Last weekend, I opened my mailbox and found a small, padded envelope with a return address here in Chicago that I didn't recognize. But I did recognize the initials above that address.
I laughed over it in the elevator with a neighbor. "RLS?" I said. "The only person I know with those initials is Robert Louis Stevenson!"
He smiled, charitably I guess, and got off the elevator.
Inside the package was one of my notebooks -- which had been doing a bit more traveling than I knew. I vaguely realized that I didn't know where it was, but it hadn't been gone long enough to bother me yet.
I had been traveling with it, and a note in the parcel described when and where it had been found "this foggy morning." The note was unsigned.
The notebook is a precious one -- it contains the first notes about my "meeting" with Robert Louis Stevenson, the parody-poem about daffodils, and other things which have not made it out of the book yet.
In other words, it's full of rough drafts and little rants, some of which won't (otherwise) see the light. I think this book will be staying home to catch such thoughts; it's done enough traveling.
Since the note was not signed, all I could do to start my thank-you note to my generous neighbor was to use the initials in the address. "Dear Louis," I began, and I thanked him for his kindness. I also answered his last sentence, "Please keep writing," with assurance that I would -- and the address of this blog.
So if you're out and about with a notebook, put your name and address in it prominently. You never can tell who might return it to you.
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