Let’s Write Friendlier Blog Posts, Shall We?

Everything old is new again…

SORTING THROUGH ANOTHER BOX of stuff I inherited from my mother and her sisters, I found a small booklet, Let’s write Friendlier Letters by Earle A. Buckley, Director of the The Buckley Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

This booklet, published in 1945, is described as: “A practical course in MODERN LETTER WRITING.” It is 36 pages long and has 21 points intended to help you become a better letter writer.

If I may be so bold as to summarize, the gist of the advice in the booklet boils down to 3 smart writing tips: be concise, be conscientious, be personable.

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AS I UNDERSTAND THEM, the 21 points are as follows:

  1. Every letter is a sales letter.
  2. Make friends with people by understanding their perspective.
  3. Stereotyped, trite, hackneyed phrases serve no useful purpose in letter writing.
  4. Words cost money so eliminate unnecessary ones.
  5. Your opening sentence is your first impression.
  6. Stop writing when you’ve said what you need to say.
  7. Prepare yourself mentally so that you’re thinking clearly about the subject you are about to discuss in your letter.
  8. Your letter must have personality if it is to be perceived as truthful.
  9. Stay away from long sentences because “they’re dangerous.”
  10. Letters are either categorized as “inquiry” or “answer.”
  11. Write in a way that makes the letter look pretty while molding opinions in your favor.
  12. When answering a complaint you must show you understand why the complainant is upset, then move the discussion to friendly terms quickly.
  13. Use contractions to make the tone of your letters seem conversational and natural.
  14. Don’t write like a telegram because your letter won’t be perceived as written by a friendly human being.
  15. Look at the appearance of your letters as you would the appearance of a salesman.
  16. Tell enough to be interesting, but not everything.
  17. Write so that your ideas flow logically + smoothly from paragraph to paragraph.
  18. Your relationship with your stenographer needs to be one of effective teamwork.
  19. Avoid form letters that look “form-letter-ish.”
  20. Get in the habit of editing your letters, you’ll become a better letter writer.
  21. To be an effective letter writer you must sell yourself first so that your tone will be a friendly one, sure to increase your business.

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WITH THE EXCEPTIONS OF Point 4 [words don’t cost money in the blogosphere] and Point 18 [who has a stenographer?], I’d suggest that these points are amazingly good advice for today’s modern blogger.

Good advice that is spot on IF you want to write friendlier, well-received blog posts. Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t. Who am I to say what it is that you want to do with your blog?

However, if’n you’ve been wondering how to zhoosh up your blog making it more convivial in these stressful, antagonistic times, then may I suggest you heed this old-time letter-writing advice from 1945.

Just a friendly thought. Agreed?

#ThursdayDoors | Finding A Whimsical Building About Local History In A Park

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, by sharing photos of a fun + unique building that we stumbled upon in a Cincinnati suburban park.    

I’ve not seen anything like this before, both the building and the doors on the building that have doors painted on them.  It’s a double door, double door extravaganza.  Or something like that. 

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On a whim we stopped at a new-to-us park called Home of The Brave Park.  This 54-acre park, established in 2012, is located in Symmes Township, Hamilton County, OH.

Along with sports fields, playgrounds, a shelter, and a veterans plaza, this park has a building unlike any other I’ve seen around here.  It’s painted on all four sides to explain the history of the township, one side focusing on the man who founded the township.

A fast Google search lead me to the life story of John Cleves Symmes, the man featured on one side of the building.  In a nutshell he was a rich NY/NJ Revolutionary War dude who came west to Ohio to make his fortune by selling land that he did, and did not, own to settlers moving this way.

He’s credited for naming many places around here, and is also the father-in-law of President William Henry Harrison [#9] and grandfather of President Benjamin Harrison [#23].

And with that, here are the photos of the exterior of the building.

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DOUBLE DOORS on the front of the building.

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The side of the building where the image of John Cleves Symmes dominates.

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The back of the building showing a melange of images that apparently summarize this township.

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The fourth side of the building.

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A closer look at the FRONT DOOR DOUBLE DOORS on which a FRONT DOOR and a GARAGE DOOR are painted, hence creating a double door, double door extravaganza.

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A Small Adventure In An Old Cemetery, Because My Curiosity Must Be Satisfied

Many people have Bucket Lists of things they want to see/do before they die. I’m not one of those people.

Instead I have what I call a Measuring Cup List of things I’d like to see/do if I get around to it and can do so without too much inconvenience.

The following is an example of a Measuring Cup List item. 

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ON A WHIM AS WE were driving by Union Cemetery in Symmes Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, we went into it to see what we might see.

I knew of this cemetery because many years ago there was an article about it in our local newspaper.  In the article the reporter interviewed a township trustee about this historic cemetery, asking specifically about the size of the chapel that you can see from the road.

The trustee said something to the effect of: the chapel is big enough to hold a dozen Brownies or seven Girl Scouts. 

Naturally with a memorable description like that I knew I needed to see this building in person.  Sometime.  And now that I have, he did not lie.

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WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT this cemetery is that there are Revolutionary War Veterans buried there.  It was only after we walked around the exterior of the chapel that I/we began to wander through the cemetery.

Close to the chapel I saw the following tombstone and was immediately drawn to it.  It’s in good shape, which suggests family or some organization is tending to it.  Also as you can see, John Ross died 200 years ago in 1820.

That’s trippy if’n you ask me.  He died centuries ago, yet there I stood looking at the grave of someone who helped shape the world in such as way as to allow me to live in a democracy, instead of a monarchy.

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AS WE CONTINUED TO MOSEY around the cemetery we realized we had parked in the oldest section so we walked over to a newer section, that is to say an area with burials dating around 100 years ago.

Here we found a mausoleum with a healthy peony bush growing beside it.  On the mausoleum, a rather basic one, were the following two plaques with thoughts that are relevant today.

Mother’s plaque says: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”  [This a quote from Luke 6:31 in the Bible.]

Father’s plaque says: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor;  therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” [This is a quote, complete with a semicolon, from Romans 13:10 in the Bible.]

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And with that we left the cemetery to get on with our day.  I felt inspired and pleased with myself for taking the time to notice what’s been in front of me for years.

You may consider this item crossed off my Measuring Cup List.

What’s Cooking? Old Recipe Pamphlets and Cookbooks [Part 2 Of 2]

Today it’ll be Think & Do + Poll Question. Yesterday it was Show & Tell + Discussion

THERE IS A PLACE BETWEEN TRASH AND TREASURE WHEREIN ONE CAN FIND STUFF

STUFF being defined as interesting things, unique things, obscure things that are worthy of conversation but not much more.

In this case the STUFF is from a box I inherited that contains my grandmother’s handwritten cookbook, a couple of printed cookbooks, and other bits of information about food and drink.

Thus I give you Think & Do.

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THINK & DO

This recipe for Frankfurter Roast with Prune Stuffing suggests: “You’ll like this simple method of utilizing either prune or raisin stuffing with the plebeian but flavorful frankfurter.” 😳

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This recipe for Cottage Cheese Salad Dressing combines sweetened condensed milk with sieved cottage cheese, vinegar, and a few spices. 😖

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This recipe for Chicken [or Ham or Salmon or Tuna] Mousse suggests that it is: “A hearty flavorful entree for hot summer or busy, meeting-filled days.” 🤨

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POLL QUESTION

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Sources:

Frankfurter Roast with Prune Stuffing is from 100 Selected DRIED FRUIT RECIPES chosen by 100,000 HOMEMAKERS at GOLDEN GATE INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION, published by CALIFORNIA DRIED FRUIT RESEARCH INSTITUTE, 1939

Cottage Cheese Salad Dressing is from THIS IS MY BOOK OF MAGIC RECIPES by The Borden Company, 1942

Chicken [or Ham or Salmon or Tuna] Mousse is from Joys of Jell-O by GENERAL FOODS CORPORATION, 1963

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More Than Ever, Cleanliness & Curiosity Are The Keys To Healthy Living

Childhood saying as timely as today’s news

I’m checking in here to see how everyone is doing.  

I don’t have anything in particular that I need to tell you, my gentle readers.

Sure, I could go on about my understanding of the novel coronavirus and how much of this mayhem could have been avoided if sensible preventive measures had been taken earlier, but to what end?  It has been discussed ad nauseam, so why be redundant?

Nope, all I have to add to the blogosphere today is two pithy little images that summarize my current approach to living healthy in these difficult times.  

Historical perspective as timely as today’s news

The first image, that I created all by myself, is something that floated into my mind over the weekend;  I’ve no specific source for the saying.  My guess is that when I was a wee little bean I learned it in Presbyterian Sunday School wherein the emphasis on cleanliness was up there on a par with all things Biblical.

The second image is one that I found recently in one of the more enlightened corners of social media.  I’d suggest that Newton’s example puts a bit of perspective on the realities of our daily lives now.  Given all this free time it’s the perfect opportunity to follow your curiosity about something that you’ve always been meaning to learn about.

And with that I shall hit publish on this post, wishing y’all germ-free days and thought-filled nights. Stay safe.