Years ago — I don’t remember the date — an older gentleman wrote me a letter. This was while I was still working full-time at the Courant, and he was responding to some things I was writing about marriage equality.
The man was in his 80s, he let me know, and he frankly couldn’t see the big deal about allowing people to get married. He and his Barbara had been married for decades before she up and died on him and he would hope everyone could have a shot at the kind of life he’d shared with his wife.
He let me know that was a World War II veteran, as was his Barbara.
I wrote him back. Supportive letters like that one were few and far between. I thanked him for taking the time to write.
And then he wrote again. And again. And I answered every one of them. And when I quit the Courant, he wrote one more letter and it was forwarded to me, and I answered that one, too. His notes were droll and funny and filled with resignation at the vagaries of old age. He went past 90, pushed into 95 and his letters grew more infrequent, but they remained entirely entertaining.
Today’s envelope was written by his son, John, and the letter inside was one I’d expected, but dammit. So thank you, Jack, for the interesting conversation. And I’m hoping that he and Barbara are sitting in a cafe somewhere, falling in love all over again.
What a nice connection you had with him. It sounds like he was a kindhearted man. I’m sorry you lost your friend.
As with so many of these circumstances, I never once met him, though he kept offering to buy me coffee if I was ever in his neighborhood. I think I would have liked that.
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