Years later, while Gerry was at Brown University, he spilled coffee on one of those letters, essentially cutting it in half. He saw a kind of beauty in the half-sentences that survived, and he decided to turn them into poems, doing the same with all the letters in the stack. Read them now, he says, and you feel the youthfulness of that long-gone correspondence, the “vibrational aspects” of university life at that time.
In the Age of Email “Hacking”, Gerry Crinnin’s Cure: Stamp, Envelope, Heart and Soul on Paper | Local News
One line, two half-sentences joined, he particularly likes: “I was just a cigarette, I was listening to art.
This gets to its point: a letter captures and preserves who you are, at distinct times in life, and rereading them becomes self-revelation. Her mother, Marian Crinnin, died last spring at the age of 91, in Syracuse. She and Gerry wrote all the time, just as Marian corresponded in detail with her husband Fred, when he was on the battlefield in WWII.
Among the things Marian, a widow, left behind: a stack of letters from Gerry, collected over the years. Her sister Kathleen, one of eight siblings, remembers their mother always leaving Gerry’s most recent letter on a kitchen counter, for everyone to see. Marian, for example, kept this one: Gerry dated the letter of December 5, 2003, and the envelope contained pictures of her children, Max and Charlotte.
“I am sending you these photos in bewilderment,” Gerry wrote. “Are these angelic beings really related to me?”