I am one of three people in this particular solar system who still send Christmas cards by post. The other two are 97-year-old female twins who never married and live in rural Wisconsin in the house they were born in. I am an anachronism. And happy to be.
For over a year now I have been writing letters to strangers anonymously and leaving them around London for someone to find in the hope that I will bring some warmth, comfort or encouragement to that person. Why, you may ask?
I'm sorry you look like a candidate for "What Not To Wear," baby edition. Your brother had all brand-new, super-cute clothes, and you wear mostly his hand-me-downs, so that's why it's hard for me to figure out why you are always so disheveled.
I can understand your frustrations if the gadflies are harping on the implications of your rebrand. I never intended to offend or titillate my viewers either; rather I wanted to set myself a part from others.
I love the thought of time travel, especially traveling along the course of my own life. I think it's got a lot to do with recognizing how much my life has changed -- from who I was and what I expected as a 10-year-old to who I've become and how my expectations have changed.
Nowadays, a handwritten note is so rare and precious that it often sits on the desk and gets read and re-read a dozen times before it eventually gets put in the shoebox, forever and ever. There is something so deeply human and beautiful about seeing another person's handwriting.
Truth be known, I look forward every evening to giving my brain a well deserved rest from the mental aerobics I put it through daily. I admit it...I've been watching the same soap opera for fifty four years.
What do I have in common with Julia Child? Not the art of French cooking. I cannot follow a recipe to save my life. But Julia Child loved writing and receiving letters, and so do I. And in our love for letters, we both discovered an age-old recipe, and a recipe I can follow. A recipe for life.
Since early adolescence, I've been reading epistolary novels, enjoying their dual nature. On the one hand, there's the direct, immediate contact with the characters. On the other, there's the circuitousness and obliqueness of the storytelling.
While the inmates wrote of the ways I'd helped them, they were helping me: my essay and their responses were a conduit, a bridge connecting their world and mine. Writing transcended prison walls. The incarcerated women ignited a spark I thought had left my life when I lost my teaching position.
I have realized that writing someone a letter of love and gratitude is a beautiful experience for both the writer and the receiver. I plan to continue writing love letters to the people in my life that I truly love so much.
Septuagenarian bicyclist, landlord of historic homes, singer in the choirs... The lady has always rocked life with gusto and generosity, and very much to her own beat. This could not be better illustrated than by the over 20 years of letters she's faithfully written to me and my older brother.