The Lost Letter, a Short Short Story by Frank Eisenberg.


The Lost Letter, a Short Short Story by Frank Eisenberg.


Successful engineer, Clark Russ, has just arrived back in town and just tonight found in his luggage a letter from Mary, lost a decade or more ago, dated August 1922. In the letter Mary had agreed to marry him before he left on his overseas assignment. He mused over the letter and wondered what if...

Later that night, he received a telegram, which announced the birth of Clark Russ III and asked, "How is grandpa"? It was signed, Mary.



Frank Eisenberg


Upper Midwest Jewish Artchives: Archives & Special Collections the University of Minnesota Archives.
Box 449 File 17.








The Lost Letter

A Short Short Story By Frank Eisenberg

Clark walked over to the large window of his luxurious suite overlooking the river. It was the first trip to the big city in many years. Mining contracts, consultations and wars had kept him in the far off countries for a decade or more. We mused over the letter he had just read. He wondered what his life would have been if---

The letter read:

Clark dear:

Last night I promised to give you my answer today. You wanted to know before you left on your first overseas assignment, which you explained might well be of several years’ duration. As you know, since father passed away, the burden of keeping up our home fell upon me. I promised father I would take care of mother, and I have never forgotten that happy smile as he closed his eyes for the last time as he realized his companion for so many years would be sheltered and protected. I couldn’t give you my answer last night because there were so many things to consider.

With mother an invalid I felt it was my burden and I had no right to load it upon you. You had your future before you, a chance to do big things in the world, and if I truly loved you, it would have been most selfish of me to expect you to assume further responsibilities. When I look back through the years dear Clark, I recall so many golden happy days, it is difficult for me to select one as the most memorable. The proudest day will always be when you first asked me to become your wife.

But I often recall that fishing trip when we bet who’d land the biggest fish. Yes, You won. (Mine got away.) The bet was a kiss, our first. I wonder if you remember that as vividly as I. And then your college days and

Page 2 –The Lost Letter

the summer vacations and the fun we had during those irresponsible years. We were kids then, not grown up as we are today. Just think, I’ll be-can I really be that old? And, at last your big break when you were offered that chance you dreamed of, an engineering spot with International. Now we planned to make that first trip our honeymoon.

And I remember how patient you were when mother’s accident prevented our marriage as we had panned. After our lovely dinner last evening you again asked me to marry you. Well, Clark, I thought it all over and my answer is yes. In fact, I’m already packing my bag. Please come to dinner tonight, mother wanted to give us her blessing. Loving, Mary.

Clark had lost that letter years before. Just tonight it had turned up in one of his original pieces of luggage.

The letter was dated August 1922.

The phone rang. It was the hotel switchboard operator. There was a telegram for Mr. Russ. They would sent it up at once. A bellboy handed Clark the familiar yellow envelope.

It read: “Clark Russ III born twelve minutes after four. Weight seven pounds, three ounces. A real chip off the old block. Mother and child doing well. How is grandpa?

It was signed Mary.

Original Format

Two, 8 x 11 sheets of paper.


lost letter 1.JPG
lost letter 2.JPG
Date Added
December 4, 2013
Creative Pieces Written by Frank and Art Eisenberg
Item Type
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Frank Eisenberg, “The Lost Letter, a Short Short Story by Frank Eisenberg.,” Discovering the Importance in the Ordinary:, accessed December 8, 2019,