“My Grandmother’s Love Letters”
There are no stars tonight
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.
There is even room enough
For the letters of my mother’s mother,
That have been pressed so long
Into a corner of the roof
That they are brown and soft,
And liable to melt as snow.
Over the greatness of such space
Steps must be gentle.
It is all hung by an invisible white hair.
It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air.
And I ask myself:
“Are your fingers long enough to play
Old keys that are but echoes:
Is the silence strong enough
To carry back the music to its source
And back to you again
As though to her?”
Yet I would lead my grandmother by the hand–Hart Crane
Through much of what she would not understand;
And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof
With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.
This summer, my dad shared my Great Grandma Campbell’s 1890s autograph book with me.
Edna Foster Campbell, my paternal grandfather’s mother, kept this small leather volume as a young girl, with cushioned black leather covers embossed with gold lettering. The book is a little fragile these days, with yellow pages showing their age. On each page, though, there remains a clear sentiment, in careful pencil or ink cursive.
I’ve studied enough history to know that the artifacts of our lives tell our stories after we are gone. They are a tangible connection to a time we can’t revisit or never knew ourselves. We hold them in our hands, though, and we feel a little of the hands that held them before. I often wonder how a digital age transfers to a collection of physical artifacts, but I know that there is just a different process now. All this new change seems to make even more precious what we can hold in our own two hands.
Brand new autograph cards! Available as singles or boxed sets of all 6 designs in our shop
I’ve taken six autographs from Great Grandma Campbell’s book, hand lettered them, and paired them each with one of my own botanical drawings. The resulting cards are my own small attempt to give a little more life to the love and friendship they celebrated nearly 120 years ago. I love to think that these cards will become the artifacts of others’ lives now, as well.
All of our new projects support organizations and work about which we feel strongly. 5% of the sales of Autograph Cards will go to Safe Horizon, a NYC-based organization that assists victims of domestic violence and child abuse.