The DaVinci Code had no dust jacket. There was not a single note on any page anywhere in the book. No "If lost call" plea. No address written on the inside of the back cover. There was nothing anywhere to indicate anything about the previous owner.
Except a card that was postmarked "Berne, New York, July 17, 1980." I'll keep specific names confidential in the wildly unlikely possibility that somehow this gets back to them, but I will say that the recipient was "c/o Camp Fowler" and that Camp Fowler is located in the ridiculously appropriate name of "Speculator, New York."
Despite the name, I'll resist the temptation to do just that and instead relate as objectively as possible the contents of the letter. You can draw your own conclusions about the relationship, as I have. I should say that my conclusions have shifted. Yours might, too.
The card looks to be a stock card that one might have on hand in case a "thank you" is needed. The image on the front is decidedly Southwestern, a Native American riding a white horse with those cliffs that Wile E. Coyote falls from in the background. The quote on the front of the card says, "Wishing for you the fullness of life, / I go forth upon the trails of our Earth Mother. - Adapted from Zuni Fetiches." The back of the card says, "American Indian Quote Cards." There is no bar code or price on the card, which supports the notion that it was purchased en masse.
The card is over 30 years old. What it is doing in a book published in 2003 is a mystery. How strange that it was important enough to keep for all of those years, yet not important enough to retrieve before being left on the charity pile.
The first line is in the top-left corner. The second line is one line down, flush right. After that, it follows standard letter format, in legible cursive of blue ink. The first line is the only one that is not cursive. The card is landscape, the text taking up the top and bottom of the opened card, as if it is a continuous sheet. The last five lines and the closing are on the back. The paragraphs are indented.
"For your eyes only!
"July 17, 1980
"There's one person at Camp Fowler who doesn't get enough recognition, and that is you! You have done a marvelous job at building up the camp, the staff and the volunteers. You do a great job with the kids, too.
"I want to be personal for a minute. Each year I have come to camp, I always have a fun time and I always go home with something extra. The 'extra' is always something you have shown me. I wish we could have had more time for one of our 'talks' this year as we have had in the past years. You are so caring and so sensitive, both to campers and staff people. I am in awe of that and I want to be more that way myself. Each year you show me by your example that it is possible to 'see' people and not just look at them. You see so many things that I miss when I look at others. God had truly blessed you with this gift and you have used it well. May God continue to bless you, your family, and your ministry.
"We will be camping at Fowler from August 7-11. If you aren't too tired and would like company, we'd love to talk and share with you, K. + kids.
"With love and admiration,
Put that in your Kindle and smoke it.
|If you're ever in Speculator....|