Traveling alone in the days before the internet, my stops to pick up letters from home were sometimes what saved me. They made me feel connected, less lonely, loved even when I was surrounded by strangers. One day I took a train from Florence to Venice and back just to secure a handful of letters that were waiting for me at the Amex office. If I dug into a box in my closet, I’d find them there today. But I don’t write letters much anymore, and don’t receive them either, now that technology has offered so many news ways to connect. But this week I got a short and beautiful letter — accompanied by a short and beautiful poem — by the friend I most often correspond with. It carried sad news, and I held those pages at the kitchen table and cried a bit, for the news itself and for the way we are no longer young, buffered from the hard things life can deal us. I responded to the letter with an email, though it deserves paper and ink. The letter in the photo, though, goes back to an earlier innocence. My sentences, offered in the the most legible print I can manage, and Chris’s drawing, are on their way to San Antonio. The recipients are six and four, early readers, and we don’t see them as often as we’d like.
January 31, 2015