Thursday, May 19, 2016

More from the "Letters from Lyn" series

I'm really enjoying re-living the past through letters, so thought I'd share this one too.  I'm glad to have had such a faithful correspondent in the "pre-Facebook" (or internet, for that matter.  Pre-cell phones too) era.

This one is from 12 May 1981, or about a week after we finished our first year in college.  It's written on mint-green paper and has a matching envelope.  It's printed in blue ink in Lyn's distinctive handwriting.  It pre-dates the previous Lyn letter by a little, and answers some questions that were raised by the first one...

Goes like this:


Me, nearly 19, in my freshman dorm room.
The shirt says 'Musicians do it with Rhythm.'  Classy.

I had all these things to send to you, so I thought I would get them off to you before they piled up.

I have to run...

Always running errands and doing work around the house!

So far, vacation has been okay.  Nothing spectacular, though.  The wedding was really nice - the weather was very warm and I wore my new dress.  Jack and them liked it.  Afterwards, I went to Tim's 4th B-Day party.  He was really cute; so excited over everything.

The baby is adorable - he lungs are certainly healthy now - you should hear her cry!  I kept the three of them Sunday so Bettilu could go to church and see Pete being baptized.

Monday I went job hunting - I start Thursday!  There's a new fast-food type restaurant opening up called Bojangle's.  It should open w/in the next 2 weeks.  Thursday I go for orientation+ I begin training next week.  I'll be a day-shift cashier starting at $3.45 an hour.  Also - I'll be working Christmas + next summer at the Baptist Book Store.  I'm pretty will situated - extremely lucky too.   There are people practically crying for a jon.

I talked to David C. today  He's going to take me to the VCU weight room every once in a while so I can keep up this summer!

The pictures all came out really cute.  I thought you would like these.  I found the post card when I was cleaning my room.  Thought you would like to show Mom.  The other picture of you and Chris is really good, but I'm sending it to Chris.  The one is funnier.  The one's of Matt and me are good as is the one of me + Sam + the one of Chris that you took.

Tonight I'm taking Tom to a small family get together.  My Aunt Mary is having everyone over for desert (sic).  All of the little ones will be there (my second cousins, etc.)

Well, dinner's almost ready, so I'd better run.  Write soon,

Love ya, Lyn

P.S. - I really miss all you guys - I'm not used to being by myself!


There's a note on the envelope that she had a date with Jack that night.  I sure wish I could remember who Jack was.  No memory of him at all.

It cost 18 cents to mail this letter 35 years ago.

Minimum wage in 1981 was $3.35, so Lyn was hauling it in at 10 cents more than that an hour.

Tim is now 39 years old.

The Chris mentioned in this letter is not the 'perfect hair' Chris from the last one.  This Chris did have perfect hair, yes, but was a HS wrestler and a year older than me.  Good kisser.  ;)

I was my younger son's age when I received this letter (almost 19), and much thinner than I am now.  Had more hair and fewer wrinkles, more nerve and less sense.  What a journey!

Tiff out.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Unread for more than 30 years

In keeping with the previous post, I shall now transcribe a letter I received more than 30 years ago (Good Grief - 1984) that it appears I had never read.  The seal was perfect, and I had no idea what was inside.

This is it, though I will not revel the sender.  It was a guy, who I don't recall having a relationship with, but we were obviously friends...and it's written on lined paper with a rainbow in the upper left corner, in very neat handwriting.  So, yeah, maybe not a relationship (IYKWIM).



Dear Tiff (ed note: he used my actual last name, obviously)

Hi babe; how's life at old JMU?  I figured I better write you soon or you might think I forgot you.  Well believe me I haven't forgotten you and I really miss you a lot.  How's classes coming along so far?  I haven't found a job yet and my car still isn't fixed but it's coming along.  All they have to do is get my new bumpers on and she'll be ready to roll.  How 'bout them Dukes winning two in a row.  I hear the Convo was really rockin' for the Navy game and the Electric Zoo was back in full force.  I wish things were that exciting around here!  So how's your new dorm?  Say hi to your new and old roomie for me.

I know it's kind of late to bring this up now, but I just got the Christmas card you sent me before I left school.  It was beautiful and I'd like to thank you for it.  Thank you!  I didn't read it until I got back home and it really did cheer me up a lot.  I really miss JMU and I hate myself for screwing up the way  I did.  There's just two things to say.  I really do appreciate the card and the way you treat me, you have to be the best damn friend a guy could ask for and I don't know what I'd do without you and secondly I love you!  Thanks for always being there for me and if you ever need anything you konw I'll always be there for you, you just write or call or drop by you're always welcome!  Thanks for being such a great friend.  Hope you have a great year, son't study too hard and hopefully I'll see you soon.  Tell everybody I said hello and I'll see them soon.

Love always,


Y'all -I have no idea or memory of what went down, but it must have been big.  Dude didn't come back to school.  Screwed up somehow and didn't come back.  We were friends, and I've forgotten all about this.

I'm so glad I kept the letters, so that at some point the past might be put back together.  Or not, but at least I know that at one point I was good to this person and he loved me for it.

Maybe I wasn't as big a screwup back then as I thought I was.  A voice from the past tells me this might indeed have been the case.

Tiff out.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

In which I transcribe a letter received in June 1981 from Lyn Hovatter

Y'all.  We have been rearranging things in the house (ie, clutter), and I have uneartherd so many jewels from my past.  College yearbook photos, stuffed animals, greeting cards, and LETTERS.  Remember letters?  


Like this one, from my still-buddy Lyn, quoted in full:


June 16


Well I have lots to tell you!

First of all, the "trial" was today...and...we waited for 1 hr. 45 mins, got up on the stand, waited for Officer Wade to get there, and the, they said "Thank you for helping us catch the real vandals, you're dismissed!"  Just like that, The whole case dismissed!  I has pretty happy.

Anyway, KD was fun - very hot, but fun.  Flintstone Follies hadn't opened yet, they were still in rehearsal w/opening yesterday.  Chris was really funny.  I went looking for him & gave him your greetings.  He invited us to a complete  run-through of the show.  We went back and Beth and I got used.  This guy jumped off the stage, grabbed us and made us go up and dance during the audience participation number.  I had to dance with Lem B (Remember?  from Madisonians).  I had a blast. Chris has lots of solos and he even gets to walk in the audience and serenade the ladies w/ 'Breakin' up is hard to do.'  He is super.  His voice is perfectly suited for that.  Scott Babcock plays drums for that show too.  Chris says that his outfit is hot pink.  I'll be it looks good though.  Oh!  He got something done to his hair - it's still perfect, but ti's short and wavy - I think it's a perm.

Anyway...I'm at work - 2-11`, then 6 a.m. tomorrow.  Yeah!  Herb is manager in charge tonight - he's a trip!

I'm on break,  I have to go back in 5 mins and I probably won't finish this until tomorrow.

Jack was really cute - he called this a.m. before I left for court and told me not to bed nervous.  Then he calle fomr work, when I got home to find the 'verdict.'  He also promised to help me celebrate my B-day on Sat. evening.  Beth will too, I'm sure.

Amy and Liz gave me strawberry everything!  Shampoo, bubble bath, candy, gum, lipgloss, air freshener for the car, etc...It was hilarious, but I love it.

Sam called and may come down the weekend of the 27th.  I hope so, that'll be fun.

Herb just came by and I thought he was going to yell at me for writing this on his time.  Instead he said 'Tell Kerry I think she's really cute!" (watch Kerry' head swell!)  I told him you said he was too, when you were here.  Too bad he's married, eh?

I wrote Audrey today and caught her up on everything.

Well, I gotta go - write soon and tell Mom, Dad, Kirk, and David hello!

Love ya,


Lyn?  I have no idea who Herb is.

Or Jack.

The rest of y'all I remember.

We'd known one another almost one whole year by thins point.

We've been friends now for almost 35.

God we're old.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Things and stuff.

This is going to be creaky as sheeyit.

I've forgotten how to write in long sentences, all strung together, with a common thought to bind them one to another.

Many things are to blame, but the focus right now is on Facebook, and how easy it's made it to 'connect' with people we either know, want to know, or don't know at all and just clicked' friend' in a moment of stalkery/drunkenness/enthusiasm/evil.

It's all so easy.

And, well, predictable.

A friend (hiddenmahala, go read her now) has started blogging again, and it's like a breath of fresh mountain air sweeping through a musty valley of ennui, I have to tell you.  She has words, they're good words, possibly the best words, and she will and does use them better than anybody else.

However, I too have words, and feel like using them, so...


It's a beautiful evening in the 27587.  Cool, clear, bright still in the late afternoon sun (it's 6:30 as I write this; we won't see dark for at least another 2 hours).  The windows are open, birds are mingling voice, wind is shushing around the grown-in leaves on the trees.  Traffic noise is minimal, and for some strange reason nobody is mowing their yard right now.  It's peaceful, is what it is.

The day has been fitful, at once productive but not nearly as much as it could have been.  I've yet to absorb the 'text on nature' photo memes that exhort to make every day count, go conquer the world, be breathtaking before breakfast, etc.  I just don't have that kind of life life anymore.  Making every day count to me now means making note of the small things, like waking up, and peeing when I want, and being in love, and having something tasty for lunch while living in a home I can afford in a body that doesn't hurt most of the time that can pick up a book, whenever, and read.  Making every day count doesn't mean I have to DO anything, now, it means that what is present in this day, counts.

Even if I spend 80% of it in my pajamas, it still counts.


My desk is in our bedroom.  It's three steps from bed to work.  The desk is positioned so I can look out our bedroom window into the back garden, where nothing is planted.

The squirrels and birds don't seem to mind.  They are busy out there every day, pulling worms from the soil or hopping picket-top to picket-top (birds the former, squirrels the latter).  Every so often a flitter of activity catches my eye, and I must look out to see what tiny bit of miracle is there, doing their thing.  It's wonderful, to have that window.

After I had my second son, by c-section, I was confined to the hospital for 5 days (4 nights).  I was not allowed to go outside, so I wandered the halls in search of a vantage point that would get me the widest views, the sunniest spot, the vista I longed for, that sense of space.  I would wheel my baby boy in his bassinet with me, because I had gotten in trouble once for carrying him around the halls, the nerve of me.  Seeing the world was a connection, a necessity, to keep staying present with what was happening, even if it was something as mundane as a car pulling into the parking lot, a child's voice, a sailboat coming into the marina.

A window to look out of is important.  Appreciation for what is present in it is important too.

Gitchu to a window, and see what you've not noticed before.


Like I said, I'm rusty at this.  I'd hate to go on too long, and I think this is long enough.

I'll be back soon.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

10 minutes or less

Poems don't have to rhyme anymore
But in fact if they do
They're not really poems
As we see them

Lypmherics, perhaps
and exhaustion of the
limbic store
A place for amusement



They don't rhyme
and they're not prose

What purpose then,
the poem?
What shunt of mind
 where is the bevel

Why write it.

At all.