You're welcome! We wish we could print each of more than 300 imaginary thank-you notes from notables the Home Forum competitors sent in. Sorry we couldn't consider notes over 100 words or late ones. They all tickled us. Often a spirit of giving came through the jokes. Special thanks to 10 teachers whose elementary and junior high school classes wrote hilariously and abundantly. (Please see ``From young thankers'' tomorrow.) To Meriwether Lewis and William Clark Dear Courageous Explorers: Thank you for the bubblegum-pink Reeboks. I find my step cushioned as I tread our rocky byways and I don't slip as I kneel at the river's edge. I especially appreciate how toasty warm my feet stay as I walk the snowy paths - as though I've never left the campfire's glow.
Please call me by smoke signal when you again need direction through the Northwest wilderness. Taats maywee.* Your faithful Indian guide, Sacajawea *``Good evening'' in the Nez Perc'e language. Barbara Mjelde Marsh, Mesa, Ariz. To Wilbur and Orville Wright Dear Gentlemen,
Although I have acquired no liking for machinery nor the need to hurry, I pen this note of appreciation for your endeavor, now perfected so that man-made flight took me across this land. Not given to travel, I nevertheless found exhilaration in a winter walk along a silvered California street after their first rain. Pyracantha berries gleamed as cloisonn'e. Diamonds shimmered on frilled poinsettias, and a china-blue scrub jay shrieked and cracked peanuts upon a lace-leafed jacaranda branch.
Gentlemen, truly, nature held high festival and the heavens seemed nearer earth, and I am grateful. Yours, Henry David Thoreau Louise Lamar, La Mesa, Calif. Moscow October, 1812 Ma Ch`ere Josephine:
It is lovely here. My aide-de-camp informs me that it is a holiday custom here for all of the citizens to leave early for a Christmas holiday in the country. I sometimes feel that I have not left Paris. I hear nothing but French spoken in the streets.
Your Christmas package arrived early by courier and I could not resist opening it. No doubt you sent it off in haste to be on time for the big holiday. Perhaps that explains your gift of only one glove, knitted by your own elegant fingers.
I look forward, in great expectation, to receiving the other one as soon as possible. In the meantime, I make do. Joyeux No"el and Love, Napoleon Flo Ann Hedley Norvell, Mendocino, Calif. December 26 Fred the Furrier Dear Fred,
The coat is great! Thanks a million. Love, Godiva Jane Minter, Katonah, N.Y. Stratford-upon-Avon January 11, 1601 Dear Publisher: It did amaze me fair To set my foot upon the New World's shore, Your 20th-century guest this fortnight past. Accept my thanks. I can't believe What will, 300 years from now, amuse And entertain you gentlefolk. I pray If Portia, with her scales, doth justice weigh Upon your TV screen, or Ms. Macbeth Her hands of guilt attempt to wash, or Romeo Woo Juliet, let them proceed uninterrupted By commercials. One Big Mac attack Would crush their souls. Imploringly, Wm. Shakespeare Doris Deming, Grand Rapids, Mich. Upon the receipt of running shoes ``Running shoes'': A shoe in adult sizes dedicated to cantering about? My dear friend, if this product clears profit the better part of mankind is emulating horses! (Although it would seem that horses have a better sense of fashion.) In spite of the phosphorescent colors and brandished chevrons, the shoes are comfortable! Also, when they are on and cinched, I seem to recover some of the Indian-stealth I had as a boy. They should be redefined as ``sneaking shoes.'' (A contemporary person will only wear them in secret, anyway.) Respectfully grateful Samuel Langhorne Clemens H.E. Clark, Ashland, Mass. Dear Mother,
Once again thank you for the special gift you gave me and all America without realizing you gave it.
I remember well standing before you, a teen-ager, resplendent in my midshipman's uniform, about to launch a career in the British Navy. How you wept pitifully while saying goodbye. I just could not go off to sea with you grieving over me, and terminated my enlistment.
Just think what could have happened had I become an admiral instead of a general. You might not have become the mother of the father of a country. Your beloved son, George Washington Louis H. Kammerer, Ridge, N.Y. To: Odysseus, Commander, Greek Army From: Priam, King of Troy My Dear General:
What a gracious gift, given in such a gracious spirit! I cannot express too strongly my appreciation for the magnificent wooden horse that you left outside our gates when you departed. Future generations may forget this noble gesture, but I never shall.
What a giant of a man it would take to ride this gigantic steed. In fact, it is large enough for several men to ride in! An amusing thought, no?
Forgive me, I hear someone on the stair. I must go open the doo Arthur E. Scott, Belmar, N.J. Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Cambridge, Mass. Dear Sir:
I am honored to receive a gavel you used as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 99th Congress. I thought that no one remembered that I was elected Speaker in the First Congress.
My brother, Peter, elected to Congress with me, also has been forgotten. It was he, senior commander in the field, who was in charge of the column that took Redoubt 10, forcing Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown. But Alexander Hamilton took the credit in the press. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Please accept my appreciation for your kindness.
I remain, Dear Sir, Your affectionate and Humble Servant F. Muhlenberg Warren Himmelberger, Wellesley Hills, Mass. December 26, 1510 Pope Julius II The Vatican Your Holiness:
For the recent gift of the power painter: my abundant gratitude.
I attempted to use it in my depiction of ``The Great Flood.'' Alas, Your Holiness, I fear your displeasure. The Deluge, I beg to inquire, should not be of paint, should it? The prophets and sybils are barely distinguishable and the oak leaves drip profusely.
Your advice that a ceiling which would ordinarily take 15 years can be, with your mechanical contraption, completed in 45 minutes seems, though divinely intended, a bit exaggerated, not without difficulties.
Your advance of 500 florins will barely provide dropcloths. Yours with deepest respect, Michelangelo Buonarroti J. Hutchinson, Oshkosh, Wis. Dear Gram,
Thank you for the wind-up ukulele you gave me for Christmas. I love the Mickey Mouse music it plays when you turn the handle. The pictures on the front are pretty neat, too. Your grandson, Brucie* *Letter recently found in a desk drawer at Bruce Springsteen's family home. Sara Broun, Murrayville, Ill.
I am in receipt of that which you describe as a kinetic water-lava mechanism, which after lengthy and sometimes vexing observation I theorize consists of 128 different patterns repeating themselves at extremely complex but indeed predictable intervals, which accumulatively equal a 24-hour day divided by most interesting propositions for replacing minutes and hours which as yet I have not given scientific names. Whether I could have reached this enlightening juncture of scientific observation without my clock as a guide I do not know, as I did not try. Nonetheless as I become more accustomed to this wizardry, and my clock becomes disposably obsolete, I shall be even more grateful, I am sure. For now, however, I feel need of rest. Your Obedient Servant, Benjamin Franklin Claude Duncan, Tuscaloosa, Ala. Kitty Hawk December 16, 1903 Mr. Harvey Firestone Firestone Rubber Company Akron, Ohio Dear Harvey:
Your gift of those large rubber bands is appreciated. Yes, they seem powerful enough to lift our winged craft into the air. We can wind up the propeller with them and create enough thrust to launch us skyward.
I would do this today, but my brother Orville has borrowed a small tin-lizzie motor from Henry Ford which he wants to try first. After we discard that absurd idea, I will put your rubber bands to work, and we will be off the ground with a snappy start.
Thanks again. Wilbur Wright Osborne Hull, Woodland, Calif. Dear Leonard Bernstein:
Danke sh"on for the cassette player you sent me. A remarkable invention. By depressing only one key I play Fast Forward. That's commendable development! Listening after Rewinding, I contemplate interesting variations. ``Pause'' allows me to insert quick modulation. On ``Record'' I composed extemporaneously a ``Prelude and Fugue for Well-Tempered Cassettes.''
My 20 children are fascinated by this instrument - which may necessitate certain measures on my part to maintain harmony.
Since eloquent phrases escape me momentarily, I extend an unembellished invitation: ``Visit soon.'' Sons Wilhelm and Carl share my eagerness to compare notes. In grateful acknowledgment, J.S. Bach Ruth Ann Gatto, Pasadena, Calif. To my dear friend Angelica,
I thank you for the sweet you sent this day by messenger.
I was bemused by the quality of this grape jelly. Is it not strained? It drop-peth as a gentle plop upon the bowl beneath. Is it twice cooked? It satisfieth well. It blesses you who gives and me to whom 'tis given.
I cannot tarry longer because I must away this night toward Padua and it is meet I presently set forth* and so I bid you farewell. Yours in devoted friendship, Portia *Merchant of Venice, ACT IV, Scene I Gladys Eppy Rector, Scottsdale, Ariz. Madame Julia Child Paris, France Dear Mme. Child,
Bravo! Your Bon-App'etit Microwave Oven is a ``hit'' in the Bach family. What with Johann's always ``allegro'' schedule and keeping in tempo with 20 Bach offspring, orchestrating mealtimes had me in quite a strudel.
A frau's work is never done. Perhaps, now, with this new kitchen helper, I will have more opportunities to play a cantata or two and assist our youngest, Johann Christian, with his clavier lessons - he is so promising.
Johann expressed great pleasure with your recipe for Chicken Bouillabaisse avec Rouille. He claims the whole dinner was a ``gastronomic fugue'' (and I, a welcome change from our usually largo Leipzigian fare).
Danke and guten Apetit!! (Thanks and good appetite!!) Anna Magdelena Bach Leipzig, Germany Elizabeth L. Stapler, Oakland, Calif. To Mistress Allison Hunt Dear child and neighbor,
Your gift of daffodils picked from the host beside the lake and left, to our surprise, at our Dove cottage door, needs must be acknowledged.
For your sweet intention, Mrs. Wordsworth, Miss Dorothy, and I send you our gentle thanks. But even though there ten thousand seem to be dancing beneath the trees, it is folly to think that each of us could pick a gift bouquet without diminishing the whole.
So, when you wander o'er the vales and hills again, dear Allison, remember us kindly by leaving the daffodils along the margin of the bay.
We shall expect you for tea on Wednesday, day after tomorrow. Your friend and neighbor, William Wordsworth April, 1804 B.W. Gontrum, Jarrettsville, Md. Dear uncle frank (i am having somuchfun with the typewriter which (you gave (me&4which (i thank (you but:as: therewere no in)structions in)cluded could (you tell (me how2use the key which says (shift?) e.e. cummings Dave Hocker, Cave Junction, Ore.
The following letter is from President Calvin Coolidge to his vice-president, Charles G. Dawes, thanking him for a Christmas gift - any Christmas gift. (Maybe it was a silent butler!) Dec. 26, 1926 Dear Charles,
Thanks. Regards, Cal Virginia Scott, Santa Monica, Calif.