Tag Archives: paper

Day 196: Mr. Tim Gomez, Dixon Ticonderoga Company

pencilsJust the other day I was sharpening some pencils in the office when a colleague said, “You still use pencils?” I was surprised by the question. I love using pencils and appreciate the way the graphite adheres to the paper and the strange but alluring smell of a freshly sharpened pencil.

I grew up chewing on Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, but recently I’ve gotten rid of the iconic yellow #2 pencil – and by the way, who is using anything but a #2? Anyway, as much as their eye-catching name and logo is an integral part of my schoolwork from yesterday, I’ve decided to give them up after learning that they no longer source their cedar from forests harvested by suppliers who comply with the standards established by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or use any post-consumer recycled product.

Maybe the information I found is out of date – I hope so. But until I hear otherwise, I’m no longer buying them…for now, I’ll be using Forest Choice, GreenLine Eco-Writer or Paper Mate Earth Write.

Day 196

Dear Mr. Gomez,

Like many school children in the U.S., I grew up using Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils. There’s something about the sweet cedar aroma from your pencils that still reminds me of the first day of a new school year.

The smell of that cedar led me to research your pencils and from what I could find, none of your pencils are made from post-consumer recycled product or wood from FSC certified supply chains. How come? It just seems like the right thing to do so that those young people holding your pencils will be able to grow up and enjoy our forests as you and I have.

Day 196-2

I hope to hear that you will make this right,
Reed Sandridge

P.S. This letter was written with a Paper Mate Earth Write #2 pencil made from 100% recycled content from reclaimed wood. 


Day 184: Coach Sutter

Photo: L.A. Times

Photo: L.A. Times

Darryl Sutter is the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. Sutter, who coached the team to a Stanley Cup victory last year, has six brothers, five of which also played in the NHL. He even has a son who plays professionally. It’s truly in their blood.

I don’t remember Sutter playing for the Blackhawks back in the ’70s and ’80s, but I understand he was a good player. I know him as a coach, a profession he’s held for more than two decades. And while he’s clearly a talented at managing players, what I like most about him is how he handles reporters. It’s beautiful. So often they ask just ridiculous questions. Sutter’s blunt deadpan responses make you so uncomfortable you can’t help but love him. Awkward pauses and darting eyes top it all off. Google something like “Darryl Sutter response to reporter” and you’ll get a taste of what I mean.

Day 184

Dear Coach Sutter,

I am not a L.A. Kings fan, but I’m a huge fan of you and how you handle postgame interviews. Let’s be honest, sometimes they’re more entertaining than the games themselves. You’re demeanor is priceless when they ask you inane questions.

I’ve been thinking, there should be a movie about the Sutter family – the number of you that have played in the NHL is remarkable. I’d cast Bill Murray to play you! That’d be awesome, wouldn’t it?

Anyway enjoy your summer and best of luck to you next season,

Reed Sandridge
PO Box 53065
Washington, DC 20009

P.S. I see that the Kings are playing the Capitals next Feb. 16th here in Washington. I probably won’t go to the game, ticket prices here are outrageous, but if there is a way to attend your postgame interview, I’d be honored to be there!


Day 121: Ed, Brian, Jena, Aprill, Sam, Tyler and others

121-2I’ve become a huge fan of Paper Source – especially my local store here in Georgetown. It’s been a lifesaver for the Year of Letters. I don’t know of any other paper retailer with the level of quality and variety as Paper Source that beats their reasonable price point. And the staff is extremely helpful.

I’ve become a pretty regular face in the store since starting my letter-writing project – enough so I guess that they kindly invited me to a workshop that they had recently to teach cardmaking and giftmaking techniques. It was great – and they even had some snacks and wine for everyone.

I probably should have incorporated some of the new techniques I learned into this letter to them, but stay tuned, you’ll see some new things in my cards in the coming days and weeks.


I used one of Paper Source's bags to make a liner for the envelope.

I used one of Paper Source’s bags to make a liner for the envelope.

Ed, Brian, Jena, Aprill, Sam, Tyler and others,

121-3Thank you very much for your kind invitation to attend Crafter’s Night Out last evening led by Aprill and Sam. I learned several new techniques – like how to apply gilded edges, use washi tape and even make my own gift bags. Your entire team is exceptional and it is always a pleasure to be in your store.

Thanks again,
Reed Sandridge

P.S. I also bought the marbling set…keep a look out on YearOfLetters.com for some marbling!

Day 58: Michelle

When I started the Year of Letters I thought that I might just get random handwritten letters from people. My address is listed on here and people know how much I like sending and receiving handwritten correspondence, so you never know. It turns out that I’ve received my 2nd and 3rd handwritten letter this week from people who I haven’t sent a letter.

Note from Michelle

Note from Michelle

One was from Michelle – a generous young woman from Charlotte who I have been in touch with since my Year of Giving project. Back in 2010 she provided clothes for Phillip from Day 75 of that project as well as bought an electric blanket for Bill on Day 330 who was sleeping outdoors but near an electric outlet. That was so kind of her.

Today I took a moment and wrote Michelle back.


Dear Michelle,

Thank you so much for your letter – it made my day to receive a note handwritten to me. I appreciate you connecting me with Kacy – her projects are interesting and inspiring. Speaking of inspiring, your 40 in 40 commitment is very cool. I also love that you are going to make a quilt out of the t-shirts – that is certain to be a meaningful keepsake to remind you of your extraordinary achievement.

I did some embossing on the outside of the card.

I did some embossing on the outside of the card.

I don’t get to Charlotte often – in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been out of the airport (nice rocking chairs!), but if I go some day I will definitely let you know. And please do the same if you are ever in DC.

All the best and I look forward to following your 40 in 40 journey!

Day 56: Aunt Patti

Mom (left) and Aunt Patti circa 1951 In Tazewell County, Virginia.

Mom and Aunt Patti circa 1951 In Tazewell County, Virginia.

My mother used to talk to her siblings regularly on the telephone. When I was a kid, I’d wake up on Saturday mornings to the sound of her laughter coming from the kitchen as she talked to one of them on the phone.

Mom was one of six children. She died in 2006 and she had a brother, Jack, who died in 1980. The remaining four live in Southwestern Virginia and Tennessee. I had planned to make a trip this weekend down to see all of them – but Winter Storm Remus had other plans for us so I’m having to postpone it until later this spring.

I called my Aunt Patti to check on the weather conditions there before deciding to postpone the trip and we ended up talking for almost an hour and a half. It was wonderful to catch up.


Dear Aunt Patti

Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed talking with you tonight. With email and Facebook – sometimes we forgo picking up the telephone (and actually dialing instead of texting!) because we feel that we know what is going on in a person’s life, we see all their status updates on social media so we think we’re up to date and don’t need to know more. Well, what that leaves out is knowing how the person is truly feeling, not just what they are broadcasting to the online world, hearing the joy or uncontrollable laughter…and the tremors of fear and pain that can be masked by lifeless letters typed on a screen.

The only person I really have long phone calls with anymore is Dad and occasionally Aunt Sue. Before Mom died Dad would always get on the phone – but he wasn’t much of one to chat on the phone back then. Things have changed. I think he’s lonely now and as a result is much more prone to longer conversations that go beyond, “Hey kiddo – everything ok with you?”

I’ve made a commitment to write more letters this year – Mom used to write me regularly. I miss it – I miss seeing her handwriting. He voice, southern accent and all, could be heard in every stroke of the pen. In addition to my letter-writing, I hope to call loved ones more often. I look forward to calling you and hearing your voice more often.

Thank you again for taking time to talk with me tonight. It made my day – hell it made my whole week! I’m sorry I won’t get down to see you this weekend – but anytime the National Weather Service names the storm that is coming through I’m betting it’s going to be a doozy! Stay warm and safe.