When I sent an email to the editor early last week to let him know we were going out of town on important personal business I apologized, noting that this was only the second time in 12 years of writing this column that I’ve missed a copy deadline. Naturally, I was curious about how he would use the space where my column appears each week. The last thing I expected to see was a letter to the editor about me, and from, of all people, Grenelda Schnitzoldorf.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that Grenelda now lives close by and has been reading my column for the past five months. I feel a little awkward writing about her instead of to her so I ask your indulgence, and hers, to share my thoughts in the form of a personal, but open, letter to Grenelda.
First, let me say I am glad you are doing well and are comfortably situated with your goddaughter. As you have already discovered, Batavia, really all of Clermont County, is a wonderful place to live. As a side note, let me mention that you may wish to look into residency at Dimmitt Woods Senior Housing, if you should decide to live independently.
It is not my intent to perpetuate an exchange of letters in the pages of the Clermont Sun, but I do want to offer a few brief thoughts in response to your letter to the editor.
First, and I hope this does not sound or seem improper, I want to say that I remember well our first warm embrace and awkward kiss. The first-love affection we shared with each other brings many fond memories to mind. I know it did not seem so at the time, but I truly admired and respected the prudence and discretion you firmly adhered to in our relationship. I am a better man because of it. In reference to your comment about “Yvonne stealing me away from you” (which I would not comment about publicly were it not for your own comments) I can assure you that your strict prudence had no effect on my sudden and impassioned attraction to Yvonne, a passion which remains unabated after 46 years.
Speaking of Yvonne (and on a lighter note), I shared your letter to the editor with her and asked how she would feel about my getting together with you to talk about old times. Her response was simple but unequivocal. “Sure,” she said with a smile, “Go ahead, if you want to be permanently banished to the travel trailer.”
Grenelda, Yvonne is still the sweet person you remember her to be, but contrary to your observation that, “Yvonne would never make George live in their travel trailer for weeks at a time no matter how frustrated she may become with him,” she would and has. I admit deservedly so.
More importantly, I was troubled by your observations that, “People should always read George’s columns with a generous dose of skepticism,” and that “In high school George was always telling the most outlandish and preposterous stories about strange adventures he had had over the weekend or during summer vacations.” I believe “Big fat lies” was the description you used.
Grenelda, like you, I’ve matured along the way and am comfortable and content with who I am today. While I’m not hurt, I am troubled by your comments because they raise questions about my integrity and the good reputation I have established over the past 21 years as a citizen of this community.
I can understand that you and other classmates in high school thought I was just telling “outlandish and preposterous” stories to make other kids laugh, hoping they would like me, but I assure you those stories were all true. Equally so, the many strange and often exciting things that have continued to happen to me over the years, and which I often write about, are also true. I can’t explain it but for some reason I keep having the most amazing experiences, which has sometimes included encounters with fierce critters from which I’ve saved myself with a trusted backpack. I know it sounds silly but these things actually happened.
I know you meant well by your remarks Grenelda, but in my own defense I am both lucky and blessed to have one true believer, my dear sweet wife Yvonne. She has faithfully stood by my side for all of these years, often literally so as she has sometimes been present when one of those strange experiences or encounters has occurred. That encounter I had with a bull buffalo near Little Bighorn is a good example. I shall try to find the kodachrome slide of the picture I took that day as further proof, as soon as I have time.
Yvonne may, from time to time, banish me to our travel trailer for a few weeks (as already noted, always deservedly for pushing the limit in pulling pranks on her), but as our close friends know Yvonne would never lie to cover an untruth for me. Grenelda, I suppose the three of us will not be getting together to chat, but if we did I know Yvonne would testify to the authenticity of my stories.
Yes, it is true that I sometimes add a bit of color to make a story more interesting but you (and other readers of this column) can believe this, “I swear on a stack of backpacks, all of my stories are almost 100% true.”
With all best wishes and warm regards, George.
George Brown is a freelance writer. He lives in Jackson Township with his wife, Yvonne.