Recently I received an unexpected, but heartwarming, letter from a young woman.
First, the backstory. Several months ago I gave an evening presentation about Odd Nansen and his diary. After the talk, reception and booksigning were over, this young woman, who worked at the venue, had the task of closing up the facility and ensuring that all was in order. As she was helping me to my car, she told me she had very much enjoyed learning about Nansen, and was interested in reading his secret diary, but was not in a position financially to purchase a copy. I reached into the trunk, fished out an unsold copy, inscribed it to her, and handed it over, asking her only to send me the purchase price when she could afford it.
Often times since then I would think back to that event, and wonder how my young friend was faring. Here is the text of the letter I received (edited to protect her identity):
“Dear Mr. Boyce, The night you spoke at . . . will always remain a special memory for me. I was struggling in many ways outside of work. When you gave me the copy of From Day to Day, it was a major boost in my faith and trust in humanity. I sat and cried in my car for quite a while after I returned home, vowing that I would be able to repay you someday. As you can see from my address I am no longer in . . . . I took a new job with . . . . My fortunes have dramatically improved since we last met. Please accept this belated payment. I hope you continue to meet good people in your journeys and are able to share the story of Odd Nansen far and wide. All the best” /Signed/
Yes, dear letter writer, I have met many good people (like you) in my journey, and yes, I will continue to share Nansen’s story far and wide, and I in turn wish you all the very best as well.