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Brand Friend Spotlight: Robert Dimmick

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

We are pleased to introduce Robert Dimmick, aka “Etiquetteer,” as our newest brand friend!  A true advocate of gracious living, Robert devotes much of his time to guiding others through the world of etiquette with his blog “Etiquetteer” – check it out here: http://www.etiquetteer.com/home.

  1. Where are you from and where are you currently living? I’m a Louisiana native — no, not New Orleans, Southwest Louisiana — but when I moved to Boston for college I never looked back. So I’m Southern by birth, but Yankee by choice. This year I celebrate the 40th anniversary of my arrival in this wonderful city.
  2. How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll? Brett Braley-Palko was so enthusiastic I couldn’t help but go to the store on Lexington Avenue when I was in New York last year. It was like a candy store for correspondents.
  3. Do you have any favorite Dempsey & Carroll collections that helped to draw you in? I’ve always been mad about marbled paper, so as soon as I saw the rainbow of marbled linings of the Bright Ideas collection, I was hooked. And the Tropical Pineapple collections seem so suitable to me, since the pineapple has been so long recognized as a symbol of hospitality.

4. What drew you into the world of etiquette? One of my cousins got married when I was four years old, in 1968, and I never forgot how beautiful and magical it was, especially the teenage bridesmaids walking about the lawn under the big oak trees carrying large silver trays of rice bags. Then in junior high I discovered my mother’s copy of Emily Post, and the world she depicted was so beautiful — who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

5. How do you make traditions modern? Traditions become modern simply because we are not antique people. A white wedding dress of the 1920s looks very different compared to one in the 1970s, which looks very different from one today — but it’s still a white wedding dress. The tradition of the handwritten note has taken a beating because of the ease and speed of technology, but that has made it even more meaningful and beautiful. And really, we have to decide first how we want to include Beauty in our lives, and the lives of others. And any time you do that, it will involve Effort — but the effort will be worth it.

6. Can you recall the most memorable letter that you’ve received (or sent)? My father, who was not an active correspondent, wrote me a letter at a troubled time which included the phrase “We must concentrate on lovely, pure, and virtuous things.” I’m afraid that didn’t mean much to me at the time, but the knowledge he planted with that seed has flowered usefully later in life.

7. Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence? When I’m working on a column, I love to curl up on the day bed in my study. But I actually have three desks at home. The kitchen desk is where I keep all my social stationery, and I like to dash off a few Lovely Notes for the outgoing salver there. For greater concentration I move to the study where I have a small mirrored table. For thank-you notes I often write at my grandmother’s secretary in my dining room, just because it was hers. And when I feel I need a change of scene to stimulate my imagination I’ll go to the third floor of the Boston Athenaeum.

8. What are a few of your favorite things to do in your spare time? Before the pandemic you could count on me to be reading a new book in a restaurant almost every day of the week. Since then, like a lot of people, I’ve turned to cooking, and I’m a lot more comfortable improvising in the kitchen than I used to be. And I do love a brisk, vigorous walk through Forest Hills Cemetery near my home. 

9. What have been your favorite meals to make since quarantine?  One of the unexpected results of Etiquetteer’s Dress Dinner Challenge — early in the pandemic I would get dressed up on Saturday night and experiment with the old established formal dinner menus — was that I became more easygoing and adept at improvising in the kitchen. Early on that meant risotto, which is wonderful comfort food. And lately I’ve discovered spaghetti squash, which is fun to prepare.

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