My Dearest Jimmy, I have arrived safely. The flight was uneventful. Apart from a pleasant conversation with a sweet elderly woman who asked me to exchange with her my 32G aisle seat for her 32H aisle nothing very much happened. She wanted to sit next to her family. Seeing that the family included a granddaughter of about seven or eight years old like my Kayley, I gladly moved over to “H” and found a magazine with a mine of information on the merits of certain cities with all the best places to see, and be seen. It would be wonderful if this old fool were able to visit those places with you!

Do you miss me? I miss you, my guardian angel. People on the plane must have wondered why this silly old fool was crying, but believe me; I just could not stop myself. So churned up with emotions was I that there were two Afro-combs in my handbag yet I could find neither and had to borrow a comb from the flight attendant. What she gave me was totally unsuitable. So I arrived at O’Hare with my hair unkempt and my face all shiny. I had left my powder compact in another handbag. I was in a right state.

The old fool in Deerfield, Illinois, USA, and missing you like crazy

In Deerfield, Illinois, USA, and missing you like crazy.

You were not there to work your magic and produce all the things I needed. For someone who all though her life had been self-reliant and would never have forgotten those things, I have suddenly become very helpless and feminine like some silly schoolgirl. No wonder the Victorian ladies of old could not do much for themselves. They had men like you to take care of them. Me? I am not used to this feeling. It is as if I have been unhinged by kindness. As if caring and consideration have made a fool of me through a charity that seeks only to please and ask for nothing in return. Believe me; it is quite scary. I am not used to it, and at my age never expected it.

You know people say that you are crazy. And I am now beginning to think that you are. The last time I looked at my face in a mirror; I do not only believe that you are… I am convinced you are – crazy, I mean. What will your watchers say now? They who will laugh at you and say to all their minions, “I Told You So!” I know that I am not going to let you make a fool of yourself and give them something to rubbish you over this time. But enough about me. How about you, my love? Can you operate properly with half of a vital organ? And before they run for their word processors to tell the world that someone has shortened your manhood, I must make it quite clear that I mean your heart. Because I know that our two hearts beat as one. And oh Lordy, that’s no lie – no lie at all.

We were just a little late arriving at O’Hare, although for some reason, we left Heathrow at 2:45 pm instead of 1:30 pm. Your idiot friend had no dollar cash on her. Fortunately enough, the trolleys were free. Then she had to call Toby collect. She had no change for the telephone either – but it all went smoothly. Toby sent a Cabbie, and I paid with an American Express Travellers Cheque. Toby, Harry and Sally were all waiting at the door for me when I arrived. And as usual with Toby, I felt quite at home (smile).

I didn’t feel tired all day and couldn’t go to sleep that first night. I slept for maybe a couple of hours and was up early next morning. The only thing was (you see, I am writing this letter to you a couple of days later) something was missing from my life. I woke up in the middle of the night sobbing my eyes out. My soul ached. My eyes looked like an old woman’s suddenly. I felt lost and terribly alone. All my confidence had deserted me. For once in my life, I felt at a loss, unsure of exactly what I ought to do next.

Bristol Drive, Deerfield, is a far cry from Catford, South East London. I will always be grateful to Toby for her kind invitation. It was also very nice to see her mother Sally again. She is a fine lady, Sally. When I looked after her briefly in Florida last year, we had a lot of laughs. One day, when things were not going too well for her, I tried to convince her that none of us is perfect. She gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you for being so kind, Verona.” I was touched. I felt it was not a lot that I did for her. After all, I was being paid to do it. Treating Sally the way I would like to be treated (should I ever lose my memory any more than I have lost my senses already at my age) is the least that I could do. I do hope she remembers who I am. I do hope that she will talk to me while I’m here. There is a lot I can learn from Sally. She is quite a woman, you know, as I discovered in Florida, and not a lot of people know that.

Ronda was a real brick on my journey to Heathrow Airport. That Rupert is such a ‘woman’. He gets a bit carried away, you see, quite flustered in fact. So we didn’t get to pick Paul up. Getting to Camberwell should have presented no problem for a ‘real’ man, but Rupert couldn’t get there and get back on the South Circular. So, Paul was left waiting at home like a lemon wondering if Rupert had crashed the car and had managed to put us all in hospital. Paul took it quite well when I phoned him from the airport, considering. And what I said about Rupert is for your ears only. After all, his mother was a Pettigrew, so he is my children’s family; although my children can be quite nasty about him. They think he can be rather pompous and boastful. He is a bit of a social climber, you see, who always thought that my children were ugly, and they, in turn, knew exactly how he felt about them.

Here's to you, my Toady. You old fool. Do you see the resemblance?

Here’s to you, Toady. My Toad of Toad Hall.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes! In Deerfield, Illinois, USA, and missing you like crazy; even though you’ve been a bit of a nosy-Parker and an interfering Busybody. Prying into my innermost affairs and looking into my most private matters. But prying neighbours can become good friends too. Some prying neighbours have been known to save many a life, or is it lives, whichever is grammatically correct. Now, I ramble on, when I wanted to ask you just one more question. Would you be an angel and ask some of your social-climbing contacts, preferably in the Charity sector, if they could find a job for a kind, hardworking divorcee in her forties? She is fond of animals, but she could be persuaded to live and work with people and like them, too. Her only problem is her vast age. But she needs the job because she has a mortgage. She has been unemployed for far too long – the same as me. Ronda has been such a dear friend to me, and I wish I could help her. Friends like her are hard to find. End of my begging, but you know you can do it. I hope you will.

This is the real source of all the letters that I will pretend to write to you. The next one will be addressed to The Honourable James Toad of Toad Hall, Fog Lane, Liverpool 27 9AG, England. I hope you comprehend.

All that I have to give I have given to you.

God bless.
As ever and always, V.

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