01:04:56 am on
Sunday 16 May 2021

Return to Sender
AJ Robinson

Source: Instagram

“A Link Restored,” these days, often refer a to a computer link, maybe something you post on Facebook. The post is a link that takes a user to an on-line video or another website where your book is offered for sale. In my case, the link was far more important and precious.

It was the night before Christmas.

Over Christmas 2020, on Christmas Eve to be exact, I received an e-mail from an old family friend, John Firestone. The name might sound familiar, but he’s no relation to the tire manufacturer. No, he, as I, is a man with the most Franklyn-D-White-Bread name, yet we are fifty-per cent first generation Italian.

His mother is Marina Firestone, one of the oldest and dearest friends of my mother. John was writing because he’d tried to include my mother on his family Christmas e-mail letter, but it was undeliverable; return to sender. It made him worried.

I wrote back, explaining the car accident my mother was in, her injuries and how she was now in assisted care. I told him he could send the letter to my brother Gregory; he would print it out and take it to my mom. Alternatively, John could write or call my mom; I gave him her contact info.

He wrote to me the next day to express his concern and good wishes for my mom and to say that he gave his mom the contact information. Then, a short time later came a message that brought tears of joy to my eyes. John sent me a follow-up email, writing that his mom had called my mom and they had a lovely catch-up chat for quite a long time.

I was oh-so happy.

My wife Jo Ann and I were at an outdoor flea market when I received the e-mail from John. A little excursion to get us out of the house, but I couldn’t help but weep as I read the message immediately. Jo Ann asked what was wrong and I explained that I was happy, so very happy, that my emotions were overwhelming me.

I could see my mom sitting there in her little apartment on the phone, happily chattering away in Italian to Marina. Mom and Marina would have told each other all the events of their lives since their last get-together, which was quite a few decades ago. They would have laughed and giggled; then there would have been tears as mom related her losses: her son Stephen, her cousin Bibi, her husbands and so many more. It is a torment of living long that you to outlive so many loved ones.

It puts me in mind of an episode of the classic Star Trek series called, Journey to Babel. Yeah, I know yet another Star Trek reference. Well, I’m a Trekkie, what am I going to do about it?

Anyway, at one point in the Journey to Babel, Amanda, mother of Spock, talks of his childhood. She says that when she saw him being stoic and stiff-lipped because the other boys teased him for not being a true Vulcan, that is, being half-human, she knew that his human half was crying. She cried for him.

To imagine my mom sitting there, with tears on her cheeks. The ache in her heart and dear sweet Marina offering support is the knife thrust to my soul that rends my heart, even as I sit here and write this. If I were writing on a typewriter, not a computer, the paper would be covered with the tracks of my tears.

Yet, warmth swells inside me each time I think of them talking. Granted, they may not do it again, but they did it. I helped.

At age ninety-five, mom has few wants and needs. Jo and I sent her some scratch-off cards for the state lottery, as she can’t get out to a casino anymore; she was overjoyed to receive them. Heck, knowing her luck, one of these days she’ll reveal some sort of mega bonus win, It is still important to me to strive to give her something special, even just once in a while and this was one of those times.

A good gift.

I answered a couple of e-mails and, in doing so, my mom restored a long-lost link. She was able to tell a dear friend all about her great-grandchildren, about my books, about how Sarah and Jack were doing in school, how big little Henri was getting and that her granddaughter, Heidi, was now living on the island she and Marina loved like no other place on Earth: Martha’s Vineyard. I gave her a good gift.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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