Today’s mail brought another Publisher’s Clearing House opportunity. The prize is $5,000 a week for life. When the winner’s life ends, a designated recipient continues the $5,000 for life. I could deal with that. And, I could already be the winner!
There were a few other pieces of mail of no great interst. It seems that I have made the “hit list.” Translation, “soft spot for humanity; hit her up for contributions.” Occasionally, what appears to be a hand written envelope disguises a plea for a donation.
Today there was a pretty pastel shade of lilac legal sized envelope in the mail stack. The address was hand printed block letters. Large block letters more free form than the usual decoy envelope. An actual forever stamp from ME to YOU in the upper right corner. No return address, postmark too smudged to discern. It was just unique enough to lure me to wild imaginings.
Naturally curious am I. That was the first envelope I opened. These days it is not unusual to find a small denomination coin enclosed.
There was a penny in this “solicitation.” As the page was unfolded, I noticed that aside from the water mark style graphic of a tropical beach the page was blank. Except for the penny. Not a shiny penny as they often are. An old, dull penny. Upon closer look, a 1951 penny.
Really curious now the synapses were almost audible around by head.
Okay. My sister, Mary, was born in 1951. No postmark or return address. Nice gold seal on the back side of the envelope. No. How could it be? Heaven sent!? From Mary?! No. Not really. It would be nice, though. Impossible.
Next thought; Jackie and Barb once punked me by mail. That was a pathetically funny episode. Beth was planning her wedding to Jim (ten years ago!)! This blase powder blue lace over cheap nylon sack dress arrived with a note signed by my grandmother’s cousin Bernice who had recently died.
Bernice was one of those very interesting people with an irritating voice. Loud voice. A little on the eccentric end of the scale. She had been a costume designer in Chicago. She commuted from the tiny two story house where she was born and still lived, in Bourbonnais.
Near the end of her professional career, she opened a bridal shop next door to her home. She also sold prom dresses. Mom always dragged us to Bernice for every formal event during school. Bernice was an organized hoarder. Unlike the disgusting filth of the hoarders on the reality shows.
Bernice had a semblance of order to her hoards. Neat stacks of antiquated magazines on the already tight stairwell to the upstairs stash of equally antiquated formal gowns. I never understood why Mom repeated this exercise time after time. Once definitely was enough.
Inside the package way too small for any respectable dress to be shipped and a short note. Basically, Bernice was leaving her bridal business to me. The enclosed dress her gift to me, the mother of the bride. Me? Why me!? Everyone knows that Cindy was Bernice’s favorite.
All to surreal. Of course it was. How the mystery was uncovered, I don’t recall but Barb and Jackie were behind the whole thing. The dress was actually one of Barb’s tweny-five cent purchases at a re-sale shop.
Jackie and Barb wouldn’t be that cruel? To send me penny from Mary in heaven, would they? I had to know.
First call, Jackie. Huh! She brought up the penny in the mail before I could. Jackie received one today also. Same water mark stationary. A 1951 penny positioned in the same spot as mine, between two chaise lounge chairs at the water’s edge under a palm tree.
Now the process of elimination was to begin. The two of us reasoned that which ever sibling did not receive the penny, was the clever one who staged the penny from heaven message. Mary was doing fine.
I made calls to two more sisters. Unusual circumstances kept them each from checking their mail today. Neither of them sounded guilty of this gift. Text to another. Aha. The mystery solved.
Jeff, Mary’s spousal equivalent she was fond of saying, was following Mary’s wishes. No obituary. No funeral. No burial No memorial service. Direct cremation.
The tropical stationary represents Mary’s obit, the 1951 penny identifies the wordless obit as Mary’s. Very clever. Mary liked to play the game board “Clue” with me as kids. Well played Mary. Of course the game pieces and the murder plot, location and murderer entirely different from the board game.
Vodka in the water bottle. Ingested by Mary. Where ever she was. Every day. For many years.
Today’s mail call will be the last note from Mary. She is having a great time. Relaxing at the edge of the ocean. Sipping pineapple juice with an umbrella in the glass. Just juice and a little ice. Waiting for her first official assignment. Each of asked for her to send us a message now and then.
She already dropped a few pennies in front of me in the stairwell at work (way wider than Bernice’s stairs). Mary also helped me find two different earrings that fell out of my left ear. One day the dragonfly; the next an angel. In each case, I figured the earring was not going to be found. Yet, there, where I know I looked before, just as I was accepting my loss, I found the earring(s).
Thanks, Mary. Peace.Love. Imagine. Dream.Believe. Freedom.