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I ran into acquaintance of mine at the grocery store a few days ago. Since she knows I have a blog and love to write about strangers, she asked me this question: “Who is a stranger you wish you knew?”

I thought about this for a moment, and then told her that Gandhi and Albert Einstein were the first two people to cross my mind.

I pondered the question further on my way to the post office. As I dropped a pile of bills into the mail, my beloved Eloise popped into my mind.

Eloise, a children’s book character created by author Kay Thompson, has so many features that I admire. She may be only six years old, but she has a lot to teach about interpersonal skills that we all could learn from. My favorite characteristic of Eloise’s is her ability to connect with numerous strangers at the Plaza Hotel, where she lives with her nanny.

In The Absolutely Essential Eloise, Thompson shows us how interesting Eloise’s days are because of these connections with strangers. She spends the day visiting people and imagining events she would like to experience or, should I say, thinks that she would like to experience.

Eloise is curious about the ways of the adult world and she wants to understand how things operate. But because she is, after all, only six, she doesn’t really comprehend much of what she hears, and her interpretations – and the wordings she uses to express them – are hilarious.

For example, she helps a maid named Joanna make the beds at the hotel just so she can learn more about her and the hotel guests. And what she learns about Joanna one particular day is that she “has earrings with garnets and is going to take her Social Security to Bavaria on her birthday.” I hope Joanna’s Social Security has a good time on the trip!

Eloise loves to attend all the events that take place at the Plaza. She invites herself to every wedding and party she hears of, meets a lot of people and has a good time. She’s been to “56 affairs at the hotel” already – most adults don’t go to 56 affairs in six years. That’s impressive. In fact, thanks to my friend who got me thinking about strangers I’d like to meet, I’m about to write my first fan letter to a book character:

Oh, Eloise, I love you to pieces. If you were only real, I’d be tempted to move into the Plaza Hotel with you so we could hang out together. Night after night, we could go to parties and meet people. During the day, we could visit with all the staff and travelers in the hotel. I would have so much material for my blog that I wouldn’t know what to do. In the meantime, keep the stories coming. I’ll catch up with your latest adventures soon.

Your friend,

Melissa