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Pillow Talk: If I Could Give You a Valentine


In March 2006, Calvin Trillin, a staff writer for the New Yorker, published an unforgettable essay about his late wife, Alice. Married since 1965, stories about Alice appeared in his books and essays for almost thirty years. While we knew her only through his depictions, we also knew, categorically and undeniably, his delight in her, his lifelong infatuation with her, his abiding respect and admiration for her. Still, in the 2006 essay he plainly revealed the ways in which Alice had been a remarkable woman, wife, mother and friend. It also revealed just how fully known and loved she had been by her husband.

I can't post the original, archived New Yorker essay here, but I've included a link to an audio interview with Mr. Trillin, in which he discusses the essay and his new book, About Alice. If I could, I'd send every single one of you a copy of it, as it's an expanded version of that aching, lovely New Yorker essay. At 78-pages, the book is slim and affordable.

Since I can't give you all a copy, I've written this post in hopes that you'll find it and read it, and understand for yourself why one young woman in New York wrote a note to Mr. Trillin after reading his essay, admitting that she often looks across the room at her boyfriend and wonders to herself, "But will he love me like Calvin loves Alice?".

Happy Valentine's Day, readers. I wish you the dearest and truest kinds of love.

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