Dear Dad


Kiannah Dole, Photojournalist

Letters, though not written as often anymore due to modern technology – still finds a special place in our hearts when we receive one. Easily, text messages and emails can be deleted at the push of a button. However, a letter is a tangible item that we can save, cherish, and hold onto. These letters are also items that communicate emotional closeness to those who are far away.


Ashlynn Marracino, for example, always wrote a letter on a star-shaped balloon to her father who passed away. It was a very sweet and personal thing that she did every year; she often wrote about how much she missed and loved him, what has been going on during the year that he missed, and accomplishments that he would be proud of. This year though, she wrote one more thing. Marracino wrote that she wanted him to send her a sign that he truly was watching over her since she felt like she was alone and abandoned without him.


On January 6th, the day she always released the balloon into the heavens above, Marracino watched her silvery, star-shaped balloon drift away. Little did she know that – 400 miles from her home in Whitter, California – a customer would find it in the parking lot of a restaurant in Auburn, California. The customer brought it in to throw it away, but the customer along with the restaurant owner Lisa Swisley realized it was a letter. Touched by this young girl who was struggling with her grief, the two began to collect gifts to send to Marracino.

Marracino definitely believes that this was the sign that her father meant to sent for her with all the love and kindness from strangers miles away.


Mustangs, it is random acts of kindness and the power of bringing a community together that can make our lives and the lives of those around us so much better.