Today was a milestone day as Mary Potter Kenyon and Mary Jedlicka Humston signed a contract with Familius for their book with the working title Mary & Me: Two Lives in Letters. Whether you are intrigued by the art of the handwritten letter, or by various aspects of female friendship, you will want to follow our blog as we share photos, websites, interviews, book reviews and essays related to the subject of our book, which is described in this section of Mary Potter Kenyon’s introduction:
It has never been the length of the friendship that brought astonishment. After all, the majority of baby boomers could likely claim a long-standing friendship in their lives. No, it was always the letters; the pen on paper, inside a stamped envelope, mailed-in-a-mailbox letter that was awe-inspiring.
“You’ve been writing letters every week for over twenty-five years?” The question always evokes disbelief, particularly since the dawn of the Internet and e-mail. We quickly correct the misconception.
“Well, at least one letter, but usually more. We write each other three or four letters a week. And we never wait for a return letter before beginning another.”
Conservatively speaking, at just three letters a week for twenty-five years, that would equal 3900 letters each, but we’d both agree that estimate is much too low. We have, on occasion, written the other two letters in a single day.
This book will explore a friendship that began in June 1986 and will most likely not end until “death do us part.” The fact that one of the women in this relationship had never really had other female friends outside of her sisters while the other woman had too many to count is all part of the story.
For many years, ours was primarily a letter-writing friendship with a few face-to-face visits now and then. That changed in November 2011, when we traveled six hours to attend a writer’s conference and stayed at a motel together for a few nights.
When my husband David unexpectedly died a few months later, our relationship deepened. In fact, on the morning of March 27, 2012, I’d been sitting on the couch writing a letter to Mary when I decided to wake my husband for his coffee. For at least thirty minutes I’d been sitting within arm’s reach of David’s chair where he sat with his eyes closed. When I leaned over, touching his arm and whispering his name, he did not respond.
I didn’t even know he was gone, I would repeat over and over to my sisters. How could I not know my husband was dead? I was just sitting there drinking coffee and writing a letter to Mary, and all the while my husband was dead.
We will also be including essays from other women that display a unique aspect of friendship,including a woman whose primary support during her son’s cancer was an online group of women that she would only meet in person at her son’s funeral and another woman whose life was saved by a virtual stranger who is now her best friend. The final section will include chapter-by-chapter discussion questions for groups to reflect on in their studies and book clubs.