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Just A Note To Say Thanks

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
Well, you would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say

Thank you for being a friend…

Just the other day, I was affectionately remembering with my partner the theme song of “Golden Girls” with Bea Arthur and Betty White, and my favourite; the irreverent Estelle Getty. I never was a big fan of the show; as a teen in the ‘80s, I was not part of the show’s target demographic. I do remember the song, the wisecracking and sometimes outrageous women traipsing through their typical sitcom misadventures between 1985 and 1992. I imagine that the characters in the show, as women of a certain generation, would have written their fair share of thank-you notes and cards over a lifetime.

“Thank you”, for me, has been ingrained in my psyche. Ingrained in me from a young age. A main influence was my Grandmother. Her family, from Northumberland, England was apparently quite genteel in its day. She emigrated to Canada as a baby. My trips to visit her were full of church outings and a huge dash of adventure, Scrabble, swimming, travel, and a myriad of characters and situations, always. Especially in the summer.

What I prized about my grandmother, who was similar in age to the characters in the Golden Girls, was her manner with people. She knew a large swathe of folks in the modest-sized rural community of Fort Macleod. She thrived and reveled in the roles of politician and librarian at different junctures of her residency there. She taught me that thanking people was not just a good thing, it was something that showed respect and consideration for someone that went out of their way to provide you with something, whether their time, a gift, a bit of advice or a touch of kick-in-the-pants wisdom. A thank-you in the form of a note should be in order as that person has given something of themselves. How could that not make sense to me? It also felt right to me as a person caring about the world and trying to do good during my time here on earth.

With that in mind, I remember grandma possessed this round, greyish (well, taupe) box that I am sure held pin-curlers for its original purposing. Inside that box, my Grandma stored all types of thank-you cards that enchanted me. From handmade ones from the church, to Easter Seal cards that were teensy compared to the Hallmark ones beside them. There were sympathy cards, birthday cards, wedding cards, bar mitzvah congratulations, anniversary cards, but mainly just simple thank-you cards. Some with bright envelopes like crimson and butter yellow – but mainly just plain snow white. They all lay neatly in the box, waiting to be inscribed by one of the fine pens and markers that seemed to have crawled into the pin curl box to await the inspiration of the correspondent. Oh yes, there were always a few scotch mints lurking in the recesses of the circular, pinkish-satin interior of the box to delight my Grandma as she wrote her notes. Grandma never met a candy she did not savour remarkably.

I looked up the history of the thank-you card. It is no surprise to me that both the ancient Egyptians and Chinese used to pull out the papyrus and write scribblings of good luck and well wishes.

Eventually, in the fifteenth century, folks in Europe started delivering what were called “social notes” or “messages of greeting”. In more modern times it was a German immigrant, Louis Prong, that brought the greeting card to America in the 1800’s. In fact, his innovation was the Christmas Card.

Modern-day celebrities have continued the tradition. Late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon writes thank-you notes to all his guests, some of them pretty hilarious I imagine. He seems to be relatively insistent on keeping up that tradition with his guests. In 1974, John Lennon showed up drunk at a club and startled to heckle the band and make a nuisance of himself to the rest of the bar patrons including actress Pam Grier. The next day he sent her a simple one-line thank-you note to express his appreciation that she didn’t slug him. An er… well… ‘unique’ thank-you note experience. Unsurprisingly in our busy modern age, there is a woman in New York, Taryn Singer, who started a company a few years ago called WithThanks. She and her staff write thank-you notes professionally for people who just don’t want to do the notes themselves.

Today, on social media, I sometimes have to avoid overdoing it so I don’t sound like a sycophant, but I genuinely feel gratitude. It is hard sometimes for me to shut the flood gates! From a young age, when I felt gratitude for a gift or simple acknowledgment, I would whip out the pen and a card. Christmas, birthdays, events, and things in between, including after disagreements with friends and relations, I would write out a good old-fashioned card because it felt like the best thing to do. My Grandmother’s advice to respect and acknowledge thoughtfulness or share remorse was a gift in itself. I just never forget her words, and I know how I feel in my heart when I receive a hand-written thank-you card – it warms me inside. It also takes me back to being with my grandmother, and I’m reminded once again of all the gifts she gave me when she was alive: some tangible, some intangible. When she died in 2012, I sent her one last thank-you note for all that she offered me in her lifetime.

Now, it might seem anachronistic to hold on to such a time-worn custom when one could get on WhatsApp to tap out a quick note, maybe find a wacky GIF on the web to email, or send a group shout-out on Facebook, but am I one of few? I beg to challenge that and of course, ask all of you your view…

Who is bringing out the pen and paper post-holiday season?

How does it feel when you receive a handwritten thank-you note?

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Maureen Y. Nowicki
Maureen Y. Nowickihttps://cosmosnotions.com/
Who am I? Where do I come from philosophically? First, my numerology: I was born February 21st, with a 22/4 life path. I have a wealth of “5” vibrational energy in my name. That “M”, as my “cornerstone”, gives me some leadership abilities. I am a builder, a creative soul, and one who craves change and variety. Throw some compassion into the mix, along with emphasis on Earth and Water. Switching to my Akashic Records, I am a primary 6th Energy Centre person with the 7th Energy Centre as a secondary. My work experience echoes the vibrations struck by the numbers and energy centres in my charts. I bring to you the lessons learned from my training and experience in social work, project management, relationship coaching, feng shui consulting, Chakradance facilitating, and aromatherapy. My studies are always on the front burner; I have recently earned a certificate in Native Path Numerology and also Soul Realignment as a practitioner specializing in Akashic Records. Here I am today. I have no children, but I have a wonderful Godchild. I am a part-time caregiver to a parent, and I travel monthly to help out there. I feel that guiding others (I adore working with parents) in the areas of love, career, abundance, movement of energy (Chakradance) and timing is something that fits well for me. I have experienced the joys and surprises of energetic healing modalities in my own life, and here I go with building a full-time career helping others. Thriving on the interactive aspects of blogging, I strive to explore topics in which my readers can understand their own personal numbers, their Soul gifts and roadblocks, and the way that movement in each of our lives can shift us vibrationally and move us into SOARing in our lives. I put forward my genuine self to navigate with humanity in my interactions through my company www.cosmosnotions.com!

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28 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Hi Maureen, thank you for sharing your wise grandmother memories with us. I did not have a grandmother like that. I also pine for the days of thank you notes and this article is a reminder that I should start writing them again. It is a precious lost art and the substitution of a text or email greeting is nice, there is some extra special about handwritten thank you notes. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Thank you so much for your words, Helen. I am with you in having an obvious love for the notes.i was so fortunate to have my Grandmother as I look over the course of my life. I sent some after Christmas that felt really good and caring to spend the time and effort to do so. My best thoughts to you my friend.

  2. I am not sure if the vocabulary exists, or the ability of humans to express it, is possible for me to say how much I love this. I am old school in so many ways, and I have read books that basically say that a hand written thank you note has gone the way of the 8 track tape and the black and white TV. I say pshaw on that, and it is something I do regularly, and with great joy and affection. It is an opportunity to call someone out for a singular act, an acknowledgement of support or commonality or oneness in a fractured, divisive world, it is taking time to be with your thoughts and focus on one person and say something simple – Thank you for what said, did, gave… It gives the recipient an unequivocal message that someone knows, someone cares, someone did something about something I said or did or gave. We can never express thank you too much or too often or in the wrong way. Your grandma was one smart cookie, and I hope that you are thankful for carrying her DNA and her proclivity to show your thankfulness. I know that we, all of us are thankful for you and for this great reminder.

    • What a super reply Tom! I feel great in spirit that we are kindred in the letter writing. And by the way, I still have an 8 track of the Clearwater Clearance Revival kicking around as well. Have a super weekend and I very much appreciate your commentary at many levels.

  3. We receive dozens of messages and notifications a day, we are no longer used to true and authentic attentions. Choosing the paper, writing a message by hand, a note of thanks is a gesture with a vintanage flavor that will surely surprise and fill those who receive it with joy.
    Writing a letter of gratitude by hand is one of the most powerful habits to train one’s happiness and well-being, we lay bare ourselves but we bring the other to do the same. Because gratitude is an intimate, authentic, profound gesture. It is a gesture that fills the heart and definitely changes the perspective.
    Writing a letter of gratitude is like wrapping a special gift.
    And then, writing by hand there are more senses involved, and therefore, the memories will re-emerge with greater ease.

  4. Maureen — Thank you for a beautiful piece. The irony is that I should be sending you my thanks via a note card!

    I have a stack of paper cards that I use just for that purpose. I know that I always love receiving a handwritten note although they are few in number these days. Related, my parents instilled in me that you never go to someone else’s house for dinner without bringing something to say “thank you.” Maybe it’s a bottle of wine, some cheeses, or some flowers. My Mom used to bring a jar of preserves she had made from home-grown strawberries, or a jar of apple butter. She would dress the jar up with ribbon. Nice!

    • Hi Jeff,

      There is so much we can do when we open ourselves up to give and receive – right?!

      Your addition to the conversation of bringing gifts of thanks when people lovingly open their doors to you is all part of that process of appreciation, it seems to me.

      I am with you that going to share at someone’s place and accompanying along a small token of gratitude just feels like respect. It flows of community and care.

      It sounds like a really lovely touch your Mom provided to her gifts (cheerful ribbon) to those around her and it does sound like you have really honoured that.

      No need to write me on your numerous note papers – you have conveyed yourself exquisitely.

      Save them for a future of penning to those that you feel called to address with your kind words.

      Appreciations!

  5. I enjoyed your article Maureen, and I’m a firm believer in the good old fashioned Thank You note. Not only that, I try to thank people who work at the grocery store, people who protect our country or laws, firefighters and even the local garbage man… Several years ago I went in for a job interview and afterwards I sent the hiring manager an email thanking him for considering me. I ended up getting the job and I believe it had to do with the manager being an old fashion gentleman. For once it wasn’t about algorithms or HR screening, it was about simple genuine candor… Anyway, thank you notes work. They always have and they always will. So Thank You for the great reminder!

    • So grateful we are connecting again in 2020, Aaron…

      I am adoring your point about writing to all people in society that assist us. I watched my father (my Grandmother’s son in the story) just send a thank you to the staff at a home that my mother is in. He praised the staff for some excellent care and offered to give letters of recommendation to outstanding staff to be placed in employee files. Uplifting, honest, and trying to give genuine praise in writing to those that are truly giving a damn and going the extra mile and letting their managers know of this.

      As for your job interview story, that is such a fantastic example of the people approach to a sometimes digital swamp of job applicants doing the “same old same old”. I used to teach job techniques and I so agree with your approach you have taken before and after – a stand-out way to show your human side and your character might I add.

      Best to you and your demonstrations of the global approach and that incredible energy of thanking to all that we can in our path I really find just plain awesome.

      Thank you for your wisdom and humanity today. 🙏

    • Always a pleasure reading your articles Maureen. You were one of the most honest and open people I met in 2019 and I look forward to a professional and enlightening friendship as fellow writers. Please feel free to tag me any time you need a good reader with an open mind. Kindest blessings… 🙏

    • Happy New Year Larry!

      Friends absolutely can change the viewpoint of our lives.

      Your post message is so synchronistic as I literally an hour ago was just out searching for a friend who unfortunately is homeless right now – as I to try to help out in doing what I can. I wish I could send him a note or even get ahold of him electronically (he has no means to connect right now).

      I wish you the best for 2020 and that you have and keep your friend connections strong.

      We all need them at all times and at varying junctions of our lives.

  6. Maureen, I love, love, love this article. Just splendid! Sometime last year, I wrote something on this theme. My mother, who took a one-way flight to Heaven in 2015, instilled this in us to the umpteenth degree. I am most grateful and believe in the importance of the unique written note. Sometimes I am late, but I try not to be. I love sending beautiful cards with lovely messages. I think it makes me feel joy, maybe more than the recipient (lol). I appreciate the historical aspect also. I did not know, but now I do. What a lovely way to begin the new year! Thank you for this!💖

    • Dynamite to connect, Darlene…hearing from you does offer a fantastic kick-start to the New Year!

      I hope you receive and continue to send out your thank you’s hand-written style in 2020.

      I did not comment on your note of the historical aspect earlier – but I just marvel at how far back this whole practice began and why it incited other cultures before us to dive into.

      Thanks for your lovely message, you always send lovely ones by the way! 👩‍❤️‍👩

  7. Maureen – Such a wonderful article that reminds us of a simple expression of kindness and compassion that, unfortunately, seems to be forgotten. Hopefully, many will read your essay and begin to revive this act of gratitude and, most importantly, teach their children. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • Hello Len,

      Teaching our children( let’s do our best!) and passing on the tradition of gratitude feels really valuable to me.

      Thank you so much for your sincere take on the story. It was very nice to read and receive.

  8. Your article made such a feel-good resonance, Maureen. Although I never heard of the sitcom you mention, you took me back to my childhood and teenage when letters and cards played such an important part in our lives. Since several members of the family had emigrated years earlier and both my parents had foreign friends, receiving letters from them, one of my Mum’s sister, in particular, was an event. We’d literally drop everything, tear it open and read it like gobbling up a delicious piece of cake. And of course, within a couple of days at the most, we’d write back. As for cards they made our Birthdays, Easter and Christmas celebrations. Same for Father’s and Mother’s Day. There is something so very personal in hand-writing and I still take care of choosing the right wording when I buy cards. (Yes I still do! And I have birthday cards that go back to when I was little.) As for a hand-written Thank-You note, nothing beats it in saying ‘I took the time to express my gratitude and appreciation.’
    Old-fashioned they may be, but that does minimise their value. If anything, this is one of those customs that show both caring and elegance.

    • Hello dear Noemi,

      I really was engrossed with your imagery of you tearing open and reading your letters – I get that and can sense the energy around that time for you and your family. So heart-warming…

      So much is found in the personal aspect of writing – I concur. I can envision you still writing letters, and I find I still undergo that practice as well – not as much as I could, but somehow I feel called to do it with certain people and certain times. I do not force it, but I still feel connected to that process and hope I still can hold that space in myself to do so. I recently wrote a hand-written note to a friend that felt like I could convey what I needed differently but more sentimentally with this format.

      Thank you for so poignantly bringing up the point of caring, yes, it does feel like caring in receiving or sending a hand-written piece to a lover, a colleague, classmate, a teacher/mentor, a friend.

      I hope we still along with others consider the value of the note for many years to come.

      Thank you again for your generous share, Noemi.

  9. Maureen, yours is a beautifully written article with so much in it. I remember the Golden Girls which if I remember Bea was a spin-off from All In The Family. Our old customs are too valuable to let technology lay them to waste.

    • Hello Joel!

      Nice to see you stop by…

      I appreciate the endearing feedback. I did put my heart into this and felt many feelings in composing my words surrounding the topic.

      I know you have reflected on your own past and traditions before and I am so in sync with you – there are some things that feel so absolutely right inside to maintain that provide us with a linkage to your history, our bloodline, and our fondest memories. I would like to savour that and give that a special place within me.

      Thanks so much for reaching out and lending your perspectives to me.

      Best of best wishes!

  10. If you read Melissa Hughes’ Happy Hour with Einstein, you’ll learn that there is meaning in those handwritten notes beyond what you might think. Saying “thank you” releases oxytocin in your brain, but writing a note gives you a much bigger boost of that happy brain chemical. And believe it or not, you get a bigger boost writing and saying thank you than the person on the receiving end.

    So yes, I LOVE to write thank you notes and send small thank you gift periodically. Thanks for the reminder, and for the interesting history behind them, Maureen!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Oh…yes, indeed I did take a read of Melissa Hughes’ Happy Hour article and it was an excellent explanation of the brain chemistry and the added joy of sharing. Funny, as I I had finished this piece just after that came out and so I thought – aha! – makes so much sense…

      Great to hear that you LOVE to send out notes and gifts. Do you enjoy the finding of the perfect card, or do you make your own? There is so much that I feel goes into the whole process of giving to others that is full of boosting feel good chemicals.

      Thanks for adding your sentiments of approval to the “thank you card” love.

      To many notes to bring forward for in 2020!

  11. Maureen, I too write a hand written thank you note and I’ve passed it down to my 20 year old daughter. However she is more creative with her thank yous. When she had the opportunity as a freshmen to take master classes in Arezzo Italy she gave thank you bookmarks to her teachers with the word Grazie on them and signed her name. She ran into one of her teachers at Oberlin conservatory and the teacher still had her bookmark.

    • Hello!

      I so smiled at your share.

      Wonderful to see that your own hand written thank you note practice has moved onto another generation and your daughter’s twist and personalization of the “Grazie” bookmark has been weaved into your familial traditions. I feel if I was to receive a bookmark like that from a student, I too would find that to be both sincere and memorable.

      I have been touched to have you connect and adding in your own personal story. I have a feeling your daughter may keep passing on your family tradition – and that feels special to me!

      Thank you dearly for your commentary.

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