DEAR ABBY: I was intrigued by your response column about "Sick of Scraps." I can't help but wonder if I'm the only person who knows about Emily Dickinson, the great American poet who lived in Amherst, Mass., in the early 19th century. She and her sister came from a thrifty New England family and were evidently raised to "waste not, want not."
Emily Dickinson wrote many of her poems on pieces of scrap paper, the back of grocery lists, etc. After her death, her sister found little rolls of those papers, tied with ribbon, among her effects. So, one of our greatest geniuses utilized scrap paper! -- MARY LEE ROLLOW, PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR MARY LEE: What an enlightening tidbit! One never knows when a bolt of inspiration will strike. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Enough of "Sick of Scraps," already. After all, did the Gettysburg Address, having been written on a used scrap piece of plain brown envelope with a pencil, diminish in any way the importance of that historical document? I think not! -- L.S., HUNTINGTON, W.VA.
DEAR L.S.: Many untrue stories have circulated about President Lincoln's famous speech. One of them is that it was written in pencil on the back of an old brown envelope while he was on the train on his way to Gettysburg. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, Abraham Lincoln actually wrote five different versions of the Gettysburg Address. Most of the first draft was written in Washington, before he traveled to Gettysburg. However, thank you for giving me the opportunity to dispel an untrue rumor -- even at this late date.
The letter from "Sick of Scraps" must have touched a great many people, because mail is still coming in about it. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: As a mother and grandmother, I have enjoyed your column for many years, and I can relate to some of the letters, but the one from "Sick of Scraps" brought tears to my eyes.
My beloved mother sent me letters written on scrap paper after I moved to Hawaii. However, I eagerly looked forward to her "scraps" -- always surprised at what she would come up with.
On May 17, 1992, she walked several blocks to the post office, walked back home, and that evening was rushed to the hospital, where she passed away.
I will always treasure that last scrap letter. It was written on a brown piece of "junk mail" envelope and was filled with plans she had made for the two of us, as I was going home the next month to spend the summer with her.
Abby, please tell "Sick of Scraps" to enjoy the treasures her friend sends. They will be more valuable to her than any hundred-dollar stationery could ever be. -- JUNE BROWN FROM VIRGINIA
DEAR JUNE: How generous of you to want to share your last precious memory of your beloved mother. As this column illustrates, the thoughts within a letter are more important than the quality of the paper on which it was written.