Bim Nakely, an outspoken single woman in her mid-seventies, has retired from her job as a seamstress. Having raised her niece’s two sons after her niece’s death and having lived to see both of them happily married, she now feels “unnecessary.” She has no regrets, but she cannot help feeling somewhat passe. Although her adopted sons and their wives revere her and stay in touch, she feels that her real purpose in life is behind her. To compensate for this void, she begins writing never-to-be-mailed letters to people she admired in her life---her niece Lottie, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mae West, Pope John XXIII, Ernest Hemingway, Gypsy Rose Lee, Rita Hayworth, Charlie Chaplin and others, all of whom possessed a unique courage to face challenges and survive them. Bim’s letters to them reveal her inner struggles with similar challenges against the background of events and changes in the United States and the world during the middle decades of the twentieth century. It takes several unexpected happenings to make Bim realize that she, like everyone at any age, can still become suddenly necessary in ways she never expected or imagined.

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