Between May and June, almost half of the birthdays in our extended family are celebrated. Within just two weeks, spanning the last days of May and mid-June, there are no less than 5. So, when Memorial Day rolled around, I was not only planning a double party to which I would play host, I was also furiously designing and binding a book of letters for my father, who hit 60 this year.
It seemed appropriate to my siblings and I, at this milestone moment, to share some favorite memories and also express the role he’s played in our lives. And, so, they worked on heartfelt letters while I put together ideas for a book which could encompass those thoughts.
A life-long interest in astronomy reflects the navigation and celestial theme which I chose (He built a telescope in High School - even ground his own glass down for the lenses.) And, the long the long-windedness of my siblings determined the size of the book (hand-sized, About 4.5 x 6 in) I found some smooth dark blue leather at my bookbinding supply store, and of course, a complimentary paper covered in star charts. Then, all that remained was a structure and design.
The book itself is a series of folders, bound together in the sturdy-but-beautiful braided Coptic stitch. The boards are covered in the leather, and I put a Coptic headband along the top spine. Each individual letter has its own matching folder, into which it easily slides. Part of the challenge of creating a book full of meaningful moments, is to expand the recipient’s viewing experience so that it reflects the sentiments contained within. I certainly hope it is a clear echo, resonant with our appreciation for him.