My name is Warren R. Schmidt, and I am your new foster father. I live in Omaha, Nebraska. My older brother, Harry, lives in Roanoke, Virginia with his wife Estelle. Harry lost a leg two years ago to diabetes. I am 66 years old and recently retired as Assistant Vice President and actuary at Woodman of the World Insurance Company…and God dammit if they didn’t replace me with some kid who, alright so maybe he’s got a little theory under his belt and can plug a few numbers into a computer, but I could tell right off that he doesn’t know a damn thing about genuine real world risk assessment or managing a department, for that matter. Cocky bastard…
Anyway, 66 must sound pretty old to a young fella like yourself. Truth is, it sounds pretty old to me, too. Because when I look in the mirrors and see the wrinkles around my eyes and the sagging skin on my neck, and the hair in my ears, and the veins on my ankles, I can’t believe it’s really me. When I was a kid I used to think that maybe I was special — that somehow destiny had tapped me to be a great man. Not like Henry Ford or Walt Disney or somebody like that, but somebody, you know, semi-important.
I got a degree in business and statistics and was planning to start my own business someday, build it up into a big corporation, maybe make the Fortune 500. I was gonna be one of those guys you read about. But somehow it didn’t work out that way. You gotta remember I had a top notch job at Woodman and a family to support. I couldn’t exactly put their security at risk. Helen, my wife, she wouldn’t have allowed it.
But what about my family, you might ask. What about my wife and daughter? Don’t they give me all the pride and satisfaction I could want? Helen and I have been married 42 years. Lately, every night I find myself asking the same question. Who is this old woman who lives in my house?
Why is it that every little thing she does irritates me? Like the way she gets the keys out of her purse long before we reach the car. And how she throws our money away on her ridiculous little collections. And tossing out perfectly good food just because the expiration date has passed. And her obsession, her obsession with trying new restaurants. And the way she cuts me off when I try to speak. And I hate the way she sits and the way she smells. For years now she has insisted that I sit when I urinate. My promise to lift the seat and wipe the rim and put the seat back down wasn’t good enough for her.
But then there’s Jeanie. She’s our only. I’ll bet she’d like you. She gets a big kick out of different languages and cultures and so forth. She used to get by pretty good in German. She’ll always be my little girl.
She lives out in Denver, so we don’t get to see her much anymore. Sure, we stay in touch by phone every couple weeks, and she comes out for the holidays sometimes, but not as often as we’d like. She has a position of some responsibility with a high tech computer outfit, so it’s very hard for her to break away. Recently she got engaged, so I suppose we’ll be seeing even less of her.
The fellow’s name is Randall Hertzel. He’s got a sales job of some sort. Maybe Jeanie’s a little passed her prime, but I still think she could’ve done a heck of a lot better. I mean, this guy’s not up to snuff, if you ask me. Not for my little girl.
I’ll close now and get this in the mail. Here I am rambling on and on, and you probably want to hurry on down and cash this check and get yourself something to eat. So take it easy, and best of luck with all your endeavors.
Yours Very Truly,