On nearly every Tuesday from late April,1994, through to the end of 1999, I mailed out a Gramma Letter to Grandma Grossmann and various subscribers across the U.S.A. Some people saved those letters. One of the world’s most complete collections of Gramma Letters is archived right here in Rio, Wisconsin, in the Rio Community Library, in a handsome set of three-ring binders on a low shelf in the reference section, within easy reach of impressionable children, though not necessarily within easy reach of arthritic grandmothers. Sometime, I plan to walk over there, to the library, to find out whether the 1997 book includes a dedication page. I checked and confirmed, my own binder for the 1997 letters does not.
Yesterday afternoon, I poked through my computer, searching for material for the very WoW that you are at this moment reading. I was thinking maybe I would edit and republish something from a years-ago month of May.
In one of the Gramma Letters folders, I noticed a file with DEDICATI.97 as its name and May 13, 1998, as the last date it was modified. I was curious, and so I double-clicked on DEDICATI.97, but the file would not open. I thought I might know the reason why not: documents made in my favorite word processing program need to have names ending with a dot plus the suffix “wpd” (for WordPerfect Document). Putting anything other than wpd after the dot results in a refusal to cooperate. So, I began to rename the file. I pressed the F2 key, took out the dot before the nine seven, substituted a dash for that dot, put a new dot after the nine seven, and added wpd. An alert, however, halted my progress:
Oh-oh. No. I was not sure. So I tried something else. I copied the file (so that I would still have the original if anything went wrong), and I went through all those steps again to rename the copy. The alert came up again, but this this time I clicked on Yes and completed the name change. Then I double-clicked. The document opened, and I beheld upon my screen these words:
I dedicate this book to
Though seldom scorched by the spotlight in
my stories, Sharon is ever-present in my heart.
How sweet, I thought. I did not remember having written those words and did not remember having put them out where all the low-to-the-ground library-goers could see them. I doubted my sister herself had ever read them. But wouldn’t it be even sweeter, I thought, if Sharon were to find that book somewhere now, or find this WoW, and what if she were to then pick up her phone and call me, to tell me that discovering the dedication had seriously made her day?