Welcome to this limner's Correspondent’s Corner. I cleared off space on a corner of my desk, and earmarked it for handling replies received in response to correspondence I’ve written. In the beginning I simply jotted down the name, date received, and added comments in my own murky shorthand. But today . . .
Okay! Who am I fooling? I am excited. I feel validated! I’m easy; all it took to make my Happy-ometer rise was a response to a letter I wrote or mailed on April 20. After its retrieval from our box, I practically skipped up the sidewalk, up the slope of the driveway, and inside. I felt like Tammy in the movie Tammy’s In Love. I was grinning for sure. I know for a fact ‘cause I felt the wind on my teeth. My top lip is still stuck, because the silly grin hasn’t left yet.
See, my April copy of Harper’s Magazine was a printer’s mess. It was a reader’s nightmare. Some pages and entire sections were printed three times, entire pages were missing, and the article on Mark Twain said, “Find me if you can!” So, a couple-three weeks late, I mustered enough energy to write a letter to the Harper’s.
I explained the problem. I expressed my desire to read their illustrious magazine, and asked if they happened to have an extra copy laying about, and included my address in case they felt like sending one my way. Well, a new copy made it to Limner’s Lane, barely an hour ago, and here I sit.
Now, here is where etiquette comes into play. I wrote to Harper’s on my “good” paper. I used my best penmanship. No, I did not use my word processor. Aha! I remember what I learned in school. I used one of my fine linen envelopes, and I didn’t use my “attention-getting” stamps. I wrote in “correspondent mode.” And, the lovely, well-mannered Eve, from Harper’s replied in kind.
Eve did not send me a typed note. She did not send me a standard form letter. Eve, Harper’sOffice Manager, included a handwritten note, penned on paper that bears the Harper letterhead. (As if I expected a sheet of paper towel?) In it, she said she was sorry that I got a bad copy. She even used an exclamation mark! Said I’d find a replacement copy enclosed, then went on to add, “Please let me know if you need anything else.” With grace, Eve signed off with, “Sincerely, Eve.” Her business card was attached.
Why can’t I write like that? She greeted me by name, thus engaging me in a personal way. Then she went on to address my issue, she apologized, rectified the situation, extended a branch of reconciliation, and signed off, having left another satisfied customer in her wake. That, my wonderful peers, is a well-written, handwritten note, and, a little hiccup that morphed into a purr, is my first offering from A Correspondent’s Corner.