For more than a decade now, Katie Rogal, 31, has had something very special hanging on her fridge: a yellowed note, written in blue ink by her father, who had snuck it into her lunchbox when she was around 8 years old. And this week, Katie shared it with the world, on Reddit:
“Dear Katie,” the note reads, “Guess how to spell the name of the sandwich I put in your lunchbox today:
Then guess how much I love you. THIS MUCH. Have a great day. Love, Dad.”
Katie, an actress and visual artist now living in New York City but raised in Pittsburgh, tells Yahoo Parenting she’s not exactly sure how this particular note wound up sticking with her for so long. “I’m a pretty nostalgic person, so I save a lot of stuff, especially from my dad,” she says. “He’s, like, my favorite person.”
She recalls sticking the note in a drawer somewhere and then coming across it years later, when she packed to go off to college. She brought it with her and hung it on her mini-fridge, and the note has been on every fridge since. “It’s kitchen-related,” she explains.
Her dad, Jim Rogal, 63, has a slightly different recollection of how the note has hung around all these years. “I saved it,” he tells Yahoo Parenting. “I’m very sentimental.” He recalls writing the note, as well as many others, for both Katie and her younger brother Jake.
“It was fun for me,” says Jim, a journalist and documentarian who lives in Pittsburgh. “I like wordplay and I love my kids. Most of the notes were kind of silly and goofy, and that was probably the best one.” But honestly, he says, he has more saved notes and letters written to him by his children than the other way around. “Mine were silly and goofy,” he says, “but theirs were loving — and overwhelming.”
Katie says she posted her dad’s note on Reddit earlier this week at a friend’s urging, went to sleep, and woke up to find it had gone crazy, with the image garnering more than a million views; it’s now up to almost two million. Katie called her dad, who she says is “terrible with technology,” and guided him through Reddit until he got to the photo of the note. “He was like, ‘What is this? What does this mean?’” she says, laughing.
It struck a serious chord with Redditors, who waxed nostalgic about their own dads and lunchbox notes, and got serious about how important it is to appreciate your parents while they’re still around.
“The comments were so sweet, they gave me a whole new appreciation for my dad — and I didn’t even know that was possible! I mean, we have matching tattoos,” she says, referencing their pair of Grateful Dead–style, dancing skeletons. “I’m so lucky to have someone like him — and my mom is awesome too,” Katie says. “I try to call them every day.”
Jim says the feeling “is mutual.” And as for all the fans of his note, he says, it may be something to remember in this age of relentless electronic communications. “You can’t put an email in a lunchbox,” he says.