One Step Away #VendorLetters in their own handwriting

INSP has been asking vendors from across the street paper network to write letters to their 25-year-old self to mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year. Vendors of One Step Away sell the magazine in Philadelphia, and many of them had interesting words for their 25-year-old selves. In a break from the rest of the contributions in this series, three vendors – Charles Blakesley, Sister Marie and Richard ‘Ram’ Ramson – submitted their letters written out by hand.

Caia Iglehart

Two decades ago, as you turn 25, you are working for WebMD preparing for the Y2K switch and the implementation of HIPPA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act]. It’s your first and last really corporate job.

You seem to have it really together. You realise you are in a dangerous relationship, but you don’t realise how dangerous. It will be several years before you will manage to leave him, but you finally will, just before he gets his settlement, and it will save your life. A year later he will kill himself and the girl he dates immediately following you. If you can manage to cut this and other bad relationships shorter, you can save yourself over a decade of trauma and lost love.

In a couple of years, you will manage to go back to school. Try your hardest to finish this time. Maybe pick just one major. Maybe go back and finish your art degree instead. When tragedy strikes, and as I hinted, it will, don’t let it derail you.

You will get married and all of your siblings will follow. But if you and your spouse give in to your demons, you will have serious legal issues and your marriage will fail. Do not follow any paths you already know to be dark. You learned lessons young about addiction, alcohol, crime and exploiting yourself. Please remember to continue to apply them. If you forget, you’ll spend years institutionalised and in re-entry.

One Step Away vendor Caia Iglehart

You eventually become ready to let your demons go and choose to follow God, and a way is prepared for you. With a lot of hard work and special help, you finally become free of them. But it takes you way too long and you pay way too high a price.

Seek a stronger and more consistent relationship with God. Build this relationship first before others. You will understand the importance of this by the time you find a man to fall in love with and want to build a life with. You will finally find him and he will love you in a way you’ve never been loved. It will be amazing and worth the wait. He will love God as much as you do. You will pray together. Cherish your family.

You will lose your dad early and come close to losing your sister early. But, you, your mother, and your siblings, will all do a lot of work over years to heal from the trauma of your childhood. You all finally end up in a pretty good place, and your siblings build strong families.

Remember to make as much art and write as much as possible. These are your true gifts and you were given these amazing gifts to help others. You have a lot of beauty inside, don’t procrastinate.

Maria James

Welcome to being 25 years old! You have two very beautiful daughters. You’re separated from your husband, the father of both daughters. You dream of getting back together but you know in the back of your mind it won’t happen. The children will miss him and suffer the most but they are a part of you too and you feel their pain. You have each other and love each other very much so that’s all that matters.

You enjoy time alone now since they started school and now it’s time to think about your future too. First you will get your diploma and learn a job skill. You like clerical work, so that’s your next plan, which is successful.

One Step Away vendor Maria James

You also notice parenting is becoming more a responsibility so you have to be mom and dad. You’re alone, completely alone with two daughters, and it’s harder than you thought it ever would be. Where is this husband? Has he abandoned us completely? You feel sorry for the girls but they are very young so they don’t understand completely yet and now it’s time to begin letting go and live again.

The campus is a nice place to do this and that’s where we live. In University City you meet all nationalities and there’s nice parks for the children. They have an excellent school program and day care. You meet new friends. You’re too busy to think about anything else.

Charles Blakesley

Sister Marie

Richard ‘Ram’ Ramson

Check back in every day over the festive period for more #VendorLetters.

INSP members can download the #VendorLetters feature on the INSP News Service.