Posts tagged ‘letters’

Hearts United – Chapter 8

by: Rebecca Taylor

“Mail, mail and more mail,” said Sienna leafing through another pile of letters that she brought in. “But nothing from Todd. Self-help groups, dating services, men wanting to go on dates. Some of them sound nice but they’re not Todd Brody. I need to know is he real or isn’t he.”

“Mrrow,” said a voice interrupting her thoughts.

“Yes, Pumpkin, I’ll feed you in a minute.” She put the letters down and headed to the kitchen, opened the cupboard and proceeded to put cat kibble in the dish. Why does this have to be so complicated. Why couldn’t I just meet someone at the coffee shop or my office or something, but no, the person that I think is right for me came to me in my dreams. And what if my dreams were just a way to get me out of my shell as some of these letters are telling me – a lily pad to my future as one person wrote. Ugh, this is all so frustrating. The shrill sound of the telephone interrupted Sienna’s thoughts and she went to answer it.

“Hi, Sienna, it’s your dad.”

“Hi Dad,” answered Sienna laughing internally, her dad always told her it was him when he called. She had caller id and had known him for her twenty-six years, she was well aware of his voice.

“Would you like to come to supper Saturday night?” he asked.

“That depends,” she replied, “is it going to be a nice family dinner or do you want to decide how much counseling I require.”

“Honey, we love you, we just want what is best for you.”

“I love you too, but I’m an adult and I have to make my own decisions. I know being on TV might be a bit out there but it seemed like the best solution at the time. People write to me all the time because of it, I’m still hoping that there will be a letter from him or someone who knows him. I still dream of him, and he matters a lot to me.”

“But, Sienna, you don’t even know if he is real.”

“You’re right, I don’t, but maybe someday soon I will. It’s been several months now that I have been thinking about him and the dreams aren’t going away. I can’t just give up – I won’t.”

“Come to supper anyways, I promise we will talk about other things. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you and I miss you.”

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Hearts United – chapter 6

by: Rebecca Taylor

A few days later, Sienna went to her mailbox, her cat trailing behind her. She put the flag down and opened the grey box. She started to pull out the magazines and invoices and at the back was a large brown envelope from the television station. It’s thick, I wonder what it is. It doesn’t feel like a tape of the interview. I’ve been hoping for something ever since it was on TV but I was thinking more along the lines of a letter.

“Mrrow,” said her cat rubbing up against her leg.

“Come on, Pumpkin, let’s go see what this is.” Sienna’s hands shook as she sat at the kitchen table and pulled the envelope open. Several envelopes were inside and Sienna took the first one out and opened it. She unfolded the plain white sheet of paper and began to read it.

 

Dear Sienna,

 

I saw you on television and wanted to tell you how brave I thought you were to go out like that and tell people how you are feeling about Todd Brody. I don’t know if he is real or not, but I think he sure is to you. Some people say I’m silly to believe in fate, but I think we all have to believe that somebody’s out there watching over us with a plan even when we don’t know what it is.

 

Don’t give up.

 

Gracie Heimer, Age 17

 

Great, thought Sienna, now, someone’s looking up to what I did and telling me I’m brave and she’s just seventeen. My mother thinks I need help, and I haven’t spoken to my father yet, so who knows what he thinks. My mother says counseling but she tends to blow things out of proportion. To be feeling this way about a man my own age would be hard enough for a lot of people to understand, let alone this. She set the letter aside and pulled out the next one.

 

Dear Ms. Abbott,

 

I enjoyed watching you on Ellen Young’s show this week. Your passion when you spoke of Todd Brody was engaging, however, as a professional matchmaker, I must tell you that there are other ways to find someone you love, someone real. Give me a call and I could set you up with someone who has qualities just like the ones you care so much about in your Todd Brody.

 

Sincerely,

 

Louisa McGrath

Matchmaker

Connected Hearts Matchmaking Services

 

Do I just want someone? wondered Sienna petting Pumpkin who was sitting on the table watching her intently. But’s he’s real to me, cried a voice inside her head. A woman doesn’t need a man to be happy, but this one makes me so happy, that I don’t know why I wouldn’t try to find him.

 

Hearts United – chapter 3

by: Rebecca Taylor

Ellen Young was reading her e-mails at her desk at the television station where she worked. She was looking for an interesting story for the network to run, when she came across Sienna’s e-mail. She read the three paragraphs, which explained how Sienna was in love with a man she had never met in person, had never spoken with or corresponded with, however he had shown up night after night in her dreams and she needed to know if he was out there, and if he was if he was for her.

Interesting, thought Ellen, this letter is well written, but chances are this is just an unbalanced woman trying to get some attention from the media but it might be worth meeting her, see if we could run a segment from this…maybe tie it into something to do with finding lost loves. She wrote an e-mail back to Sienna inviting her into the studio the next week.

Sienna read the e-mail that she had received back, and shrugged her shoulders to loosen them. She was tired and now she had her moment of desperation to contend with. She knew that she could write back and delay the interview, or tell Ellen Young that she had changed her mind and wasn’t interested, but Sienna also knew that she had started to get the ball rolling on what might be her only chance at finding Todd. He might see her on the television and know that she was the one he had been waiting for, or he might think she was insane. She knew that she wouldn’t blame him if he did, after all if some man went on TV looking for her; she knew that she would probably be a bit more than skeptical. There are some risks worth taking, maybe this is one of them, she thought as she got up to put a frozen entree into the microwave for supper. What is my mother going to think when she hears about this? What if Todd Brody doesn’t exist? What if he is just a figure of my imagination? How on earth can I love a man that I’ve never met, a man that I don’t even know if he is real or not?

Touched by Memories

by: Rebecca Taylor

Occasionally you come across an item that changes your life, and to Katie McGraw we were just that. We are myself – a preserved wedding gown and my friend a groom’s tuxedo. It was almost dark outside when she climbed the stairs to the attic where we reside inside an oak trunk. She crossed the creaky old floorboards, the sound of her feet echoing as she walked. She stopped and looked around, coughing because of the dust which covered every inch of the rarely visited attic. After a few moments she headed over to the trunk, knelt beside it, and after dusting it off a bit with her hand opened it.

Katie picked up a scratched silver key and said, “From my first car, I sure wore it out, and it wasn’t new when I got it. I haven’t had one since that made me feel the way that 1989 pink Chevy did.”

She set the key down and pulled out a small gift box, she carefully untied the ribbon and letters came spilling out of the box. “I’d forgotten about these, Joe wrote them to me when he was trucking before he was transferred here to Aulson to take the job as dispatcher. She started to open one of the envelopes when she spotted us. She put the box on the floor at her side, and then moved a photo of her wedding and the wedding announcement.

She gently brought me out of the trunk and standing unfolded me displaying my radiant personality. It felt so good to be admired again; it reminded me of the day she wore me to marry Joe. It will be eight years on the 15th of this month. I remember the day like it was yesterday, it was a beautiful autumn day, Katie was twenty‑three and she was completely exuberant as she stood in me, an ivory floor length gown with a beaded neckline and veil. Her eyes gleamed as she walked down the aisle on her father’s arm to meet her soon to be husband. Joe was wearing my companion, a simple tailored black suit. The suit and I had never met before that day as it is considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her gown before the big day. We too were joined in holy matrimony that day and have not been separated since. We are reminders of the love that Katie and Joe have. The look in Katie’s eyes took me away from my reminiscing and once again, I turned my thoughts to the present. Katie looked sad and as you might imagine looking at me should not be a gloomy event. She was fingering the plastic that I was wrapped in but I could feel how cold her hands were through it. At that moment I became afraid, I knew from Katie’s actions that something was wrong because otherwise she would not have come up to the attic, which was rarely visited or cleaned. The trunk that Joe’s suit, the other mementos, and I reside in hasn’t been opened for three years, since Katie showed me to a friend who was planning her own wedding. It is a rare occasion to be brought out and admired, and here we were upset. Katie whispered something; I strained my ears to hear; she wants Joe to come back so they can work things out. They had a major argument, one that she is not sure their marriage can heal from. If it doesn’t then one of them will leave this house where we have all lived in for so long. If that happens, then the suit which has become my best friend and I will be separated too.   Katie put me back in the trunk, and sat down on the floor to pick up the box of letters that she had abandoned upon spotting me. She pulled out a random letter and started reading. Emotions of love and longing filling her heart as mine pounded away in anticipation. Everything was happening so fast that I felt like I might cry, but my friend, Suit, touched me gently on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Beauty, those letters will help her, look at her face now, it’s softening.”

I smiled slightly trying to cheer myself up; we could see the stars through the tiny attic window, a sight that we haven’t seen for years. Katie got up and headed downstairs with some of the letters. Then we were able to talk honestly about what each of us thought.

“Katie’s calm most of the time, but sometimes things build up and she becomes over emotional,” said the key.

“All couples fight, I spent a lot of time with Joe when he was writing me and my friends to her, they’re complete opposites but they make it work but sometimes it clashes,” said one of the letters that was still in the gift box.

“Relationships, sometimes you hate them and other times you love them,” answered the announcement.

“Do you think they can work it out,” I asked wondering if this would be one of the last chats that we memories of a happy time would have together.

“I think so,” answered the photograph, “the letters are helping Katie get composed, so hopefully when Joe comes back they’ll be able to talk about what’s bothering them.”

I nodded; none of us said too much about the situation after that, there wasn’t anything to say until we saw what would happen with Katie and Joe. I looked around the room now lit up by the light in the corner that Katie had left on. Everything was covered and dusty, all a part of something hidden away but not forgotten.

It was the next afternoon before Katie returned to the attic, this time with Joe. They put all of us back in our trunk and using warm soapy water set out to rid the attic of its grime. The cobwebs that had built up in the keyhole of the trunk were cleaned out so now we could feel the cool air and hear their voices even when the lid was closed. They worked in tandem to reorganize the attic, reliving moments past trying to mend their current issues. The smell of dust was replaced by the scent of lemon cleaning products, and fresh outdoor air. Together with us, Katie and Joe were able to work through their problems and also make the attic into a more pleasant space. The dim light bulb was replaced with one that gave an exuberant glow. The trunk where we live became a table and cosy chairs and cushions were brought upstairs to make a quiet getaway for the couple. They could now use the space for private or together time, to talk, read, or just enjoy the stars which glisten in the night sky. Katie had entered the dusty attic upset, to be met by memories of love that shone in their hearts and had temporarily been misplaced. These memories touched her heart and transformed all of our lives.

Memories of a Trunk

by: Rebecca Taylor

(previously published in The Sherbrooke Record)

 

            I have travelled across the seas to far away places; I have seen tragedy, destruction, and pain. Now, back home where I have been for the past sixty-three years, I am safe. I am made of hand chosen wood; I am the trunk George Bamford built and gave to his son Benjamin Michael before he went to war, an eighteen-year-old boy who became a man in 1939. I carried Ben’s uniform, a few other shards of clothing but most importantly the few reminders of home that he brought with him: a picture of his love Jenny, a handkerchief given to him by his younger sister, a Bible, and letters he had received from home.

 

            Often these letters were months old when he got them because the war forced him to travel many miles a day and sometimes the post didn’t get through enemy lines. The news was old but the love sent by Jenny, his parents and siblings was genuine and this was what kept him walking and surviving in the freezing cold, blistering heat and through the battles when he didn’t know if he would make it home to his loved ones. To have those amazing letters tucked away in my false bottom to protect the messages from falling into the wrong hands was a wonderful feeling.

 

            The more I got to know Ben and his family, the more I loved them. I prayed for them all during those six war torn years. When finally, the fighting had stopped and we were able to return home from Germany, I felt blessed and thankful. One of the worst days of fighting that I can remember is while Ben and I were fighting for survival and our beliefs in a trench. It was late at night and it was dark, only the light from the moon and stars shone on us, but the sound of our enemy’s artillery told they weren’t far away and we knew that if we lit the kerosene lamp our position would be compromised. Ben was crouched down in the trench on his belly beside me, firing his rifle whenever the dim light showed him someone sneaking our way. One of the enemy shots came very close to hitting Ben and taking him away from me, his military comrades, and his family back in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. But the bullet didn’t hit Ben; it hit me blazing a hole in my side. The shattering of my strong wooden body was unbelievable, I was stunned, but finally the bullet exited and hit the ground in our trench. I winced with the pain for several moments but finally when I looked over at Ben, his face lathered in sweat from his close call, I knew that we would be all right, because we had each other.

 

            Ben would have liked to patch me when we returned home but somehow he never got around to it, he was too busy catching up with his friends and family, marrying Jenny and having eight children of his own and eventually we all got used to the way I look. Ben’s daughter Amy says it is my medal of valour, for saving her father before she knew him. I’m grateful that Ben didn’t repair the bullet hole in me; it serves as a memory for all who look at me of what war can do. I wish more people would listen to my story, that is why I am writing to you tonight, to tell you that the world needs peace. Everyone fighting in a war no matter what side they are on has someone who loves and cares about them. I was lucky but there are a lot who return to their loved ones in caskets, and I wonder for what reason. Haven’t Ben, I, and all the others who have fought in wars shown that peace is necessary, that there has to be another way. I sit at the foot of Ben’s bed; he is now eighty-seven years old, but in fairly good health, a blessing for a man who went through as much as he did, trying to find the words to make myself understood. I think of Ben’s family and the looks on their faces the day we returned home, walking up the driveway into their loving arms. I reflect on Ben’s life with Jenny, who is also still with us, and the growth of their children, now we even have great grandchildren who come to visit. The summertime is a bustling place for us, a horrifying thought is jumping into my head, and I wish it would go away. What if one of Ben’s grandchildren, great grandchildren or a future generation has to go to fight for their beliefs and what if one of them doesn’t make it home. What will that do to this family or a family like it? I’d like to push that thought out of my mind but I know that it is too important to ignore. The time is now, the world needs to join together, and find a way to declare peace. Please help this happen, together we can stop the world from feeling the pain that so many families have felt and will feel if we don’t make changes. For now, I will go back to holding the memories of Ben’s family, from all the letters written during the war still tucked safely away in my false bottom as well as mounds of picture albums including one that holds the picture of Jenny that Ben took with him so long ago but I will not forget; you shouldn’t either. 

After the Death-Part 1

I didn’t know who my Grandma was.

I didn’t know, never had.

How was I supposed to clean out her house, plan her funeral, and keep her children from committing suicide?

I had finished the kitchen of this house. I was commissioned to pack the stuff into boxes and “give it to someone else.” I refused to do that. I kept some of it, of course, because I was going to get my reward for this. Other things, most of it, really, was put into flimsy cardboard boxes I had gotten from a nearby gas station dumpster.

I labeled the boxes with a red sharpie for the kids.

“Pam.”

“Dylan.”

“Catherine.”

They might hate me for it later and that was fine. I knew a decent amount of people who didn’t like my cynical manner and that was okay.

Today, in this bright 5am morning, I was going to eat before I started work.

I inhaled the scent of the sausage burrito from MacDonald’s and unwrapped it. I took a bite, letting the calories fill my mouth and surveyed the attic, where I was sitting on an old wooden chair. I was fascinated by attics, always had been.

This one, however, was a bit different than I had hoped for. There were boxes but, oh man, no one ever mentions the DUST. There was ever so much dust around me. With my free hand, I reached over and pried open a small wooden box.

I figured I would find old, saved Christmas letters from the year 1930 or something. What I found was alcohol. Too early, I told myself as I picked up a few of the bottles and examined the names. Might have to try some of these.

 Grandma, hiding alcohol? Seemed like a funny thing to just put up in the attic when she just as easily could have pulled it out during some sort of family gathering. Although, now that I thought about it, enough of the family already drowned their problems in alcohol. I remember my grandma hosting family gatherings and all of the cousins bringing their own beer coolers.

Family was kind of stressful, I thought to myself as I walked around the attic, looking for another likely box to open. Instead, I found a letter on top of one of the many piles of junk around and decided to open it.

Prying wasn’t bad when someone was dead, right? Its not like anyone was going to see this unless I read it first, anyways. I tore open the letter and looked at it. She was long winded but had beautiful handwriting.

The letter was fascinating and gave me a small inkling that maybe I should have gotten to know her better while she was alive instead of assuming she was some boring old person.

 Dear Whomever Finds This,

You must be cleaning my attic. Maybe I am in an old person home or just plain passed on to the grave? Wherever I am, I wish you well with cleaning this attic out. I’ve prayed for you many times before, since I know the job ahead of you is not an easy one. I have accumulated a lot of stuff but I imagine that will be the easiest part of dealing with an empty house. It seems, often, that empty houses create empty hearts. I’ve certainly had an empty heart before, or at least what I thought was an empty heart until I remembered that those around me still wanted a place in my heart whether it be family or friends.

A few notes for you:

The attic has a lot of old stuff and you might try selling it to an antique shop. Most of the basement is a bunch of junk, as far as I’m concerned, as it was my late husbands packrat storage area. My jewelry…I hope that will get to some of the younger women in the family. The letters may prove of interest to the people they are addressed to, but should be given at the right time. You may also find some other surprises in the house and I wish you well. I dearly wish for the next person to own this house will love it like I loved it because I certainly hate to think of the empty hearts it will create.

 God bless you,

Edna Brownstone 

Ps. I left some boxes labeled for the neighbors. They didn’t all like me but they all deserve love so if you find anything you think they’d want, please pass it on to them!

 

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