Giving Thanks

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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Thanksgiving is America’s most celebrated tradition. It falls every year on the fourth Thursday in the month of November.  Its origin can be traced back to the 16th century when the first thanksgiving dinner is said to have taken place.

In 1609, a group of Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England moved to Holland. They ­lived in Holland for a number of years until, in 1620, a group of English investors — the Merchant Adventurers — financed a trip for more than 100 passengers to the New World. On Sept. 6, 1620, 102 passengers set sail on a ship called the Mayflower, a 17th century sailing vessel leaving from England. The pilgrims reached Plymouth Rock on December 11th 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days.  Many did not make the final landing in Plymouth (Massachusetts), succumbing to the extreme cold. Still many others perished from that first cold winter in Plymouth without much food.

In the spring of 1621, native Indians taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food. With their help, the Pilgrims were able to survive in the New World. They were taught how to get sap out of the maple trees, how to avoid plants that were poisonous and how to plant corn, beans and pumpkins. In the autumn of 1621, Plymouth Colony’s first governor, William Bradford, decided to throw a celebratory feast and invited the colony’s American Indian neighbors to take part. The American Indians brought food as well, and the celebration is said to have lasted for three days. The grand feast was organized to thank God for his favors. This communal dinner is popularly known as the “first thanksgiving”. It’s uncl­ear whether the Pilgrims themselves called that first feast a thanksgiving celebration, but they were certainly celebrating the abundance of food and the peace with their American Indian neighbors. There is however, no evidence to prove if the dinner actually took place; some historians believe pilgrims were quite religious in which case, their thanksgiving would have included a day of fasting and praying. Other historians say that the dinner did indeed take place.

It wasn’t until several years later, after enduring a month’s long drought, that Thanksgiving was celebrated in earnest. In response to the hot, dry summer months, the governor called for a fast. Soon afterward, rain revived the shriveled crops, and the Puritans celebrated.

The custom of marking good fortune with a day of gratitude quickly caught on throughout New England. In the early days of the United States, the new nation’s leaders began proclaiming country-wide thanksgiving celebrations. In the American Revolution, for example, the Continental Congress called for a day of thanksgiving to mark the U.S. victory at the Battle of Saratoga. Then in 1789, President George Washington called for a day of thanksgiving in recognition of the U.S. Constitution’s ratification.

Although its origins are traced back to that first thanksgiving in 1621, a number of other countries celebrate harvest related festivals. They are observed with different names and in different seasons. Harvest related festivals, all the over the world are characterized with fun and merrymaking, for the most part, celebrating communal harmony. Each region has its unique customs and traditions to jubilate the occasion. 

Canada celebrates thanksgiving on the second Monday in the month of October .The first Canadian thanksgiving was celebrated on 15th April 1872 to thank the recovery of King Edward VII from serious illness. The next thanksgiving was celebrated after a few years in 1879 on a Thursday. 
Canada later, had a turbulent time deciding the day of national Thanksgiving. It fluctuated between Mondays some years and Thursday in others. Finally, on January 31, 1957, Parliament announced the second Monday in the month of October as the official ‘Thanksgiving Day’. It was declared as “a day of general Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.” The thanksgiving celebrations include parades, customary ‘family feast’ and ‘turkey’. It is a time for sharing, loving and family reunions. The central idea behind the celebration is to be thankful for the past harvest and praying for the coming year. 

 India also has a number of harvest related festivals in different regions. Though the underlying principle behind each of them is same, every festival is exclusive and different from the other.

Other Asian countries such as China, Malaysia, and Korea celebrate the festival on different dates. Each festival has a folklore attached to it. Harmony, peace, and feeling gratitude is the underlying theme of each celebration.
Many view the first Thanksgiving as an example of the possibility of great respect and cooperation between two different cultures.

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On that note, we here at Rossi1931 are extremely grateful that you take the time to read our blog and we extend a gracious thank you for your support. We couldn’t do what we do without you, your loyalty and your passion for paper.

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues”~Cicero

Behind the scene: Joka Belgrado

 

Mrs Joka Belgrado

Anyone who has ever contacted Rossi1931, by phone or through the website has, no doubt, pleasantly encountered the sales, marketing and linguistic wizard, Joka Belgrado.

Joka has been with Rossi since 2007 after she and her husband had moved from Florence to the beautiful area of Tuscany known as Mugello, ( a beautiful wide green valley north of Florence) After commuting to Florence for work for several years, she decided,” enough of commuting!” Her husband told her of a local radio station that had been advertising different jobs. She signed on to their website one day and noticed there was a job very close to home with Rossi. “They were looking for someone in the export dept. with a good knowledge of English and German. I sent in my resume, was contacted and after 2 weeks I was working here.” A lucky day for Rossi, indeed. Not only does Joka speak English and German, but Dutch and Italian as well. She says,” years ago I spoke 6 languages, but when you don’t use a language for many years, it kind of sinks away.”

Joka was raised in Holland and Curacao, Dutch Antilles which was still part of the Netherlands at that time. After high school, she took a “gap” year and lived on a kibbutz in Israel. She liked the idea because she could work 4 hours a day and learn the language during the other 4. When she later transferred to the advanced language class in a different kibbutz near the sea, she met a wonderful young man from Italy and today they have been married for 38 years. After they returned from Israel to Italy, where she began college in Florence, they had 2 lovely daughters. Both out of the nest now, Claudia is an architect and lives in Sardinia and Sylvia, a nurse in Florence.

She loves her time with Rossi; “I handle the US and Canada markets, as well as the German speaking countries in Europe….Austria, Switzerland and Germany. I have daily contacts with customers and reps, research to find additional customers and sales representatives in selected areas, and do translations into English and German when needed. “A lot of potential customers find us through our website and sometimes I find them. Either way, I include them in mailing lists and when we send out warehouse catalogues.”

Her favorite part of the job: “The relationship that I have established with some of our customers and reps, which go beyond work”. She never gets bored. “I enjoy talking to potential new customers, explaining how we operate, encourage them to try our line. When they do and it works out for them, it’s a satisfaction and pride for me. They become a regular customer and I feel that I have made a contribution to the company.”

One would think time differences would be a major problem, but Joka handles it with ease. The internet of course helps, as she can simply email customers while she is at work and they are still sleeping. ” I prefer email by far, as the Romans said: scripta manent”.  (Loosely speaking: ‘spoken words fly away, written words remain’). ”In my previous job we always had to confirm phone conversations in writing. It was a lot more work and they had offices all over the world”.

With all the positive growth in design and products at Rossi, Joka says there has been a lot of challenges, as well: ”The last 5 years has been difficult for many companies, everywhere. Italy is no exception. It has been very hard for small companies to stay alive and many have found it tougher to survive. Basically, I have seen that those who did not export have not made it. Rossi has been exporting for decades and that, in addition to making qualitative investments in IT, has kept the company alive and healthy. I feel very fortunate to work here.”

Outside of the fact that her job is only a 10 minute commute now, the best part of her time with Rossi is that she “is trusted and valued” for what she contributes and has “ a lot of independence in handling the job. I had never handled paper products in my career, so I had to learn the product first. It then became automatic to look at similar products in the shops. Now that I have some experience in the category, I think stating Rossi is at the top quality- wise is not an exaggeration. “

When asked to name the product she loves the most: “The letterpress design called Venice in the navy/mauve version. I like the fact that the design is 500 years old. I also like the idea of a new use of the vintage letterpress machines that Rossi kept”.

letterpress stationery

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Perhaps”, she muses,” I also like it because it’s called Venice, my favorite city in the world!   “

Joka can be reached at: joka.belgrado@rossi1931.it

 

The Write Touch, the art of civilized communication.

The Write Touch is eager to share their love of paper. Their incredible shop in the San Marco section of Jacksonville, Florida, is a paper gourmet’s dream. The shelves are full of refined and whimsical boxed notes and offer an eclectic mix of stationery, custom invitations, leather goods, gifts and accessories. For more than thirty years, the store has been the consummate resource for the art of civilized communication.

In 2007, when customer, Carolyn Hawthorne learned the shop was for sale, she was instantly smitten.

After extensive renovations, Carolyn reopened the store with Tucker, her now fourteen-year-old Golden Retriever, by her side. In 2011, Golden puppy Nicholas joined the family. The boys have been featured in the majority of advertising campaigns for the shop and are dear friends of many customers.  You will find them lounging near the front door waiting for a friendly pat hello.

With career experience in journalism, specialty retail and fine art, Carolyn came to The Write Touch with an eye for quality and design. Carefully curating her collection of goods, she buys from artisans around the globe as well as pieces made in the USA.

Carolyn and her staff, including delightful and talented manager, Rebekah (who actually made a full size bridal gown in their front window from wedding invitations!) both love the quality and designs of Rossi. They offer custom printing and monogramming on any paper purchased in the store. Once the selection has been made and the desired information shared, they will promptly provide proofs featuring a variety of typestyle and ink options. 

The Write Touch, 904-398-2009

1967 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32207 

www.thewritetouch.com

So glad you asked…

There are thousands of thoughts lying within us that we do not know until we take up the pen to write. As Oscar Wilde said in that famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest ‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train’

So, “why should I keep a journal?” you ask.

~Your children and grandchildren will want to read it. Perhaps that’s hard to believe right now for maybe your life seems quite ordinary and of little interest to anyone else. But, wouldn’t you be thrilled to find a journal written by your great grandfather about life in the 1800’s or your grandmothers take on her new purchase, the first washing machine? Such a peek at days gone by is fascinating. And so it is with you; when your grandkids or great grandkids are talking to people via hologram, they are going to be absolutely fascinated by your excitement of those ancient things like the I- Phone and Microwave oven. Share your thoughts and emotions of where you were when the World Trade Center was attacked or your experience driving your first hybrid car…… any and all pertinent events. While you may think that you’ll be able to remember everything clearly in the future, you won’t. It is said that by age 80, you will only remember the faintest outlines of the big occurrences in your life. Your journals will leave a legacy for your family.

~It can make sense of issues. After struggling with a choice and thinking long and hard about it, make a decision and then write down how and why you came to that decision. A journal can aid you in these dilemmas.  In time, if you start doubting the choice, you can look back, remind yourself of why you made that decision in the first place, and feel reassured.

It is a perfect tool to use if you find yourself in a funk and can’t seem to get out of it; look back through your journal to find the times when you were happiest.  Old journal entries can help you rediscover the kind of changes you need to make to get your life back on track….or simply to realize what a fool you were in your 20’s. Finally, simply writing about your feelings and frustrations helps you focus on what’s really going on in your life and in your head, so that you can come up with a solution to your problems.