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From Piggy

Found by Chris Wiewiora in Ames, Iowa

I didn’t understand why I had been sent the postcard to my Iowa State teaching assistant box over winter break. Was it a goofy message from my buddy John who taught English in Daejeon, Korea? Was it a joke from one of my former professors who taught an Unreliable Narrator class? Was it a sly taunt from one of the other grads in my writing program? When I asked nobody admitted to knowing who had sent me the postcard.
After reading the note I knew that the postcard pertained to the Lord of the Flies. At first, I thought that whoever sent it to me—neglecting the absurd ability of the fictional marooned boy sending mail—was making fun of me for being Piggy, the novel’s fat boy with specs. Nobody in Iowa would have known that in my Florida grade school years I had been a husky boy who wore extra-large T-shirts and mesh gym shorts and I got my first glasses, a pair of Brooks Brothers wire-rim frames. By grad school, I had jogged for years and came down to medium-size T-shirts and slim-fit jeans and I got LASIK.
On my second read of the note, I realized that the message was from Piggy to his Auntie. I wasn’t offended to be gender-bendedly addressed, but I wondered if the Midwestern postal workers thought about the oddity of the card’s message. Then I figured they were probably more concerned with getting winter holiday cards processed than sleuthing an obscure literary mystery. The postcard must have passed by without a second thought.
I didn’t think much about the postcard until Christmas. While shopping at Back of Beyond Bookstore, I came across the nearly 50th Anniversary edition of Lord of the Flies. Lois Lowry, the dsytopian young adult author of my generation of readers, had written an afterword. She remembered first reading the book as an ex-pat teenager in Japan. She must have been one of those overseas kids who escaped into reading because she didn’t feel connected to other kids. Lowry wrote about re-reading about the boys of the book: Ralph, the leader; Piggy, the pity; and Jack, the sadist. Then, she mentioned that she had forgotten Simon, the seer, who knew that the island’s Beast was “only us.”
I didn’t remember Simon, either. I had only read Lord of the Flies once. About ten years ago, I read the book on a train trip from North Carolina to Vermont with my cousin who doesn’t like to fly or drive. We rode the train to his sister’s graduation from high school. I finished the book on the train. I thought it was a feral fable about the menace of man, but I didn’t have a reason to keep it. I set the book on a shared reading shelf at the bed and breakfast where we stayed by the station.
After shopping at the bookstore, I returned home to my desk. From the top drawer, I took out the postcard I had saved, but had never solved. A part of me still wanted to know who had written the message and why that person had sent the postcard to me. Another part of me felt like the postcard was a gift and its message a reminder about the reason to write. Write something for fun that will be re-read.
The postcard sent to me sends me back—like all good reading experiences—to the beginning of a captivating journey. I remember looking at the thin carpet in the copier-and-coffee room. My mailbox sat on a piece of plywood off the floor. My mailbox was the last one in the alphabetically ordered grid at the bottom row. I could see it was a drawing of an island. The card angled in my mailbox like the cover of an opening book.


  1. Chrome Toaster says:

    This HAS to be the GREATEST Finder’s Blurb in the entire History of Found Magazine!

    I must admit, at first glance, I thought it was LOST-related. ha. “enexelent” find, Chris!