Category Archives: Famous People & Pens

Simon Pegg’s Fountain Pen Happiness

Pens play a key role in “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” They save the day on more than one occasion.

However, if you haven’t heard of this movie, yet, let me introduce you.

“Hector and the Search for Happiness” is a warm British comedy that slipped in under my radar in 2014. It is about a middle-aged psychiatrist named Hector (Simon Pegg) who is in a bit of a funk–in spite of having a successful career and a loving girlfriend played by Rosamund Pike. Unsure about what his life really amounts to and what it could have been, Hector boards a plane for visits to China, the Himalayas, Africa and America to ask EVERYBODY what the secret to happiness is.

Overall, it is a touching comedy that is a lot of fun.

We have a colorful Visconti Van Gogh rollerball pen for sale, if you want a pen similar to Hector's.

We have a colorful Visconti Van Gogh rollerball pen for sale, if you want a pen similar to Hector’s.

Pens come into the picture frequently, as Hector fastidiously maintains a journal in which he investigates happiness in its many forms. Of course, he is always losing his pen.

At first, while on a flight to Shanghai, he asks a high-power banker to lend him a pen. The banker views his seatmate as highly annoying and lends him a pen to keep Hector out of his hair.

“Be careful.” the banker cautions, “It’s worth more than your car.”

Only pen geeks like us would identify it as a red¬†Visconti Van Gogh. An elegant pen and expensive–but not worth an entire car. More like a one-month payment on a lease for $289 (full retail).

While in Africa, Hector unwittingly befriends a crime boss played by Jean Reno. Hector inadvertently walks off with the crime boss’ gold pen. Yet, it turns out to be a good thing later in the film. (No spoilers here.) Unfortunately, we didn’t get a good close look at the pen to identify it!

Keep the pen spotting requests coming. In the meantime, be sure to settle in for this nice, quiet feel-good comedy!

What Pen Does Robert De Niro Use?

I have reached a state of predictability. While out on a date with my girlfriend to see “The Intern,” a pen-and-pencil set flashed across the screen.

Without missing a beat, she turned to me with a whispered question, “So, what type of pens were those?”

“Cross Centuries, my dear.”

For those who aren’t familiar with it, “The Intern” is a feel-good comedy about a retired executive who takes on a “senior” internship with a hot start-up dot com. Robert De Niro stars as the title character to Anne Hathaway’s fashion retail start-up. Both actors are lots of fun to watch in this tightly written script. The jokes gently run both ways while poking fun at the generations: Baby Boom, X and Y.

Here is an example of the Cross Century ballpoint pen used by Robert De Niro in "The Intern." It has a chrome finish with gold trim.

Here is an example of the Cross Century ballpoint pen used by Robert De Niro in “The Intern.” It has a chrome finish with gold trim.


The Cross Century pen and pencil make their first appearance in the montage of Robert De Niro settling into his new office space with an “old-fashioned” physical clock, attach√© case, traditional office supplies and his pen-and-pencil set in a leather case. The Cross instruments were chrome models with gold trim. It is interesting that Mont Blanc didn’t jump on the merchandising bandwagon, but the Cross Century really came into prominence in the 1970s and ’80s–the era from which the film most tries to paint De Niro as a dinosaur.

Yet, the suit-wearing De Niro stands in appealingly sharp contrast to his bearded, unkempt, T-shirt-wearing Gen Y cohorts whose desks are festooned with toys. Cue the standard jokes about Generation Y’s inability to grow up and Baby Boomer’s inability to adapt to technology. Once those are out of the way, the movie really takes heart as both generations learn from each other and help one another navigate life.

It’s a fun movie and definitely a thumbs up.

Pens of World War II–Revisited

Back in October of 2013 I discussed General MacArthur’s Big Red Parker Duofold and General Eisenhower’s Parker 51s used to sign the surrender treaties at the end of World War II because I had seen one of them in Paris’ Museum of the Army. The plot thickened when the museum responded with no knowledge of the Parker 51 I saw. They did mention a French General’s Parker Duofold used to sign treaties at the end of the war. Grandson of Kenneth Parker (who personally gave Ike a set of 51s to end the war), Geoff Parker then discussed his knowledge of the famed 51s.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower holds up 2 of the pens used to sign the German surrender, ending World War II in Europe in May of 1945. One of those pens is a Parker 51, which is now on display in Paris' Musee de l'Armee.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower holds up 2 of the pens used to sign the German surrender, ending World War II in Europe in May of 1945. One of those pens is a Parker 51, which is now on display in Paris’ Musee de l’Armee.

At the end of that article, I left a challenge for other pen collectors to find the Parker 51 I failed to photograph back in Paris.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, although nobody has sent us a photo, yet, the story caught the eye of fascinated WWII historians Cheryl H. and her husband Roy R. They had been reading John Toland’s “The Last 100 Days,” when they stumbled on these “Drippy Musings.” Bless their hearts, they tore into the mystery like a pit bull on a juicy marrow-filled bone.

Below is exactly what they found, and it is pretty fascinating for history and pen buffs! Unlike Geoff who said Ike had several pens to use, Toland limits it to two…the rest is Cheryl’s message to me:

Using numbers to make this a bit easier to follow….

1. Totally no doubt about the 2 gold pens: 1 gold plated and 1 solid gold from Kenneth Parker and that indeed Ike had carried around knowing they would eventually be used….

2. At Rheims, France, on May 6-7 in a local school Eisenhower waited in his office while the other participants assembled.

3. By the time everyone got done horsing around with what were eventually 3 surrender documents it was early on May 7, 1945. (Signing was at 2:41 a.m.)

4. The signers were:¬†Ike’s Chief of Staff Walter Bedell Smith; Russian Major General Ivan Susloparov; French Major Francois Sevez; German General Alfred Jodl, and for the Brits, Major General Bernard Montgomery.

5. AHA! Ike didn’t sign!! (He refused to be in the same room with the Germans before they surrendered.)

6. BUT! Ike’s pens did! One of Ike’s aides named Butcher brought in the 2 Parker pens and gave the solid gold one to Walter Bedell Smith¬†and the gold-plated one to Jodl. The solid gold one was passed to the other Allies by Walter Bedell Smith…that is, to Sevez, Susloparov, and Montgomery.

7. It appears as though Ike had planned to present one of the pens to President Truman and send the other to our old friend Kenneth Parker. That was his stated intent at one point, at least.

8. Aide Butcher, after Jodl signed with the gold plated Parker, took the Parker away from Jodl and gave Jodl his (Butcher’s) own personal Scheaffer pen to sign the following 2 documents as a nice little souvenir for Butcher. (Gotta love a guy who sees through the historic significance of the moment…..)

9. Previous to May, there had already been an armistice signed between Italy and the Allies. Mussolini and Alan Dulles for the U.S. (His brother was Ike’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles) Sorry…appears no one knows or cares what pens were used!

10. At some date after May 7 there was another armistice signing on the eastern front between the Russians and the Germans…I think they used Bic ballpoints. [Cerf here: Ballpoints came into prominence during the war, but Bic didn’t make the first ones. So likely not Bic. Bic was founded Oct. 25, 1945.]

But this leaves the question of Generale Tassigny…his pen is photographed and he must have signed something with it…but it does not appear to be the documents at Rheims. Guess someone will have to go to Paris to figure out that little puzzle. (I will probably burn up the internet tomorrow or sometime to work on that…)

(AND search she did. She continues…)

Re: French Major Generale Tassigny. I think we have solved that one. On May 7 I believe that M.G. Tassigny was a ‚Äúwitness‚ÄĚ to Major Sevez‚Äôs signing. The next day, May 8, there were another series of surrender papers signed (by now the Russians had arrived at Rheims) and M.G. Tassigny did actually sign that day. What I/we didn‚Äôt realize is that there were a number of different surrender documents, signed over a number of days, and signed by various people. The French are so (justifiably) proud of their history and their people that it seems to me that since they have M.G. Tassigny‚Äôs pen, why not use it as fully as possible? He did indeed sign an armistice/surrender document. BTW…one reason for various surrenders was that the Russians didn‚Äôt trust anyone, and few trusted the Russians!

Another little tidbit: Ike told, I think it was, Walter Bedell Smith, that of the 2 Parker pens, one would go to President Truman and one to Kenneth Parker. Bedell Smith¬†replied,‚ÄĚ What about Churchill?‚ÄĚ to which Ike said, ‚ÄúOh darn it. (or something like that!) I forgot about him!‚Ä̬† That leaves me puzzled because Ike had to have given Churchill ‚Äúsomething;‚ÄĚ the pen in Ike‚Äôs Abilene library is no doubt the one used on May 7 by Bedell Smith.

Me again. Just to clarify, the pen at the Eisenhower Presidential Library is the pen he gave to Truman. Geoff Parker thinks it is possible there were more than two pens, so that Churchill and Kenneth each could have gotten a token of the surrender. And that, dear friends, is what we have found so far.Always feel free to contribute, as we love to hear from other dedicated pen fans and historians!

The Skyline’s the Limit for Walt Disney

It only seems fitting that a pen company get the nation’s leading animator to sell it’s pens and pencils. Who wouldn’t trust Walt Disney when it comes to picking a new writing instrument?!

Walt Disney famously became a spokesperson for Wahl-Eversharp and its line of Skyline pens. The way Disney discusses the responsiveness of the nib, we figure he must have been given one of the famous and rare flex nibs Eversharp made.

Walt Disney famously became a spokesperson for Wahl-Eversharp and its line of Skyline pens. The way Disney discusses the responsiveness of the nib, we figure he must have been given one of the famous and rare flex nibs Eversharp made.

Walt Disney famously pitched the futuristic looking Eversharp Skylines in the 1940s. This great ad comes from 1942 or early 1943, hot on the heels of the hit movie “Bambi.” It is difficult to think that anybody today doesn’t know this film about a young orphaned deer growing up in the woods with his friends Thumper and Flower.

Likewise, it is difficult to believe many pen collectors aren’t familiar with the iconic art deco designed Eversharp Skylines. Made right here in Chicago, the Skyline also was supposed to be one of the first pens engineered to handle the altitude pressure changes of flight. It had a nifty breather tube leading from the section into the sac, unlike most lever fillers of the 1930s and ’40s. However, the Parker Vacumatic already added that feature in the early 1930s, and the 51 kept it. So the Skyline wasn’t the only pen equipped to handle something as exotic and romantic as commercial aviation. Even then, many frequent fliers would have been dubious of the consistency of mess-free flight claims.

 

 

 

This is the first resurrection of the Eversharp Skyline made in a limited edition dedicated to Walt Disney.

This is the first resurrection of the Eversharp Skyline made in a limited edition dedicated to Walt Disney.

Disney and Eversharp are so well linked in the public imagination that when the Eversharp brand was first resurrected in the late 1990s or early 2000s, a new Skyline was introduced in a limited edition collectors’ run. These pens switched from the original lever-filling design to a cartridge/converter system that was accessed by unscrewing a seemless blind cap in the tail of the pen. The Disney pens were numbered, and featured his autograph engraved on the golden cap.

ThePenMarket.com is excited offer one of these limited edition Disney Skylines on its preowned pens page. We also have a great collection of Eversharp Skylines in our vintage pens collection.

Esterbrook has those ‘Biloxi Blues’

Neil Simon is one of my favorite playwrights, and I wasn’t 3 minutes into the film adaptation of his autobiographical “Biloxi Blues” (1988) when I spotted an Esterbrook LJ in the hands of Matthew Broderick, the star of the film playing Eugene Jerome (a.k.a. Neil Simon) as a young, wise-cracking soldier from New York experiencing bootcamp in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Not quite as funny or famous as Simon’s bigger hits, “The Odd Couple” or “Barefoot in the Park,” “Biloxi Blues” is the quasi sequel to Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” which follows the early adolescence of Eugene.

In both films, Eugene is constantly dreaming of becoming a writer and scribbling down all of his observations in his diary.

“Biloxi Blues” starts on the overcrowded troop train heading south to Mississippi, where Eugene is desperately trying to collect his thoughts while surrounded by young recruits from all over the country with whom he has nothing in common. It is mid-1945, and Eugene and his fellow recruits are training to be part of the invasion of Japan before the nuclear bombs are dropped.

The movie is a fun coming-of-age comedy, and Christopher Walken practically steals the whole show as Eugene’s strict authoritarian (and slightly insane) drill sergeant. Toss in a light romance with Penelope Ann Miller, and you’ve got a solid 90-minute movie experience.

Of course, true pen fanatics will see the vintage pen discrepancy immediately. The film takes place in 1945. The Esterbrook J/LJ series didn’t launch until 1948. Don’t let that spoil your fun with the film, and if you want some colorful Esterbrooks of your own to play with, click here to see our rainbow of Esterbrook options.

March of the Toy Soldiers

Tish, a pen collector in Canada, also takes painstaking measures to recreate battle scenes such as this one from the War of 1812.

Tish, a pen collector in Canada, also takes painstaking measures to recreate battle scenes such as this one from the War of 1812.

Here is the Spanish Succession at Blenheim.

Here is the Spanish Succession at Blenheim.

British warriors take on the Roman army in this stunning recreation.

British warriors take on the Roman army in this stunning recreation.

Not all pen collectors are famous, but they might still have vast talents that must be appreciated. Many pen collectors I know have many fascinating hobbies in addition to pens and writing. Tish from Canada is into recreating scenes from battles using lead soldiers.

Through the beauty of the internet and this website, I have gotten to know Tish fairly well through many e-mail over the past few months. We share a love of history, particularly military history and prohibition crime and law enforcement history. (We all know about Al Capone and the bootleg wars in Chicago, but did you know various mafia interests also controlled a substantial portion of the legal liquor elements in Canada to more easily smuggle it into the U.S.?)

Anyhow, Tish started telling me about the intricate armies he paints, and then sets up for display in his home and for local libraries and festivals. His attention to detail is mindboggling. Once he showed me the photos of some of them I knew I would have to share them with you, and he has graciously agreed.

Please take a moment to look over three of these intricate scenes from British Celts fighting against the Roman army to the Spanish Succession at Blenheim to a prelude to battle during the War of 1812! Please feel free to share compliments and your own hobbies in the comments section!

 

Pen Collector Profile: Nan Sampson, Author

For the longest time, dead people were the sole focus of our “Famous People & Pens” series. Then I got it through my thick skull that many of our living customers are actual working writers, and…HEY!…why not profile them and their work?!

There is a reason I was never hired as a rocket scientist by NASA.

Starting today, I will profile the first of many writers and famous, or soon-to-be-famous, people who love fountain pens and other luxury writing instruments. I will absolutely continue to find the stories behind historical figures and their favorite pens, but my live interviews are hopefully going to rock your world.

Nan Sampson, author of Restless Natives, ponder's her next story idea while holding her Waterman Phileas fountain pen.

Nan Sampson, author of Restless Natives, ponder’s her next story idea while holding her Waterman Phileas fountain pen.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Nan Sampson. Nan has just published her very first novel: “Restless Natives.” It is a murder mystery that is now available for a Kindle download on Amazon. Her book released last week. Although this is her first published novel, she has been writing for her entire life and is a marketing executive in the Chicagoland area.

As a pen collector, she has a penchant for Waterman and Pelikan pens. She also has a thing for green Sheaffer’s Scrip from the 1950s.

DRIPPY MUSINGS: Hi, Nan. Welcome to ThePenMarket.com’s Drippy Musings. How does it feel to have your first novel published and available on Amazon?

NAN SAMPSON:¬†It is amazing.¬† A lifetime dream come true.¬† Although the biggest realization has been that now that I’ve had my moment of celebration, the work goes on.¬† Book two in the series awaits, plus I’ve other projects lined up, like planes circling O’Hare!

DM: Tell us a little about “Restless Natives.”

NS: It’s a cozy mystery, set in a small fictional town in southwestern Wisconsin.¬† Oddly enough, the main character used to be a marketing executive in Chicago.¬† Hmm…¬† Seriously, though it’s a lot of fun, lots of quirky characters and a rather odd murder.¬† A poor fellow gets tarred with pancake syrup and covered with chicken feathers.¬† Oh, and gets a great bloody knife in the chest, too.¬† Details…

DM: Where did you first get the idea for this book?

NS: I’ve always wanted to create a series set in a town that I’d want to live in, like Long Piddleton (from the Richard Jury novels by Martha Grimes) or the village of Finch (from Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity series).¬† A place readers can escape to, filled with familiar faces and quirky problems.¬† And having spent a great deal of time in southwestern Wisconsin and meeting great people there, it just sort of fell into place.

DM: Every writer approaches their job differently. What is your process? What is your motivation?

NS: My motivation. [chuckles]¬† ‘I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille.’¬† I’ll tackle process first.¬† I’m a life-long “panster”¬†—¬†meaning I do things by the seat of my pants.¬† I’m not one for long outlines — I find in creating those, I feel like I’ve “done” the book and I lose my enthusiasm.¬† So I start with a beginning, figure out my ending (although it can change during the actual writing process — it’s more of a direction to head in), and usually have a couple of juicy scenes in the middle that I’m anxious to write to keep me going.¬† Rewrites can be a bear as things are pretty loosey-goosey and the story I start out writing is often very different from the one I end up with.¬† It’s hard for me to see the whole of the tapestry until I’m finished with it.¬† So I’m not sure I’d recommend my process to others.¬† But it works for me.

My motivation?¬† Gosh.¬† Being a writer, telling stories, making up worlds and characters and languages and stuff…that’s just who I am.¬† I don’t know how to be any other way.¬† I cannot imagine living without doing those things.¬† It will be great to get paid for it, but I’d be doing it anyway, even if no one ever buys my work.¬† I love it.¬† But I’m also not one of those writers that thinks earning money will “cheapen my art”.¬† Please – go out and buy my book!¬† In fact, buy several copies and gift them to your friends and relatives at the holidays!¬† I have a child to put through college. [Laughs]

DM: How did you get into writing? Were you always a storyteller, or did you cultivate this interest over time?

NS:¬†My mother said I told stories to my stuffed bear in my crib.¬† That is, perhaps, a slight exaggeration.¬† But I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t concocting stories in my head, trying on different personas and pretending to live other lives.¬† I believe clinical psychologists call that a “personality disorder”.¬† Or maybe delusional.¬† Either way, I guess I’m okay with that. [Laughs]

DM: Who were and are some of your biggest influences as a writer? Why?

NS:¬†Oh, that is a long list.¬† I’ll try to just cover the biggies.¬† First and foremost was Roger Zelazny.¬† He was brilliant, innovative and knew the rules well enough to break them in clever, ingenious ways.¬† Carl Sagan and Asimov are up there too — they were both genius at taking complex subjects and making them both accessible and interesting to the ordinary person.¬† I cut my teeth on Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie — the grand dames of the cozy mystery.¬† I love [Sir Arthur] Conan Doyle,¬†too.¬† I always have Holmes with me on my Kindle — a go-to for times when you just need the comfort of the familiar or a great character.

From a more contemporary perspective, I’m totally in love with Gini Koch — she has this wry humor, but knows how to keep the action flying as well.¬† Lois McMasters Bujold is also fab and taught me all about character arcs and unlikely heroes.¬† And I’ll read almost anything by Glenn Cook — more dry wit.¬† Gosh, most everyone I’ve mentioned is either fantasy or science fiction. I do read a lot in those genres.¬† James Rollins, action/adventure, is the master at interweaving story lines and pacing.

How much time do we have?¬†[Chuckles]¬† I’ll stop there.¬† Suffice it to say I read widely.¬† But Roger… well, Roger was a god to me.¬† He taught me that my crazy ideas were okay.¬† He was simply amazing, and highly under-appreciated.

DM: Do you compose longhand or on the computer?

NS:¬†¬† I compose on the keyboard. ¬†I need to be able to type as fast as I think.¬† Revision is done long hand, and I make all my character notes and so forth in pen.¬† I do a lot of brainstorming and idea mapping by hand, as well.¬† And yes… all in green ink.¬† My fingers are always stained with green.

DM: What are your favorite pens? Why?

NS: I LOVE my Waterman [Phileas].¬† The barrel is wider, so my fingers don’t cramp, and it has a really smooth flow.¬† I hate scratchy pens.¬† My handwriting is atrocious. Only my best friend can read it, and I write very quickly.¬† The pen needs to be able to keep up and not skip or scratch along the page.¬† And of course, the barrel has that green marbling — the green thing again!¬† The one I have my eye on from your website it that gorgeous vintage 0655 Conklin Endura.¬† Wow.¬† Stunning. Love the coloration of the barrel.¬† But unless a whole bunch of your fans and friends buy my book, that’s a wee bit out of my league.

DM: How did you get into fountain pens?

NS: My pop used to take me to auctions and estate sales when I was little.¬† Back in those days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were always three things you could always find in large quantities — old keys¬†(you know, skeleton keys), raggedy stuffed animals and fountain pens.¬† You could buy them by the box!¬† I would always get to buy one of each (kept me pacified, I suppose).¬† I’d bring along a notepad and scribble (without ink of course) with the pens, pretending to be a famous author giving my autograph to the stuffed animals.¬† There’s something magical about fountain pens that make you think anything is possible — they’re elegant and old world and for some odd reason they give me a sense of confidence.¬† Of permanence.¬† I guess I’m a bit old fashioned — heck I still have an old Underwood typewriter that I bang on occasionally.

DM: What types of ink do you like best? Why?

NS: I’m not much of an ink snob.¬† But I don’t like a lot of smearing (it’s always getting on my hands) so a quick drying ink is good.¬† And it has to flow smoothly and not clog up my pen a lot.¬† But most importantly, it has to be green.¬† Emerald green.¬† I’m open to recommendations, O Great Pen Guru. *nudge nudge wink wink*

DM: Okay. So, I know the ink is barely dry on “Restless Natives,” but can you tell us a little about what to expect next?

NS: No rest for the wicked, you know.¬† The physical copy of “Restless Natives” is coming soon (probably a few weeks) and the second book in the current series is written and awaiting revision.¬† That one is slated for publication in January, gods willing and the river don’t rise, as my Gran would have said.¬† I’m also working on a fantasy novel, and have the bare bones of a second mystery series set in a haunted bed & breakfast.¬† Oh, and then there’s this idea I had for an adventure novel set in the ’20s (a la H. Rider Haggard and Indiana Jones) only with a woman heroine.¬† Like I said earlier, I’ve got more ideas than time!

DM: It has been a pleasure speaking with you, Nan. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and pen passions with us at Drippy Musings.

NS:¬† No, thank you!¬† It’s been a joy sharing with you, thanks for inviting me.¬† And as soon as I sell enough books, we’ll have to talk about that Conklin!

Be sure to check out Nan Sampson’s book “Restless Natives” at Amazon.com. It is a fun read, and a great summertime escape while you are lounging by the pool or chillin’ in the shade.

Tip O’ the Hat to Stephen Colbert

Normally, we don’t highlight famous people using disposable pens, but Stephen Colbert earns our special recognition for his use of a gel click pen by Pilot.

Why? Because he just proved himself to be the world’s greatest pen salesman!

“Wait, Nathaniel,” you say. “Greatest satirist we can buy, but greatest pen salesman? How do you figure?”

On Thursday March 13th’s show, he announced that the Pilot pen company has bought back from him their click pen he used on the show for a stunning $5,000!

I have sold thousands of pens in the past decade. A few even broke the $5,000 threshold, but not one was a disposable pen sold back to its original company for $5k! Heck, I don’t even carry Pilot click pens. Maybe I should start!

Around here, we think that has got to be a record and worthy of the title for world’s greatest pen salesman.

Sure, it might have helped that he donated the money to the nonprofit Yellow Ribbon Foundation, which helps America’s military veterans, but the sale still counts in our books. Perhaps even more so for helping the vets.

For all of that Stephen Colbert, we give you our tip o’ the hat.

Don’t Forget Your Thank You Notes

Pen afficianados are a pretty polite group of people, but in case you weren’t sure to do about all the great gifts you got this holiday season, don’t forget to write your thank you notes.

Even notorious murderer and thief Clyde Barrow was courteous enough to write a thank you note. He made sure to take a quick break from life on the run with Bonnie in 1934 to thank Henry Ford for building superior getaway cars!

Even notorious murderer and thief Clyde Barrow was courteous enough to write a thank you note. He made sure to take a quick break from life on the run with Bonnie in 1934 to thank Henry Ford for building superior getaway cars!

The three-sentence thank you note is rapidly becoming a lost art form, and that is a shame. If someone goes through the trouble to find you a gift or do a favor, you should thank them. While an e-mail might be sufficient these days, a handwritten note or card is the ultimate way to go if you want to brighten their day. How often does anybody get happy mail in their mailbox these days?

Little thank you cards are ideal, as it is easy to fit in a 3-sentence message.

There is no great trick to composing the perfect thank you. Thank them for their gift, which you should name. Tell them why you like it. Tell them how you are going to use it. Sign it, and you are done!

Don’t limit your thank you notes to gifts. Write them for job interviews and other business matters. Job candidates who send actual thank you notes after an interview are statistically far more likely to get a call back or job. If it comes down to you and a less grateful job candidate, who do you think is getting the job? There are tons of reports out every year about this phenomenon.

You just closed a large business deal…send a thank you note. Thank yous help you stand out in other people’s memories. Who do you think they will turn to when a new product or service is needed? The guy or gal who sends a thank you note will stand out better in their memories.

If you need inspiration for a good thank you note, check out this link to 11 famous thank yous at the Mental Floss website. Notes range from personalities as big as President Reagan’s to Marilyn Monroe’s. My favorite was a missive written by notorious thief and murder Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde fame) to Henry Ford! Barrow thanks Ford for making his V8s so fast and durable that they are the vehicle of choice when a getaway car is needed.