Pretty much because of Dare.
Gail and I owned as many of her books as our mother could find; we probably had four or five. The rest we checked out of the library, over
poring over every detail. She froze things in midair; that was fascinating. Did someone help her? For some reason, I never imagined anyone with her to help. So how did she do that?
And how many times did she have to do it?
One day it dawned on us that if you like someone’s books, you can write to her in care of her publisher. She might even write you back.
Our “story” existed only in our heads; we hadn’t written a word of it, we didn’t really have much in the way of props, and the only camera in the family was an Instamatic that took terrible pictures. I don’t think we even knew how to load it.
It may have been embarrassment over that, or it may have been that we were thirteen and in a few months our brain chemicals would make us do things like time our lives around Video Jukebox, but for whatever reason we didn’t write back.
Setting aside all the other regrets — the letters we might have had, the photographs she might have sent us, even the possibility of having in her a grown-up friend — did we disappoint her? But surely she must have had so many people writing to her. It can’t have mattered that she didn’t hear from us again. It would take a child’s enormous ego to break my heart over it now, to wonder if she wondered, Why don’t they answer?
(Wright’s images from top to bottom: from Holiday for Edith and the Bears, Edith and Big Bad Bill, The Lonely Doll, Edith and Mr. Bear, and Edith and Little Bear Lend a Hand.)