Dear Bonnie (To Bonnie Paull)

Applied Scholatics Convention 2008

Dear Bonnie,

It’s just about 5 pm on Sunday, right around the time I usually sit on my patio and talk to you.  I’m writing you a letter instead.

Today there was a service in your honor.  Ralph told me it was packed.  I’m not surprised.  You are the most loved person I’ve ever known.

You have been one of my closest friends for 35 years.

I’ve called you my Fairy Godmother from the beginning.   I had the idea that all I had to do was tell you my dreams and you would make them come true.

You laughed but said go ahead and tell you anyway.  So over the years, each time we talked, I told you my dreams, and, funny enough, they did come true.  You always laughed and said I was the one making them come true, but I always said no, it didn’t come true until I told you.  Every letter, card and email you ever sent me started with, “Dear Fairy Goddaughter” and was signed, “Your Fairy Godmother.”

You helped me deliver my very first communications course to a large corporation.  We had 18 hard-boiled Labor Relations negotiators from a national railroad who argued like mad that showing any affinity would destroy their negotiations.  We persisted and they had life-changing wins.

We delivered a workshop to 400 teachers in the Philippines. Near the end of the workshop they told us they had something they wanted to say to us.  Then they joined hands, all 400 of them, raised their arms in the air and sang an incredible song of hope and optimism because it was the first time in their teaching careers they felt they could actually help every one of their students.  400 joyous voices.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

You were on my Board of Directors for 32 years.  You know every important thing that’s ever happened.  No one has expressed more pride in my achievements than you have.

25 years ago we lived together for 7 years, sharing a house.  First in that charming cottage in the Oakland hills.  I remember the day I came home after work.  You were sitting at the kitchen table, you looked up at me and said, “We should get some goats.”  I considered it for a moment and said, “Sounds like a fine idea.”

So we moved to the adorable farm house in Sunol.  You had the house in the front, I lived in the house in the field in the back.  We had Japanese Silky chickens with long feathers and a rooster named Henry who crowed at 4 in the morning.  We grew out-of-this-world corn, tomatoes, lettuce, and big fat peaches we had to eat over a bowl because they dripped buckets of sweet juice.

I would come talk to you at the end of the day.  I told you about my day and heard all about yours.

For 35 years we’ve had an endless conversation, shared our joys, our sorrows, our struggles, our triumphs.  I’ve laughed with you more than with anyone I’ve known.  We both believe that nothing is so bad you can’t start laughing about it.

Our friendship has always been sunny, like a clear blue sky absent of clouds.  No arguments, not even 1 disagreement.  Only the purest understanding and mutual encouragement.  No one has encouraged me more than you have.

If I close my eyes, I can hear your voice.

And so I take the constant encouragement you gave me for the last 35 years and treasure it like I do the sun, that vital source of life-giving light.  It burns bright in my life, and will until we meet again.  For I am as certain of this as I am of the sun up in the sky, that our friendship is forever.

Love is Stronger

We were able to create a bond

That would endure after our last breath

Into worlds and lifetimes beyond

For love is so much stronger than death.

  • Louis Alan Swartz


Love is stronger.

Until we meet again,

With much love,

Your Fairy Goddaughter


PS  ** “Goodbye? Oh no, please.  Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” — Winnie the Pooh 

** “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” — Winnie the Pooh 





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