Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been having a bit of a bloggy block. I had been determined to get this post done and posted before I moved on with other posts, but it has taken some time because I wanted to go back and reread the things that Jack has written to me. Before I got that done, however, Jack's health took a turn for the worse, and he has been in the hospital since March 31. I have tried to see him or be in touch every couple of days, so that has kept me busy along with juggling the rest of life's responsiblilites.

Jack is my neighbor across the street. He writes me letters. Really. Real pen to paper letters. I kid you not. He has a wonderful way with words. It makes my day when there is something from him in the post.

He is a widowed veteran (I am guessing Korean War era although I have never talked to him about his military service,) a retired personnel manager. And a wordsmith. Ah, the words...

When we first moved into this house, he visited with my husband at the mail box, telling him how happy he was that we had moved to the neighborhood, replacing the drug-dealing crackheads that used to live here.

That year at Christmas we gave him a plate of our homemade candies and cookies. He responded with a delightful thank you note. It left me agog, the way he wrote. It was amazing. An amazing thank you note. Seriously. The man is amazing. I mean, how many men do you know who write thank you notes? And use beautifully picturesque language?

And then after that, on occasion, he would write me funny little notes about my husband parking in my spot while I was at work or things going on in the neighborhood. And he would share magazines that he thought we would enjoy. And cartoons. And quotations. And clippings. I always wrote back to him, responding to his notes or thanking him for whatever he had sent over recently. He joked that we were having a “love affair” because of our letter writing. I think we had found in each other a kindred spirit. I think he kept writing to me because (a) he is a writer, a wordsmith and (b) I wrote back. (And, just for the record, there was nothing unseemly or improper in anything either one of us ever wrote.) He once commented that it was strange that he wrote to me, just across the street, more than he wrote to his relatives in Arizona. I think it was because I wrote back, because we recognized something in each other that we hadn’t found in anyone else.

As if the writing wasn't enough, he endeared himself to me early on when he yelled my name across the street by way of greeting. Like "Hello the house!" Except, my name. Cracked me up!

He is also very kind-hearted. Last winter (actually two winters ago now) we had a huge storm and Star and I were out shoveling. So was Jack. HE (the then 70-something year old man) tried to come over to help US (a then 17 year old girl and shovel snow but it was too, too deep, deep for him to get across the street. But he wanted to help. Because he is just a nice, nice person.

When K left for college, for one thing, there was a lot less activity going on at our house, and for another thing, there was one more serving of soup left in the pot or one more dessert left on the plate. We started sharing soup (homemade, of course) and baked goods once in awhile and visited a little more often. This also led to more thank you notes and correspondence back and forth.

So this is where I would have written a pithy conclusion,and where this post was supposed to have ended when I started it over two months ago, just a regular blog post about an unusual relationship between neighbors. In the mean time, as I mentioned in the intro, Jack's health has taken a turn for the worse. It now appears unlikely that Jack will come home.

No words.

No comments: