Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5/254: Dear Alex,

Dear Alex,

If you're curious about why you're getting this letter, check out the address above.

There's one thing I have to start with: THANK YOU. You, without knowing, totally got me into David Bowie. I had heard his songs before on the radio, but I hadn't really given him much thought until you talked and talked about how amazing he was. So...thanks for that. That glam-rock god definitely shaped me into the person I am today.

Also -you're pretty awesome. You were always so sweet to me in high school. You were tolerant of everyone and got along with everyone (pretty much). You had an amazing drive and you seemed to get so much stuff accomplished.

And your sense of humor is top-notch. I always laugh when I'm around you - of course, your infectious giggle definitely contributed.

Finally - I love, love LOVE that you say what you mean. It's so refreshing.

Thank you for everything,


4/254: Dear Aletta,

Dear Aletta,

I don't even know if you remember me, but I babysat your kids once or twice this past year. I'm working on a blog project (for details, look at the site above).

You are a wonderful mom. I loved spending time with your kids. Johnny is so smart and sweet and he's not mean about it. I've been working at Wilson for over two years now, and most kids that are as smart as Johnny are rude and condescending about it. He is such a great kid.

Louisa is also wonderful. She's adorable and up for anything and is ridiculously polite, in the best way possible. I can't imagine her ever getting into an argument with anyone (although you may disagree?). She just has the sweetest disposition. I wish I was more like her!

And of course, Annie. What a cutie pie! I think she was a little scared of me at first, but once we watched enough Barbie movies, she was better.

The three of your children get along wonderfully, too. The couple of times I babysat for them, they were so well-behaved and they played well together.

Anyways - I know this is random and I hope you don't find it unsettling, but the project I'm working on is writing a letter to every person in my cell phone address book - and you're in there!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with your kids. You and your husband (whose name escapes me at the moment) have done a wonderful job at raising them. I can only hope that I raise kids half as well as you did :)

Kaylen Hoffman

3/254: Dear Alba

Dear Alba,

Long time no talk! I hope you're doing well.

I'm working on a project (check out the website above) which involves writing letters to everyone in my cell phone address book. And of course, you're in there from good ol' Gries staff!

It was really great getting to know you the nine months we worked together. All of the girls from your floor that hung out on my floor had nothing but good things to say about you. It made me sad that I hadn't gotten to know you better.

I really admire the way that you carry yourself - you always looked confident and as if you were in control. Now...whether or not you actually did/do feel that way is another story, but it always seemed like you were on top of things - I was a little bit jealous of that.

I hope you're doing something now that you love. You have such a hardy spirit and I hope that your happy vibes and strong energy is used towards something amazing.

Kaylen Hoffman

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2/254: Dear Aimee

[I've decided to not use fake names, except for some people.]

Dear Aimee,

I just wanted to take a second and tell you how much your friendship has meant to me over the last seven (SEVEN?!?!) years. We had so much fun in high school, goofing around and making jokes in Ms. V's class. I always felt safe at your side, because you were always so smiley and chipper.

There are a couple of things I need to tell you. First of all, I'm sorry I'm so flaky. I'm really good at making plans and being excited about doing those plans and then forgetting, having other things come up and forgetting about the previous plans, or just feeling cranky and pissy. But in all, know that I LOVE YOU and care about you and 110% enjoy spending time with you. And I am so sorry about this summer.

I also want to thank you for being so wonderful to me the last seven years. Whenever I was angry or cranky or unhappy, I could always depend on you to "turn the frown upside down". I can think of many times when Sr. Judy was being difficult and it got the best of me and I just caught your eyes from across the classroom and all you did was smile and shrug your shoulders. And that simple act made me feel so much better.

And lastly - I have always admired you. And been a bit jealous, honestly - but in a healthy way. You're gorgeous. You have the best smile. You are super-duper smart and you apply yourself ALL THE TIME - not just sometimes, but all the time. You are industrious and confident and have so many interests, and you go after those interests. Like your kick-boxing class this past summer? Awesome. I wish I would get myself together enough to be able to do things like that.

So, anyways. In short - you are a wonderful woman (that feels weird to say, but hey - that's what we are now, right?) and I am so fortunate to have you in my life. We've been though many good times and I can only hope that we will have more fond memories in the future.

So much love,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some Updates

Okay guys. I wrote my first letter and mailed it out today! Yay!

There have been some other things I've thought of in the past week that may make this difficult.

1. I get new numbers to put into my phone all the time, so...it's going to be hard to keep track of how many people were in the phone when I counted '254' and so on. I think I'm just going to go through the phone a couple of times until I've written a letter to everyone in the phone. Does that make sense?

2. I realized that this is going to cost a bit, you know, for postage. So, while I am planning mailing out some letters, I may just email some...I know, I KNOW, it's gross. I've decided the following:
a - people that are in St. Louis will get hand-delivered letters with just their name on the front and no stamp.
b - family members and good friends outside of St. Louis will get mailed letters
c - other people, people that I was never really close to but had their number for all-intensive purposes, like co-workers that I spoke to maybe three or four times, will probably just get an email or facebook message.

Sorry this isn't as cool as you all once thought. But like I said, trying to save money...for when I need to send out save-the-dates and invitations and all that junk. Yay!

The next letter: a dear friend from high school.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1/254: Dear Andrea

Dear Andrea,

Well I guess I don't have to explain what this is, since you saw it on facebook and sent me a message about it. As I begin writing this letter I'm realizing how difficult this project will be to complete.

To begin, thank you for always being accepting of me. In a family that somewhat...well, doesn't really care for my family of four, it's nice knowing that SOME people like being with me and mom, dad, and Emme. I know that after you've left Grandma and Grandpa's house, you've never said bad things about us, like some other family members. I've always appreciated and respected that.

To be truthful, I always thought you were pretty much the coolest teenager around (when you were a teenager, obviously). You were always so kind and sweet, and even when I was really young (and when you were younger, too) you always asked me lots of questions. It always made me feel really, really special. Someone cared about me! Someone wants to know what I think! And I don't want to sound as though everyone else in the family hates me. I know they don't. But there have been moments when we've had a conversation and it just feels...perfect. Sometimes I really wish that you lived closer, or I lived closer to you, so we could hang out all the time.

It's funny to think how different we were raised - in two different cities with different parents - but how alike we are. And I know that you and Pedro and Zinny have all been through a lot of drama in your family...and I have been deeply in awe of how well you all took it. I only saw the outside of it - as I'm not in your direct group of friends, or go-to people, but you always seemed so bubbly and happy and cheerful whenever I saw you.

And lastly, I want to say how proud of you I am. It seems weird to say that because I'm much younger than you, but when Mom told me that you were studying to be a lawyer, I realized how much sense that made. Then when you got a job offer before you even graduated, I thought, "WOW she must really know what she's doing!". And then when you got the super awesome job that you have now, I was truly blown away. I'm so happy that you've found what you truly love and have an amazing job because of it. I can only hope the same for me!

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Hi. I'm Kaylen, the author of this blog.

And I explained the project here, but if you want in and have no idea what this whole "254 letters" thing is about - well, listen here.

For the past couple of years, I've been wanting to write letters. Not letters to strangers, or a pen pal (although those are fun). I've been wanting to write letters to people that mean something to me. There is one man in particular whom I've been grateful towards ever since he danced with me at a dance when his son (also known as the love of my life for NINE years) didn't show up. I realize that may be a weird example to use, but it was so sweet and just made me feel so happy.

Those are the people I want to write letters to. My old friends from grade school, whose telephone numbers I have but do not use. Ex-boyfriends. I don't think I need to say anything else there.

Anyways - about the phone numbers. I counted in my cell phone last night and found that I have 254 contacts. I plan on writing a letter to each person, a hand-written letter, and then mailing it to them.

I plan to write one letter a week. After I have handwritten it, I will type it up onto this blog; hence, "254 letters". However, the letters will be somewhat unanimous. The example I used on happy notions - Pete (the fiance) is obviously on my blog. I will title the post in which I write a letter to him, "Dear Pepe" or something like that - both names start with a "P". Get it?

As much as I look forward to this project, it's really, really scary. I plan on telling the people in the letters the TRUTH. For instance, the dad I mentioned earlier (let's call him Mr. Samson) has a son (let's call him Simeon). Like I said, I was in love with Simeon for NINE YEARS. We went to grade school together, remained close friends in high school, and I finally fell out of it in 10th grade. But seriously - from first grade to 9th grade, I adored him. We still keep in touch and try to visit each other when he's back in town from school, but I've never told him how I felt. He'll find out soon enough...although is name is under "S", so it will actually be awhile.

There are also people in my contacts that I haven't talked to in YEARS. They'll be confused, surprised, and hopefully happy.

The purpose of this project isn't to make people feel awkward. I want my friends and family, past and present, to know how much they have meant to me, and continue to mean to me. I'm not one to forget things. I remember when a friend, Kiki, didn't include me in games in 3rd grade, but I also remember crying with her in her black-and-white tiled kitchen when a friend died. I remember laughing hysterically on vacations together to lines from Austin Powers.

So, that's the plan. As for now, this blog is relatively underdeveloped and I'm okay with that. Hopefully, as time goes on, it will evolve and look prettier and, daresay, more unique and fancy.

First up: a letter to a cousin of mine who I rarely see or talk to, but when I do, she's pretty much amazing.