The Mysterious Letter

Dad picked me up from school so I didn’t have to ride the stinkin’ bus home! The bus isn’t smelly, but it is loud and noisy with things flying through the air. Yesterday I was hit in the head with an animal cracker that came from the back of the bus. It didn’t hurt, but other kids were hit too. The smaller kids scream and yell almost constantly, and sometimes I wonder how in the world I got on a bus with these kinds of people.

We stopped at the mess of mailboxes for our section of town-homes. After getting the mail I threw it on the front seat and told Dad I would meet him at home, which was just across the street. I made a dash for it and was almost home before hearing him start the car. I was standing in the driveway at the middle of the garage door when he pulled up seconds later. Dad hit the button on his visor to open the garage door and as the door lifted I pretended to raise it myself, Superman style.

He slowly pulled into the tiny space, beeped the horn and waved for me to come back because I was already on my way into the house. When I went back to his door that was partly open, he rustled up all the mail, gave it to me and said, “Here, take these inside and set them all on my desk….”

As I laid the envelopes on his desk they spread apart and one got my attention. It had my name on it, I thought. I looked again and sure enough, my name was printed on the front. I didn’t open it. I left it all for Dad as I began unloading my backpack.

I got myself a snack out of the fridge and dad told me that at one time they were called iceboxes because they used a big block of ice to keep the things cold. Yeah, my dad is pretty old, though he really doesn’t look any older than most of the other parents’ at school. My dad still has black (I know it’s black but he says it’s dark brown) hair, and is not obese at all, but he does have a soft pillow (his stomach) for me to rest my head and I often warn him not to get rid of that!

Last summer, I went on vacation to see my mom and when I returned, his pillow was almost gone, but I had him eating a horde of snacks and that pillow soon made a return.

I guess this would be as good a time as any to tell you a bit about myself… My name is, Samantha, and that name is from a television witch, my dad liked her.   She was actually more human than witch but Dad just loved the way she wiggled her little nose and, “Poof,” made things happen. I am eleven and sometimes weigh as much as ninety-three pounds, well I did hit that mark once, then too, I am almost as tall as Dad. I am four-foot eleven inches, as tall as his first wife. Dad says he’s shrinking because he was five foot six, but is now down to five foot four, so I guess he is.

I have dark brown shoulder length hair, a lot of it that sometimes frizzes out and I don’t know how to control it, so most days Dad puts my hair into a ponytail. Dad promises me that one day I’ll love my hair but I don’t know about that. I also have the brown eyes, like him. My skin always looks tanned, even in winter and I guess that’s due to the darker complexion of my Filipino mother, who I only see about every other summer because she lives far away from us.

“You are the perfect color,” Dad says and he’s got the white Italian heritage so the mix of the two is kind of a caramel, I’ve been told.

I have what is called, “Dual Citizenship” one for the Philippines and one for America. I was born in the Philippines but I have lived here since 2004, so almost my entire life; I was born in 2003. Dad sometimes talks about moving back there, but so far I’ve been able to talk him out of it on account of my school friends. And I tell him, “I don’t know how they will treat me at a new school,” that’s kept him grounded to my school district.

Anyway, I forgot all about that envelope with my name on it until Dad called me to his desk and showed it to me. He knew that I was on the computer a lot and that maybe I gave my name and address to a site without knowing what it was for. He’s always warning me not to give out any info on the computer and I haven’t.

“What is it for, Dad,” I asked.

“Ahh, it’s probably nothing you did because look,” and right there in the window of that envelope was my name, well almost, Samantha L Tullio. Well, the first name was mine but that middle initial, well that was Dad’s, and the last name belonged to us both.

We opened it up because it was kinda’ heavy.   It weighed more than the other regular letters and was from a credit card outfit that Dad knew of. Inside were two pages typed on heavy paper and a fake credit card that Dad gave to me.

It only talked of boring stuff and Dad said that he normally just throws those things out but I was there and saw it so he didn’t want me to think he was hiding anything…he’s sort of odd that way. He’s always worried about the future that hasn’t happened yet. Of course he is improving because he used to always worry about the past, which he couldn’t change – so hurrah for him!

Dad just got a text from his sister my Aunt Betty, and I guess she is really having a terrible day. Dad told me, “First she had the police out to her place this morning because one of the kids she cares for got his arm stuck in a toy and she couldn’t get it out, then a different one told her preschool teacher that Aunt Betty hit her, Aunt Betty says, “I did not!” I believe my Aunt on that because she is a lover of kids and animals. She told Dad that she needs a drink, but she doesn’t drink so she won’t do that.

Aunt Betty just said, “When all the kids are gone, an hour and a half from now, I’ll go to bed because I’ve been up since three thirty this morning,” and the time now is four o’clock in the afternoon.

After he quit texting he told me, “You better do well in school so you can get a good job doing what you like to do instead of what you have to do to earn a living.”  Somebody once said, “If you’re lucky enough to have a job you like, you’ll never work a day in your life” or something like that.

Well of course Dad. The mystery of that envelope is gone, so I can get on with my other important matters like, “Should I wear a jacket today or not, hmmm…”

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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