Just call me the greeting card whisperer–on steroids!! I have a nose for sniffing them out. Spending hours, strolling card store aisles, is my kind of fun-filled day. My heart jumps out of my chest just thinking about it!
It’s been in my blood since I was a 12 year old kid.
I’m not alone!
It is a gargantuan industry. According to the Greeting Card Association, 7 billion cards are purchased every year in the U.S; retail sales hover $7.5 billion. Whoa! That’s a lot of paper; literally and figuratively!
Here’s the skinny about my compulsion! LOL!
“My Godmother, Aunt Peg, was my mentor. On any given Saturday, she sent me to retail department store, Sears and Roebuck down the street from our house, about a ten minute walk, to get her card stash for the month.”
Now, this was back in the late 60’s when Sears and Roebuck were still an item and brick and mortar stores were a big deal. This was also a time when it was still safe for kids to walk down the street.
Her long list of names, written on a white pad, included friends, relatives, children, neighbors, church members and ”other people who are nice.” No generic cards ever! She made it her business to profile each person’s personality, so I could tailor each selection.
“I read through hundreds of them during that time. Out of Aunt Peg’s range of sight, I probably did my share of eye-rolls and huffs; unaware of the impact this skill would have on my life down the road.”
I grew up in a two-family house in Buffalo, New York. My parents, sister and brother lived upstairs; Aunt Peg and Uncle Dave lived downstairs. Mom and Aunt Peg had their beauty shop in the basement; there were a lot of women coming in and out on a regular basis. They were gifted cards all the time with a crisp five or ten dollar bill tucked inside.
Sure. I had chores like any other lazy adolescent. But, being her personal shopper was my favorite. It sure beat hand-washing dishes and dusting.
“And, there was a sweet reward, I always came home with a bag of chocolate malted balls, in addition to twenty or so cards. She stored the cards in a kitchen drawer, wrapped with wax paper and then placed into a brown bag, ”so they didn’t get dusty.”
I didn’t get the wax paper or brown bag thing, though! LOL!
Aunt Peg was the Queen of thoughtfulness, always prompt, never any lame excuses. No holiday, birthday, wedding anniversary, baby shower, school graduation, or death escaped her radar. She even bought get well cards in advance for folks who were still well. LOL! And, she had a thing for thinking of you cards. Who does that?
That was my training ground; I never departed from it. I soon realized how much joy that gave her and the recipients.
“The act of giving struck a cord with me. It nurtured a culture of being kind!”
As time evolved, and I got out into the world, Hallmark stores became my go to spot; a wonderland of happiness.
I have to fess up, I am a Hallmark card snob; everything else pales in comparison. LOL! I love the top-notch quality and incredible variety. Yep; they’re pricey, but, you get what you pay for!!
“They have definitely raised the bar with their pretty, Origami pop up cards and musical choices.”
Need a card for a friend celebrating divorce; landing a new job; a kid getting good grades; a teen passing a driving test or a heartfelt card for someone going through a rough patch?”
Hallmark stores have it all including gift items; jewelry; candles; lotions; wall plaques; bejeweled wine glasses; books and decadent chocolate bars.
I digressed with the chocolate, now back to the cards! LOL!
In this super busy world we live in, let’s remember to connect with one another. Yep. Texting, emailing and social media makes it easy to press a button and send a message. But, it’s not the same; it feels sterile and detached!
“There’s something very endearing about handwriting on a greeting card. When was the last time you actually saw cursive writing? Greeting cards are memorable keepsakes. It feels organic to hold it in your hands!”
I have boxes, drawers and shelves of cards collected over the past 40 years. They mean something. They hold sentimentality and transport me back to various situations and occasions in my life. And, for relatives and friends who have passed away, it’s extremely meaningful to have something that they actually wrote on!
Well. It’s time to get my list together for my September birthdays; including my youngest son, Troy. Gonna head over to my favorite Hallmark card store in Stratford, CT.
My only suggestion? Add a coffee lounge with plush sofas for us die hard marathon shoppers who need to catch our breaths! LOL!
Betcha, Aunt Peg is giving me the thumbs up from heaven!