Dear Ms. Martin,
It occurs to me that you must get a lot of thank you notes,
which I hope won’t diminish your pleasure in receiving one more. Thank you, Ms.
Martin, for teaching me about grace, respect, boundaries, and the awning
protocol for hosting a private ball in one’s home. Your work has made me a better
In high school, I did a report on a Miss Manners book when
we were asked to present to the class a work that had changed us. (As you might
imagine, I had to turn the boys away in droves.) What I said then, and still
believe, is that your books helped me consider my own culture
anthropologically. You gave me a playbook for my life, and in that way your
books helped raise me.
Over the years, your words have given me confidence in
unfamiliar situations, spared me confusion and pain in relationships, and kept
me on the lookout for wide-tined forks with which to eat ice cream.
Thank you again. One day, your work will
have made my son into a better grownup too.