A Minute in the City 12-9-2020: Take Note

In 2017, I had a few dozen notecards printed to send retailers who’d agreed to carry my YEAR IN THE CITY calendars. One of those retailers called me the following week to see if I might make the cards available for purchase. Three years later, notecards account for a nice little slice of my business the whole year through. But with notecards, as with everything else, it’s what’s inside that counts. I’d like to thank my customer Valery Welch for sharing her inspiring story of writing notes in the time of COVID. -jm

“I live in a condominium community with many retirees, some of whom live alone and struggle to get outside – even when there’s no pandemic to worry about. Now, some of our retirees are totally isolated, fearful about stepping outside their door to even collect the mail. Not all of us will make it to the other side of this pandemic, whether or not we get COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean we have to be alone.

My heart cannot bear to imagine this degree of utter loneliness, people going through their days thinking no one knows they exist. This summer, I began wondering how I could safely reach out to my neighbors. And then I started writing notes. I ordered cards from A Year in the City with images of St. Louis—Ted Drewes, the Gateway Arch, the Missouri History Museum, Candy Cane Lane. What better way to reach someone than with cheerful and artistic images from the past, with the places we all shared before the pandemic?  In each card, I wrote inspiring quotes, cheering my readers on, letting them know that I believed they could make it, assuring them they were not alone. With each card, I stapled a small bag containing a facemask lanyard that I had made by hand. I just wanted each person to know that someone knew they were there.

So far, I have quietly set out more than 75 cards at my neighbors’ front doors. I do not know their names; they do not know mine. I address the envelope simply, “To my dear neighbor…” I am so grateful to have this beautiful way of reaching out to others.”


VALERY WELCH, BS, is Executive Assistant & Communications Director for Bette J. Welch, CPA. She has experience in marketing communications, rental property development, and neighborhood development and is serving on the board for the Webster Groves/Shrewsbury/Rock Hill Area Chamber of Commerce. Valery also chairs the Architecture Committee for Kenrick Parke Condominium Association and was Past President of the Webster Groves chapter of Toastmasters.

Valery graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in Earth Sciences/Physical Geography with an emphasis on City and Regional Planning. She is a life member Phi Kappa Phi. Prior to the pandemic, she was a motor scooter and small camper trailer enthusiast, and she played trumpet and emceed for a community concert band. Since the pandemic, she has learned to make hard cider and has become an official urban red wiggler worm farmer!


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