Some old writing II

If the last post wasn’t enough for you, well it’s yer lucky day, ‘cos here’s more.

(By the way, I’m pretty sure there was another letter in between the first one and this one and it’s probably in a file …someplace.  Rest assured: it’s a lot like this one)


December (undated – either 1995 or 1996)

Season’s Greetings to everyone.  Yet another letter containing more useless information about…us.

This year, we have the latest computer hardware, and, utilizing cutting edge information technology methods, this letter has been customized specifically for <INSERT NAME>.  Yes, this letter contains only the information that our extensive data bank (which, thanks to your tax dollars and our friends at the FBI, contains lots of personal, private info) indicates that you’ll be interested in.  Please know that no animals were harmed in the writing, the editing, or any facet of the production of this letter.  For those of you that fall under the ADA (you know who you are, so we don’t have to explain), there is an all-capitals, larger font version of this letter available upon request.  Now – to the “news”.

Ian has spent the last year deliberately worrying us about his development.  He started pushing up to a stand at 6 days, walking along the furniture at three weeks, but waited until he was 15 months to start actually walking.  We have noticed, after having two boys (one was not enough to convince), that there is a difference between the genders.  A wise man once said that girls are just immature women, whereas boys are ‘Pod People from the planet Destructo ...”  For instance, shortly after he began to walk, Ian happened upon a large stick. He immediately took it to the nearest living thing – in this case: a bush – and began whacking it with the stick, all the while emitting a loud “Unghh!” to punctuate each whack on the unfortunate living creature that had the bad luck to be in his way. The other notable thing in this incident  was the look of utter joy upon Ian’s face.

That language thing is beginning to kick in.  Now, Ian can nod yes or no to such questions as, “Would you like to wear your red sweater, and then draw a picture of a cat in pastels?”, and then go and do it. But the only things he seems able to say are: “haah” for ‘hot’, “daah” for ‘dog’, and “staah” for ‘more meat now‘.  Oh yeah, he has also perfected the scream language.  That is: if you don’t do what he is very plainly asking you to do by his windmilling gestures that any moron could understand, then he screams. But it doesn’t last long; because eventually he starts to laugh as he watches us frantically rush to and fro, asking him, “Is this what you want?”, “Is this it?”, and so on, as we grab each and every object in the vicinity that he could conceivably desire. We figure that sometime around his third birthday, he’ll start using actual words and sentences.

Ian has also found a use for his oversized head.  He bangs it against a solid object, like the sidewalk, grabs his head, and goes, “Owrhh,” and then looks to see if you’re laughing.  What a card!  We live in dread of the day that Social Services calls upon us to explain the “unusual bruising pattern” upon his forehead.

Will is keeping up his stellar academic career. His latest report card contained 250 “O’s” (translation: outstanding, or “A’s” – when grades meant something), and 200 “G’s” (translation: good, or “B’s” – when grades were meaningful) in all manner of subjects. Oh yeah, there was an “S” in sitting still (translation: satisfactory, or “C” – when school was school), an “S” in not telling the music teacher where she got the lyrics to the song wrong (translation: satisfactory, or “C” – back when… oh, don’t even get me started), and another “S” in having to put your own 2 cents into every discussion, A.K.A. ” the BURNING THING THAT MUST BE SAID“.   His teacher’s name is Katie O’Leary – she’s Irish I think – and at the parent/teacher conference, she used words like “unique”,”entertaining”,”creative”, and said that she was going to give him additional work “to see if we can’t just tire the little bugger out”, or something to that effect.

Will spent most of the Spring, Summer and Fall outside making weapons out of sticks, but with the onset of Winter he spends a lot of time inside blaming us for making it dark so early.  He continues to grow at an amazing rate (regardless of how much sun he gets).  He seems to be determined to maintain the country bumpkin “floods” look regardless of how ridiculously oversized we buy his pants.

Helen continues to develop as an overscheduling maniac, hell bent on saying yes to every commitment that comes down the pike and has good news.  No, she isn’t pregnant (do you know how hard it is to find anti-fertility amulets?).  No, she doesn’t have a job in the outside world (What? And miss that scintillating mind-numbing interaction with the children? Repeat after me:  I love Barney, I love Barney, don’t kill Barney, must kill Barney…).  No, she’s finally on her way to becoming the family’s gravy train.

After merely a year with the Reston Chorale, she’s already the star solo performer at the Christmas program. After rave reviews in the most influential papers in the area (The West Springfield Trader, the Fairfax Connection & Coupon Clipper), we wait anxiously by the phone (where are we going to find room for yet another bouquet of roses?) for the record companies and agents to call.

However, just in case the singing career doesn’t pan out, she’s getting a lot of experience as a recipient of catalogs and junk mail (That is a legit career, isn’t it?).  They’re mostly seed catalogues, since we plan to have another garden this year, if the wetlands commission will allow it.  It doesn’t seem possible, but it is possible to fit every edible plant in the Universe into a 20 x20 ft. plot.  Don’t believe me?  Well, we’ve got the plans that prove it’s possible.  All our mouths are watering (now isn’t that a pretty picture?) in anticipation of stunted carrots, insect-nibbled tomatoes, fungally enhanced squash, etc., etc.. Yum, yum.

Bill continues to have his spirit crushed in the rat race corporate world just to provide for his loving, caring family.  Because of his inspired leadership of the ‘Bid & Proposal Department’, the big boss decided to hire someone who knew what he was doing, so now Bill is just another cog in the juggernaut that is XYZ Technologies, Inc.

Bill also started biking to work last summer, both to save money and to get exercise.  After getting the bike, buying new tires, a lock and other accessories, the saving money idea is but a distant memory. But boy did he get in shape!  You know: classic triangle upper body, washboard stomach, thighs that could crack walnuts….  However, with sunset coming earlier  – not to mention temperatures under 75 degrees – things have deteriorated slightly.  He’s perhaps a bit more pear-shaped, belly over belt, and thighs that not only can mush up marshmallows, but look a lot like them too.  Come Spring, Bill will be back at it again: pursuing thrift, youth and a heart attack.

So, that’s basically it for us, except that we couldn’t go three pages long without some useful information: our zip code hath changed. Do not anger thy postal worker; please be most righteous and use  XXXXX-XXXX henceforth (we hath no desire to endeth up on the 6 o’clocke newse in a poole of bloode).

Merry Christmas.





  1. What a treat! The letter is so engaging and well-written. I can’t believe that 1995 is now 15 years gone. Hopefully Ian walks AND talks well by now 🙂

  2. Love reading this again! I believe it’s 18 yrs since those days in northern Virginia. Have you two come up with any more of those
    great annual letters recently? I kept all that we received here-they’re SOMEWHERE in those piles of old albums and memorabilia in the back room…

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