Fan Mail Wednesday #218: Sharing This Ridiculously Beautiful Letter from Calloway in Illinois.

 
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I’ve neglected the blog of late, but to quote Vito Corleone, “I don’t apologize, that’s my life!”
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“I refuse to be a fool dancing on a string!”
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Just kidding about that. I am sorry. And I do apologize, Dear Reader. I’m horrible, frankly. The letters have been piling up, but I’ve been hunkering down with a deadline. And yes, that’s right, I nailed it! Thank you, thank you very much.
 
This letter came with a fabulous note from Calloway’s mother, who seems lovely and kind. She asked for my address, and I’ll give that to everyone here, even you crazy stalkers: James Preller, 12 Brookside Drive, Delmar, NY 12054.
 
Now, here’ s Calloway, unedited, from Illinois:
 
“Hi mr james preller. I love jigsaw Jones books. I read them all the time. Would you send me more? I drew a pictue of the ones i already have. I need the rest. I am a brownie girl scout. Did you know that i have diabetees to? i was born with it when iwas 2 years old. IT Meansxmy pancreeas doentst work. And then my brother stabbed me with a pencil last week and my mom got mad at us and made us collect food for hungry people and give away our halloeeen candy. and my mom got cancer this year snd she lets me use her new pink blankets and pillows. They are so fun to lay on. And i love the movie annie. But jigsaw Jones are my favorite books.. my teacher mrs. Garretson told me to read them. And my brother plays baseball and my dad teaches gym! He makes us do push ups and sit ups when we are bad. And i am in love with ______, a 5th grade boy. But you cant tell anyone that.
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Ok. So send me my books. Hope you have a happy day!!! Lalalalala. Oh and i was elvis Presley for Halloween. He is my favorite.
 
Ok bye, love Calloway”
 
I replied:
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Dear Calloway,
 
My goodness, your letter just made my heart explode a little bit. Now it’s all over the floor and in my hair and yuck, gross. You have such an exciting life! I’m so sorry about the pencil stabbing, but it sounds like your good mother handled it “astutely,” which means, in this case, with wisdom and grace.
 
No offense to your father, who I am sure is a great guy, but the thought of a tough gym teacher as a dad would have terrified me as a kid. “What, ten thousand more push-ups? YIKES!”
 
Don’t worry about your crush. Your secret is safe with me. (See how I removed his name?)
 
I am not always able to send books in the mail to every fabulous kid who writes to me. It would get expensive. But in your case — the most fabulous kid of 2015 — well, keep checking your mailbox.
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True story about cancer: My oldest son, Nick, is a two-time cancer survivor. He got sick when he was 2 years old, then again when he was 10. Hard times. But you know what? He’s 22 now and perfectly, wonderfully, terrifically healthy! I wrote about it, in a sly way, in the book SIX INNINGS, which your brother and father might like. Anyway, Mom, I’ll keep you in my thoughts.
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My best to your whole big beautiful family!
 –
James Preller
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P.S. Is there any chance you could send me a photo of you dressed up as Elvis Presley? Somehow my life feels incomplete without it.
 
P.P.S. Tell Mrs. Garretson that I love her (but don’t tell my wife)!
 
P.P.P.S. Lalalalala!

8 comments

  1. Karen says:

    Lovely response to such a lovely girl!!! Happy holidays!

  2. Katie says:

    I love every bit of this. Thank you for sharing. Lalalala!

  3. jimmy says:

    Thanks for your comments, Karen and Katie. There are many days when I can only shake my head and think, “Lucky me.”

    JP

  4. Erin Bowman says:

    My friend’s daughter wrote you that letter and your response was beautiful. I’m headed to Amazon to order some of your books for our boys. Many of us have shared this blog post. Thank you for restoring faith in humanity. A new forever fan. ❤️

  5. Robin says:

    Extraordinary, all of it. And so meaningful for you. What rewards writing can bring! So glad you shared this. And now, again, I don’t want to get off FB. But I do, no I don’t, yes I do, no I don’t.
    All best!

  6. Lorraine Leslie says:

    I am Grandma 3 to Calloway .She is just a wonderful kid
    I bet you she will be your new pen pal .
    Her birthday will be coming up the last week of Jan.
    Lalalalala
    ‘LL

  7. Jacki says:

    I’m Mrs. Garretson – lucky to be this amazing child’s teacher. She is every bit as witty and fun as her letter suggests. Thank you for publishing this. Our class will be reading many more of your books!

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