Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why a Breadbox?

My writing began at a breadbox. Mother’s metal breadbox, 1950s vintage with a pull-down front door - it made a dandy mailbox. Just the right receptacle for letters to Paul.
Paul was my make-believe husband, the kind that’s appropriate for an eight year old girl. I invented him for my growing family of dolls. Paul was never around, but that was no problem… I simply enlisted him in the Air Force. Did I have envelopes on hand for his letters, or stamps? Maybe not, but again: no problem. I could always get paper, and I could fold, and color, and draw.
“Dear Paul how are you I am fine. We have a new baby her name is Babs. I will put this letter in a envalop so youll get it soon.? I will write if we get another baby.”
Letter finished – letter squeezed into crack at top of breadbox door – letter sent. Letter left waiting in the darkness, stuck between Hostess Cupcakes and loaves of white bread.

Fast forward many years and here I am again, at the breadbox. I have no idea how many recipients of my letters there have been between Paul and......

…..well: you.

Now that I think of it, this is the first letter I’ve mailed in a “Breadbox” since Harriet was serving Ozzie’s dinner on primetime TV. I’ve written so many letters in the meantime that my husband (the real one) once remarked that I could write them for a living. I’ve also written articles, a book, and a multitude of journal volumes in the years between breadbox and blog. But the thing is: I prefer letters to any other kind of writing. I like the spontaneity of a letter; I like the randomness. I like finding out what I’m thinking when I see it appear on a page.

And with that, I welcome you to check out the breadbox. I hope we can visit again in a day or two. I will tell you now that I’ll be chatting about prayer, and about what it means to live for God in the midst of a busy world. And who knows what else might be dashed into the mix?
For now, this first letter is finished. Squeezed into a tiny crack in a corner of the Internet. Left waiting in cyberspace, somewhere between a blog about cupcakes and one with a photo of white bread.
Letter sent.


(painting on this post, by Henriette Browne, is in United States public domain)


  1. Thank you for sharing this memory and explaining the name of your blog...inviting us into your world.

    1. Thanks so much, Amanda. I often wish some of those long-ago "Paul letters" had been saved! :)

  2. I like the way you think...and converse, I feel like I'm sitting at your table engaging in quiet conversation over a cup of tea. I look forward ton reading some more of your musings.


    1. Lyn, thank you so much! Would you like a Hostess cupcake with that? And here's a package of unopened Twinkies from 1964. Should be fine.

      I'm glad to have you here.

  3. Loved your letters to Paul!!! So sweet!!!

  4. How sweet is it that you named your future husband? I was not nearly as creative! I dreamed of being a mom, and I loved my dolls; but when I was small, I don't remember worrying about giving my dolls a daddy. I just love this post, more than I can even say. And I'm assuming that was a quote from one of your actual letters, that they still exist? That is the best!!

    1. Laura, my childish literary "masterpieces" no longer exist. I am pretty sure of what I put in a few of them, however, and I truly do remember telling "Paul" about getting new babies. I even have a memory of writing him about our "poor little one armed child." That was a "Tiny Tears" doll whose arm fell off and just would not stay on no matter how many times Daddy fixed it.

      Can you tell that dolls were a big part of my life?? All I really wanted to be was a mommy :).

  5. I just come across your other Breadbox from another blogger. It makes me remember the breadbox my dear grandmother always had. Thank you for sharing your world with us. I have "The Cloistered Life" bookmarked for a daily check, will bookmark this one too.