Tag Archives: custom envelope liners

Day 344: Anonymous letter left at Harris Teeter

I was over at the Harris Teeter today and thought I’d leave my letter there at the ATM machine. It seemed appropriate as I had tucked a few dollars inside for the lucky recipient of today’s letter. There was a woman who was taking forever to get money out of the machine, so I wandered upstairs and found some bright yellow bananas that were a perfect backdrop for my aubergine colored envelope from Paper Source. I should have snagged a photo of it sitting there amongst the bananas, but I thought that my draw too much attention my way.

Day 344


Thanks for taking a chance and opening this letter. Here’s a small gift for you to do whatever you would like to with it. Enjoy.

Have a great day,


Day 300: Ronda

Another handmade card and envelope.

Another handmade card and envelope.

I made it to Day 300!!!

Today’s letter is to my cousin’s wife Ronda. She recently finished her PhD program focusing on the intersection of post-secondary education and first-generation Appalachian students. It’s an academic accomplishment that I don’t believe I could achieve. A few years ago I had the opportunity to meet one of the top environmental scientists in the country. Talking about his PhD work, I recall him saying, “If I knew how long and hard it was going to be, I would have never pursued it.”

Congratulations Ronda!

Day 300


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
-M. K. Gandhi


Completing your doctoral degree is remarkable – it speaks to your dedication, commitment and curiosity for the unknown. Education, both formal and informal, is an important part of what makes life meaningful. We learn to be open-minded. We share what we learn with others and pass down our knowledge to future generations – it’s the soul of society.



Day 248: Becky and Steve

This weekend two good friends are getting married. Becky and Steve are rare individuals who inspire me to lead my life to its fullest. They care…and not just about themselves or where to find the best vegetarian food in town, but they care about people they’ve never met, they care about the planet we’re stewarding for future generations and they care about their friends and family. I have to share too that Steve even works for an organization called CARE! It’s very fitting.

Anyway, tomorrow should be an amazing evening.

Day 248

Dear Becky and Steve, 

You’ve been asking about your letter – well here it is! I’ve waited until today, the eve of your wedding, to write to you.

For some reason people, and I include myself here, feel compelled to give advice to those who are getting married. Ironic that I feel this compulsion given the fact that I have never been married.

A few years ago, while browsing through an airport bookstore, I bought a book for my father. It’s called 30 Lessons for Living. It was written by Karl Pillemer, a professor at Cornell. He spent five years interviewing older Americans, aged 70-102, about the tried and true advice on life from our wisest members of our community.

Me, Becky and Steve. By the way, that's a vegan meal I bought at a food truck and proudly displayed. Steve and Becky inspired me to give up meat for the past four months.

Me, Becky and Steve at a concert Friday night. By the way, that’s a vegan meal I bought at a food truck and proudly displayed. Steve and Becky inspired me to give up meat for the past four months.

As I stated, I bought it for my Dad – he seemed to be struggling to find purpose and happiness after my mother died. But after reading it, I decided not to give it to him. I don’t know why – I guess I thought it was mostly for younger people, especially younger married couples. I decided to tuck the book away and save it for a special couple who lived their lives with intention and worked hard at being their highest self.

This book is for you – the advice contained within the pages of the book is based on the wisdom of those with far greater experience in life than me.

Congratulations on your marriage. You are both beautiful, thoughtful and generous. I enjoy the time we share together and value our friendship. Being a part of your lives and your wedding has great meaning for me.

Best wishes for tomorrow and every day after.

P.S. I’m working on a special wedding gift for you!

Day 245: Dr. Mendizábal

Some more homemade stationery and envelopes made from supplies from Paper Source.

Some more homemade stationery and envelopes made from supplies from Paper Source.

Today’s letter is for my all time favorite professor. I had a lot of flexibility in who I chose for my professors and I pretty much only took two – aside from professors I took while studying abroad – and Dr. Mendizábal was one of them. He was also the director of the study abroad program to Valladolid, Spain where I studied for a semester.

He’s since retired from teaching at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I completed my undergraduate degree. It’s too bad too, because he was the best! My only regret is that sometimes I may have fallen asleep in his classes – not because they were boring or uninteresting, but he taught some early morning classes and I may have stayed up a bit too late on a few rare occasions!

Hopefully my Spanish is still good enough that I don’t embarrass myself.


(Translated from Spanish)

Dr. Mendizábal,

 I hope this letter finds you well and that you’ve had an enjoyable summer.

A few days ago I was reflecting on who have been the role models in my life and I thought about you. Without a doubt you were my favorite professor. Literature never interested me much, but as a result of your classes I gained an appreciation for it – especially the great writers from Spain and Latin America: Fernando de Rojas, Francisco de Quevedo, Cervantes, Zorrilla, Jiménez, Unamuno, Darío, Vargas Llosa, Pomba, Allende, Fuentes and obviously García Márquez.

I think my favorite class of yours was Short Stories – not because there were so few pages to read, but because of the mastery required to create such profound works in so few words fascinates me. 

I never heard you speak a negative word about anyone inside or outside of the classroom. It’s a characteristic that I greatly admire and strive to incorporate more in my own life. I admire you very much and wanted you to know that even 20 years after taking your classes, I think about you often.

Warm regards for you and your wife,
Reed Sandridge

P.S. A few months back I reconnected with my host family from Valladolid: Domi and Manuel Sánchez. They are all doing well.

Day 237: Jeannine

Day 237-2I got such a nice handwritten letter from my friend Jeannine. The words were wonderful and so was the paper, but what made her correspondence stand out was her envelope. It was sealed with her initial into hot wax. Nice touch!

Day 237

Dear Jeannine,

I’m overdue on replying to your thoughtful letter postmarked July 17th. I couldn’t agree more with you on your sentiments about handwritten letters and their timeless appeal. And while words may last longer these days in electronic format, words placed on fine paper by hand carry exceptional meaning.

You must be getting ready to say goodbye to the summer concerts and trade in your seat at those great shows for a place on stage in your classroom. What will you be asking your students to read this fall? I used to loathe the required reading in high school although I sometimes think about rereading some of the books: Great Expectations, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, A Raisin in the Sun, etc. I’m still upset that someone wrote on the inside cover of my Gatsby book, “Don’t waste your time, Myrtle and Gatsby both die.” Ruined it for me.

Anyway – have a wonderful school year, stay in touch and know that I appreciate you following yet another one of my yearlong journeys.

Take care,