Dear Betty-Marie –
Hardly you were here and you were gone again. Just a note to say it really was good to see you but (forgive me) I do wish you would have let me know beforehand as I could have cleared out the ironing room and you could have had a room with a window. A lovely bay window instead of a hatch hardly big enough for a cat. We hope you made it home with no snags. Lillian found you really good company. I know because she made a point of telling me, by which I mean she said it to me twice, “Betty Marie is fun to be with.” Maybe she forgot she said it, but she did say it twice, “Betty-Marie is fun to be with.” Betty-Marie, I hope I’m not making some mistake saying this, but I feel some clarity is needed here. She is my sister in law, yes, (although really she is my ex-sister in law now) because she was married to my brother Tom. You remember Tom, don’t you? Nice sweet guy? I’m sure you remember Tom. Well she drove him bananas. Then he returned the favour. They both live alone now, except sometimes she comes to stay with me. Two or three times a year, mostly, for maybe a month. I don’t mind. She doesn’t drive me crazy and as far as I can tell I have a positive effect on her. You did too, I think. I just wanted you to know she is not my sister in law because I married her brother. I never got married and she never had a brother. Come to think of it, I wonder if that explains something about both of us (or anything about either of us) I just wanted you to know she was Tom’s wife, and in case you are now thinking she comes to stay with me to somehow be with Tom, that’s not the case either because he’s in Iceland. Got just as far away from here as he could get. Maybe as far away from us as he could too. I don’t mind, though, since he writes about once a week. Amazing he finds so much to say, but he does. Now that you’ve come to see us I will have something to surprise him with too, namely your visit. I’m sure he remembers you. . .
[I post this here because every time I go to throw it away, I make the mistake of rereading it and it always makes me laugh. I can’t figure out why, but it does, and if it makes you laugh half as much – or even smile – I’ll know I did the right thing. . .posting it here. ]