CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There once was a little girl who loved to write. She would write letters, put them in envelopes and give them to her grandmother to put in the mail. They had no stamps on them, but the little girl thought they would get to their destination.To her grandmother's amazement, those letters did arrive -- as if by magic. Happened all the time.This little girl knew the mailman who delivered the mail: He was tall, handsome and his name was Mr. Haynes. He always took time to talk to her and gave her the mail to take in. Did he know that she adored him? Probably not.She continued to write to people and, as usual, these envelopes went into the mail and were received -- still with no stamps on them. She had started this at age 4, and by age 8 realized no letter could be mailed without a stamp: Was it Mr. Haynes who helped these get delivered?
She didn't even have a complete address on her envelopes -- and yet they were received. She knew because people told her that they had gotten her letters.Into her teenage years, she would see Mr. Haynes when she was at her grandmother's house: He was his usual chipper self and still took away her breath. She thought of asking him if he were the one who put the stamps on her childhood letters, but by this time, she was reluctant to ask him.One day she was watching her grandmother work on a scrapbook; she had made at least 25 and this girl knew all of them by heart for she loved looking at them. But when she looked at what her grandmother was pasting onto a page, she was more than shocked: There was a letter that she had written when she was 4 or 5. And it had a stamp on it!"How did you get that letter, Grannie?" asked the girl."Mr. Haynes delivered it to me a long time ago. In fact, he delivered a lot of your letters."The girl just couldn't believe it and laughed hysterically! The secret was out finally, although the girl suspected that the mailman had put stamps on her letters because no one else had. But she said nothing about it to Mr. Haynes as she felt embarrassed.When the girl reached womanhood, married and became a mother, she lost her grandmother, but she did inherit one-third of those scrapbooks. While at her late grandmother's house one day, she caught a glimpse of Mr. Haynes.He was, of course, older now, and so was she. The fondness that she had for him still lingered, only this time it was coupled with gratitude. He had spent his own money to make a little girl happy.You can guess that the little girl was me, and I never quit writing on anything I could find. Those scrapbooks I inherited mean more to me than words can say because those letters are in there pasted by my grandmother and stamped by Mr. Haynes.Sherry Hill, of Charleston, may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.