I have them, you know. Hundreds of them. From years and years of searching, all stuck in a folder. Letters from those who are searching to those sought. Some are so old they have yellowed, some show the fuzzy edges that only came from a dot matrix printer, others are faded copies of greeting cards, some handwritten, some typed. I have kept them for years, thinking I would write a book, thinking I should do something – anything – with some of the most spectacular writing I have ever seen…
I did not file them by their station in the triad. They are all jumbled together in one file. Over the decades I have reviewed them occasionally, wondering briefly how it all turned out. Are they still in touch? How did everyone cope after the adrenaline of search and the rush of reunion wore off? These letters were the first connection. But they are together in the folder because their meanings and questions are the same… They are about choices, decisions, families, heartbreak, longing, necessities, and silences.
I haven’t made copies or kept any letters in over ten years. I long ago realized that I would have to search for the authors in order to publish them. an irony which does not escape me. And because the letters are signed by first name only due to confidentiality…. But I still keep them. They validate the work I have done. They reaffirm the difficulty of search and reunion, and they highlight the rewards. They go straight to the heart of the matter and show the all too human hope that this one letter will be perfect….
“Thank you,” they say, “for giving me life….”
“I have thought of you,” they answer, “every day of your life….”