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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: The Letter
By Anastacia Hawkins


Every so often, my heart leads me to “the box”, my box of memories and treasures. Today was one of those days. I draw out the photos of my youth, school pictures from kindergarten to sixth grade. “Did I really wear such ridiculous clothing?” I giggle as I glance at a photo of myself in a pink and white pinafore, much like a dress Laura Ingalls would have worn in her youth. I rummage through the cards, photographs and letters, memories flooding my mind, putting a smile on my face.
Near the bottom of the box I find a letter. As I pick it up, my heart skips a beat, the handwriting on the envelope so familiar. I lightly run the tips of my fingers across the words "To Stacey Alicia Maria on her 10th Birthday, June 10th, 1974". The letter from Dad. I close my eyes and picture his large, gentle hand scrawling the generous, loopy letters as he thinks of his youngest daughter and what he might say to her on her 10th birthday. What life lesson should he impart? What message of love would be enough?
"Today, on your 10th birthday, seems to be a good time to tell you how much I love you and how much you’ve meant to me throughout the past 10 years." Six years later, he would be gone. I would be sixteen and without a father to love, to debate with, to learn from, to be held by when my heart was broken.
"My baby, the greatest thing you can do for me is to continue through life being a fine person, doing good things for others, believing in God, and always remembering your Daddy and the way he loves you." These words seep in through my eyes and touch my very soul. His heart was weak, but his love strong enough to cross a divide of thirty years, reach out to me through these precious words on paper and say “I love you. I’m here.” I wipe away the tears that are streaking down my cheeks and hold the letter close to my heart. I bring it to my nose and breath in. Instead of dusty paper and ink, the scents of coffee, cigars and dry-cleaning fill my senses, and he’s here with me, always with me.

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This article has been read 344 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon10/28/10
I have a box of memories and a letter written by my husband. I take it out every once in a while and read his words of love. Thank you for such a touching letter.
Nancy Sullivan 10/28/10
What a treasure we can leave for our children and grandchildren by taking the time to write letters to them. The power of the written word is the common denominator for all of us at FW. Great job.
DK Landers10/30/10
Letters can mean so much to loved ones after a loved one dies. Very touching. Good job with the topic.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/10
What a beautiful letter one a child would treasure for many years. It's also a great reminder to all parents today to take the time to write a hand-written letter to your child. Some may want to give the letters now. I have a journal for each of my kids where I write about daily events they might forget and an occasional letter about how they have grown. I have several books for each child. I can't wait until their wedding day or when they have their first child to share these letters with them. I haven't written recently but your story has inspired me to write them each a letter today.
Jan Ackerson 10/31/10
You did a beautiful job of writing in the present tense, and your last sentence is exquisite.
Brenda Rice 11/03/10
Very good story and I could feel him there with her too. I could smell the cigar, I think.
Nancy Sullivan 11/04/10
Congratulations on your HC, Anastacia. Very well deserved.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations for placing Highly Commended in your level!