sixty: a letter for Aunt Jemima

March 1st was dubbed National Pancake Day (at least by the folks at IHOP).

The House of Pancakes served free short-stacks of buttermilk pancakes to its patrons in exchange for a suggested donation to the Children’s Miracle Network. Supporting a good cause certainly softens the blow of caloric intake, don’t you think? In honor of this “holiday” I wrote to the tried and true Aunt Jemima. I hope you squeezed some flap-jacks into your day friends.

March 1, 2011

Dear Aunt Jemima,

I have such fond memories of you and that big toothy grin. You were a staple at my family’s kitchen table most Saturdays (always after sleepovers) and sometimes on Sundays too. I think I might have been the only kid who used my syrup sparingly (too much sugar in the morning made me feel crummy—see, I really wasn’t normal). And unlike other kids, I never felt pancakes were just a vehicle for your gooey, sugary goodness. A short stack had its own merits as far as I was concerned. But I could never deny what a great team you two made—breakfast harmony!

Here’s proof of my loyalty Aunt J, twenty plus years later: If you’re not on the table, I forgo syrup all together. Maple? No way! Flavored blueberry? Not a chance. You are the tried and true, the original, and the only one for me. I try not to think about the fact that I can’t pronounce most of your ingredients (or have any idea what they are for that matter). I’m living by the “everything in moderation” rule and hoping it all shakes out okay. So here’s to you, and Saturday mornings!

All the best,


fifty-six: sincere thanks for a stranger

My Dad is a wonderful man with a tiny flaw—he loses things. Reading glasses, cell phones, receipts. I don’t know where it all goes. Lately, and despite my best efforts, I’ve been ‘misplacing’ a few things of my own. Are tendencies hereditary? Yesterday it was almost my cell phone. A kind stranger came dashing after me and in the bustle I forgot to ask her name (and mailing address) for a proper letter of thanks. This letter is very a la Missed Connections—here’s hoping she knows how much I appreciated her gesture.

February 25, 2011

To The Woman Who Rescued My Phone,

I cannot thank you enough! I know it’s a dramatic declaration, but my life is in that phone. I would be totally lost without it. I always believe in the kindness of strangers and you are a glowing example. I hope your little act of courtesy inspired those in line behind you. Thank you again! If I had smartly gotten your name you’d know my gratitude…



P.S. I really liked your hat and didn’t have a chance to pay you a proper compliment because I was so frazzled. Sorry about that—it was really lovely.

fifty-three: condolences for New Zealand

Martin Hunter/Getty Images via The New York Times


Today an earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand. My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch, especially the victims of this deadly natural disaster. It’s times like these when I wish I could send a warm embrace via the post.

February 22, 2011

Words cannot describe the horror of your reality. My thoughts and prayers are with your families as you face this horrible tragedy and the aftermath. Sincere condolences for those who have lost loved ones—my heart breaks for you. May the missing be found and may the rebuilding of Christchurch be swift. Your country has faced great adversity, but I am confident with the support of hundreds of thousands around the world, you will prevail.



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fifty one: a letter for a woman I’ve never met

My maternal Grandmother died on February 19th over thirty years ago and before I was born. I have seen pictures of her, heard wonderful stories and even read from an old children’s book that belonged to her. But more than anything, I wish I had a chance to know her.

February 20, 2011


I wonder if I would have called you that, or if you would have preferred Nana or something unconventional and flashy, like Gigi.

I have a picture of you on my dresser, from the 1940’s I believe. You’re visiting Grandpa at the army barracks and you have this lovely little flower tucked behind your ear. You look so youthful and happy. When I picture you in my mind you’re usually wearing that amazing feathered gown you wore to Mom and Dad’s wedding. I know you were so sick then, but the photos don’t show it–at least to me. You were a portrait of style and elegance.

Mom told me we could have shared shoes. I’m 5’11”, just two inches taller than you (and quite tall for a lady)! I have Mom’s nose, which I think she got from you. And her smile (a Grandpa trait) only the space between my teeth was closed with the help of braces. Mom and I have a lot of the same mannerisms. I’m guessing she got a lot of those from you.

If you were alive I’d ask you what Mom was like as a kid—no as a teenager. Did she always do her homework? Did she ‘neck’ boys in your basement? I’d want to know everything—your version of the stories of course. I’d want to hear your stories too. I bet you have lots of good ones.

Everyone tells me how lovely you were, always full of class and grace. I heard you were an excellent piano player too. Every time I hear the song “You Are My Sunshine’ I think of you. I really love the stories about you and your sisters–they are always full of laughter and joy. And I know you were a great mother because you raised a wonderful woman who’s been the best mom a girl could ask for. I am so grateful for that. She’s my best friend and my biggest supporter. I know it’s hard for her, not having you around. But I like to think you’ve been watching over us all this time.

I hope to know you, someday, somehow. In the meantime I will keep your memory close to my heart.

With love,

Your Granddaughter

thirty-two: a plea to the groundhog

February 1, 2011

Dear Puxatony Phil,

Please hear me out. It has been a rough winter. We’ve seen snow, blizzards even, and now ice. It is really rather unpleasant. I am looking forward to packing up my winter coat and woolies. Give a Florida native a break: Don’t see your shadow tomorrow! I know it’s a lot to ask (may I tempt you with some clover or alfalfa?) but I would be eternally grateful if spring came early this year. Thank you for your consideration. I hope you’ll do the noble thing.




twenty-eight: a letter for Mr. Pollock

January 28, 2011

Dear Mr. Pollock,

Happy Birthday! If you were still alive you’d be 99 years old today. I think we both know you probably wouldn’t have made it to 99, but I like to imagine what you might have created had you not had that unfortunate car accident. You missed seatbelts by a few years…

You are one of my favorite artists. I like your work, but I find the story of your life particularly fascinating. I wrote a term paper on you in college. At the time I was living in London, and all the books I researched called you a cowboy. I thought that was hilarious—then again you were born in the wild west of Wyoming. I loved learning about your art and the way it evolved over the years.

I live in New York City so your paintings are never far. I like to stand in front of the giant murals at MOMA and see what I can find stuck between the layers of rich paint. Your work pairs quite nicely with music, did you know that? I always take away a renewed appreciation for the splatters, the risk you took and the obvious effort of ‘action painting.’

This summer I took a tour of your house in the Springs of Long Island. Your studio was my favorite part. I stood in paper booties staring at the floor, trying to decipher where your famous canvases were brought to life.

Thank you for your contribution to the cannon of art history. You will live on in your work, where no doubt we’ll be celebrating you for another 99 years. I hope there is cake wherever you are.




twenty-two: a letter for Anatol, aka Mr. Photo Booth

I adore photo booths. I always have and I’m quite sure I always will. My favorites are the older variety that still spit out black and white strips–color is so overrated in a photo booth. Anatol Josepho invented this brilliant machine in 1927. On March 28 of that same year he made the front page of the New York Times: “Slot Photo Device Brings $1,000,000 to Young Inventor. Hello big money!

January 22, 2011

Dear Mr. Josepho,

Thank you for your brilliant invention. It is by far, one of my most favorite things. I cannot pass a photo booth and not stop in. I plan to have a wedding someday to justify renting my very own little booth (yes– you can rent them now!).

With perseverance and great discipline you achieved the American Dream. I love that you gave away part of your fortune to the needy of New York City. I’m quite sure you were a good man.

Big thank yous and big smiles,



eighteen: a letter for sweet Robin


Robin and I were friends for a very short time, too short. But she touched my life and I will remember her always.

January 18, 2011


My dear friend, I miss you so. Today is the first anniversary of your very untimely death. You were taken from us too soon.

I remember writing you an email after blog-stalking you for months. I hoped you’d write back. And you did (I remember clapping my hands when your name appeared in my inbox). We became insta-email pen pals, swapping stories about the publishing world, divulging sorta-secrets and bonding over our mutual love and adoration for all things British. It was the best friendship meet-cute ever. Nothing blows up my skirt like a cheeky, well written email. And you my friend, were a master.

And then we met in person, two weeks later: hipster-Jew and southern WASP. Perfection. Over the next eight months we cocktailed, swapped stories about our miserable jobs and lackluster love lives, and made plans for the future. I remember when you met Gavin—boy was I jealous! A real (and handsome) British boyfriend! Envy skyrocketed when you got engaged and dual citizenship was imminent. But most of all I was over-the-moon for you.

I saw you for the last time on December 11, 2009. We had a lovely time walking around a furniture show; I pretended to be your ‘colleague’. What I remember most is you turning to me, and touching my arm as if to say, “pay attention Lauren.” You told me how you’d never been so happy and how you felt like you were doing exactly what you were destined to do—Gavin, England, Interior Design. All the stars aligned for you. I will never forget that moment.

I still wonder why our paths crossed. I will forever treasure our short friendship and always regret your early exit from this world. Your witty letters are reminders of your sparkle and your laugh lives on in my memories. I hope you are as happy now as you were that December night my love. You are missed and loved dearly.



seventeen: a letter for a legend

January 17, 2011

Today, we celebrate you Dr. King.

In your abbreviated time on this earth, you made such great strides for civil rights. Your Montgomery Bus Boycott and your March on Washington inspired a nation. And led to real change. I am pleased to report our great country is inching closer to the color-blind society you imagined; in 2008 we elected an African American President.

You were a great orator sir. Your “I Have a Dream” speech makes me want to serve my country and strive to be a better citizen. So many of your words are often repeated. I’ve decided on two favorite quotations:

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

These thought-provoking words remind me of your spirit, today and always. Thank you for your contribution.

All the best,