Not such a mystery after all
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent January 10, 2013 1:30PM
In an attempt to create some holiday mystery and find true love, bloggist and former Joliet resident Tom Meisinger assumed the pen name of John Truett and randomly mailed letters to libraries across the United States. To his surprise, no one responded.
Updated: February 12, 2013 6:01AM
Who is John Truett?
That’s what Tom Meisinger, 24, formerly of Joliet and now of Missouri, wishes people would have asked.
Several weeks before Christmas, Meisinger had been sitting on the couch and watching depressing television newscasts. When Meisinger’s mother called and asked what he’d like for Christmas, Meisinger decided he wished two things: To find true love and bring Christmas wonder to others.
So Meisinger adopted the pen name John Truett, the boy next door and Judy Garland’s love interest in the 1944 musical film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and wrote an appeal to his ideal girl, complete with an invitation to meet him on the evening of Dec. 23 under the Gateway Arch.
Read the full letter on Meisinger’s blog: www.penguinsarepretentious.blogspot.com/2012/12/who-is-john-truett.html.
Meisinger made 40 copies — the amount of envelopes in a standard box — randomly selected 40 libraries across the United States and mailed them. He then regularly checked the news and Internet to see how much buzz his experiment was causing. To his great disappointment, the response was zilch, nothing, zip.
“I sent them to libraries so they would get read. After all, that’s what libraries are for,” Meisinger said. “But I was also hoping to find a gal that I may never have met. I’ve always been a romantic but I’ve never lost hope.”
After Meisinger realized recipients might have considered the letter a prank, he mailed another 10 letters, all to random St. Louis locations. Daily, Meisinger watched the news expecting to hear the headline, “Who Is John Truett? St. Louis wants to know!” Every few hours, Meisinger searched “John Truett letters” on his iPhone. Nothing.
Meisinger’s method might seem unusual to some people but not to a man accustomed to rousing people to laughter or reflection through the printed word. He is the author of “The World Is Shallow: That’s Why I Never Learned How to Swim,” a semi-autobiographical novel that Meisinger self-published this year. He is currently completing his second novel, “20th and Rangeline.”
Meisinger’s second book revolves around a high school senior and nationally recruited football star who survives the 2011 Joplin tornado. Meisinger will donate all books proceeds to Restore Joplin, which sells T-shirts and other products to help provide funds for rebuilding. Meisinger also writes four blogs, each with its own flavor.
Penguins are Pretentious (www.penguinsarepretentious.blogspot.com ) is a collection of Meisinger’s ideas, opinions and experiences. Bacon, Eggs, and Whiskey (www.baconeggsandwhiskey.blogspot.com) is life from a bachelor’s point of view. Spiritual Vitamin (www.spiritualvitamin.blogspot.com) contains Christian-themed reflections. Dear Grandma Margie (www.deargrandmamargie.blogspot.com) is a series of fictional letters Meisinger wrote to his real grandmother. He hopes to honor her by self-publishing those letters by her 88th birthday, which is March 24.
Half-hoping the woman of his dreams might show up — or better yet, hundreds of curious letter readers — Meisinger kept the appointed time. Meisinger scanned the other individuals in the area but all seemed to be merely passing by. His disappointment, however, will not sour him on experimenting with other fresh and spontaneous ideas.
“I wanted to wake people up and see that, instead of hearing about someone getting stabbed, this was a good story,” Meisinger said, admitting that finding true love would have been a good deal, too. He added, “Although neither was a success, it was still fun driving through unknown St. Louis on a mission.”
To learn more about Meisinger, visit www.funnythomas.com.