Category Archives: On the Home Front

Hints for Household Helpers Under the Age of 16


Good morning Everyone!

Certain circumstances having arisen in my household, I wish to aid household helpers under the age of 16 with the following hints.

  1.  Pushing the vacuum cleaner over the floor does not count unless the vacuum cleaner is also removing dust, dog hair, paper and other detritus from the floor.
  2.  A see through canister on the vacuum cleaner is not there merely for your viewing pleasure. When the canister resembles a water balloon about to burst, it needs to be emptied.
  3. If the engine of said vacuum cleaner starts to smoke, the canister definitely must be emptied.  Unplugging it at this point is a good idea, too.  Please remember that we keep the fire extinguisher centrally located for the good of all under the kitchen sink.
  4. The terms “window cleaner” and “window streaker” are not synonymous.
  5. Dishes that come out of the dishwasher without feeling clean should be returned to the dishwasher for another round.  If they still are not clean after that, you must hand wash the items.
  6. If the drink glass you pull from the dishwasher feels as if there is a hidden message transcribed in braille on the outside, it is not clean.
  7. Putting said drink glass on the highest shelf possible does not render the glass clean or relieve the household helper of culpability.
  8.  If you have pets, pantry doors and trash bins need to be firmly closed once the cleaning is done.  Otherwise, you will end up doing it all over again after the pets enjoy the wondrous smorgasbord you have set before them.
  9. The phrase “empty the dishwasher” is not synonymous with “empty the dishwasher – except the silverware.”  Parents do notice when they open the silverware drawer and find the silverware set consists of two teaspoons and a knife.
  10. If a parent begins any sentence with “Perhaps you should….”  the following instruction is not optional.  Your parent is trying to tell you something nicely.
  11. The “whole house” means the whole house.  It does not mean the living room and the kitchen only.
  12. Please explain exactly how you can claim to have vacuumed or dusted thoroughly when items such as clothing and shoes that were on the floor when you began your work remain in the same spot in an unaltered state when you are finished.
  13. You are not abused or misused because we expect you to help with the housework.  And yes, when you go off to college, we will probably hire someone to do the house for us once a week.  Get over it.  You can do the same thing to your children once you have them.
  14. Most of us do not expect your work to pass the white glove test.  (Google it.)  However, if the dust on the surface of anything is deep enough that we can write our names in it or draw pictures, it needs to be dusted.
  15. We parents appreciate your help.  Really.  It’s just hard to remember to say so when steam is blowing out of our ears because you know and we know that you have not given us your best effort.

Happy helping, household helpers!

Have a great day everyone.

Nancy

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Anyone’s Cat Missing a Life or Two?


Good morning everyone!

I think Mandy has stolen several lives from a cat of origins unknown.  Mandy is our husky basset hound mix and our scavenger extraordinaire.

Basset Hound, Husky Mix

Mandy Out for a Drive!

Over the years, she has eaten anything and everything from socks and handkerchiefs to medicated creams like Neosporin and been none the worse for wear, but yesterday she finally went too far.

When I got home yesterday,  I went inside to my normally enthusiastic greeting from both dogs.  Rounding the corner of the couch, my blood chilled (cue the screeching violin motif from Friday the 13th) when I saw:

golden-raisin-box

That most terrifying of sights, a large box of golden raisins, chewed open, with the plastic bag that contained the raisins therein lying empty beside it.

To the untutored individual, this scene would be banal.  However, I am blessed/cursed to know better than that.

 

Dog, eating, counter

My reprobate

 

Dogs can eat almost anything we can, but there are a few – very few – things we can’t share well. Chocolate is one of those. Dogs lack an enzyme needed to digest it properly.  I know this because I sat up with Mandy one night after she had scored an entire family size bag of peanut butter M & M’s and since what goes up must come down, you can guess what an exciting night we both had!

Another is grapes. Grapes release toxins into the blood stream of a dog that can cause kidney damage, apparently do other things to the hemoglobin in the blood and cause death in the right circumstances.  Raisins, of course, are dried grapes, which means that eating a box of raisins is eating grapes in quintuplet.

After a moment of panic, I threw both dogs and Kayla into the car, barreling at 80 miles an hour to the nearest after-hours pet emergency clinic, which was in Montgomery.

Mark met us there – he hadn’t been able to get home yet since traffic had been gridlocked.

How, you may ask, did we know that it was Mandy and not Darwin that ate the grapes?  We didn’t, which is why we brought both dogs.  Upon reaching the vet’s, we had to choose which dog to treat first. This guess mattered, because we were already well past the two-hour window that you normally have to empty a dog’s stomach of anything that shouldn’t be there.  We made an educated guess that Mandy was the only one of the two to have enough bravado to enter the pantry and pull out her very own personal snack.  Darwin would help eat something if it was readily accessible, but wouldn’t seek it out like that.  And when Mandy goes to that kind of trouble to get a snack, she will not be sharing.

The decision made, we handed Mandy to the vet tech and off trotted my reprobate, tail wagging and looking like this was the outing of the century.

After the vet convinced the dog to empty her stomach, the vet tech came out to tell us that not only had we guessed right, but also they had been able to get almost all of it back up – because Mandy had eaten one of Kayla’s socks the day before, and it was slowing her digestion of a number of items, the grapes being one of them.  (The sock made its reappearance, apparently, sometime after the grapes.)  This may be the first time in recorded veterinary history that the consumption of one undesirable item by a dog saved its life after the consumption of a second, more toxic, undesirable item.

Mandy 1 for web

Mandy  coming home after the first Very Large Vet Bill.

Because Mandy is probably around 12, they have kept her overnight pumping fluids through her, and Mark is going to pick her up this afternoon after he pays a Very Large Vet Bill that dwarfs our last Very Large Vet Bill. Darwin believed it was right thoughty of us to include him in all of the excitement, and has done surprisingly well at home without Mandy, but you can tell he misses her, as do we all.

And on that happy note, I hope each of you have a great weekend!

Nancy

P.S.  I skipped a couple of steps between the discovery of the grapes and entering the car.  Accordingly, I’d like to thank my youngest sister for her help in getting a message to her friend, the vet, and her sympathetic support via text thereafter.  I’d also like to thank her friend, the vet, who did her best to help given that she was two states away and not where she could talk.  If I knew then what I know now, we would have provided immediate assistance to Mandy by giving her one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide, and then a second one fifteen minutes later.  Hind sight is, alas, 20-20.

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Quote

Dedicated to All Frustrated Parents of Teens


Good morning , everyone!

Whether you’re parenting a teen with another parent, or doing it on your own, I salute you!  Carry on bravely, my suffering brothers and sisters! I  feel your pain!

Parent Pulling Out Hair
AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH! from http://www.clickartonline.com All rights reserved.

To All Frustrated Parents of Teens

The 14 year old mind

Is a strange, wondrous thing;

No one can account

For the thoughts which it springs.

One moment high fashion

Has it enthralled;

The next, finding rations

Puts flights to all else.

It has not a filter,

At best, one too late;

Arguments it adores

Much too much to forsake.

It wades only in shallows,

Concerns chill it not,

Yet strong loves wells deepen,

As do new, wondering thoughts.

When its parents despair

Through long suffering in vain

That wisdom shall ever

Elude this young brain,

A small touch on their shoulder,

A hug in the mall,

A smile on a cold day,

A kindness, too small

To affect fates of nations,

But which heartens those close,

A keen observation that

Will pierce other’s boasts,

Reminds family present

That hope is not lost.

This mind will grow wiser

With the age of its host.

Have a great day!

Nancy

Justifiable Homicide?


Good morning Everyone!

volcano

From http://www.clickartonline.com All rights reserved. 

 

Things got a little tense at our household this morning thanks to contacts and baseball, strange combination that it is.

Kayla got contacts about a month ago and after the first three days, which were rough, had most of the kinks worked out – until this morning.  I knocked on her bedroom door to tell her I was going to take a shower, so I would wish her a good day then and to have a good day, and

got screamed

yelled at 

was informed tersely that her contacts were just “not working” this morning and she was afraid she was going to miss the bus.  [How something with no moving parts or motor can “not work” is beyond me.]

When I told her she had nine minutes left so she should calm down a little, I struck a spark onto a pile of dry twigs and leaves.  I’m not saying I slammed any doors over the conversation, but I  slammed my bedroom door over the conversation.

However, as we all know, Karma works its magic at the worst possible times.

Field Trip

From http://www.clickartonline.com All Rights Reserved

15 minutes after the bus came, Kayla texted  – she had forgotten her permission slip for the baseball game field trip her class is taking today and would I please bring it to her at school so she wouldn’t have to sit in the boring classroom all day long and us lose the $20  we had plunked down for the field trip?  [I’m sure it was our losing the twenty dollars that was worrying her the most.][Insert sarcasm font.]

I contemplated telling her “no.”  I should have told her “no.”  I almost texted her “no. ” But instead I clenched my jaw and started looking for it.  Once I found it, the following dialogue by text ensued:

[Typos in originals]

ME:  Leaving house now.  Please be at front at drop off line to pick up form.  Do NOT make me park and come inside. 

KAYLA:  I can’t do that its against the rules.

[At this point, I think most mothers would agree with me that she has achieved reached the level of justifiable homicide.]

ME:  Then how the )^&*&%$%(*&^( do you expect me to get it to    [text typing interrupted by further communication from Kayla.]

KAYLA:  I’ll try it

ME:  [Deletes above text without sending. ]

KAYLA:  coach dean said I could come to the carrider line.

My mood was not improved by the fact that I managed to lose the permission slip form three times after I found it before I entered the car which probably wasn’t her fault but which I will find some way to blame on her anyhow.

Smiling Snail

From http://www.clickartonline.com All Rights Reserved

The smile on her face when she grabbed the form from me, though, made it worth it.

Have a great day!

 

Nancy

 

 

 

The Very Large Vet Bill


Good morning everyone!

Yesterday was quite wild at our house due to one of those unfortunate accidents that occur from time to time.  Mandy and Darwin were playing somewhere in the house or yard, and when the dust settled, we discovered that Mandy’s ear had torn open at the bottom and was bleeding profusely.  It is a fact of nature that such events always occur on Sundays when the local vet’s office, which I would have preferred to use, was closed.

Between the screams of the 13 year old vet-wanna-be who didn’t handle her first dog emergency very well, the lack of paper towels anywhere in the (*&^&%$#$*^&* house, the length of time it took to get Mandy’s ear to stop bleeding, one very anxious lab (Darwin) who was worried that he had hurt his sister so kept trying to poke his nose right into middle of the healing ring, and a wiggly, bleeding husky basset hound mix who did not understand why we had to bandage her head, and why we didn’t want her shaking it, I was longing for an afternoon somewhere at a resort pool with a waiter catering to my every need, including lots of frozen drinks with pink parasols.  This was especially true after I spent a good part of the morning holding Mandy down so Mark could bandage her at least four times.

Huskey Basset Hound, Cone

Mandy Waiting in the Car to Go Home

The first two times, we tried bandaging only the ear once we got the bleeding stopped.  Each of those bandages lasted 10 seconds and one head shake after which the bandage was gone and the ear was bleeding again.  The third time, we bandaged the ear and then bandaged the ear to her head.  That one lasted about 30 seconds and then she pawed at the bandage enough to release the ear, shake her head and commence bleeding again.   The fourth time, we bandaged the ear, bandaged the ear to her head and then wrapped gauze around the head until Mandy resembled a small, white Marley (as in Marley & Scrooge.)

After we finished bandaging her up for the fourth time, we decided one of us had to make the 20 minute run to the nearest Pet Smart so we could buy a cone to keep the dog from pawing her ear. I had a sneaking suspicion that we wouldn’t be able to home doctor our way out of this one, so I asked Mark and Kayla to take the dog  with them just in case.

Mandy in the Car after Surgery

Mandy in the Car after Surgery

When they got to the store, Mark left Kayla in the car with the dog while he went in to PetSmart to get the cone, but after about five minutes sitting in the parking lot, Mandy let loose yet another giant shake of her head, causing the bandage to fly off her head, and the bleeding to start again, with the added bonus of copious drops of blood spattered all over the car, the dog and the daughter in the process. Kayla took Mandy out of the car after that to go find Mark, with the two of them dripping blood all over the local PetSmart.  After that, Mark took Mandy to the vet at the back of the PetSmart store and left her there to get sewn up, which we found out would include general anesthesia, stitches, injected antibiotics and pain killers and medicine to take home, automatically ensuring a Very Large Vet Bill.  The people there were very nice, professional and helpful, though.

While Mark and Kayla were dealing with Mandy and PetSmart, I was at home trying to reassure the anxious labrador and cleaning the kitchen.

Once Mark and Kayla got home, we had about an hour and half, and then I needed to go back to pick up Mandy and pay the Very Large Vet Bill, run one more errand, pick up dinner and then head home while I tried to drive, talk with my daughter and keep the dog from banging the cone hard enough to bust her haute couture priced bandage job back open in less than an hour.

Mandy - the orange is a bandage, not a collar.

Mandy – the orange is a bandage, not a collar.

The vet’s bandage job has survived at least through this afternoon.  If we’re lucky and we can keep it dry and clean, it won’t need to be changed at all this week.  Mandy is very unhappy about the cone, but she will have to learn to live with it until she’s better.  We learned that lesson the hard way when Tyra’s tail got infected.

Have a great day! I’ll keep you updated.

Nancy

The Priesthood of the Disposal of Unwanted Critters


Good morning Everyone!

Have you every noticed how there are hierarchies all around us? A simple example is standing in line – The first person in line goes first, the second person gets to go next, etc.  And there are even a few of us who will, on occasion, step forward to correct a person who dares to challenge the hierarchy by cutting in line.  Such an event follows the principle of proportional palatability  – the chances of being corrected, and the violence used in said correction are directly proportional to the amount of time spent in line and the importance of the item the line is for.  The same chances are indirectly proportional to the palatability to the group psyche of someone barging in front of everyone else.

At our house, we have hierarchies too.  This morning the Priesthood of the Disposal of Unwanted Critters was called to action.

The first and foremost High Priest of the Disposal of Unwanted Critters is Mark.  If he is home, the hierarchy stops there.  I’m not sure where the rule is set out – in the United States Code, the Code of Alabama, the Eleventh Commandment, the United Nations Charter or the Code of Hammurabi – but somewhere it says that the male of the house shall remove all unwanted critters, dead or alive, from the household if he is at home.  It makes perfect sense to me and Kayla, although Mark may not agree.  Unfortunately, unwanted critters are notoriously inconsiderate, and they do appear when Mark is not around.

When it comes to killing and removing spiders and roaches, I become the High Priestess of the Unwanted Critter Department.  And I hate killing spiders and roaches – not because I think they deserve to live in peace, but because deep down I know that at any minute they can grow taller than a house and kill me along with all that I love or, even worse, actually fly (roach) or run (spider) on me.  I was over 40 before I ever killed either a roach or a spider – and that was only out of desperation because Kayla and I were alone.

As High Priestess, it is my privilege to delegate certain removal tasks, and Kayla is in charge of the Removal of Birds Killed by the Dogs.  We had such an incident this morning – I let Darwin and Mandy out, and they both shot over to the far corner of the deck, where I heard a scuffle that lasted about 1/2 second.  I called both of them back sharply.  Darwin arrived with a feather hanging from his lip (commonly known in criminal justice circles as a smoking gun), and Mandy trotted up afterwards.  The poor mocking-bird that had, alas, strayed from its normal habitat was lying on its back with its feet straight up in the classical dead bird pose.  Kayla showed up right afterwards, having heard the scuffle, and performed her duties as Head Acolyte competently and thoroughly.

I was kind of shivering with the willies, and asked her what we were going to do with the bird.  She kind of rolled her eyes, then told me to get her some paper towels.  Taking the paper towels, she gently lifted the bird and placed it in the dumpster, after not so gently admonishing both dogs about killing the bird.  Neither dog was particularly upset by being admonished, which is on par with most canine corrections that involve any member of the Priesthood besides Mark.  (And yes, for all grandmothers concerned who may read this, I did have her wash her hands extremely thoroughly after she came back in, paper towel or no.)

And that was the excitement at our house this morning!  Anything happen interesting at yours?

Have a great day!

Nancy

Hell’s Itch – No Laughing Matter


 

Good morning Everyone!

My Easter Sunday plans did not include spending the afternoon staring with concern at my daughter writhing on the floor, rubbing her back on a towel and crying.  We had just returned from a five-day trip to the beach that morning. While we were there, Kayla spent one glorious five-hour stint in the water playing with some friends she had made that morning and wound up with an equally splendid sunburn on her back.  Until Easter afternoon, it had been pretty much like any other sunburn, but what Kayla was experiencing then was a whole different order of magnitude.  There was no doubt in my mind that she was sincere but I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Mark woke up just as I was getting ready to take her somewhere for help, and suggested instead that I first give her Benadryl and some Tylenol.  I did, and it seemed to help for about an hour and a half, then everything started all over again.  While Kayla was calm, we asked her what it felt like, and she said when the itch got bad and she started crying, she felt like she had a thousand knives stabbing deep into her back, causing great pain and a deep, burning itch.  When the itch started to come back after an hour and a half, we gave her two Advil and I took her to our local Doc-In-The-Box.

Apparently, arriving at 5:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday when the clinic closes at 6 ensures swift service.  Kayla was their only patient.  I was a little annoyed at the doctor because I didn’t think she really was taking Kayla and me seriously, but she did consent to give Kayla a shot of Benadryl and prescribe a stronger antihistamine in case the Benadryl didn’t work.  She also told me to get some Cortisone cream and Benadryl cream to put on Kayla’s back.

I called Mark at 5:55 – the prescription had been called into our local pharmacy, which closed at 6, and Kayla and I were about 30 minutes away – and he won Father-of-the-Year award for making it to CVS in less than four minutes to pick up the prescription.

We were fortunate that he was able to do so, because about 10:00 p.m., by the time the Benadryl shot had worn off, Kayla came into our bedroom and woke me up to tell me that her back had started itching again and she wanted me to put the cortisone cream and Benadryl cream on her.  I carefully applied the lotions, but by the time I finished, she was back to writhing in agony again and begging me to take the lotions back off.  Mark woke up because he heard us.  After I wiped the creams back off as best I could,  we had Kayla take an Aveeno oatmeal bath.  (Another remedy suggested by the doctor.)

After she got out of the bath, her back had calmed down a little again, so the three of us sat up for a while.  While we sat,  I did what any stumped parent would do – I googled “intense sunburn itch.”  The results surprised me.

Apparently, there are a number of people out there – adults as well as children – that have experienced the same thing.   The people who have had this happen to them called it either “Hell’s Itch” or ICI – short for “insanity causing itch.”  The medical sites didn’t have a description of it or a name for it, but I know from our experience with Kayla that it exists.  All of the stories I found on the internet described the same symptoms that Kayla had experienced.  One sufferer was a former marine who admitted that he was embarrassed that this – whatever it is – had brought him to his knees.  Another was a former paratrooper who said the same thing.  The adults who described it said that it felt like fire ants were crawling underneath your skin, constantly biting you.

A very important point to remember if you encounter this is that all of the normal sunburn remedies – aloe vera, cortisone and antihistamine creams – only make the itch worse.

There were only three things that seemed to help the people who experienced this – and two of them were the opposite of what you would do for a normal sunburn.  The first remedy that gave most people relief was to take a scalding hot shower for at least 15 to 20 minutes.  The second remedy was peppermint oil, which is not something I keep on hand.  The third remedy that helped was the prescription antihistamine.  The brand name for it is Aderax and the generic is something like hydroxidine HCL.  With Kayla, basic pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil also helped, although without the antihistamines the most they did was take the edge off.

Hell’s Itch only happens to someone who has acquired a decent sunburn to some area of the body.  For reasons no one was certain of, about 48 hours later, each sufferer experienced an unbearable sensation that ran in waves over the places that were sunburnt.  Even if you are one of the 5 – 10% of people who ever experience this, it doesn’t happen every time you get sunburned.  Some people will experience it once and then not have it happen again for 20 years, even if they get sunburned in the meantime.  In almost everyone, the symptoms subside on their own after 8 to 48 hours.

All’s well that end’s well, of course, and by Tuesday, Kayla was back to normal.  Still, I wanted to share this with you in case you ever end up on the floor yourself writhing with this unbearable sensation, or, even worse, someone you love does.  As for me, I think I’m going to buy some peppermint oil and keep it on hand, just in case.

Have a great day!

Nancy

UPDATE:  7/8/2016 – Thank you to each of the over 11,000 people who have viewed this post since it was first published.  Please if you have time, look at some of my other posts.  I write about all kinds of things, with entertaining results.

I also need to remind everyone that I am not a doctor, and this blog post is not meant to give medical advice.  It is meant to let people who are experiencing this terrible condition that they are not alone, they are not crazy and there are some things that some people have found helpful.

A special thank you to the people who take the time to share their own experiences.  I know when Kayla went through this, I was infinitely relieved when I read about other people experiencing the same thing.

Finally, use your own judgment about when to see a physician.  In my opinion, if you don’t earlier, you DEFINITELY need to see a physician if you experience these symptoms more than 2 or 3 days at the latest.  (If it were me, I’m not sure I could make it as far as day 3).  Regular Hell’s Itch doesn’t seem to normally last that long.

 

Merry Christmas!


Good morning Everyone!

We got the tree and other Christmas decorations at our house up last week.  As I share them with you, I also am wishing each of you a Merry Christmas or other holiday greeting of your choice!  Here’s to a fond farewell to 2014, and a hearty hello to 2015!

Manger Scene

This is our family crèche, also known as our family manger scene. This is the first time in three Christmases that I have been able to put it up the way I like – the rental house we lived in for two years did not have a good place. It never feels quite like Christmas without the crèche up!

small tree 1, fiber optic

The last Thanksgiving that Mark’s Dad was alive (he died in May 2001), he and Mark’s mom and Mark and I went on a trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in our campers. We stopped at a Christmas store, and I saw my first fiber optic tree there, and bought it. We still put it out every year, and (knock on wood) it still is shining brightly.

small tree 2, fiber optic

The fiber optic cables shift between different colors.

Tree 2, pre-lit, white lights

Mark is a white light Christmas person, and I am a colored light Christmas person. We thought never the twain should meet until we bought last year’s pre-wired artificial tree – it has a dual personality!

Tree 1, pre-lit, colored lights

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Nancy

Again with the Absent-mindedness!


Good morning Everyone!

As most of you who follow this blog will remember, I am particularly gifted with the character trait known as “absent-mindedness.”  Here are the latest instances:

1) On my way to work, there is a restaurant, one of those small places that always has something moving into and out of it.  For about two weeks, I had been driving by it, absently noticing that the sign read “Coming Soon:  Mandolin Cafe.”  Each time I passed it, I wondered if the town where I work really has room for another Chinese restaurant….until my mind insisted that I notice that “mandolin” and “Mandarin” are two different things!

2) Have you ever wandered around the house swearing because you can’t find your glasses  – only to realize that you’re wearing them?  Funny – me neither!

3) I wanted to download some pictures onto my computer today, so I pulled out the Nikon camera, found the cable to connect it and started my task – only to have the darn thing run out of battery on me!  Digging through the camera bag for the charger, I found it missing.  Kayla was the last person to use the camera, so I began the necessary cross-examination to try to establish exactly where she might have left the charger while grumping that if we couldn’t find it, we had a very expensive camera we couldn’t use – only to discover that the charger was on the table in front of me where I had taken it out moments before in order to reach the camera!

4)  I was in a tearing hurry about two weeks ago, but I had also reached the point where the gas gauge in my car had gone from gentle reminders to crawling in the desert gasping for  fuel.  I whipped into the gas station, used the “pay at the pump” feature, hung the gas pump hose back up, got my receipt and tore out of the parking lot to cross the major U.S. Highway separating the gas station and the fast food place.  Once I was in line at the drive-thru, however, I realized I couldn’t find my wallet anywhere.  Panicking, I stepped out of the car for a second – where I discovered my wallet sitting on the roof of the car, where it had remained safely while I drove from the gas station to the fast food restaurant!  (And yes, I said a devout prayer of thanks for that one!)

Have a great day!

Nancy

A Letter from my Fourth Grade Self


Good morning Everyone!

Mark is steadily working on getting the garage unpacked so that we can get both cars in – winter is coming, and neither of us are fond of scraping ice or wiping cold wet dew off of our car windows.  While we were working on unpacking, we came across a box of keepsakes I got from my grandparents after they both passed away.  In it was the following letter to them from me in fourth grade.  I thought I would share it with you.  While I cannot, alas, replicate the handwriting on the computer, I will faithfully follow both the capitalization, color and spelling in the original.

Page 1 of Letter

Page 1 of Letter

Dear Grandma and Grampa, 

How are you?  I’m fine and am feeling happy.  It’s the “Fourth of July here and the time is 18 min. before 9:A.M.

Cheryl is going in to 2nd Grade.  I drew a picture of a Cat and it is good.  Guess what?  We have a dog for a little while.  Stacy is go to kinderegarden.   I have a bulliten board.  How is Clyde?  Cheryl and Stacy are fine.  I am going into fourth grade and know a little division.

Page 2 of Letter

Page 2 of Letter

Is Debbie Joe there?  Tell her that I’m taking sketching lessons and bowling lessons.  I wish you could call us and say hi and a few other things but most of all I wish you could come over and see us.  Debbie might like to here about Chinese Operas so I will tell abuot them.  They are rather noisy and the singing tone mostly in a high voice.  Shopping at the Exchange is fine, though I have not done it much.  Stacy is bugging me for a peice of paper

Page 3 of Letter

and just now got on from Dad.  Our Amah is vacuming the rug.  At night I like to listen to the Crickets and sing myself to sleep.  It’s pretty noisy just now.  I’ll write a story for you.

Yours truly,

Nancy Merilynn Linn

The Magic Book

Once when Language had not been invented but was just invented there Lived a Lovly maiden named Napoli  Now, once she had been free to do what she wanted

Page 4 of Letter

but a witch locked her up.  There was only one way to get her out of the cell and that was to find the book the Wisard of Os.”  Now a handsome prince came galloping along one day and every night came forth and Said “Come forth, Come forth please thee, Sweet Napoli.”

“And she would answer”

How Can I,

When Can I,

The cell cannot be unlocked by Poetry.

Countined in next Letter.

A few explanatory notes:

1) We were living in Taiwan at the time, the early ’70’s.  It was hard and expensive to make overseas calls from the United States.  There was no such thing as the internet, home pc’s or e-mail.

2) Stacy and Cheryl are my sisters.  Debbie Jo is my cousin.

3) Clyde was a dog that used to be ours but whom Mom and Dad had given to Grandma and Grandpa when we moved somewhere with base housing that didn’t allow pets.  Grandpa and Clyde, in particular, were great buddies.

4) An “Amah” is a live-in housekeeper.

5) Alas, a follow up letter with a story continuation either a) did not survive, or b) was not written, so Napoli remains locked up to this day!

Have a great day!

Nancy