Bradley parked the car, then walked down the driveway to the mailbox. The latest issue of the New Yorker magazine, the usual weekly collection of local advertising, a couple letters from AARP, and a letter from someone named Mitch Hedberg. Bradley studied the envelope to be sure it was addressed to him, which it was. It was handwritten, the Forever stamp was placed at an angle to the corner, and the letter was postmarked two days ago in . It didn’t look at all like a mass mailing.
Once inside Bradley poured himself a scotch on the rocks, rifled through the local advertising and recycled everything except the letter from Mitch. He opened it, expecting to see a sales pitch of some kind, maybe a pyramid scheme. Inside was a carefully written letter.
I’m expecting you will remember me. I found you on Facebook. I signed on to it last month. Giannini is on it too. Drew told me Jerry was in Texas I thought — still in the food business. Drew’s running a golf course. Turns out I probably drove right by him last year when we were visiting my wife’s cousins in CA.
As to what I’ve been doing. As you remember, I was in prep school (Phillips Academy, Andover, MA), only because my folks could afford it, not because that’s where I wanted to go. I did okay there and could have gone to Harvard or almost anyplace after that. Lord knows dad wanted that, but I joined the Navy and stayed in for 6 years. Then dad got his wish, but it was Dartmouth for me. Planned to be a doctor, but instead of going right into med school after getting my BS, I took a job as a Patient Service Representative at St. Lukes in New Bedford. Figured it would give me a better idea of what I was getting into before I got into it. After two years I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor, much less a neurologist. I know a couple doctors here Utica, but that’s about as close as I am to being one.
How did I get to Utica? I have spent most of the last 30 plus years in the health field. Fourteen years as a chemical dependency counselor/administrator, and the last 13 as a behavioral treatment unit manager at a long-term care facility in here.
Been married to Maggie (Margaret) for 29 years and nine weeks. Have one son, Allen, who is 19. Been living in Utica since 1974. Can’t tell you how many times we’ve been up and down hwy. 49 between here and Rome, Vienna, Jewel and points north. I just remember it’s not four lanes like 90. My best man at our wedding, Tom Tolbert’s folks used to have a place on Oneida Lake north of Sylvan Beach just off Hwy. 13. I remember a sporting goods store in town that had a freezer case out front that held a trophy size fish. His folks sold the place about 10 years ago.
What got me to look you up was your daughter’s art show. I noticed the name in the local paper and remembered Drew mentioning you had a daughter who was an artist. Brilliant as I am, I put two and two together, went to the show and asked her. She is indeed talented! You must be awful proud.
I had no idea you were so close. Last I heard you were working in Jersey. Maybe we can get together sometime, maybe golf or lunch. I don’t get over there as often as I used to, but I could make the trip.
Anyhow, that’s a brief history of me since we last met — which must’ve been in 1964, because that’s when I left for Phillips.
Bradley wrote back,
I’d love to get together for lunch sometime, anytime at your convenience.
A few corrections: I’ve never worked in Jersey, have lived here at least twenty years. I do not have a daughter who is an artist unless you consider accounting an art, but you’re right I am very proud of her. I also have two sons. One, Karl, is the News Director at a radio station in Oneida. The other, Dustin, teaches math at Oneida High School. I was a fifth grader in 1964. You sound like a person I would like to know, however. Lunch sounds good. we could meet half way. I know two or three good places in Rome unless you’ve got a favorite there. You mentioned a trophy size fish. Do you do any fishing? Maybe we could go out on my boat sometime. It’s an 18 footer, plenty of room for both of us.