and just like that, it’s 1975

I mailed #4’s final payment for camp last week. Satisfied that he was all set, I felt like a grown-up and Proper Mother. My kid’s going to camp, as kids like to do, he has his medical thingy, all the proper boxes are checked and the supply list is on the refrigerator. Aren’t I special! Aren’t I the responsible adult who got it right! Yes I am!

Then I went away for the weekend. Because I could.

When I got back, there was a letter, very formally addressed to me, written in slightly shaky yet book-perfect script. Terry handed it to me and said “This is important. You need to read it.”

Here is the letter (names changed)

Dear Mrs Rootietoot

I am sorry I opened this mail. I did not notice the name before opening it. My name is (Jane. Q. Doe) I have been living here for over 30 years as the name (Jane Q. Doe), even taught school for 35 years by the same name and address for over 30 years.

Hopefully you can get the correct address for the check.

If you have any questions my phone # is (insert number here). I surely hope you can get it where it belongs.


Jane Q. Doe


After reading this, in it’s near-perfect script, I felt like I was 10 years old, and had kicked my ball into her rose bed.

I am considering this reply, with my thoughts and explanations in parenthesis :

Dear Ms. Doe (I do not know how to address her. She is not a Mrs, or that would be on her return address. Some women prefer to be called Ms, some prefer Miss, and each one is offended by the other. This is VERY shaky ground),

Thank you very much for returning my check, and for your kind explanation as to the open envelope. I do not hold hard feelings toward you for that, as I have made the same mistake in the past.  (and I have. I have also read mis-delivered catalogs before taking them to the proper mailbox. I have not, however, actually OPENED someone else’s mail. However, I have never lived somewhere 30 years, so I cannot speak for the complacency that might occur under such circumstances)

I am a 47 year old woman who has raised 3 young men to productive adulthood and have a 4th son who is 13.  All 4 of them are polite and respectful men and I receive many compliments on the way they treat  others.  I have grey hair, am married to the father of all 4 children (and have been so for 26 years), and attend a church prayer group every Wednesday. The mistake in the address was in no way intended to inconvenience you, but simply a reversal of 2 numbers. As a teacher for 35 years, I am certain you’ve had a few students who have made mistakes like this, and realize that it is unintentional.  I have switched numbers in the past, and this is one of the reasons I do not manage the household finances. You can imagine the mess that could make.

Thank you for your honesty, and taking the time to explain and return the check.


Mrs. Rootietoot


About rootietoot

I do what I can.
This entry was posted in childhood, Good grief, In The Southland, people, things that make you go hmmmmm and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to and just like that, it’s 1975

  1. jerseechik says:

    A thank-you note does seem to be in order. TYs need to include the words “Thank you for…” and a brief description of the favor. TYs usually include a remark about the future use of the favor: “I will be [sending this on to the proper address ASAP].”
    You might also acknowledge that you made a mistake- in 10 words or less, please. The emphasis is on her kindness, not your natural, human error.
    Giving your life history and family situation to someone indicates that you want the acquaintance to become a friendship. Is that your intent?
    Address the envelope exactly as the return address on the envelope, please. If there’s return name on the envelope, use the exact words with which she signed the letter. If she prefers no title, don’t use one. In fact, I think I’ll take that option if/when I become a widow!
    I’m so thankful that you were alerted to that your check went astray! A lot of people would’ve just thrown it in the trash, or tried to cash it themselves. Is there still time to get it to the camp?

    • rootietoot says:

      OH yes to getting there in time.
      I am not going to send exactly what I wrote, I was responding in my head. I am definitely going to tell her thank you, tho, because I really do appreciate her taking the time (and stamp) to return it. It would have been difficult for her to cash it, since it was made out to Boy Scout Troop 340.

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