A couple of weeks ago, I reported on Vice's 9-minute video about Milwaukee's iconic fast-walker, John Hamann – aka "The Milverine."
A couple of weeks later, I came into work and found a handwritten letter on my desk, addressed to me, with the return address reading "Milverine" and "Milwaukee 53201." It also had two Santa postage stamps on it, despite the fact it was a small envelope with a single sheet of notepaper inside.
At first, I thought it was a hoax. After reading the letter once, I wasn't sure if it was for real or not, and after reading a third time I was convinced it was legit.
Here's what the letter said:
I hope you liked that Milverine video. That was filmed about mid-december 2019. In early November 2019 my little dog died. In just 4 weeks after my dog died I gained a lot of weight. That’s why I was out of shape for that video. I will be back to my normal weight of 170 lbs. in 4 to 5 weeks. I have seen you on channel 12 talking about Milwaukee. Your fashions have been getting better and you no longer look like a Scarecrow after getting hit by a tornado (just kidding).
Take care and goodbye
The first half of the letter is endearing in that he would care enough about his appearance in the video to drop me a note explaining why he wasn't at his fighting weight. (Literally – Hamann is a retired cage fighter). I was also sorry to hear about his little dog passing.
But the letter then changes its focus from his life to mine, and suddenly I'm awash in confusion.
Hamann also left a message for me at work, saying he wanted to get in touch with me. He did not, however, leave his number. Had he left a number or had there been a proper return address on the envelope, I would have contacted him. But since I can't, I use this forum to ask The Milverine a couple of burning questions I have, entirely out of curiosity.
I received your letter and, first and foremost, was really sorry to hear about your dog. I have two dogs myself and I know how deeply they dig into our hearts. I also totally understand how grief gets in the way of our self care and why you weren't looking or feeling your best in the video. However, I still thought the video was great.
I was, however, perplexed by your comments about me. I chuckled that you said my fashions have improved, and I really wonder what you meant by that since very little about my wardrobe has changed since I started my channel 12 segment 18 months ago. I am also deeply interested in what exactly a scarecrow after a tornado looks like. At the very least, I am considering this for my Halloween costume this year.
If you would like to respond to this, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this finds you well.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.