Grandpa Jim

Vertical black and white portrait of my grandfather smiling at the kitchen table

A former schoolteacher, constant gardener and devout correspondent, Grandpa Jim made himself a regular part of my life through letter writing (we lived on opposite coasts for 18 years). He regularly mailed packages, filled with LA Times newspaper clippings that tightly sandwiched a typed letter. Grandpa Jim’s correspondence was painstakingly personalized; he only chose those articles that aligned with my hobbies – music, art, travel and the like – and diligently edited his writing. Any typos were neatly whited out and corrected with his penciled handwriting. He only ever used capital letters.

While I credit many educators for my development as a writer, I feel I owe him the greatest debt in this capacity. Were it not for him, my interest in writing and indeed, the power of words may never have been born.

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