I recently cleaned out my attic and in the process found letters from readers dating back to the 1970s, when I started writing for newspapers and magazines. Each one had felt like an unexpected gift so I never threw away any of them, not even the occasional furious screed. Once email became a way of life, the paper mail dwindled to a trickle, but thanks to the ease of electronic communication, the volume increased. It’s always a good day when I find reader mail in my in-box.
Sometimes, usually when I’m on the road, I am given all kinds of gifts, some clever, some thoughtful, some funny, and some even edible. A few favorites:
The pin came from a reader in Sandwich, MA who said that when she saw it in an antique shop, it reminded her of the episode in The Boston Girl when the family loses two little boys during the flu epidemic of 1918. “That scene tore my heart out and I felt the pin would remind you of those wonderful characters you created.”
The Boston Girl earrings, created by Annette Blazon, were a gift from jewelry store owner and maven Donna Soodalter-Toman.
The paper tent was a table centerpiece at National Council of Jewish Women’s luncheon in Cleveland. It’s made out of a copy of The Red Tent — about eleven inches tall including the tassel. Some friends have objected to the “destruction” of a book, but I love it.
The framed tent – four inches tall – by artist Teresa Moorehouse is made of cast resin and was given to me by the documentarian who made a film about the red tent movement.
The Boston Girl shoebox diorama came from the Nantucket Book Festival. Originally a window display, it featured a Marshmallow Peep perched on a cork, mimicking the cover image. The Peep disintegrated, but the background seascape remains beautiful.
The three-dimensional collage is the work of my friend, the artist Joel Moskowitz. He took the words from a lyric I wrote for a tune by another friend, pianist/composer Bert Seager. It has a place of pride on my desk.
The Boston Girl cookies (delicious!) were from the organizers of a reading at the Atlanta Jewish Community Center.