Nolichucky West


Snail Mail Project-Connecting With Books

There is a very special spot in my backyard. It started out in 1955 as a brick planter in front of a trellis where presumably a vine would grow. By the time I moved in the planter was vacant and even though I may have the reputation of a green thumb I was never successful at getting any plants to take root. It has now become the home for the remnants of my rock collections and the stacked wood slices from science displays in my classroom. I added play sand, beautiful stones from vacated classroom aquariums, sea shells, spoons, scoops, and little plastic creatures.

We sit on tiny chairs or a tree stump bench when we gather here to play.

This past weekend the littlest grandchild and I spent most of our time here. We added some buckets of water and formed lakes and streams. We buried the treasures and found them again. We made waterfalls that ended in a puddle of shiny marbles. We lost track of time and didn’t quit until the thunder chased us in.

I’m sending him a reminder of this special place in some snail mail. This mail is inspired by our fun weekend digging in the sand and our favorite I Spy books.

I Spy books with pictures by Walter Wick and rhymes by Jean Marcello, I collected quite a few, for my own children and for my students. They remain among my favorites. There is a page with an amazing photograph of an intricately planned scenario, and a rhyme that goes with it to encourage the reader to search the page.
I took some photos of our sandy digging place and cropped it show just a small special area. I then printed it out on my computer just using a regular sheet of computer paper.
I headed out to the porch with my tray full of supplies, but I have a feeling it won’t be long until I’m inside again. It is too hot, and now that the monsoon season is here the humidity has risen. You can see my printed photo here on my tray.
Green card stock will make a nice background. I cut the cardstock to fit in the blue envelope.
Here the photo of our sandy digging place is trimmed and glued to the card stock. I wrote a simple rhyme in the style of the I Spy books and glued it to the back.
The little plastic frogs in our sandy digging place were a very important part of our play that day, so I made sure to include them in the photos and the rhyme I wrote. There will be a funny frog decorating the outside of the envelope as well. Later I added some stamped images of some insects to buzz around the little frog’s head. I chose a postage stamp commemorating pets.

I have always enjoyed reading, writing, and talking about books with the biggest grandchild. One of my first letters to him was a survey. I asked him to fill it out and send it back to me. When asked about his favorite book he answered, Diary of A Wimpy Kid. They are funny, we have read them together, and I laughed aloud. One special part of the book was the “cheese touch”. It’s a game kind of like cooties. It all started when a piece of cheese was left on the ground near the basketball court;

“Then one day, this kid named Darren Walsh touched the Cheese with his finger, and that’s what started this thing called the Cheese Touch. It’s basically like the Cooties. If you get the Cheese Touch, you’re stuck with it until you pass it on to someone else. The only way to protect yourself from the Cheese Touch is to cross your fingers.”

Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 

Recently the biggest grandchild and I both read Wonder, and the “cheese touch” was mentioned again, this time it wasn’t so funny. Wonder is one of those books I think we all should read.

So I found this piece of cheese, meant to be a coaster.  I thought it might make some interesting snail mail.

This coaster was at the Dollar Tree and part of a set which when put together resembled a sandwich. They are fun to pretend with, I have never really used them as coasters. One missing slice of cheese from the coaster set won’t be noticed.
The back side of the cheese coaster was blank. Using a pencil and ruler I lightly wrote in my message; “Cheese Touch”, then went over the light pencil lines with a black marker.
I wonder what he will think when he reads this message.
The envelope is decorated with washi tape on the front, and some stickers on the back. The vintage postage stamps from Pack and Post are on the front of the small envelope. Most of these stamps feature musical instruments.
Here they are ready to go in the mailbox. These letters were quick, but fun. Hope they are delivered soon.

A monsoon storm is brewing and it looks like it will be a big one. I’m headed to the porch again, where I’m safe and dry, to get ready to watch the lightning over the mountains.

Thanks for listening. Take care.









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