To the editor: Tuesday morning I cried. Al Martinez is gone. And when I read that news, I cried. I felt like I had lost a warm, loving uncle. ("Al Martinez dies at 85; Times columnist chronicled Southern California life," Jan. 12)
I never met Al. I only knew him from his columns in The Times and elsewhere, but he had a special place in my heart. Reading about his passing and once again seeing the name of his wife, Cinelli, and his dog, Hoover, reminded me of how much joy he brought into my morning paper.
I have missed him, but I didn't realize how much until Tuesday. May he rest in peace.
Irene Nachreiner, Redondo Beach
To the editor: In the more than three decades I've been a subscriber to The Times, I've written to three columnists expressing my admiration for a particular piece of writing that especially moved me. Martinez was the only one who wrote back, and his email to me was exactly like his columns: personal, candid, humorous, moving, humble and most of all, connecting, as if I were a close member of his own family.
I missed Al when he left in 2009; I missed his tales of the dog Barkley and his wife, Cinelli.
Al, wherever you are now, thank you for your gentleness, gentlemanliness and your ever-present humanity. I hope Barkley is romping by your side even as I write. My deepest sympathies to Cinelli and the rest of Al's family.
Bhuvana Chandra, Porter Ranch
To the editor: Several years ago Al was a guest speaker at Mt. Washington Elementary School in the hills of northeast L.A., which present drivers with many twists and turns. Al did have trouble negotiating his return home.
His next article described his scary trip down the mountain in a very humorous tone.
Their are no words to describe what he meant to his readers.
Tony D'Amico, La Verne
To the editor: Sometimes, Martinez's words fell on me like tear drops. Other times they danced joyfully all around me.
Thanks to him for that gift.
Laura Ochoa, Rosemead