Letters from Lizzy

These letters were written to Liza and Bill Bennett, and the annotations are by Liza Bennett. Thank you, Liza, for sharing them.

The Art of the Thank-You Note

Lizzy was her mother's daughter when it came to writing funny, charming, and always slightly unexpected thank-you letters. I went through my little cache recently and found four that I particularly admire. Here they are in roughly chronological order, as best I can discern from her developing penmanship which began largish and loopy with an elaborate signature to arrive at a very poised and ladylike hand.

Written on a little card illustrated by Alice Beard of two girls reading a book with a fairy watching them from behind

"Dear Liza,
Thank you for all of your gifts! Especially... well all of them!!!
Love Lizzy

She then illustrated the gifts in question with little pen drawings and captions:
"fortune teller fish"..."blue porcelain bowl"... "nail art"..."dragonfly bracelet"

Written in pencil, dated 7/26/01, on stationary with cats chasing each other around the edges:

"Dear Liza and Bill,
Thank you so much for the fabric additions to my collection. They're so beautiful!! You're both wonderful badminton players! (a very kind lie) Bill, are you still unbelieving @ your win? Liza, you will definitely beat me next time, but 'til then, keep dreaming!
Much love, Lizzy
p.s. Mom and Dad and the kitties send their best regards

Written on a card illustrated with a woodcut of green leaves, undated

"Dear Liza and Bill,
Thank you so much for my wonderful birthday presents. Now all of the items which have been scattered around my room are put properly in place and organized. In fact, it is strangely frightening how disorganized I was before. I hardly recognize my room! Thanks for curing me of my disease.
Love, Elizabeth Aakre"

Written on a note card I'd given her decorated with a gold leaf, dated 6/28/06

"Dear Liza and Bill,
Thank you for the best dinner of the year! (We'd taken her out to celebrate her graduation from Packer) What a wonderful night — the soup, the waiter, the breadsticks! My ravioli were perfection, and — as a ricotta fan — I could not have been happier. I am sure to be the best read and dressed lady in Northampton next year. Thanks to you both. I will read up on Yeats and Keats and recite for you next time I see you — in July! Tell Molly happy birthday for me,
Love Elizabeth"

cat stationery of Elizabeth's


  1. What a wonderful glimpse of your beautiful daughter. Still holding you in my thoughts, no less now than in December 2006.

    Smith Mom
    Class 2010

  2. Elizabeth used to send me letters full of beautiful clippings of photos and poetry... I thank god that I saved them all. I know she did this for many people. I remember one that she gave to me just before a trip to europe where she wrote (in beautiful finely printed black letters that were both concise and whimsical),
    "I hope your trip proves enchanting and ethereal, if it ends up not satisfying these weighty claims -by all means- return with haste to us... Enjoy as much, and see as much, as you can."

    Among the numerous photos and poetry she gave me were quotes from Shirley Jackson, Sylvia Plath, Henry James, Iris Murdoch, Rebecca Miller, and James Baldwin. I love these clippings, and I love reading this blog. Thank you for putting so much time into it.

    -friend from Packer, class of 2006


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How Dina Aunty relished her memories. Mummy and Daddy were the same, talking about their yesterdays and smiling in that sad-happy way while selecting each picture, each frame from the past, examining it lovingly before it vanished again in the mist. But nobody ever forgot anything, not really, though sometimes they pretended, when it suited them. Memories were permanent. Sorrowful ones remained sad even with the passing of time, yet happy ones could never be re-created—not with the same joy. Remembering bred its own peculiar sorrow. It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain.

> From A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry