“How to Say I Remember You,” March 16, 2021

Sometimes my life gets a bit out of hand. If you don’t know what I mean, you’re probably not the kind of person whose life ever gets out of hand.
Or maybe you’re not the kind of person who talks about your personal life. In a newspaper. To strangers. Who’ll talk about you over the fence to the neighbors.

Never mind. I like you the way you are. Anyhow, what was I saying? Oh. I was talking about how my life suddenly got out of hand. Or out of control. Or out of order. Whatever you want to call it. Here’s what happened.

A few months after my husband and I moved to a new town, I finally got around to changing my business address (for reader mail) to a new post office. I added the new address (P.O. Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924) to the end of my column and arranged to forward mail that came to the old address.

Every week I’d go to the new post office and pick up a stack of mail. It was always a lot to answer, but I tried.

Then last week, my husband came home from the post office with a refrigerator-sized box filled with hundreds of birthday cards and letters from readers. Not to mention emails and posts on my website. It was too much to read, let alone, to answer. I asked my husband to help, but he mumbled something needed fixing and went to the garage.

I am not complaining. I love to get mail. Especially the kind that turns strangers into friends and makes me think, OK, maybe I can write another column.

All I’m saying is this: I cannot answer all the mail I’ve received lately. I wish I could, but I truly don’t expect to live that long.

I’ve been staring for hours at that big box. If I look away, and look back, it gets bigger. Finally, I’ve come up with a solution. I’m going to answer all of it—more or less—in this column. Here goes:

_ To all of you who sent birthday cards and greetings to wish me (and my husband, whose birthday is close to mine) a happy birthday and many more to come: Thanks for the card, even if I shamelessly wrote a column to remind you.

_ To those of you who replied to the column in which I posted a recipe for Dutch Babies: I’m so glad you liked it, but, no, I don’t plan to post any more recipes ever again.

_ To those of you who said reading my column is like getting a letter from a friend and you wish we were neighbors: Thank you. I’m honored to be your friend. As for neighbors, I warn you. My husband plays his music loud. And if I borrow a cup of sugar or some money, I might not remember to pay it back.

_ To those who replied to a column I wrote about letter writing: I loved reading all the ways you’ve found to keep letter writing alive, writing to friends and loved ones, your children and grandchildren and elderly relatives, and even to a newspaper columnist. Bless you.

_ To those who asked about my sister and brother who’ve been ailing: They’re both on the mend. Thank you for your prayers and your kind and gracious concern.

_ To those of you who said that something I wrote made you smile or gave you hope or let you believe we can get through this pandemic together: I’m so glad to hear it. Your words do the same for me.

_ To those of you wrote about having recently lost a loved one: Please know my heart goes out to you. I can’t answer every letter. But I hope soon to answer yours.

Finally, I want to thank you all for a refrigerator-sized box of mail and all the mail that preceeded it in my 30 years as a columnist. A personal note can convey many fine things. An invitation. An admiration. An offer of comfort or friendship or hope. But most of all, it makes the reader feel remembered.

In her lovely card, a reader from Pennsylvania added these lines from W. H. Auden’s “Night Mail:”

“And none will hear the postman’s knock / Without a quickening of the heart, / For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?”

Thank you for remembering me.

Comments

  1. Kathy Armstrong says:

    I understand your feeling of needing to answer your mail from followers, but it is not necessary. We all just want to let you know you are loved and appreciate you bringing so much sunshine to our lives. Have a wonderful week❤️ PS. No need to answer my comment either🥰

  2. Kate Sciacca says:

    Somehow I missed this column (too many trips to the Reno airport dropping off or fetching #7 for work). You bless so many, and are blessed in return. Spring is working it’s way “over the hill” – should arrive any day now 😊👍🏻. I believe you have a special “spring gift” on the way? Enjoy!

  3. CHope Hall says:

    I always eagerly wait for your column of the week. It helps me get through another week of this virus. We have had our shots and served the additional 2 weeks, so we wore our masks and went to church yesterday for the first time in over a year. We returned to a church we had left several years ago and it felt like home. Several of our friends had died and there was a new pastor who was in our age group. We felt so much welcomed that we have found our church. God is good and we are so thankful for that. God bless you and yours and shelter you all in the hollow of His hands. It is well and God blesses us daily. Keep safe and keep writing. Please don’t even consider quitting. We love you and yours.

  4. Pam Dozier says:

    Wow, Sharon! Your columns still touch a chord with so many. The mail: What an overwhelming blessing, and a curse! I have a few friends who still write personal notes and cards, and mail them! I save them all, tack many on my enormous bulletin board (a nice one in a frame) with precious photos and miscellaneous memorabilia. It’s hung on the wall across from my bed so I can lie there and look at it before I go to sleep and when I awake in the morning. It makes me so happy, albeit it’s a little reminiscent of a dorm room! Let’s “do lunch” when the time is right. ❤️

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