Dear Michael Gerard Bauer,
Rain is quite fascinating, but it can also be treacherous. After you have already drifted off into the unknown, soft and cozy in your bed, you wake up from the slightest of noises. A soft pitter-pat of rain on the roof of your house soon turns into a horrible drumming. You're angry that the rain has woke you, but really too tired to care at the moment. You try to return to your dreamless sleep, restless in your bed with a pillow over your ears trying to drown out the sound. Then, the rain turns back into its humming lullaby and your eyes are open no longer.
Thinking the worst is over; all of a sudden it's as if someone turned on the lights and just as fast turned them back off. You count in your head, knowing what's coming next. One.. Two.. An explosion of thunderous clapping shakes the entire house. The rain was bad, but there's always something worse.
Mr. Bauer, when I read your book, The Running Man, I was touched by the way Joseph walked into Tom's world and turned it around. Just by talking to Tom about all of his horrible past experiences, Joseph was able to get Tom out of his shell; to accept who he was in the past, what he did, and who he is now.
Periodically throughout the book, thoughts would come into my head. They were memories on a reel, like a movie in fast motion, spinning repeatedly in my head. They would always be the same memories and thoughts; wintertime as a wee child. So innocent and lost in thought, staring at the ceiling so intently I would sometimes think a hole would burn right through it. I would wait upon my father's arrival at my bedside; he'd grasp me and pull me out of dreamland, and open up a book. The bent, wrinkled pages and the creased binding from too much use, revealed my favorite: Frosty the Snowman. First, the gasp of hopelessness at his lost hat and the "awes" of Frosty and the children's adventure, and finally the 1 salty tear rolling down my cheek and finding its final resting place on the curve of my lip until gently being brushed off by a thumb and the comfort of warm arms around my tiny body, for when Frosty melts in the end. There was the despair of the lost hat, but there's always something worse.
Thinking of snowmen, I thought of winter, all the wondrous sights, sounds, feelings, and sensations that came with the tiny, sparkly crystals blowing through the air in the whispery wind, and then gently landing on the tip of my bright red nose. Experiencing winter as a young child with so much spirit and joy was Christmas and my Birthday all in one. The sight of the first winter snowfall out the bedroom window at my waking moment made me ecstatic. Jumping on my father's bed to wake him and remembering the groggy look on his face made me giggle. Running outside with all my gear and my father following close behind to dig right into the fresh, cold snow. After hours of work and sweat crusted onto our faces, our masterpiece stood beaming before us, 6 feet tall, a carrot nose, and Great-Grandpa Gilford's old top hat upon its head: my snowman. So proud of my work, I couldn't wait to get home the next day and continue to build snowmen. When I finally did get home, my snowman was a foot high pile lying on the muddy grass. I closed my eyes and opened them again just to see if what I was experiencing was the reality. One of my eyes slowly opened into slit and there I see again, my snowman is no longer a snowman.
Having to wait at home for two hours before my dad got home to help me build another one would be insanity. I would stare at the clock for hours and hours to soon find it was only minutes. Just as Tom had also waited all those years; living in his past, in the dark and despair of his own life. When I would hear the garage door open, there would be a brief moment of silence and hesitation to make sure I wasn't imagining my relief. When I was for sure, there would be a sigh slowing squeezing its way out between the darkened slit of my lips. My father would always be eager to make another one. He'd pull me out of my despair and sadness and lift my spirits up into the light to experience happiness again.
The joy of making the snowman, having it melt into water spilling into the street gutter, and my father helping me make a new one can all relate to main conflicts with Joseph and Tom. Tom had the joy of life, then having it melt by his experiences and illness fro Vietnam, and having Joseph come into his life, doing a whole makeover on Tom with no intention to. All of a sudden Tom was healed just by sharing his past.
As winter ended, we could no longer continue to build snowmen, but not every story has a happy ending -just like Tom's didn't either - but as next winter rolled around, my family and I would go make more snowmen, just as Joseph continues to change people's lives that have been torn down. This ended up moving me the most out of all the other wonderful themes.
Through the teachings of you, Mr. Bauer, I have learned that when life has you in a choke hold, there's always something worse to our tragedies. But also I have come to understand that through the help of others, we can start a new life and not have to live in the frightening, constant growing shadow of our past over our lives. With outstretched arms, we can finally reach a new day and a new beginning.
This book has inspired me to make my new beginning and to help others complete theirs. Thank you Mr. Bauer.