Liza has earned a Guest Column spot in the Woodstock Independent! Below is from the November 1-7, 2023 Issue.
Thought we should get to know each other and so, I’ll start…
Fall has always been my favorite season. I enjoy the colorful display of the leaves on the trees, the Vs of geese flying south, unpacking my favorite sweaters, and sipping hot cider on the front porch. However, with the daylight hours shortening and chilly breezes blowing autumn for man becomes a time to withdraw from the out-of-doors. Time to curl up on the couch with a book or watch some TV. This retreat can bring solitude and serenity for some but can also bring about loneliness and isolation for others. This is a perfect time for you to become familiar with Letters from Liza, NFP.
Letters from Liza is a 501(c)(3) connecting with individuals through cheerful, personalized written correspondence. Our letter recipients range in age from 5 to 98 years old. We send and receive letters and cards year-round … not just for holidays or birthdays, growing an ongoing friendship through each passing season.
Letters from Liza, NFP pen pals have helped us to better understand the many circumstances that bring about this disconnect in their lives, such as attending out-of-state college for the first time, ending a relationship, changes in physical and/or mental health, becoming unemployed, becoming a stay-at-home caregiver or needed a caregiver, relocating, becoming widowed, having your best friend move away or having to file for bankruptcy.
I’d like to share with you my own personal experience with isolation.
When my family moved to Woodstock, I was 13 years old. Our house on Seminary Avenue was 50 miles away from where I had previously called home. Not knowing anyone, unable to drive a car and unfamiliar with my new surroundings, I was experiencing isolation for the very first time. I passed the summer days by shutting myself inside and reading every book I could find in the house. I also watched TV and listened to the radio, which I found a bit less interesting as the summer rolled on. It may seem unreasonable that although I was surrounded by family, I felt isolated, but that is the insidiousness of isolation.
And now for the happy ending and another reason why I like autumn. My circumstances changed that fall when I started school at Clarence Olsen School. There, I was welcomed by teachers and classmates alike. I was made to feel that I belonged and that I was part of a community. And it got even better when I was introduced to my soon-to-be best friend who lived on the street behind my new home.
What stands out about that summer to me was how unhappy being isolated made me feel. I’d have never thought to share my feelings with anyone at the time, but oh, to have received a card or letter that summer would have been lovely!
From that point on, the idea of Letters from Liza began to take form. I had experienced first-hand how much I needed to connect grow my “circle” of friends. I was pretty sure there were others who felt the same. So now, I write letters and think about how that 13-year-old would have felt, reaching into the mailbox and receiving a letter addressed to her. This thought always brings a smile to my face.
Now, it is your turn. If you would like to keep in touch, share your stories, or make a comment please send me an email, [email protected], or visit our website, lettersfromliza.org. I look forward to hearing from you soon.