You’ve got mail!

Or rather, I’ve got mail! I was so excited today to reach into my mailbox and discover a letter from my teacher, Mrs. Sublette. She wrote back to me, and very quickly. I couldn’t wait to read it, and I knew immediately that it was the right Patricia Sublette, because I recognized her handwriting after all these years!

Dear Susan,

Life is full of surprises. Your letter is one of them and a priceless gift to me. Your letter arrived on a cold, snowy day and what a way to warm the cockles of my heart! Out of a nearly 30 year teaching career, you are the only student to have written me a letter, though I have had some half dozen former students to come back to see me. I could not help shedding a few tears of gratitude to know that I made a difference for someone. A teacher is often left wondering if he or she has made an impact.

That first paragraph would have been enough to make me feel wonderful, but she goes on…

When I left Symmes Valley for the year 1971, it was to go to Marshall (University) to get a Master’s in English education. Through the grapevine word came back to me that you said, “What does she want to do that for?”

I don’t remember asking that, but I probably did ask Mr. Hayes (the principal) why she wasn’t coming back. Why in the world would she want to leave us? To better herself? Unfathomable!

Mrs. Sublette says that she definitely remembers me as being a very smart young lady, including me with several other students, some of whom were friends of mine, and she was absolutely correct about them. She also told me a little about her life. She and her husband didn’t have children, and they were divorced in the late seventies, after which she left their then residence in Illinois and moved back to her hometown of Nitro, West Virginia. Her father built a house for her, and she lives there to this day.

She has some health problems, but it sounds as if she leads a very active life. Mrs. Sublette belongs to a book club, and among the fifteen of them, they read a total of 1,176 books last year! She reads e-books on her Kindle, and she has email and wi-fi. She asked if I wanted to continue corresponding with her! Of course I do! I can’t wait to find out more about the person she is now and the person about whom I wish I had learned more all those years ago. Her closing words were…

How can I find your blog? Best wishes to you and thank you so very much for your kind words and for warming my heart.

P.S. I’m still stunned that two people can connect after 45 years across time and space.

(In red pencil)

P.P.S. I still have my red pencil!

She had to redline some of her own text, because her computer wouldn’t cooperate. 🙂

I can’t say how thrilled I am about this development, and I plan to write again very soon. I’m debating whether to continue the correspondence by email, or by good old-fashioned snail mail. There’s something about opening your mailbox….

See you soon, Susan

13 thoughts on “You’ve got mail!

  1. Oh Susie, I’m so happy for you!! And for Mrs. Sublette! This fine example of how good human beings can be to each other, how important kindness and thoughtfulness is….well it makes my heart too big for my ribcage. How perfectly wonderful this story is. Sigh.
    PS I leap upon your posts. Literally….almost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Deb, it felt so…I don’t even know what the right word is…fulfilling, I think. My heart filled with love for this woman whom I hardly know, but want to know so desperately while there’s still time. I’ve already written her another, longer letter. This story just makes me realize that I don’t write to the people who are important to me nearly enough, and that includes you, dear heart.
      PS Your posts are quite leapt upon as well. Literally….almost.
      PPS Our postal system is pretty amazing, and will continue to be if we can keep the government from ruining it.
      PPPS You caught me! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh and I’m also glad that you left the bit in about Mrs Sublette referring to you as ‘very smart’. I can imagine that you might have wanted to skirt around that, but that the conscientious editor in you realised that such an act would be self-censuring. I did not fail to notice how you neatly got around it in almost the very next breath. 🙂


  3. I’m so excited for you and Mrs. Sublette. I know you’re glad you sent your letter. I have a friend who was a teacher for many years and then an AP, and she always tells me when a student contacts her or she runs into one of them. Nothing makes her happier. Teachers don’t always get the feedback they should. They do change lives and seldom ever know it. Good for you for making Mrs. Sublette’s day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bella, seeing that letter was like getting an early birthday gift. I don’t know why this has become so important to me, maybe it has something to do with facing my own mortality. But whatever is motivating it, I think it’s a good thing for both of us.


    • Thank you, Sissy! It’s kind of amazing what a little bit of correspondence can do to brighten someone’s day, hers and mine. Just like I always feel better after we have a conversation. You always make me feel good. ❤

      Just waiting on Spring!
      Love you!!!


  4. I just knew she’d be the right person. It’s wonderful that you did this, and brought her so much pleasure. I do think that, were I in your place, I’d stick wtih real mail rather than email. It carries a more personal touch — just as you recognized her handwriting. And there’s real value in something that can be taken out, turned over, re-read, and reconsidered. What fun this will be for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda, I’m so pleased with the outcome. I was half expecting to get a letter back from a family member saying she had passed. I was so lucky that didn’t happen. I think I will do a combination of writing. I already wrote back to her last evening, and I did that one by email, mainly because she wanted to see my blog, so I sent her the links to this one, and to the Bear Swamp Reflections blog. She seems pretty internet savvy, so I think she will enjoy reading them. But, yes, I’ve already read her letter many times, and there’s something about the physical presence that makes it more valuable.


  6. Have any of you had trouble with editing from the finished piece? I had to go back and move paragraphs around this morning. I had edited a couple of words or punctuation yesterday after I posted, and WordPress totally messed up my paragraph placing. Not the first time it’s happened.


  7. What a glorious gift! I am so glad you wrote to her — even all the more delighted she replied (I knew she would be the right Mrs. Sublette!). And thrilled that she is happy, healthy and so engaged in life! I have a huge smile on my face at this very moment and I suspect it pales on comparison to yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My smile was just as big, Jeanie! It is a gift I will treasure all my days. I’m hoping there will be many more in the years to come, because I plan to keep writing to her. 🙂


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