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Dear Jane,

The magnolia trees are in blossom and I think of you every time I see them. The courtyard at work has four or five magnolia trees and they make the world a study in pink, white, and magenta. I feel happy and at peace when I look at them out the window or walk through the courtyard, much like how I feel when I am with you.

I think that you and the magnolia tree share a deeper bond than simply the fact that Great-Grandma planted one in your honor. Magnolia is an “ancient genus” according to a very reliable source, and you at times have old eyes and wisdom beyond your years. Additionally, your love of history and the value you place upon historical objects tie into this, but most of all your adaptability, resiliency, and ability to endure. Like the magnolia tree you are the first to bloom in a breathtaking display of color with a quick mind, fast wit, kindness, and of course beauty. Yes, the flowers fade and fall, but the vibrant green leaves last until the winter.

In your last letter you asked me where you belong, and my answer is anywhere you want, like the magnolia which is found throughout the world. You will thrive no matter where you go because you are a survivor and are so much stronger than you are able to see. Where you live, what time period you inhabit or emulate, you will always be where you belong because you are in my heart. To quote E. E. Cummings “i carry you in my heart with me (i carry it in my heart)” and the “deepest secret” is that is the reason I am as strong as I am because when I reach inside myself for the strength I need, I am drawing not only from myself, but from you as well.

I love you.

I am proud of you.

I am excited to come down to visit in May and sleep in my new bedroom. I might not be able to sleep in my bed because Mom will be there too, but I cannot wait to see (y)our new home. I look forward to making rosemary ranch kabobs for everyone and although it is nowhere near the season, I am craving corn on the cob and salt potatoes. Mom has big plans for your balcony and margaritas and I think Gavin is in on them with her, but perhaps we can persuade them to have frozen whiskey sours or frozen strawberry daiquiris instead.

My friend from college, Charlie, just got a new job so we shall be brunching on Sunday at Chelsea Market. I believe she has planned crepes and gelato for us. Thursday is the Publishing Triangle Awards, Friday a friend from my old job has a party at his second job that I am invited to, and Saturday is the NYU Veteran’s Reading.

Tonight I am staying in Manhattan and having dinner with a coworker. We’re going to go to a wing place and then we’ll find a place to hole up where she can code on her computer and I can read the next three comics she has lent me. We both have a deep appreciation for the Amazing Hawkeye. She knows the comics like the back of her hand and I know the fandom, together we are an unstoppable force. We’re also going to go to a pre-Comic Con (NYC) in June. I plan on wearing ratty jeans and a men’s tank top and acting as her security detail.

And last, but not least. Happy birthday, dear sister. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow and that you are enjoying the purse I gave you.

With all my love,