I have a pen pal in Texas. She’s 76 years old and works two days a week in the Watters & Watters swatch department. Somehow, through a jumbled correspondence born of wordy swatch requests and handwritten post-it replies, Onsei and I have become the sort of friends who exchange photographs, cards, encouragement, and prayers. She writes in hesitant English, I pepper my notes with emoticons, and somehow, we connect. Our friendship is one of my very favorite things.

When Vanessa, a member of the Watters design team, was in our store last weekend, she knew all about my pen palling ways. She was also surprised to learn that I had no idea that Onsei was mother to the owner of the company. Turns out I have a pen pal in high places. I told her that I never read a note from Onsei without getting all teary, that I look forward to getting swatches like a kid waits for Christmas, that Onsei is a huge inspiration for me. She laughed and told me they love her too.

We live in a funny world, a world that is sometimes cold, often lonely, and usually rather obviously beyond our control. We can do only the smallest things, in our bumbling little ways, and watch for the magic to happen. But sometimes we can send love via fax and have it return to us on a post-it. Sometimes the tiniest points of light can be linked together and something unexpected and beautiful becomes visible. I love that. It breaks my heart.

  • thatoneguy March 11, 2010 at 12:39 am

    >I just looked up "swatch" in the dictionary. Also, "pen pal" is two words; I don't just feel that way, it's a fact 😉

  • Kailani Joy March 30, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I love your stories pretty lady. You make my heart soar. I want to be a pen pal 😉 Inspired. Kai