November 2, 2016
I have been a fan of Margaret Shepherd’s books for many years. When I first discovered her collection for letter writing guidelines, I was sold. She and I are kindred spirits. With little research, I discovered her address and immediately wrote to Margaret Shepherd with my thanks and appreciation. She wrote back saying that letter writing was her “favorite was to communicate.”
I write to her when I have something newsworthy, which is usually several times each year. In return, for the last few years, I have received one of Margaret’s original holiday cards and yearly newsletters. As she recommends: “personalize those newsletters with a few handwritten lines.” And so she does with her calligraphic words of personal encouragement just for me!
I can’t recall how many of Margaret Shepherd’s books I have purchased as gifts. In this age when manners hardly exist anymore, I feel relieved to have The Art of the Personal Letter, The Art of the Handwritten Note, and The Art of Civilized Conversation– to hold a standard for polite human interaction, with a central focus on letter writing. Needless-to-say, I refer to her books often. (See the size of her name in the “tags.”)
I learned from Margaret’s newsletters, that she is married to David Friend. I noticed in a recent Peabody Museum catalog that David Friend was funding a new hall at the museum to showcase large minerals and gemstones. Being a resident in the New Haven area, I asked Margaret if I might be invited to the opening. An email followed from the Peabody for October 13th. Wow!
The opening was amazingly crowded. Not being very tall, I couldn’t see the speakers. The acknowledgements took about an hour. David Friend spoke saying that his Dad had given him a hammer to discover minerals as a boy. He still has that hammer! Finally, the ribbon was cut, and the gallery was opened. And the crowd flowed inward.
I didn’t know anyone and the room was extremely dark. Finally I saw David Friend posing for photos by the huge quartz crystal pictured above. I heard people addressing him as “David, ” so that was key. Then a young woman came over and leaned on David for another photo. I recognized the woman from one of Margaret’s yearly newsletters. Wow. I circled around a few more times till I met the gal and said, “Hello. Can you tell me where Margaret is?” She graciously pointed to her right, and Margaret Shepherd turned around.
“I’m Carol Christmas,” I said. She responded, “Why is that name familiar?” “”I write to you,” I chirped. Recognition brought me a big smile and a hug. She announced to those around us, “She’s written to me for 20 years.” That was a bit exaggerated but I felt pleased that she thought we went back a long way.
We spoke briefly. The room was quiet noisy. I asked her if she would sign some books, I had brought 3. She said she had her trusty pen and we found a drinks table to accomplish the task. I had written her a letter which she quickly deposited in her Vera Bradley backpack. I also carried a Vera Bradley bag!
As you can see in the photo on the right, it was mighty dark. Margaret inscribed each of my books with her beautiful script. I told her of my idea to create a letter writing service for people who can’t find the time to do it themselves. Her response to this concept was: “Great idea!”
Here’s one of my Margaret Shepherd treasures!
When Margaret was finished signing my books, she reached into her bag and gave me another gift, one of her business cards. It’s an ambigram. It’s it cool?
Margaret Shepherd is a wold renowned calligrapher and the author of dozens of books on calligraphy- at all levels of skill.She even has one called- Basics of Left-Handed Calligraphy. Her books are available on amazon.com