This is a true story.
It was an ordinary day in November in the year 2015. I went to the mailbox to fetch the usual things I don’t want—advertisements, bills etc., but in the pile I spotted something unusual: an air mail envelope from the UK with a customs declaration on the front that also had a gift box checked and a description underneath that stated it was costume jewellery. What’s this?
I opened it up at once. Inside was a valentine!
And inside the card was a sort of letter:
Dear Lynnie, Paul,
Not before (not sure I am reading this word right) time I write to you for Valentines Day and have enclosed carnelians which I have found on the beach in Walberswick and sending them to you with the extract from your story in my mind, “Squinting through Carnelians” which I loved…
My heart danced a jig. My good childhood friend Ann, originally from the village of Walberswick, Suffolk, UK, went to the beach and collected carnelians for me! What a thoughtful thing to do!
“Squinting through Carnelians” is now a part of the book Jewels That Speak: Tiffanys, Freuds, and Me to be published on April 17th, 10 days from now.
Kirkus Reviews addresses this part of the book: ‘She did get one thing from her Tiffany heritage: her father shared with her an appreciation of beautiful precious and, especially, semiprecious stones… “I never went with [my father] on his solitary walks. Alone, he ambled along the chilly shoreline, especially on sunny days when light shone through the wet stones, revealing their yellow-orange to reddish-brown to rich red tones.”’
And here are the carnelians three years later.