If you can, imagine what the world was like before COVID - crazy to think about right? Well to give you some context, here's little old me, happy as a clam in my Vassar bubble and chummy as bait with my fellow thesis co-researchers. If you couldn't already tell, I also have a bad addiction to puns and generally tend to be a pretty quirky or, as my thesis professor would say, 'Zaney' person. Anyways, so we normally meet Friday afternoon, but, this week we had to switch to Friday morning. I knew people might be a bit hungry, so, I loaded up my toaster, some Italian bread, and fair trade butter into a bag and shimmied my way to class. Everyone got a hoot out of it and, most importantly, hot and buttery toast. Yum. Little did I know, that would be our last class together. The following week was spring break and almost overnight everything changed. COVID multiplied faster than the half life of Uranium. Students were prohibited from returning to campus and everything went online. I was heartbroken. I was a senior, and, already sad about graduating but as I watched all of our senior activities get cancelled, our graduation become virtual, and all of my friends and teachers dissipate, it just became rather overwhelming. While I know I was incredibly fortunate that those issues were what hurt the most, it didn't really feel all that lucky at the time...
Once classes started again, albeit online, our thesis Professor had us all send an update to her and our other thesis buddies. In my email, I jokingly offered to send anyone some toast if they wanted it - referencing out last meeting. Well, I guess the joke was on me because I had someone take me up on it. Honestly. his request made my day. In our conversation he jokingly ordered 10, individually packaged, toasts in special toaster envelopes. It was in that moment I decided it would be pretty funny to actually send him the toast - so - I did. On the back of each, I even included some inside jokes or memories from a few fun times we shared. I plopped them in an envelope and off they went- or, so I thought. On my first mailing attempt I didn't realize he gave me the wrong address (apparently 666 big oven companies ave isn't a real place... whoops). So, I returned to the post office and, luckily, they still had it for me to fix the address on.
Art has always been a copping mechanism for me. Making these toasts completely brightened my mood and that joy only intensified when I saw the happiness they brought him and soon others. I instantly became addicted to my toast making and started to create them for more of my thesis mates, friends, professors, and family. With each handmade toast I would craft a mini toaster envelope to keep them magically toasted through the mailing process. I would pair each physical toast with a written 'toast' where I expressed my love and appreciation for their recipient. This small act of creation and gratitude not only fed my soul, but, it gave me closure with Vassar and deeply strengthen my relationships with others. I also like to think it brightened their days, at least a little bit, when we all needed it most.
So, here, are some of my toasts. As you can see, my technique continues to evolve & I enjoy finding new ways to push the bounds of my dear little toasts. I hope you enjoy.