Letters arrived at camp.
The post man delivered them to my parents’ mailbox.
Letters came all the time.
Now they never come.
I miss her letters. Only three or four remain. Paper slightly aged, and cursive letters written into the page. I feel where my grandmother’s pen pressed down.
I called my grandmother “Dick Dick,” a name which received unfortunate taunting as I grew up. Since our last name is Dickinson, we shortened it. She signed every letter “Grandmother Dick Dick.”
She wrote about what my grandfather was doing, asked about what I was learning in school and added information to her letters beginning with the phrase, Did you know …
Dick Dick sent newspaper clippings about reading, but it was my father who helped me how to read her handwriting.
She wrote small cursive letters that ran into each other like little tug boats in the water. Sometimes I could not tell an f from an s. While at camp, her letters were left open for my interpretation.
At Governor’s School the Arts – Creative Writing freshman summer program in 2000, Dick Dick sent me a letter almost every day. She wanted to know what I wrote about. In her youth, she and my grandfather read Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning’s poems they composed in letters to each other.
Sometimes she scribbled a quote from their poetry.
When she died in 2003 one month before I graduated high school, I thought it marked the end of my childhood. I was depressed when my grandfather died, and I tried to bury feelings when Dick Dick died.
I wanted to keep them alive.
At age twenty, I began to interpret Papa’s legacy with Sons of the Edisto.
Dick Dick inspired me, also.
She ordered Hooked-on-Phonics so I could improve my speech.
She encouraged my writing.
She was also one of the people who influenced my name at birth, Rebecca Tinsley Dickinson, and the reason I am published as a journalist and author under the name, Rebecca T. Dickinson.
She was the last person to write me letters.
Who wrote you letters?
By Rebecca T. Dickinson
Next Week: for the grand finale, The Query Letter