glancing around my bathroom, I see evidence to the contrary. There’s a shelf of half-empty bottles of hair and skin products that didn’t live up to their promise. There’s a drawerful of makeup that might look good on someone else. There’s a basket of gloppy nail polish I’ll never wear.

I’m committed to eliminating the clutter, forgiving myself for the waste, and finding the best version of the products I truly want and need. Here are just a few areas where we can more consciously apply the concept of quality over quantity: 

  • clothing and accessories
  • food and pantry items
  • furnishings and home decor
  • cleaning products
  • books and magazines
  • toys and games

Quality over quantity doesn’t just apply to material things. We can think about quality when choosing our activities, our entertainment, our relationships, our leaders, our conversations, and even our thoughts.

I recently read an anonymous quote that made me sad. It said, “People who aren’t used to quality always chase quantity.” Quality has become a unicorn. It does not seem to rank high on our collective list of values, but we can reclaim it. We can return to the elegance of expecting and choosing quality over quantity. §

“It is quality rather than quantity that matters.”

Note to Subscribers: If this essay seems familiar, thank you for noticing! It is a revision of an earlier blog post that I finally got around to running in my newspaper column this weekend. It can be a juggle to get them coordinated. In case you’re curious, my Sunday posts usually appear in my column, Everyday Elegance, in the weekend edition of the Southern Illinoisan. My Wednesday posts are a bit more personal and written for subscribers of The Simple Swan. Thank you very much for reading! ~ Alicia

Elegance in the Classroom & Beyond


It’s that time of year when I dearly miss the excitement of going back to school. I loved school so much that I became a teacher myself. For nearly thirty years, I taught literature, language arts, and social studies to middle school students. I went into teaching understanding the power of knowledge, but it was in my classroom I discovered the power of elegance.

Over the years, I learned how simple elegant touches, such as a vase of fresh flowers, well-organized spaces, and a warm smile, could dramatically improve the academic performance, behavior, and well-being of everyone who entered my classroom.

My simple theory is this – if attention to elegance can so positively affect a middle school classroom, it can have a similar impact on our personal lives, our communities, and our world.

There were four words that helped me create an elegant classroom – simple, wise, attractive, and nice. These words just happen to form an acronym for the word swan. Let’s look at these words and consider how they can be applied to any community, not just a classroom.

SimpleChaos can reign in a classroom, but there are ways to bring more calm and serenity. In the same way, simplicity can be achieved in any home, small business, or large corporation. Organization and tranquility can lead to better outcomes. Bruce Lee said, “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”

Wise – No matter our age, every day is a chance to learn something new. We can gain wisdom by reading quality literature, attending lectures, seeking out the arts, trying new things, and listening to others. The more we are individually informed and empowered to make wise decisions, the more elegant our communities will become. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The real safeguard of democracy is education.”

Attractive – Attention to beauty is not frivolous or unimportant. Beauty can be inspiring, and an effort to make things more attractive for others can make people feel valued, respected, and motivated. Thomas Jefferson said, “Communities should be planned with an eye to effect on the human spirit of being continually surrounded by a maximum of beauty.”

Nice – Being nice might seem incredibly simple, but it is also incredibly powerful. Just imagine how our communities could benefit from more respectful, tolerant, and polite behavior. Coretta Scott King said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

If an ordinary middle school classroom, filled with raging pubescent hormones and a diverse population, can benefit from attention to elegance, I believe it can help create more harmony and success in our personal lives and in all of the communities in which we live and work.

My heart is with the teachers as they head back to school this year. The work they do all day, every day is nothing short of miraculous. Classrooms are microcosms of the world at large, and the ability to create a culture of excellence and elegance within those walls can be an inspiration for us all. §

“I realized if you can change a classroom, you can change a community, and if you change enough communities you can change the world.”
Erin Gruwell, teacher who inspired the 2007 movie
Freedom Writers

The Elegance of Splooting ~ squirrels teach how to chill out


One day this summer when the temperature pushed a hundred, I looked outside and saw a squirrel lying face-down, spread eagle under an umbrella on our patio table. I opened the kitchen door to see if the little guy was okay. He didn’t move but blinked his eyes slowly as if to say, “It’s hot, lady. Leave me alone.” A few days later, I read that squirrels all over the country were reacting to the heat wave with an innate behavior called splooting. 

Splooting is a type of stretch four-legged animals do to rest and cool down. You’ve probably seen a dog or cat do it, but it is surprising to see a squirrel, usually scurrying about like crazy, be so still. I’ve since seen several of the squirrels I feed each morning lie oddly motionless with their bellies flat on a cool, shady surface to help lower their body temperature. 

Leave it to nature to come up with something so wise and elegant as splooting. We could all take notes from the squirrels who instinctively know when it’s time to be still for their own self-preservation. 

In our fired up, sped up world, it seems like most of us could use some splooting to simmer down, rest, and recharge. I suppose that’s why many people turn to meditation, silent retreats, and yoga. Splooting does sound a little like an ancient yoga pose. A few minutes in a sploot, could be as restorative as the child’s pose, corpse pose, or pigeon pose I’ve learned in yoga classes.  

In his book, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, Pico Iyer writes, “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.” 

Another book seemingly inspired by the squirrel’s sploot, is called Stillness is the Key: An Ancient Strategy for Modern Life by Ryan Holiday. He writes, “Stillness is the key to the self-mastery, discipline, and focus necessary to succeed in this competitive, noisy world.” 

The art of stillness can have many names. For squirrels, it’s splooting. Stoics called it atarexia. You might call it prayer, meditation, conscious relaxation, or a nap. Throughout history, some of the world’s greatest thinkers were big believers in the art of stillness. Confucius, Seneca, Jesus, Winston Churchill, Emily Dickinson, and Mr. Rogers were all known to embrace the wisdom and elegance of stillness.  

Thanks to the squirrels’ reminder, I’m paying more attention to the art of stillness. I came home from a long walk on a morning when the temperature soared by eight am. Red-faced and tired, I sprawled out on the living room floor. My husband asked if I was okay. “Yes,” I whispered motionlessly, “I’m just splooting.” §

“Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.” 
~ Edmund Burke

The Elegance of Little Cat Feet


I think I manifested a cat. For months I’ve known one would find its way to me at just the right time. Last week, I was standing at the kitchen sink when my husband rapped on the window from the back porch and pointed to his feet. A tiny yellow kitten coyly wrapped himself around Mike’s ankles at a moment when his resistance was low. This handsome little guy (named Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice) has filled an empty space in my life. Here is the first of what’s likely to be many poems about him.

Little Cat Feet
by Alicia Woodward

Sandburg wrote this image
on my nine-year-old heart,
“The fog comes in on little cat feet”

Tiny paws now softly sink
into a chest that still longs
for poetry and beauty

They gracefully stretch
in shafts of sunlight and
pulse to a meditative purr

They delicately dance
across the wood floor and
spring to my awaiting lap

Quiet, gentle, elegant
little cat feet
and satin kitten toes 

The line I quoted in the first stanza of this poem is from Fog by Carl Sandburg. It was taught to me by my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Quinn, and I’ve never forgotten it.

by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
in on little cat feet.

It sits looking over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on. §

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” 
~ Charles Dickens

The Elegance of Writing Right

IMG_1850Not long ago I wrote a column highlighting ten common spoken grammatical mistakes. It struck a chord with many readers who appreciated attention to the subject. Although this may be a case of preaching to the choir, I’m following that column here with ten common written errors.

Certainly, the informality of texting, email, and messaging is taking a toll on proper grammar. If we are in the elegant business of continuous self-improvement, as I believe we should be, then we must take it upon ourselves to refine our grammar, especially when the idea seems to be falling out of fashion.

The following errors are all related to writing the wrong word. English can be difficult because of its many homophones, words that sound the same. Most of these errors aren’t obvious when spoken, only when written. Here are ten groups of words that frequently cause mistakes, followed by explanations and examples.

  1. They’re, Their, and There – They’re is a contraction for they are. They’re moving to Colorado. Their is a plural possessive pronoun. It shows ownership. Their house is for sale. There usually refers to a place. If you can point to it, this is your word. Put the sign there.
  2. It’s and Its – It’s is a contraction for it is. It’s hot outside. Its is possessive. This is confusing because we usually use an apostrophe to show possession. The dog chased its tail.
  3. You’re and Your – You’re is a contraction for you are. You’re so sweet. Your is possessive. Your mother is so sweet.
  4. Effect and Affect – Effect is a noun. What was the effect of the discussion? Affect is a verb. The discussion had an affect on me. Here’s a trick: If you can substitute the word influence, you probably need the word affect.
  5. Alot, A lot and Allot. This one is easy! Alot is not a word. She has a lot of friends. Allot is an entirely different word that means to set aside. I will allot $20 to spend on food.
  6. To, Two, and Too. Here we go again with those maddening homophones. To is a preposition. Think of it as a destination or an action. I threw the ball to third base. He is going to throw the ball home. Two is a number. She ate two cookies. Too means also. I like cookies, too. (Notice the comma before the word too.)
  7. Lose and Loose. These are two completely different words that really shouldn’t cause so much confusion. Lose ends with a z-sound. Lose is a verb. I hope I don’t lose my tooth. Loose ends with an s-sound. Loose is an adjective. My tooth is loose.
  8. Complement and Compliment. These words are easily mixed up because they do sound the same. Complement means to complete or enhance. The wine complements the meal. Compliment refers to praise or admiration. My compliments to the chef.
  9. Then and Than. These words are not homophones, but they sure cause a lot of confusion. Then is an adverb related to time. We went to dinner and then a movie. Than is a conjunction used to make comparisons. I enjoyed the dinner more than the movie.
  10. Whose and Who’s. Whose is the possessive form of who. Whose book is this? Who’s is a contraction for who is. Who’s going to the party tonight?

I’ve found there are two kinds of people. Those who really care about proper grammar, and those who really don’t. If you don’t, take pity upon the rest of us. Like Sisyphus and his rock, I’m afraid we are doomed to an eternity of futilely correcting people’s grammar, either silently or enthusiastically. I do have a bit of advice when you’re in the position of comforting grammar nerds. Gently put an arm around them and softly say, “There, their, they’re.” §

“Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.”
~Joan Didion

Featured Art ~ Portrait of a Woman, Adelaide Labille-Guiard, c. 1787

The Elegance of Hats

IMG_2199Each day, a little elegance comes directly to my inbox. It’s called The Object of the Day, and it’s a photograph and brief description of a piece of art in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum. On any given day, I learn about a priceless painting, sculpture, or artifact. This Sunday, the Object of the Day was this amazing High Lama’s Summer Hat.

Coincidentally, at church that very morning I noticed not a single person was wearing a hat, and I found myself wishing we all were. Perhaps I was thinking about hats because I’ve been spending hot summer afternoons indoors watching period dramas where characters’ costumes always include a variety of beautiful hats.

For the past twenty years or so, I nearly always wear a hat outside to protect my face from the sun. This is to atone for the previous forty years of tanning until I was, as my grandmother would say, as brown as a berry. The hats I wear are generally baseball caps or straw sun hats that are not nearly as attractive as I would secretly like to wear.

Currently on display at our local museum, Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, is a fanciful display of hats by Dianne Isbell, an award-winning designer and milliner. Isbell creates one-of-a-kind hats for people all over the country. Her custom-made hats perch on ladies’ heads at the Kentucky Derby, weddings, churches, theme parties, and other special occasions. Her hats have even been worn by Hollywood leading ladies, including Lady Gaga. (Learn more at http://www.hatsbydianne.com)

I’m glad such beautiful hats are on display in museums and still created by milliners like Isbell, but I do wish they were back in everyday fashion. I realize I would look fairly ridiculous wearing the High Lama’s Summer Hat to water the roses, play golf, or walk around the neighborhood. So for now, I’ll don my purely functional baseball cap and dream of a more elegant time and place where hats are de rigueur. §

“Next week I shall begin operation on my hat
on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.” 

~ Jane Austen

Featured Art ~ High Lama’s Summer Hat, China, late 19th to early 20th century
This hat has a rounded crown and a wide flat brim. The interior is made of woven bamboo covered with bright yellow silk satin damask featuring roundels with five-clawed dragons. The top ends in a red silk knot above a border with stylized fungus forms. The hat’s brim is edged with a key-fret brocade and its underside is covered with red silk damask. Hats like this were made in China for use by visiting high-ranking Tibetan Buddhist monks known as lamas. The use of bright yellow silk and five-clawed dragons are strong indications that such hats were commissioned by the imperial court at Beijing, a city with a number of important Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries. It was presented as a gift to the Saint Louis Art Museum in 1986 from Mr. and Mrs. F. Russell Fette in memory of Helen Campbell Fette.

The Elegance of Golf


IMG_1804In what might be seen as a risky move, my husband gave me golf clubs for my birthday last year. At 59, I never had any desire to take up the sport, but I graciously accepted the gift as a way for us to spend time together in our retirement. Although I’m still learning to play the game, I have discovered golf is an exceptionally elegant sport. 

Nature was initially what got me on the course. While Mike recalls each hole by his shots, I remember the wildlife. “The second hole was my best drive,” he says. “Oh, that was the one where we saw the great blue heron. On the third hole, there were turtles,” I reply. There are golf courses all over the world known for their breathtaking scenery, but even an inexpensive neighborhood course can be a great place to appreciate flora, fauna, and animals in their natural habitat.

I was quickly impressed by the etiquette of golf. There is a clear tradition of customs and rules designed to make the game safer and more enjoyable for everyone. After thirty years in noisy middle school classrooms, I was thrilled to discover silence is golden on the golf course. Other elegant practices include punctuality, thoughtfulness, a respectful dress code, and self-discipline. 

Self-control and golf can seem antithetical. It’s a frustrating game that can cause the most stoic player to lose all sense of dignity and restraint. At one Mt. Vernon golf course, a club dangles thirty feet high in an overgrown tree. Forty-five years ago my husband’s buddy threw it up there after an exceptionally bad round. Professional golfer Walter Hagen said long ago, “They called it golf because all of the other four-letter words were taken.” Golf is a great game for anyone wishing to practice the art of self-discipline. 

Golf strengthens both the body and mind. The perfect swing requires smooth and graceful control of the physical body from head to toe, but most golfers agree, it’s a mind game. Golf teaches concentration and equanimity. Keeping a clear head when water taunts on the left and a sand trap teases on the right requires mental focus. Jack Nicklaus said, “The game of golf is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.” 

This elegant game can bring together people of all ages and genders. Children can learn to play and keep playing the rest of their lives. Mike frequently plays with his 83-year-old father, who can still hit the ball straight and far. I’m personally encouraged by female golfer Babe Didrikson Zaharias who said, “Golf is a game of coordination, rhythm, and grace; women have these to a high degree.” 

Like many sports, the game of golf possesses a unifying spirit. Personal politics and discord can be left off the course while players bond over 18 holes of shared challenges, simple victories, and friendly competition. In a testament to golf’s bipartisanship, former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both love the game. 

Life and golf have a lot in common. Every day on the links is a chance to practice as much poise, precision, and elegance as possible, and that practice can be extended to life in general. As golfer Ben Hogan said, “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” §

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening, and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” 
~Arnold Palmer


Elegant Inspiration from our Poet Laureate & the Stars


Two different things worked together to bring elegance to my life this week ~ images from the James Webb Space Telescope and a poem by the United States’ newest Poet Laureate, Ada Limón.

The James Webb Space Telescope sent us celestial images I can only describe as poetry in motion. It’s impossible for me to fathom a 10 billion dollar satellite taking photos from one million miles away. According to NASA, the very faintest blips of light in the photos are of galaxies as they existed more than 13 billion years ago. The images confirmed for me that we are part of an incomprehensibly elegant universe.

Meanwhile, life here on planet Earth unfolded as usual. The antics of our fellow earthlings brought bad news, sad news, infuriating news, confusing news, and worrisome news. Among some good news this week was the appointment of Ada Limón as the country’s 24th Poet Laureate. Coincidentally, Limón published a poem titled Dead Stars in 2018.

In the poem, Limón contemplates what amazing creations we are. She believes that in the midst of our ordinary lives, we have the potential to do big things for each other and for our planet. You might even call it everyday elegance.

Excerpt from Dead Stars by Ada Limón ~

We point at the stars that make
Orion as we take out the trash,
the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder.

It’s almost romantic as we adjust the
waxy blue recycling bin until you say,
Man, we should really learn some new constellations.

And it’s true. We keep forgetting 
about Antilia, Centaurus, Draco,
Lacerta, Hydra, Lyra, Lynx.

But mostly we’re forgetting we’re
dead stars too, my mouth is full
of dust and I wish to reclaim the rising –

To lean in the spotlight of streetlight
with you, toward
what’s larger within us,
how we were born.

Look we’re not unspectacular things,
We’ve come this far, survived this much.

What would happen if we decided to survive more?
To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said,
No. No, to the rising tides.
Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain
for the safety of others, for earth,
if we declared a clean night,
if we stopped being terrified,
if we launched our demands into the sky,
made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows
they make in their minds

rolling their trash bins out,
after all of this is over?

I urge you to read the poem more than once and think about what our Poet Laureate is asking us to do. As we try to comprehend those spectacular photos sent to us by the James Webb Telescope, let’s consider our human potential and be inspired to shine a little brighter. §

“But mostly we’re forgetting we’re dead stars, too.” 
~Ada Limón, Dead Stars

Featured Art ~ The James Webb Space Telescope’s image of the Carina Nebula, 2022

The Elegance of a Handwritten Letter

IMG_1824I sit at my desk in front of a blank sheet of stationery and a brand new pen prepared to write a letter to a woman I have never met. We have at least one one thing in common. We both recently signed-up for a penpal program organized by Jennifer L. Scott, creator of the blog and YouTube channel The Daily Connoisseur. Among other elegant practices for fine living, Scott encourages the lost art of letter writing.

I probably use the post office to correspond with family and friends more than most. Instead of emails, texts, or facebook messages, I prefer sending beautiful greeting cards and thank-you notes through the mail. I enjoy the ritual of carefully addressing an envelope, sticking on a pretty stamp, walking it to the mail box, and popping up that little red flag. However, writing a letter is a little different.

Early in my teaching career, the secondary English curriculum included how to write a friendly letter, but it was eventually squeezed out by more modern forms of communication. The format for a personal letter comes back to me slowly. In my best cursive, I carefully write my name, address, and date in the upper-right corner. I start my letter with a greeting and contemplate what to say in the body of my letter.

I’d like this letter to begin a deep connection not easily found these days. In The Art of the Personal Letter Margaret Shepherd says, “Writing by hand sets the gold standard for making yourself truly present to your reader.” A handwritten letter, she says, “offers unimpeachable evidence that you believe the reader, the message, and the relationship are worth your time and undivided attention.” That’s the feeling I want to convey to my new penpal.

In general, the body of a friendly letter should be personal, positive, and focus on mutual interests. The purpose of the letter should be clear from the start. The point of a personal letter may be friendship, connection, condolence, advice, love, congratulations, thanks, or apology. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The tongue is prone to lose the way. Not so the pen, for in a letter we have things to say, but surely put them better.”

Beyond thinking about what to say in the letter, consideration must be given to letter-writing materials. Both writing and receiving a letter is enhanced when written on quality paper with a matching envelope. Like clothing, stationery can express one’s individual style and is available at all price points. Postage stamps come in many designs and can even be personalized. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect pen that moves smoothly across my paper and does the most for my rusty handwriting.

Messy handwriting shouldn’t be an excuse for not writing letters, but we can try to improve it. Shepherd recommends exercises to refine handwriting including warming-up with circles and coils, individual letters, words, and phrases. To write straighter, she suggests placing a larger sheet of lined paper under stationery to provide guidelines on both sides. Finally, take time to write a rough draft to get mistakes out of your system.

Like anything we want to do well, letter writing takes practice, but don’t insist on perfection. “You don’t have to reach impossible standards of eloquence and beauty,” Shepherd warns. “If your intention is to connect with your reader in the most personal way possible, just the extra effort put into ink on paper will be greeted with appreciation and delight.”

There is nothing wrong with communicating through the telephone, email, texts, and social media, but there is something so elegant and enduring about a handwritten letter. In the foreword of Letters of a Nation Marian Wright Edelman writes, “Let us all then leave behind letters of love and friendship, family and devotion, hope and consolation, so that future generations will know what we valued and believed and achieved.” §

“I truly believe that the penpal is a lost art, and it is such an enriching relationship.”
~Jennifer L. Scott

Featured Art ~ La lettera, Gianni Strino, 1953