Letter to Will Scribner

Hey Mr. Scribner,

I just come across a picture of us, taken around graduation where I’m reaching out to grab your necktie. It seems a little forward of me, a little distracted. I probably wasn’t listening to a word you were saying, just running scenes of seductions won in Chevy interiors. Those were my greatest victories then.

Anyway, I appreciated your comments in my yearbook – something to the fact that I could succeed at any college in the US and that any company would find me an asset. Im sure you wrote that a lot, but Id like to think you had your eye on me. I never grew up seeing myself as having value that wasn’t related to my looks; petite, blonde, conventionally attractive. I knew I was smart of course, but I never learned how to harness that into power. I only understood power by forcing sexual submission. Is this what young males with no role models learn too? 

You always emphasized knowing the facts as part of being able to debate respectfully. To my logical mind, there was safety in this approach and I appreciated its rigor. Your own self respect and passion for teaching was infectious. That senior year, I was more well-read on current events that I’ve been since. These days, finding anyone who values facts, even the silliest of facts, is hopeless. Do you agree? 

Earlier that year, I’d engineered a huge lie to break up with the married man I was sleeping with. He became disgusting to me after I’d seduced him. As spring sprung, I was regretting it. I missed the energy release. My mind hadnt been on school in a while. He wore neckties too.

I might’ve been in your class when the Challenger blew up. I don’t remember. All I thought was why is everyone talking about how sad it is that a teacher died but not so much all the other people? Is it like the overly dramatic and “patriotic” way we mourn police officers, firefighters, and our troops? Maybe the appropriate American brand of grief should be sponsored by Walmart? Back then, New Hampshire sounded like somewhere not in the US – a medieval fiefdom: sheep, horses, wizards. It was probably the second time I heard anyone mention New Hampshire. The first was when Laurie Kingston traced her ancestry to Kingston, NH. Again, sounds pretty ye olde towne, no? Ive lived here 27 years now. Did you know that I spent a night on the floor of your son Eric’s hotel room at Tim Carlson’s wedding in Dartmouth? I was Jeff Spencer’s guest, but he didn’t get his own room (typical). I remember Eric saying, into the darkness, “In high school, I would never have bet that I’d end up in a hotel room in New Hampshire with Vicki Smith”. I remember thinking, why not? What’s the big deal? Did other people thing about me the same way I thought about them? After that trip, Eric returned to the Netherlands and woke up blind. Your family has had a Kennedy-like run of unexpected illness and tragedy, but your kids always seemed so confident, funny, smart, and loved. I wish you had raised me, but we cant pick our family.

To quote you, Questions, comments, clarifications?

Best, Victoria (Vicki)


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