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Let's Be Pen Pals!

Heidi Shenk

Letter writing and cards go way back for me. A couple weeks ago, I sat with my cousin and aunt in my favorite coffee shop. "I think I have some of the very first Heidi cards," my cousin stated, "And you know, come to think of it, I really do think that's where it all started. You even created such exquisite envelopes from magazine pages."

She may be right. In our childhood, and even every now and again in our adulthood, we exchanged dozens of letters. I would carefully choose my words, add illustrations, make envelopes, and then send them off to Utah or Seattle or wherever she was living at the time.

Aside from writing these letters or postcards, there is joy in selecting stamps that have character. When I go to the post office, I choose the stamps that interest me-- jazz legends, famous filmmakers, mid-century modern inventions. The stamps make the art of letter sending an even happier one.

While in college, Andrew and I spent back to back semesters studying abroad. While we didn't get to speak to each other very often during these two semesters, we communicated regularly, sharing small snippets of our lives on postcards. Between the two of us, we probably wrote over 100 postcards that are now stowed away in a box, photos of Australian sunsets and Italian architecture representing adventures or specific days one of us had wanted to share with the other.

Letters connect people. Aside from my love of paper, this is why I make cards. There is something about writing that is cathartic. And something about giving and receiving letters generates joy. We must use our imagination and their written words to envision what the writer is experiencing, connect to those experiences, and then do our best to present our own.

And so I ask you, will you be my pen pal? I have a stash of note cards and post cards that I have collected over the years, and I would love to share them and some written word with you! Send me a letter, card, or postcard to the following address, and I'll be happy to write back and share a bit about my day with you.

Heidi Shenk
PO Box 12396
Baltimore, MD 21281

I hope to hear from you! :)

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