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Pack the kids off to college with stationery and stamps

Off to college in 1960 with stationery and stamps in the flight bag when writing was the usual way to be in touch
Off to college in 1960 with stationery and stamps in the flight bag when writing was the usual way to be in touch
Arthur Brower

The slovenliness of college dorm rooms is too often the butt of jokes and the backdrop of tv shows and movies. Truth be told, with a small living space it can be daunting to keep orderly enough to function well. After all, how easy is it to study effectively enough to pass courses when you cannot find your books or your laptop, the electrical cords for chargers have tangled into a safety hazard and dirty laundry, for want of a dedicated space, lies in piles everywhere.

Melissa Stacey, creator of Feeling Organized, has a knack for not just feeling organized but being organized, very important in lives that may be filled with piles of stuff and never ending to-do lists. She offers wonderful practical advice for what to send with your child who is beginning a life of independence away from home. Melissa gives suggestions about under bed, vertical space and footboard storage, the importance of power strips and efficient laundry bags that make it easier to do one’s own laundry. Who does not cringe at the very thought of an 18 year old coming home with piles of laundry for mom to do? Wonderful tips, all of them, for keeping physical, spatial and emotional sanity.

Love Letters Live, of course, has one more small list of things to send with your beginning freshman. Don’t forget to include stationery, stamps and a couple of good indelible pens. It used to be that the last thing most of us heard from our parents as we said our final goodbyes was, “Don’t forget to write!” We did not really need to be told that since it was our only way of communicating. No email, no faxes, no social media, and the telephone was too expensive and limiting because we got only 3 minutes of conversation for a fixed high price, and every minute after that was fixed and higher. People are not so used to writing as we once were, so hollering out that instruction might just bring a blank “Huh?”

Sending stationery will be a quieter and more effective way for parents to get a love note once in a while. You don’t even need to mention that you are including it in the packed goods. If you just let it be found during the unpacking it will be an extra gift and the message will be lovingly clear. Manipulative? No, just encouraging.

And, there is another gift to your children when they may find their notes as years go on and be reminded, in their own handwriting, that they were the kind of children who took the time and thought to send a piece of themselves home to the parents who miss them. We all know what a jolt of joy it is to see, in our generally dismal pile of mail, an envelope addressed in the handwriting of someone we love.

Parents, don’t you forget to write to your children, and maybe the first one will come from you. Not that you shouldn’t email often or keep in touch with photos on social media, but a letter in your handwriting in their dismal mail pile will be as much a day brightener for them as it is for you.

From me to you with love in the air,

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