FishDreamer scribbles: Seeking Serenity Online

Tuesday, 10 August 2004

The Art of Letters

Oh my stars. I am having a manhattan with the fancy bourbon Mr D bought me and it is apparently a crime in some parts of Kentucky to sully this bourbon with vermouth, bitters, and a cherry. It is so smooth I can't believe it. I'm spoiled! Except I think as long as we keep some form of bourbon in the house, I will still enjoy manhattans. I just can't wait until my dad comes next month so I can share it with him.

I got a letter in the mail today. Actually, it was a card with a letter on it. I can't remember the last time I got a hand-written letter in the mail. And, as with everything, there's a story. About a week before we left on vacation, I got a desire to write a letter. I settled on one of my college friends who had never given up on me during all the years of depression. She moved away a while ago, and sent me a Christmas card with pictures of her family.

So I sent her a letter before I left, telling her how I was and how sorry I was that it had taken me until the end of July to respond to her Christmas card. I called a mutual friend (my college roommate for the bulk of the madness) while I was in New Jersey, who told me the friend I'd sent the letter to had moved back to her husband's home town since the last time I'd been in touch. I was hoping she'd still get my letter, since she hadn't moved all that long ago and I was fairly sure they'd get their mail forwarded.

And today, in response, I got a card. She was happy to hear from me and loved getting a real, post office-sent letter. And I did too! I have plans to write her back again, and more people as well. I think it's easier to get back in touch sometimes if you send a letter rather than an email. It's more personal.

One of the people I really want to get in touch with is my old friend from Ketchikan. He moved to Japan and got married there, but I think his family is still in Ketchikan. (I'm trying to remember the nicknames I had for him, but the only one I can dredge up is Holly Hobby which isn't one I gave him and had something to do with a hat he had when he was younger. And since Holly Hobby was a doll I had in my youth, it just isn't appealing for me. I'll come up with something if/when I actually get the guts to call his parents and ask for his address.)

This guy and I were the oddest kind of friends. He was, from my admittedly limited understanding of the KayHi social pecking order, something on the order of one of the nerdy geeky dudes. I met him through mutual friends with whom I attended arts camp in the summer, and then we really became close friends during the SouthEast Music Festival that was held in Ketchikan my sophomore/his senior year. We were both in our respective choirs, and recognized each other from before. Or maybe he made some comment about my shirt, because I know that was one of the things we wrote about.

I used to have a fairly large and respectable list of correspondents. After our fun time in Ketchikan, and acknowledging to myself if no one else that there was a spark of attraction there, I looked him up in the Southeast phone book and got his address. And I sent him a (probably ten-page) letter, written on the ferry on the way home.

We only met up in person twice after that: once at the end of that summer when my family left Alaska via the ferry, which stopped in Ketchikan long enough for me to get off and meet him for a soda, and once in the early 90s when he flew into the Seattle airport and I picked him up, fed him Dick's burgers, and drove him to Bellingham where his sister lived. He was already seeing his future wife then, I can remember going through the stores helping him find a ring for her. He was on his way home to visit his parents that time. Sometime after that, I lost touch. He sent me a postcard with a picture of him and his wife, which was the last I heard.

I'd love to call him up, just to surprise him. Just to say hi. The spark of attraction obviously went the way of most crushes a long time ago, but he means a lot to me and I hope he's well. Getting that letter back from my college friend has opened a floodgate of memories of all the letters I used to write, and how I got replies in the mail all the time.

I actually found mention of my Ketchikan friend online, so now I know where he lives and have sent a message to someone who might be able to help me find him. I hope so, I miss knowing how he is. He was one of those people who was close enough to trust but far enough away to reveal the things I didn't want those around me knowing. We had some fairly intense correspondence during the college years. I still have the letters somewhere, complete with the pictures he used to draw for me. I miss him.

And it's now 1 a.m. and I really must get to bed. I'll let you know when I find him.

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