One of the letters that arrived in yesterday's gurgle of the mail pipeline contained a check for $260 and a letter that said, "Do not acknowledge." That was the full text.
Most contributors to Children's Hospital were less laconic. Here are some samples.
With $5 : "Have you heard about the young man dressed in messenger's garb who comes into downtown offices and asks the receptionist to find out who called for a messenger? She goes off to inquire. When she comes back, the 'messenger' is gone. So is the wallet from her purse."
With $10 : "Our grandson's head cracked the windshield, but didn't go through it, thank goodness." Why wasn't he strapped down with a seatbelt? The World's Greatest Grandchildren know we don't move until everybody buckles up.
With $17 : "I put all my savings from cents-off coupons into a jar. At the end of the year, I had to decide whether to spend the $17 on perfume or riotous living. At 81, I can do without both."
With$25 : "The purse-snatcher didn't get mine. I'm a policeman's wife." Ah, if only more women heeded police advice on how to protect their purses!
With $50 : "I'll celebrate my 69th birthday soon. You know you're getting old when they start sending you circulars for old-age insurance and hearing aids." Eh? What'd you say? Why has everybody been mumbling lately? Speak up, lady.
With $100 : "This check is part of our tithing, so if you can put in a good word for Our Father in Heaven, who does provide, we'd appreciate it."
With $25 : "My sister is beautiful, smart, and the mother of two. When she was a baby, she had pneumonia. My mother took her to Children's Hospital."
With $25 : "Thanks to Children's Hospital, our grandson is a fine young man who will finish college next year."
With $10 : "This year my check goes through you instead of direct to the hospital. We grandparents have to stick together."
With $10 : "Thanks for your continuing support for firefighters. Please do not mention any misspellings or grammatical errors in this letter. Hush money enclosed."
With $80 : "Goodbye, part-time jobs. My career has finally begun, and I am in a better position to help."
With $10 : "Children's Hospital saved my son's eye."
With $66 : "Your column's anniversary is Jan. 13, 1947. Ours is Jan. 138 1945." And my guess is that you were 32 when you married. Or does the 66 refer to something other than age?
With $5 : "Being a single parent is not easy, nor are funds readily available for luxuries. My daughter is 6 years old and her good health is a luury I treasure."
With $100 : "Thanks to the wonderful people at the hospital (I call them saints), my son is still in remission after four years. Is it possible for you to mention the Hematology Staff to which we owe os much?"
With $30 : "I had meant to send you a check weeks ago, but I forgot about it until I got sick myself."
With $50 : "This small check is given in the hope that some child who has not been as lucky as my daughter can get well quickly and happily."
With $25 : "Have you noticed the signs in Rock Creek Park just south of Sherrill Drive? Southbound, one sees 'Horse Crossing.' Northbound, it's 'Equestrian Crossing.' Is the difference in the signs intended to convey some subtle message?"
With $25 : "This is given in honor of the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department Rescue Squard, which served my 90-year-old father."
With $110 : "This is given in the name of friends who have a son at the hospital."
With $25 : "My busband had to give up smoking in 1958 when he had a heart attack and was not expected to live. Now, at 72, he's in better health than I am."
With $20.01 : "In India, we are not permitted to give an even-numbered donation."
With $20 : "I have two children who are handicapped but healthy now. One holiday we were without funds. Some generous people shared their abundance with us. We do not know their names, but this is our thanks to them."
With $10 : "This late check may reach you in time to help some child grow up to be a procrastinator like me."
The 25 letters mentioned here add $1,113.01 to the shoebox and increase its contents to $208,631.83. On Monday I'll tell you about group gifts that have gurgled out of the pipeline bearing postmarks of Jan. 31 or earlier.