Was It Just Me?

The strangest thing happened this past year.

While I sent out just as many Christmas cards as in previous years, I received about one third as many cards from others as compared both to the current year as well as to past years.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a lengthy list of card recipients. In the couple dozen neighborhood.

And, it’s true, at my advanced age, one expects a certain rate of attrition.

(I used to mock my mother for reading the obituary column in the daily newspaper. Because it seemed at once morbid and silly. And because that’s what know-it-all teenagers are supposed to do – mock their parents. Guess what I now do every day. And, sadly, I recognize some of the names presented.)

Another example: while working on the Frans Wildenhain exhibition and book projects, I gave away a fair number of copies of the book. Not hundreds. But quite a few.

One reason for the gift book was to recognize and thank an individual or an organization for their support for the project. In some cases, my gesture was very modest in comparison to the extraordinary generosity as expressed by numerous project supporters.

Support came in many forms. In some instances, much needed cash. In other instances, in-kind services that assisted one dimension or another of the Wildenhain project.

In each case, when I sent a “comp” copy of the book it was accompanied by a printed letter in which I thanked the individual and his/her organization for their assistance with the project.

About 50 percent of the “comp” recipients acknowledged their receipt of the book.

In neither the Christmas card example nor the Wildenhain book example am I suggesting some kind of extravagance or a “Thanks” is required. In each instance, the gift was just that: a gift with no expectation of a returned gift.

Still, one wonders whether or not acknowledgment has now gone out of fashion. What would Grandma or Aunt Tilly say?

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