Monday, July 1, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: MAIL

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann.

I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?

For links to the prompts I've written on so far this year, please click on The Butterfly Hours tab above. 

This month's prompts include: mail, moon, mouse, moving, museum, music, music lesson, name, necklace, neighbor, nightgown.


Since I moved around a lot as a kid, and we never lived near grandparents or other family, mail has long been a highlight in my life. I can remember jotting off a note to someone, then waiting each day for the mail truck to come... the mad rush to the mailbox...peeking inside and grabbing hold of the stack (if there was one)...shuffling through the letters, and what joy upon finding my name on an envelope! – and what disappointment when I didn't. I have subscribed to a number of mail-order things over the years – books (and more books!), dolls, recipes, scrapbook supplies – it's always a happy day when something surprising or expected shows up in the box.

The internet, of course, has added to the mail delight by bringing me many friends who live far from me. Also, because we live in a rural area and don't get to “town” all that often, I really depend on mail these days for both basic things (Hello Fresh meal service) and fun things (the new paddleboard). I know Amazon has its haters, but I love Amazon for how easy it makes some of my shopping. And that got me thinking... how does the mailbox feel to be such an essential part of connecting people?

A Message from Your Mailbox

Give me cool, smooth envelopes
with loopy, uneven handwriting,

show me colorful stamps
with inksplotched postmarks
from faraway lands.

Come, tug open my door
so I can see your eyes widen
as you whisk out 
what's waiting for you

or hear your breath hitch
as your fingers linger over a letter
written and sealed with love –

may your mail enjoy a smooth journey.
And when it arrives,
may it stitch invisible threads

that neither snow nor rain
nor heat nor gloom of night
can ever dissolve.

- Irene Latham


  1. Ohhhh, I am with you on loving mail. I'm so glad I got to be alive in a time when I could get love letters in envelopes in the mailbox. Emails and texts are nice, but there's nothing like the old fashioned way.

  2. I remember the feeling well when I got a letter or a package, especially from my grandparents whom I didn't see except in the summer. I have kept one letter from that grandmother & treasure it, wish I'd kept more! I know Amazon has its haters, too, but it is a help to those like you who do not live where they can easily shop, I agree. Love this, Irene: "may it stitch invisible threads". So true!


Your thoughts?