‘Dear Clarence, This is Anthony and this is how you will know me’

Mar 20, 2012 by


From Library of Congress daguerreotype collection

Working in a newsroom, you get lots  of oddballs, broken souls, lonely and sometimes perversely poetic people who wander in off the street looking to communicate their visions. Or they write letters. Sometimes, these letters are densely written screeds about the coming Apocalypse, how the paper should be covering the Antichrist who is among us now!  Or how the CIA implanted a radio receiver in my molar when I visited that dentist in 1966 and ever since they have been monitoring my thoughts and could you investigate this? These unpublishable letters often end up on newsroom bulletin board for everyone to goggle at.

Now and then, one comes along that causes you to read it again, wondering at the byways a person’s mind went down to get to the place they ended up. “Damaged goods,” a friend once said of a man talking loudly to himself on a New York subway. The fact is, the subway man, as well as ‘Anthony’, the Charleston, W.Va., fellow who  mailed the following letter to my paper’s ‘Reader’s Forum,’ are just looking for someone to listen to them, even if it just themselves who is the only one within earshot. Maybe they are having a conversation with themselves about something that really, truly matters.  Anthony addressed his letter to ‘Clarence.’ So, Clarence, wherever you are, this verbatim letter goes out to you.

Dear Clarence,

I heard that you wanted to see some of the people that lived in Milton St, well there all dead. But if you want to meet your son, I’ll be downtown in the library at 10:00 oclock Friday. You will know me because I look just like you when you were a young man. Please be there.


PS – Im a sick person so I should be home anytime you call



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  1. So much story in five sentences, amazing.

    On another note–people actually just walk into newsrooms to yak with reporters?

  2. admin

    This was a letter to rhe editor. But, yes, people walk in the newsroom off the street several times a week in search of being heard.