My mom’s letters

My mom's letters about me

My mom was something like a mommy-blogger, in 1973. From the time I was two to two-and-a-half, she wrote these astoundingly detailed letters about our lives and me and Miami, typed them up in quintuplicate, and mailed them to the whole family. I have multiple copies of some of them.

They’re an amazing resource for my book, and they prove, as she’s always claimed and I’ve doubted, that I was talking in complete sentences when I turned two. Apparently I was also always concerned with remembering everything that happened.

On the one hand the letters make me happy, because I can verrrry hazily remember some of what she describes, and because they’re so full of pride and love, but they also make me sad, because I can see how lonely she was.

A lily for lili


I learned late last night that my old friend Lili is dying. There are no alternative treatments left. She may be in her final hours as I type.

She’ll leave behind a husband and two sons and countless people haunted by her saucy eyes, but I can’t make myself focus on these grim, present realities.

I keep thinking about the time we stole out to Key Biscayne in the middle of the night with our friend Antonio and tried to turn the big fountain red. Antonio remembers it as a different fountain, one on Miami Beach, but the details matter less than the feel of that summer.