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Tag Archives: letters

found poem: letter-writers

found poem: in a vivid Dawn

found poem: poetry

found poem: the leaves

found poem: assembly

found poem: versed

found poem: epistolary

found poem: THE MEANING

found poem: and how

found poem: translator

found poem: rolling

found poem: a dream

found poem: the garden

found poem: I am writing

found poem: alphabets

found poem: THE LETTER




LRK to DAK in SBAs I search to understand myself through the evidence of my childhood, I rely on scraps of memory, old photographs and a few pieces of early artwork. While each is revealing in its own way, I’m never entirely certain of the truth — whether I’m seeing something real or simply what I want or expect to see.

I don’t know how often my father wrote to my mother during the months she lived in Santa Barbara, or whether she wrote back to him. But from that time, when I was 3, this letter survives.

My father recounts in some detail our dinner with cousins, then writes,

“I made a remark to Ida [my babysitter] yesterday that Judy’s hair was getting pretty long. Well, our Tootsl [one of my father’s many nicknames for me] picked it up & wouldn’t let me rest last night until I had given her a haircut — which didn’t turn out too [word missing] at all and was well worth saving $1.25.

“She said to me tonight, ‘Why is Mommy staying in Santa Barbara?’ I said, ‘So Mommy will get strong & healthy & we’ll have much fun together.’ She asked, ‘D’you mean that Mommy won’t have to eat in bed any more?’ which, I think, is pretty sound observation.”

It’s a rare glimpse into my young self, not as remembered, but as observed: trying to understand my mother’s absence and make sure not to displease my father by having hair that was too long. Between my parents, it was easy chat about the day’s events; for me, it is in some way the kernel of my story.

tea leaves…

jik age 6 to DAK side 1

jik age 6 to DAK side 2

jik age 6 to DAK envelopeMuch has been thrown away, but over the years my father, my mother and I each made decisions about things that would be kept. This letter, which I wrote at age 6, was in a folder my father labeled “Treasures.”

I read it like tea leaves: the chaos of a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, the sudden rainbow, the two names with their inverted letters — Jan, the girl I envied, the girl I wanted to be, from earliest school days, and Julie, my best friend.

And the letter itself: the formality of Dear Mother (had her long absence when I was 3 and 4 changed her from Mommy and tucked a wedge of caution or suspicion into our relationship ever after?), the surprise of the quite-adult suppose, the unfinished because you, the picture of my red-headed mother in a fancy dress walking a green dog.

The letter covers both sides of a sheet of newsprint and another sheet has been folded in 6-year-old fashion into an envelope, with a liberal application of Scotch tape, and addressed in ballpoint pen, each letter carefully inscribed twice over.

So much is unknown. Sentences unfinished. Wrong-headed suppositions. But as my friends will attest, I still sign my letters xoxo and I can’t resist a green dog.

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