The power of love transcends time and space. 

It’s invisible. Intangible. Yet a very real connection that exists between us all…. even beyond our mortal lives.

I want to share my letters from Leo Buscaglia because they represent more than just words on a page. They represent integrity, character and a loving perspective of seeing the connection among us.  Something our world needs right now.

When I wrote my third letter, I had asked Leo for one of his favorite recipes, which would be used for my dad’s fundraising cookbook to help Vietnam veterans.

Before the days of computers, my dad, Dr. Gil Bogen, Chief of Staff at a local V.A. Hospital and founder of a nonprofit, Vetline-Hotline, decided to create a cookbook, that would serve as a source of funding for Vietnam vets affilicted by Agent Orange. (Agent Orange was a herbicide used by our U.S. military, which contained the toxic substance dioxin.) My dad wrote letters for recipe requests to a wide array of famous people: from legendary Bob Hope to the Queen of England. I offered to contact Leo. Sure enough, Leo responded. (Even though the cookbook project never happened, we four kids learned a great lesson in going after a goal.)

Leo’s third letter…

June 20th, 1983

Dear Lynn,

Please excuse the long delay in getting back to you. Between my writing and traveling schedule, and the mountains of mail to answer since my TV appearances, I’ve gotten a bit behind! It’s getting more and more difficult to answer letters as I would like. I hope that you understand.

I am happy to assist in your father’s very worthwhile project and am including the photographed photo and recipe (it’s easy and delicious!) as you requested. Please wish him all my best!

I hope that since your letter, your life has settled down a bit and that your husband’s back is well mended by now.

Again, thank you so much for writing and caring.




A few months passed. Something stirred within me to write to Leo again.

Leo’s fourth letter…

Now, thirty years later, I don’t know why I wrote to Leo again. I think it was because it felt so thrilling to read his words. I loved holding his personal nuggets of wisdom in my hand. Despite his international fame, this very busy man cared enough to personally answer me back! How amazing! He signed each letter in blue ink, with a bold, “Leo.”   Each envelope was stamped with a colorful design. One envelope had a pink heart surrounded by a profusion of pink hearts; another bore an oak leaf, and a third depicted a clump of trees. Each graphic touch demonstrated his attention to detail. He cared to make each letter special.

I’d like to share this final letter because it’s a gracious example of how to gently disengage from a correspondence. Even his “goodbye” to me was beautiful.


October 20, 1983

Dear Lynn,

It was such a pleasure to hear from you again and to know that you received the recipe for your father’s collection. I think it’s a good one, even though it’s not Italian!

And I am delighted to know that you are taking risks and making some important changes in your life. I guarantee you’ll be more for it!

I hope your stay in Los Angeles was a good one; if you called USC, I’m sure you were told of my 2 ½-year leave of absence. Perhaps we will meet another time.

It has been good hearing from you – though at times, my mail has been almost overpowering. I do want you to know that, at least for the next year, my personal correspondence will have to come to an abrupt end. Happily, I shall be off to parts unknown for most of 1984. I need a time for me when I can get totally away. Since I know you care, I’m sure you will understand.

Continue to live in love and share your warmth and beauty with the many who need it.




What a loving man! He cared enough about a stranger — me — to gently let me know he wouldn’t be able to write for awhile. That loving personality was the reason why people stood in long lines after his public speeches, just to get a hug from him.

In closing, I’d like to share Leo’s advice from his book, “Living, Loving & Learning.”

(p.258) “We’re more alike than we are different. All of us feel that. We need to have those bridges built between you and me, because we need each other. And the real you of you can only really grow with all of the bridges intact of me, of someone else, of the person next to you. All of us feeling the same thing.” 

(p.262) “Choose the way of life. Choose the way of love. Choose the way of caring. Choose the way of hope. Choose the way of belief in tomorrow. Choose the way of trusting. Choose the way of goodness. It’s up to you.”


Brief bio of Leo Buscaglia from “The Sons Of Italy Blog.”

Leo published his first book, LOVE, in 1972. He went on to publish thirteen more books on love, living and learning. His books were translated into more than 20 languages and 5 of his books were on The New York Times Bestsellers List simultaneously. His taped lectures were aired on PBS and he was invited to speak on talk shows around the world. He was often stopped by fans while he was walking down the street and readily doled out hugs to anyone who asked. Leo continued to tour and give lectures until his death in 1998.

Thanks for reading my article. If you like it, please share it with your friends. As Leo reminds his audiences, “Your greatest responsibility is to become everything that you are…”