Today I received a package in the mail that I had been waiting for since January. In fact I had been hoping to receive it since there was no guarantee it would even arrive. Two months ago one of my favourite actresses, Luise Rainer, celebrated her 100th birthday. I wrote her a brief letter in both English and in her native German, in which I wished her a happy centenary and I told her how much her films meant to me. I included three photos I had of her (one of which is below):
and then hoped for the best.
I had found her mailing address on a fan site years ago, yet didn’t decide to write to her until this year, on the occasion of her 100th birthday. A fan who had received a reply from Miss Rainer gave his tips on the best way to ensure a reply. I followed his advice: include a large, self-addressed envelope, two international reply coupons, your own photos, cardboard (to prevent the photos from bending) and a brief letter. Since the package was so rigid when I mailed it, I figured that should I receive a reply the postman wouldn’t be able to fit it in my box without bending it. If Miss Rainer did send it back, I was counting on getting a card from Canada Post informing me that I had a package to pick up at the post office.
When I checked my mail this evening, I recognized the manila envelope I had self-addressed and got very excited. Fortunately the postman did not bend the package, and only curled it, slightly, in order to fit it inside. During my walk back to my house I had a wide range of emotions. Would Miss Rainer autograph all of my photos? Would she send them all back unsigned? Would she be offended (I don’t know how) that I wrote to her in two languages? I even got weak in the knees: yes, I felt faint! I love this woman’s work, and here inside this envelope might be a small memento of her eight decades in film.
Not only were the three photos I sent her signed, but she also attached a small black-and-white 4″ x 6″ print, also signed. I am overflowing with ebullient emotion right now. Thank-you Luise Rainer!