The Chain Letter and the Fender Bender by
(306 Stories)

Prompted By Chain Letters

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The Chain Letter and the Fender Bender

The first story I wrote for Retro was about some rather costly auto body damage I caused when I was driving my husband’s beloved T-bird.   Needless to say he wasn’t happy about that.   (See Fender Bender)

Years before we had another fender bender and although that time my husband was driving,  he nevertheless blamed me for that one too.   Here’s what happened.

As a kid I was a sucker for chain letters.   I’d dutifully cross off the top name on the list,  add my name and address to the bottom,  make 10 copies,   and send it on to 10 friends.   That was all well before the tech revolution,   so of course all those letters were snail mailed back and forth.

Although I think in all those years I may have received only one paperback book and one tube of lipstick,  I dared never break the chain.   Who knew what bounties I’d receive the next time if I followed the directions,  or what disasters would befall me if I didn’t!

Now I must confess I continued to reply to those silly chain letters even as an adult – after all what did I have to lose?  And by that time I had friends and family across the country and abroad,  and I thought it fun to include them –  my cousin in Italy,  a high school friend who’d moved to Atlanta,   family and college friends now living in California,  relatives in Israel,  and several good friends in England.   So one day I addressed my 10 latest chain letters and put them in my poke-nook meaning to take them to the mailbox.   (If you don’t know about my poke-nook see Poke-Nook, the Lost Glove, and My Cousin Isly)

But for the next few days my 10 chain letters were forgotten and lay unmailed in the depths of my bag,  until I suddenly remembered them when my husband and I were on our way somewhere in the car.  I can’t remember where we were going,  although I know we had left a bit late and were pressed for time.

But I was obsessing over those chain letters in my bag and was on the lookout for a mailbox,   As soon as I spotted one I told my husband he had to stop the car immediately.   Not knowing what the problem was,  he heard the urgency in my voice and slammed on the brakes.   Then,  you guessed it,  we were rear-ended.

And then I had to explain that the urgency was my 10 chain letters.   “Chain letters are supposed to be forwarded right away”,  I told my husband,  “but I forgot and they were in my bag for days,  and so now we have to mail them or I might break the chain!”

Needless to say he wasn’t sympathetic to my plight,  and in fact it took him a long time to forget about my role in that fender bender.

So if you meet my husband you can talk about politics or baseball or old movies,  but please don’t bring up the subject of chain letters.

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Chain letters, Accidents
Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Oh my, Dana! Causing TWO fender-benders and one of them was to mail out your chain letters. I think I have some sympathy for Danny on this latter one. The urgency in your voice certainly caused him to slam on the brakes. No escaping that one.

    Did this last episode cause you to change your attitude about chain letters?

  2. Suzy says:

    Dana, I love this story so much! Definitely the best thing to come out of this prompt, I laughed out loud when I read it! I’ve had that happen with my husband too, where I say stop the car and he overreacts, although luckily we’ve never been rear-ended as a result. Thank you for making my day!

  3. John Shutkin says:

    Poor, Dana! You seem to be the only writer who faithfully tried to respond to the chain letter mandate. And yet, ironically, you were the one to suffer from bad luck. Go figure.

    And I promise only to discuss politics or baseball with your husband!

  4. You had me at the title! And then the last sentence had a lot of punch. And everything in between flowed like molten prose coming down the side of a poetic volcano. A fun read.

  5. Marian says:

    Oh, Dana, and here we thought that chain letters couldn’t bring bad luck. This is an incident both you and your husband will never forget.

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    Have to admit I also laughed at the thought that a delayed forwarding of the chain letters made any difference—you were very dedicated! But it was also a laugh of recognition—I was quite serious the first time I got one and felt compelled to respond as directed, being a good girl who did her homework.

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    Thanks for sharing this truly funny tale, Dana.

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