Halloween: it arrived in a bustle of candy corn, glitter pink eye shadow (for the costume, I swear!) and a small size, petite pumpkin. “When did that happen?!” I asked myself. “It seems like May was just last week…”
San Francisco loves itself some Halloween – if you’ve lived here for even a couple of years, you’ll learn that important lesson. We take it seriously. This is a holiday not to be taken lightly.
I never really need an excuse to purchase accessories involving the colors black and/or orange, cats with huge eyes or CANDY. All the more exciting if those accessories can be used to mail Important Halloween Documents!
I grew up on the spooky side of the street – literally. (my goth street cred is pretty high.) Add to that the fact that my mum’s birthday is on Halloween and you can probably see how this whole thing ended up: by sending a celebratory birthday box of mystery! (there was even some acknowledgment of the box’s “coolness” when I took it to the PO – a different one from my usual spot…)
I made sure to whip up a few eerie postcards and was thrilled to be using some new seasonal rubber stamps in the mix…
But wait! The festivities weren’t finished! This past Sunday, the SF Public Library and SF Correspondence Co-op hosted “Gone But Not Forgotten: Correspondence Calaveras” at the SFPL. What’s a correspondence calavera, you say?
It is an opportunity to write a message, memory, anecdote, or poem about a loved one near or far. Attendees were invited to decorate their postcards using a variety of different techniques, and then post them in the Co-op mailbox at the event.
Co-op members will affix postage and mail these calaveras within the next week or so.
I had silkscreened two hundred postcards; by the end of the event, only a handful remained. Regular Co-op members were in attendance, but library patrons also drifted through – some staying for the whole of the event, others watching silently for a few minutes and then leaving.
What brought them to this particular event? Some were simply curious, others wanted to write a postcard to remember a loved one. A few were stymied by the concept: “Who would I send a postcard to? And why?” After some guidance and explanation, I could see the “aha!” moment happen. These were the folks who decided to sit down and stay for awhile.
When things were all wrapped up, it was incredibly satisfying to look inside the event mailbox and see all of those postcards filled out, waiting to be stamped and sent out into the world. From where I’m standing, that’s a true measure of success: each postcard represents a person who took the time to brighten another person’s day with the simple act of writing a message down on a piece of paper.
While the holiday of Dia de los Muertos is primarily about remembering those who have come before us, we should also recognize those who surround us every day – and remind ourselves that we have the best of both possible worlds.