Saturday, June 03, 2006

Early Writerious: Pencil, Pen, and Crayon Years

My mother has been cleaning house and getting a lot of old stuff out of the house. Invariably that means I end up going home with a box of stuff that she no longer wants, but doesn't really want to get rid of, just doesn't want to see again. Sometimes it's things I don't want to get rid of, either. In this latest transfer of unwanted goods was a small brown paper sack with a lot of old letters in it -- letters I'd written to my grandmother when we moved to another state. That was back long, long before email, back before cell phones, back when long distance was an extra charge on your bill but it only cost six cents to mail a letter of heartfelt greeings. So now I will bore you all with my precociousness, beginning with the year 1967, when I was but a tot at age five (I can hear you all doing the math). Yes, I was writing on my own by then. I'd been reading since age three. Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are as they were in the original. Interesting how the spelling degenerates -- perhaps I was relying on others in the earlier epistles.
Dear Grandma
How Are You? I Am fine. I am Building A Ship Out on The Side of Our House. I am Having Fun Playing in my Ship.

The "ship" in question was a vaguely triangular-shaped junction of rock walls beside the house that reminded me vaguely of the prow of a ship. "Building" the ship consisted of moving a few bits of this and that around and sitting there envisioning it all as a ship.

(Envelope dated Nov 1967)
Dear Grandmother
How Are you? We Had a Turkey. And pumpkin Pie. Mark has his room in the Basement. We Get Carnation MiLK.

A scintillating narrative of Thanksgiving day. These are the things that are important to a five-year-old.
(Dated 1968)
Dear Gandma
Thank you for all the Lovely clothes. I like Them all Also Thank you so very much for the record and Book. I listen and read it every Day.
Evidently the obligatory thank-you letter, written a couple of weeks after Christmas.
(this one done painstakingly in cursive - envelope dated Feb 1968)
Dear Grandma
I miss you. come see me again. We will come see you soon.
Grandma must have come for Christmas. Ah, yes -- the infamous Hong Kong Flu year, when we all, every one of us, came down with the vile bug, one at a time. Just as one person would be well, the next would fall ill. Marvelous Christmas, it was.
(typewritten -- envelope dated Aug 1968)
I am Righting to see if you are Happy. We ar getting to go to
go on ar trip. We are going for one week. ar you going for one week/? My bunny is going to. When are you comeing home. ar cat is home ar dog is home just we are going and my bunny ar is going. i have a picture of are car and we are in it.
The bunny was a stuffed bunny, of course. If I'd had a live bunny, it would have stayed with the dog and cat.
Dear Grandma
Guess What! We have some turkeys in the courtyard! There is one male and two females. They are Big and fat. Today we learned a new game called 20 Questions. I have a present for you but do not open it until Christmas.
This was accompanied by a drawing labeled "a male turkey." Evidently a letter written under the direction of my first grade teacher, since the spelling is spot on, though capitalization is still shaky.
(Dated January 3, 1969 -- I would be age 6 1/2)
Dear Grandma
Guess What! We Still have Snow out there. I bet it is about 8 inches deep. I Love the Love Bug that you Gave me. I am Going to take it to School for Show and Tell Next friday. I like the Play food that you Gave me. Played with it friday. You Know What happened friday! Ther was No School! Because ther was to much snow on the road. So the bus's did not come. The Boy's (Mark and Kent) are Clening the Drive Way Now. Well I don't have any more to say. By.
The sign-off was to be my standard schtick for a whole series of letters. The Love Bug was a pink furry cylindrical stuffed toy with a goofy face done in felt at one end. I still have it.
(Envelope dated Feb 1969)
Dear Grandma
Did you have a happy Valentines day? I did. We had a valentines parrty at school. and i got a lot of valentines. Geuss What! wear going to Come to your house! We are going to Come on Kent's Brithday. you know what? Noseles wear liveing the Peach house acrosst the street now Donny a littel boy and his famly are liveing in it!
Well i don't have anymore to say, By!
I haven't a clue who or what "Noslels" is -- probably a phonetic spelling of the name of the family that lived in the house prior to the aforementioned Donny.
(Envelope dated 1969)
Dear Grandmother
Happy Easter! (I hope) Oh boy! am I going to have fun on Easter! Can you guess? Well, Instead of hunting Candy eggs, we are going to hunt plasteck eggs with money and srprizes inside! (That money relly Get's me!) I here that you might come up here for Easter. I hope you do,... and you know why Easter is such a special day? Because, Jeuse Rose on Easter! Well, have a happy Easter! By!
A born money-grubber, despite the theological overtones.
(Dated June 11, 1969)
Dear Grandma
HI! What's going on today?! I just got a set of Beads (Small and Big) and thin wier. it's called "indian rings." I realy sent away for some magck tricks, in the Cappy Dick, But I guess they ran Out But, anyway, I'll have fun. Well, no more to say, By!
Not sure what "Cappy Dick" is -- probably something in the comic section of the newspaper where kids could send away for various kits. I do recall getting a magic kit with Kool-ade labels at one point. I never did figure out why I got the bead kit instead of the magic kit I wanted.

Well i don't have anymore to say, By!


Melinda R. Cordell said...

Cappy Dick was a children's page in the comics. We had that in our newspaper too. I never sent in any pics, though.

Thanks for linking to my blog! Whoo-hoo!

Anonymous said...

I think ol' Cappy had some definite thoughts about what were girl toys and what were boy toys. Bead kits for girls, magic kits for boys. Well, thbbbt! to ol' Cappy!