Easter Greetings: The Sacred, the Secular, and the Natural
This season I share the joy of Easter via vintage postcards from the archives of Fannie Martin Longenecker, my grandmother.
How Grandma Longenecker looked when these postcards were exchanged.
Mennonites joined the church after they married They often did not become plain until after their first child was born. Thus, in this photo Fannie was fancy.
Her dress and manner suggest an age when courtesy counted, kindness was a virtue and rudeness was not rewarded. The documentation below proves that the culture of her day expected public civility.
Courtesy Never Goes Out of Style
The April 2017 issue of the “O” Magazine published vignettes from vintage etiquette manuals proving that courtesy was de rigueur:
The art of conversation consists as much in listening politely as in talking agreeably; therefore never interrupt anyone who may be speaking to you, and at the same time do not let our eyes wander to other objects, but keep them on the speaker. – Manners of Modern Society by Eliza Cheadle, 1875
Never boast of your birth, your money, your grand friends, or anything that is yours. If you have traveled, do not introduce that information into your conversation at every opportunity. – Routledge’s Manual of Etiquette, 1875
The letter we all love to receive is one that carries so much of the writer’s personality that she seems to be sitting beside us, looking at us directly and talking just as she really would, could she have come on a magic carpet, instead of sending her proxy in ink-made characters on mere paper. – Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home by Emily Post, 1922
The Civility Project
In 2009, tired of vicious attacks he observed among politicians and in the media, Republican Mark DeMoss launched an initiative he named The Civility Project with a pledge to be “respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.” Senator Joseph Lieberman and few others joined him, but unfortunately, the movement didn’t gain much traction.
My friend, author/researcher Janet Givens has published a series of posts on civility in public discourse. You can begin here. Other enlightening posts on this theme follow.
And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another . . . . ~ Ephesians 4:32
Have you been the giver or receiver of a kind gesture recently?
Do you send Easter (or Passover) cards? Do you celebrate the season in any other special way?