Grant has read each one – “They’re addressed to me; I’m the one who opens them” – but there are so many, hundreds, and he sees no reason to continue storing them.
“How many things do you have that are 40 years old?” he challenges.
In May 2016, Anne Chatelaine arrived at the rummage sale with a letter Grant sent her in 1977. She had written him as a child, and Grant selected it from a pile as one to respond to. The coach's letter, typed on Minnesota Vikings stationary and signed in purple ink, reads:
Original letter from Ann Chatelaine
I approached Grant weeks later to ask about Anne, whose day was made decades ago by a returned message from her favorite coach.
He sits casually in his Winter Park office. One leg crosses over the other, and he’s leaned back in a desk chair. Wearing a button-down flannel shirt and corduroy slacks, he taps on the wooden desk and gestures – gruffly yet warmly, as only he can – for me to come in.
“You get a lot of letters as a coach,” he tells me. “It would be impossible to respond to all of them, unless you had a form letter, which I did not have.
“I don’t recall the particular mood I might have been in that day,” Grant adds. “Sometimes you read something that had a hook to it.”