Saturday, March 30, 2013

"and Jane" - Entry #31

It is the end of March and I have surpassed the ten-month mark of the Writing Project.  I have written to professional colleagues, family members, neighbors on the street, both full-time and part-time campus faculty, undergraduates enrolled at the University, complete strangers, and close friends.  For every piece of correspondence, I have signed my name alone.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  This self-crafted assignment relies on my motivation to fashion the notes and letters I send and my decision-making authority on who receives them.  I don’t consult anyone for ideas and thoughts.  I have some type of mental list of would-be recipients, but part of the fun of the Writing Project is the spur of the moment choice or someone I have just met, even for a fleeting moment.  I sit at my office desk in the early morning or at the kitchen table at night and decide, write, address, seal, and stamp the day’s output.

While the aforementioned description is accurate I have recently made one slight variation, courtesy of my wife.  When I have written to friends or couples we both know, socialize with, or have some sort of relationship with I have signed my name and my name alone.  Again, this is my pet project.  I may tell her who I am sending a note to or I may not.  It’s not because I’m trying to be secretive or mysterious.  I’m not hiding anything.  My sole thought is I am the one writing so I am the one signing.  Simple logic.  Well, that hasn’t always gone over too favorably.  It seems that, for example, when I sent a note to a close friend in the hospital he told his wife about the correspondence.  Naturally.  The next time his wife spoke to my better half she brought up “The Note.”   This would be the note my wife knew nothing about.  The result—there was a talking.  She talked.  I listened.  A few weeks later I mailed a condolence card to a long-time friend simply signing “Stu.”  Oops.  Another chat between the two wives, which begat another one of those “talks.”  

I silently vowed to myself not to make the same mistake for a third time.  The growl of a baseball umpire reverberated in my head, “Strike three! You are outta here!”  Earlier this month my extended family gathered in Arlington, Virginia for a niece’s Bat Mitzvah.  There were relatives I had not seen for a long time and other people my wife and I met during the weekend’s festivities.  Upon returning home I had a week’s worth of folks to send correspondence.  Even though I ferreted out previously unknown addresses and wrote all the notes I made sure each one ended with “and Jane.” 

The Writing Project is still under my guidance and leadership.  The only difference is I have evolved a bit, undergone a slight metamorphosis, and experienced a modicum of maturation to incorporate a minor variation for a fraction of the notes and letters I mail out.  To paraphrase the humorist, Franklin P. Jones, the experience I gleaned from my mistake has ensured me I wouldn’t make it again.