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SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
A letter from
brings a smile.
ur mail had arrived
and it was the usual
collection of bills, no-
tices and circulars
plus one odd slightly
soiled and lumpy let-
ter in a purplish en-
velope. The letter was addressed to THE
NEWMANS on Riverside Drive. A real
stamp — not one of those inky red postage
meter substitutes — was licked and stuck in
the corner. Across the back of the envelope,
scrawled in large letters with a blue ball-
point pen, was the name CAMP WITCHEE-
WATCHIE. Camp Witchie-Watchie,
according to the return address, was on
LAKE WATCHIE-TATCHIE somewhere
in Maine's north woods.
My wife opened the letter. Why not? It
was addressed to us.
Inside was one of those prefab greeting
cards, the kind that are manufactured for
children at sleep-away camps so that they
can meet the camp requirement of having
written a letter home.
The letter went something like this:
. How are you? Today is
. We played
. We had
...etc. Hope you are well.
. I am
In the appropriate spaces were the words
— Arts and Crafts, swimming, lunch, Tues-
day, good, etc. The letter was signed in large
enthusiastic capital letters...PAULINE!
Squashed in the envelope was a large
pinkish piece of folded paper. Unfolded, the
paper radiated with a happy smiley face in
ballpoint, drawn to fill the entire sheet.
Across the bottom, again in capital letters
and signed once more in the same exuber-
ant hand, was the name PAULINE!!! and
the three even bigger words, I LOVE YOU!!!
My wife blinked away tears of joy, turned
to me and said, "She loves us."
"Honey," I said gently, taking the letter
from her hand and admiring the smiley face
grinning back at me from the paper. "I hate
to be the bearer of bad tidings. I really do.
But our kids are all in their twenties, none
of them are at camp...and we don't have a
girl named Pauline."
I've got to say, my wife took the news well.
We re-examined the letter. A close in-
spection confirmed that it was, in fact, tru-
ly sent to THE NEWMANS on Riverside
Drive. However, the numbers in the ad-
dress, written in the same exuberant hand-
writing as the signature inside, were not
quite so intelligible. Maybe, just maybe, the
number 9 was really supposed to be a num-
ber 1 to which a little too much embellish-
ment had been added.
What to do now?
A diligent line-by-line perusal of the tele-
phone book turned up, as we suspected, an-
other family of NEWMANS on Riverside
Drive, a few blocks away, a family un-
doubtedly wondering why they hadn't heard
from their daughter Pauline.
My wife got on the phone and, taking care
not to alarm the woman who answered,
asked if she was the mother of a child
named Pauline at Camp Witchie-Watchie.
The mother said Yes.
'Wonderful! Hi! She's written to us," said
my wife. She explained about receiving the
letter, our common name and the indistinct
address. She treated the woman to the com-
plete story of Pauline's day at camp, using
our knowledge about Tuesday...Arts and
crafts ...lunch... and so on. My wife, spar-
ing no detail, gushed on about the beauti-
ful drawing and told Pauline's mother, "She
"You're a lucky woman," said the moth-
er. "She's a lovely girl."
"I can tell," said my wife.
"She's one of a pair of twins. They're both
lovely. Her sister Yvonne is at the camp too.
Pauline is two minutes older."
They chatted awhile, the mother and my
wife, and in that brief period of time became
good friends. They had the children in com-
mon. My wife promised to mail our letter
from Pauline so that her mother could ad-
mire it also.
I was glad. Moral issues aside, I hope that
satisfied the Post Office. Regulations are so
strict about opening other people's mail.
My wife hung up smiling until a thought
hit her. A troubled shadow settled on her
"What's the matter," I said.
"That's funny." She bit the inside of her
mouth in consternation. "I wonder why
Yvonne didn't write?" ❑