Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crystal Sheer

Old-fashioned Valentines

Ribbons the color of Christmas candy

box of Eaton's Crystal Clear

An afternoon walk in Chinatown brought me to a shop with piles of old stationery for sale. The young shopkeeper explained that she had found them in the basement. I was looking for ang bow envelopes but ended up selecting ribbons, Valentines and two boxes of Eaton's. Crystal Sheer was my stationery of choice when I was in college. It was quintessentially feminine, with its sheer, crinkly surface, and the drag of my left hand made inky smear marks all over the paper. It was perfect for love letters, which I folded into matching envelopes and sealed with wax.
The shopkeeper asked me if I spoke Mandarin. No, but I helped her decipher a letter written in English from a woman who had come to the shop a week earlier and purchased 21 cards and 21 pink envelopes. The letter explained that the envelopes were sealed and useless. I helped the shopkeeper craft a note of apology and verified the return address. The shopkeeper's effusive thanks made me smile. I was even happier when I went into teuscher and bought the last box of marron glace. Candied chestnuts are my singular indulgence at this time of year. It was only when I got on BART that I realized I should have asked for those 21 sealed envelopes.