I’d forgotten what was inside the heavy old box at the bottom of every desk I’ve had for the last quarter of a century.

When I was a young Butchster-misunderstood-art-school-geek, wayyyy before the internet, I exchanged hundreds of intimate letters with a penpal in NYC, a brilliant Jewish Lesbian 40 years older than me and just as isolated. After 5 years of banging our hearts out on old-school typewriters, we finally met. Then I understood why she was so isolated. The woman was cantankerous as hell! I went on to create my family and find my tribe, thanks for the internet. But I loved my friend, and even though I purge books and try to keep my ephemera tidy, I just don’t throw people away.

So today I opened this mystery box while cleaning. Ten pounds of beautiful familiar letters spilled out with her little arrows and scribbled comments in the margins. I still know her address by memory, including the zip code. She would be 90, and I wondered if she was still alive. So I googled. Would you believe my old penpal still lives in the same apartment and still has the same phone number for the last 25 years? So I called her. I told her how much she meant to me when I was young, and I still had all her letters. She is elderly and housebound now and was as delighted to hear my voice as I was to hear hers. So I am going to send her a letter today to honor all Hallmark endings.

Someone is gonna have to throw that box away when I am gone though. I hope they thumb through and read a paragraph or two. Such beautiful words she gave me.

Article written by

Daddy Rhon is known as an outlaw poet, author, artist, speaker, kinkster, web developer, community organizer, queer activist, and a founding leader of the genderqueer movement

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

Leave a Reply