Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hold Your Hat, Bermuda Is Charming!

I was just looking through The Complete Letter Writer, from 1957 - which is full of examples of letters you can write to people who have moved away from your home town and miss the gossip, or to someone who is about to give you a job (you hope!) or thanking them for that swell orange Banlon sweater. They suggest that you begin a "newsy letter" with a peppy opening like "Bermuda is charming!" (which only works if you are in fact in Bermuda) or "Hold your hat! I have news for you!"

Well, hold your hat! I have a blog post for you! And it isn't about Bermuda, though I have no doubt that that is a charming place. I'm sure I wouldn't mind sitting on a beach somewhere like that, in a chaise longue, with a cold pina-colada type drink and a really good book and...well, and so on. But I'm not and you're not. So what have we got? A book from 1957 about letter-writing etiquette, that's what.

One of the practice letters is to a child at summer camp. It's full of the usual sorts of things: mind the poison ivy, you forgot your baseball mitt, Mom says wear your long underwear. That is, until the Dad who is writing it says that Sis is telling riddles all the time, and did she get this idea from the camping child? Dad includes the latest one and says he wrote the answer on the back of the letter.

The riddle is: What begins with P, ends with E, and has a thousand letters in it?*

That's it, I thought to myself. I have riddles for the Doubletake today! That's newsy, isn't it? I guess it will do. Since I'm not in Bermuda or anything. I even have a bonus riddle for you, on the Victorian picture card: What is it which a Cat has but no other animal?*

I'm not doing Halloween-themed posts over here, because there are plenty on Kitchen Retro and I will do one at least for Virtual Dime Museum. But over here, we've got riddles. And shameless links to my other blogs, but you already knew that.

And next time we'll have the answers plus a 1950s Jell-O idea that will perhaps tax the limits of your imagination (and digestion)...

The Bermuda postcard from Cartophilia. I won't tell you where the cat card is from, yet, because the answer is over there, too.


Jen said...

Ooh, that's a classic. The answer is kittens.

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

The first one's not "Post Office", is it?

I want this letter writing book. I think I could learn a lot from it. :)

Lidian said...

Jen - I can never tell which are the classics, they all tend to puzzle me :)

The Bewildered Brit - It is such a fun book. There are very amusing letters for businessmen on how to sell products and how to collect bills (I see more posts coming from this source, also the letters in old etiquette books)

Tori Lennox said...

I wonder if anyone has ever actually seen somebody's hat blow off because they got some news?

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Lidian, in which case I await future posts with even more baited breath than usual!

Lidian said...

Tori - Not from getting the letters in this book, that's for sure.

Richard - I'll do my best to live up to your baited breath! :)