“Anger, though it can come easily, has no good place in any one of our lives,” the note began. “If anything, anger should only push us to be better for the world.
“So I hope with everything going on right now, you are keeping calm and getting through the worst days,” it continued. “Look to the things and people there to do good. And I wish for you many better days ahead, be safe. M.”
Russ Antonacci stood there for a moment, taking the words in. He had been walking his dogs, Waddles and Jackson, at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park in West Seattle a couple of weeks ago when he spotted a plastic bag with a note inside, sitting in a puddle.
“There wasn’t a speck of water on it, even though I stepped on it” said Antonacci, 52. “Very strange.”
Stranger still was how spot-on the note was. Maybe he had been carrying around a little pent-up anger, this being a pandemic and all.
“It could have been something about anything,” Antonacci said of the note’s message. “So it was kind of weird.”
It was another of the “Notes of Kindness” that have been popping up around West Seattle over the last few weeks: typed letters on lined, white paper, signed simply — and mysteriously — “M.”
The first was found two weeks ago by Vashon Island DJ Bill Reid, who spotted a note in a bag stapled to a telephone pole on California Avenue. It turned his whole day around.
Each note has a number: Reid’s was 19 of 400, and Antonacci’s 13. (“Lucky 13,” he said).
Around the same time, a woman named Rosa O’Reilly found number 50 while walking with her husband, Dan, at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook. She spotted a piece of paper inside a plastic bag stapled to a tree.
“I was curious and I looked inside and found this nice little note that was hand-typed,” said O’Reilly, 44, a stay-at-home-mom. “I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it was encouraging, kind words.”
She showed it to her husband and then tucked it into a park bench “so someone else could find it.
“I feel like it was something to be shared,” she said. “I hope that whoever found it, that it also brought them some joy.”
Antonacci, who owns a flooring business, hadn’t visited Me-Kwa-Mooks Park with his dogs in eight months. And when he did, the note was waiting.
“Totally random,” he said. “And in the last few days, something drew me there. It was very odd.”
He tacked the note on his refrigerator, where it reminds him every day not to take things on.
“I’m 52, it’s like, ‘Enough is enough. You’ve got to let go of things,'” he said with a laugh. “It’s ridiculous. That note … it came out of nowhere.”
Antonacci has no idea who “M.” might be, and couldn’t speculate on why the writer settled on 400 notes. Or why he was the one to find the note about anger.
“I don’t know; I try to believe in signs,” he said. “So it’s a positive sign, even though it’s about anger.”
Three found, 397 somewhere out there.
“It brought a dumb tear to my eye.”
O’Reilly doesn’t remember what her note was about, only the feeling that it gave her.
“I didn’t particularly need it,” she said. “I was just really touched. I thought it was a lovely gesture that someone had taken the time to craft this note with a typewriter to brighten someone’s day and anonymously spread this kind of kindness.
“And they put it in the perfect little place.”