Monday, August 5, 2013

A Sort Of Homecoming

February 13, 1942

My Darling Buckingham,

     I hope this letter finds you well.  I hope this letter finds you, at all.  I heard that you were working the orange and grapefruit groves again, this winter, so I have employed the services of Juan The Southernmost Finder to locate you and deliver my message.  I am also counting on him to convince you to read it, or to read it to you, chasing after you, if necessary.

I am leaving New York City.  I could write for you a long list of reasons for my decision, but paper, as you may have heard, is scarce.  However, I have space enough to share with you three of my principal motivations.  

First, I cannot abide for a single additional day the overwhelming sensation of being a rat at the bottom of a labyrinth of trenches in France in either this war, or the first one.  Glimpses of sunshine - or even of sky - are few, far between, and tortuously brief.  I can't breathe.

Second, and I am well-prepared for - and deserving of - your "I told you so," but I have found that success as a designer of couture hats is as tenuous and short-lived as the rays of light that reach my face in these canyons of concrete.  I can still find buyers, but I can't ever count on when or where that happens.  It's a terrifically-exciting lifestyle for some, but it just makes me nervous.

Finally, I have realized that happiness for me has proven twice as elusive as sunbeams and success in the big city.  It peeks into my lonely soul just enough to remind me that I had once mastered it completely and set myself up for a lifetime of it.  The "once" of which I speak is, of course, the time I spent as your dusty drifter wife.

Happiness, it seems, can flit and fly and scurry away and hide, but what cannot do any of those is my unflagging love for you, my dear, destitute migrant laborer.  

So, there you have it, Buckingham.  I will find you.  I pray that your heart has not fully hardened to me by the time I do.

Walk safely, and remember to look both ways, my husband.

Yours Always,
Mildred The Mad (Former) Hatter

This post was prompted by the word "FLEETING" and my good and supportive friends at  STUDIO 30-PLUS, and is inspired by (although not a part of) my 2013 Camp NaNoWriMo novel.  Thanks for stopping by!


  1. How fun! I'm always caught off guard when a man (that would be you) writes in a 1st person who happens to be a woman.

    This is a great homecoming in two ways isn't it?

    1. Thanks Marie! I struggle with an ever-present fear that my characters - male and female - all end up sounding like me.

      Hopefully, Mildred is believable. She hardly speaks at all in the book, so it was fun to invent a voice for her in this letter.

      Thanks again for your encouragement and support!

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  3. Once I realized the narrator was a woman, I went back and re-read. I like it much better with that knowledge guiding me through the piece. Well done.

    1. Ooh - good point, Tara! Perhaps a little introduction at the beginning is in order. Classic mistake - assuming that the reader has ESP! (DOH!)

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  4. I liked the surprise! It took only a second to think back as to whether it mattered the letter's author was a woman, and it didn't to me. Well done.

  5. That was nice, unexpected little love story. I like the blast from the past and the details of the time that you added in there. What if the Mad Hatter were a woman... hmmm?

    1. Thanks Cheney! My main character was sooooo sweet on this hat-making little hoboess. Hoboette? Hobette? Lady Hobo!