Category Archives: When Life Doesn’t Fit in a File Folder

Showing My Colors To The World

Some of you are waiting to hear my next report about how I survived the horrors of benzo withdrawal.

I know you’d like to read that I’m 100% well again.

I’m not there yet.

But…

An amazing thing has come out of this horrifying experience.

About 3 months ago, while healing in Arizona, I had the opportunity to hang out in an art room again.

I was astounded by how good it felt.

To create.

To play with colors.

Because I’d forgotten.

When I got back home, I started painting three-dimensional hearts on 4” x 4” canvases.

At first, I didn’t show my stuff to anyone.

I figured if they were good enough, I could hang them in the bathroom.

Or something.

Eventually, I got brave and posted a few photographs on Facebook.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, so I decided to try my hand at larger canvases, too.

To my surprise, people liked my weird whimsical paintings, too.

It never occurred to me that being able to create something out of nothing is one of my super powers.

All I know is that I’m committing art again.

And I’m having a great time doing it.

And people are buying what I make.

Here are a few examples of my 4″x4″ mini-canvases:

hearts

I also have greeting cards.

Based on original pieces that have been sold.

Based on original pieces that have been sold.

And here is one of my paintings.

LOVE UNBUTTONED, c. 2014

LOVE UNBUTTONED, c. 2014

If you’re interested in purchasing greeting cards or original art, or if you’d like to commission something special for someone you love, I’d be honored to make something for you.

More about the events that brought me to where I am now. Eventually.

But not today.

{This post is written in memory of Blaine and dedicated to my friends from Wickenburg, Arizona: Missy, James, Julie, Joan, John, Paula, Anthony, Jesse, Riley, Abel, Grant, Carlos, Nyki, Kris, Rob, Scott, Lauren, Frankie and Darcy.)

Warts and Unwelcome Surprises

My feet, without warts these days.

My feet, without warts these days.

I was certain I’d contracted the stupid wart during my time spent barefoot on the slippery deck of the middle school swimming pool, where we girls were required, by law, to take ten days of instructional swim.

After weeks of applying Compound W with no visible improvement, I pulled off my sock and showed the offending bump to my father and, a few days later, I found myself sitting in his car. As he drove down the Boulevard, he warned me that the doctor was probably going to have to burn it off. He told me it might hurt.

But I wasn’t worried.

I was tough.

I’d had a mouthful of silver fillings put in without Novacaine.

Besides, that wart was gross.

I wanted it off.

Dr. Stone’s office was dark and cluttered with odd pieces of furniture, weird lamps and gadgets. An olive green corduroy jacket drooped from a hook on the back of his door. After inspecting my foot for less than .3 seconds, the doctor walked across the room to retrieve a silver thermos from a cooler. Uncapping the top, white swirls of smoke escaped as he took an extra long Q-Tip swab and stirred it around in whatever magic solution was in there.

I didn’t flinch as the liquid nitrogen sizzled against the offending wart.

When he was finished, the doctor explained what was going to happen and what I needed to do.

I hardly heard him.

But then my father piped in. “While we’re here, doctor…” he started. “She’s got something in her left ear…”

What is it? I wondered. Is it a tumor? Why hasn’t my father mentioned it?

Dr. Stone flipped on his headlamp and leaned in to get a good look, his face too close to mine. His chair creaked.

“Ooooh!” The doctor pushed back in his rolling chair. “She’s got a big ole blackhead in there.” I swear the man giggled as he jumped up to get his instruments.

I was horrified. The wart was bad enough. I didn’t want another ailment. “Dad!” I whispered, covering my ear with one hand. “How long has it been there?”

“I don’t know.” My father shrugged. “A while.”

The doctor returned with an instrument of torture, which he used to scoop out whatever was inside my ear. This second procedure took forever. Every once in a while, the doctor made happy noises.

I sometimes think back to that day in the dermatologist’s office.

Back then, I thought the worst thing that could happen to a person was getting a wart. Or a blackhead in her ear.

Now I know better.

tweet me @rasjacobson

What Your Teenage Son Needs In His Closet For Fall

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Shopping for clothes is fun! Said no teenage boy. Ever.

Well, maybe some teenage boys like to shop, but I didn’t get one of those.

Ever since Tech was a wee thing, he wanted to exit the mall as quickly as possible. He’d find one pair of pants that fit and start walking toward the checkout counter. “Get five of these,” he’d say.

Truth be told, that ethos worked for me because I’m not a big shopper, myself.

But the kid had a major growth spurt last year. He sprouted six inches, people! Six! During the last academic year, he outgrew his jeans 4 times!

When he came home for a few days between sessions of overnight camp, we assessed his closet and — just as I suspected — he needed everything.

It was overwhelming, but we made a list and rallied.

So whether your son identifies himself as a prep or a jock, a skater or a Goth, a hipster or a geek (or a combo pack), he’ll probably need this stuff in his closet this fall:

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1. ON THE FEET. It’s been said that a person can judge a man by his shoes. If this is true, my kid was in bad shape because he came home with one muddy pair of sneakers and one pair of stinky flip-flops. Nothing else fit. We took care of that.

  • Sneakers. 
  • Dress Shoes.

2. ON THE LEGS

  • Jeans. I don’t care if they’re straight or slim, boot cut or skinny. Boys are going to grow out of them before the end of the year.
Tech in his new Levi's jeans in a dark wash.

Tech in his new Levi’s jeans with a dark wash.

  • Pants Other Than Denim. Jeans are great, but not every day. Khakis and cargos are must-haves, especially in Western New York, where it gets cool early into the academic calendar.
  • Shorts. Cargo shorts are staples and should hit the knee.
  • Gym shorts. Yes, please.

3. UP ON TOP

  • Causal T-shirts. Sooooo many fun graphic T’s out there.
  • Short & long-sleeve shirts.
  • Button-up shirts. Can be worn open over t-shirts for a casual look, or buttoned for a more dressed up look.
A few of his new shirts.

Just a few of his new shirts.

4. OUTERWEAR

  • Coat.
  • Hoodies.

5. INVISIBLE ESSENTIALS

  • Underwear. Yes.
  • Socks. And yes.
  • Belt. Find a reversible brown to black leather for the win!

6. DRESSED UP

  • A Suit. (If not a suit, a good jacket.) Because you never know.
  • Button up shirt & tie. Because you need the fixins to go with the suit.
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The suit is black. Not purple. I was trying to be a wee bit artistic, people. After all, I don’t usually hang suits in the garden. *wink*

7. ACCESSORIES

  • Wristwatch. If you’re my kid, you won’t leave home without it.
  • Backpack.

What essentials did I forget? Besides dress shoes. Oy.

NOTE: This is a sponsored post from the good folks at Kohl’s, but the opinions expressed here are mine. I still despise going clothes shopping, but Tech got a lot of great stuff! Click HERE to check out more great back to school stuff that you may have missed.

Also, check out this hot mama to read about another #KohlsBack2School shopping experience. Because. Two little ones. Wow. 

The Last of the Handwritten Letters!

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The final entries in the Write-A-Letter-To-My-Son-While-He’s-At-Summer-Camp-Contest will, no doubt, tickle my boy’s funny-bone — although in profoundly different ways.

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Four pages like this one. On 12″ x 12″ stationery.

The first letter came from Michelle of Steadily Skipping Stones.

Y’all, Michelle shared a four page story about how she went to Camp Long Gone, in which she explained in elaborate detail how she and her bunkmates let their sleeping counselor drift down the lake on an inflatable raft and how a furious Miss Carlene confronted the girls after she stumbled out of the woods.

Michelle wrote: “She was all scratched up and there were twigs and leaves and stuff stuck in her hair and all. Really.” Later, Michelle recalled an unfortunate incident at the campfire. Apparently, Miss Carlene wore this shawl thing that was “kind of knit or crochet or something — you know, one of those things that’s made all out of yarn.”  Anyhoo, Miss Carlene’s shawl caught on fire while roasting marshmallows.

And then Miss Carlene quit.

It was one disaster after the other with mean Miss Carlene.

Terrible, but delicious.

At the end of the letter, Michelle shocked me when she wrote:

“Okay, so I have to admit I made some of that up. Well, all of it.

Truth is, I never went to sleep-away camp. And the truth is, it’s one of those things I would have liked to have done, but was too chicken to try. I’m glad that’s not you.

Even though I might not have summer camp memories, I have a lot of other memories I treasure. I hope you’ll write down some of your camp memories and get your friends to record stories for you, too — real or imagined. You’ll have a nice souvenir, and when you’re 43, you’ll be glad you have it. Even though you’ll read some of the names and you won’t remember who they are to save your life, you’ll be able to recall flashes of scenery and snippets of conversation and the texture of everything — the smell, the sound, the joy of it. And one day, you’ll be driving to work and some small shifting of light will bring your camp memories back to you. Only they’ll be real.”

Are you crying? Because I was.

If you don’t follow, Michelle, check out her place or follow her on Twitter @skippingastone. Really.

• • •

The grand finale to this series comes from Don of Don of All Trades. Don’s blog is not about anything in particular. He’s not promoting a cause. He doesn’t bather on about his kids. He doesn’t have a disease. (Anything Don has contracted can be cleared up with a double dose of penicillin.) He’s just a regular guy  — who’s sometimes a little over the top.

Before I received anything via U.S. Postal System, Don warned me emailed to say he’d understand if I didn’t forward his letter to my son, but he’d written the kind of letter he’d write to a 14-year old boy. Admittedly, his one is a little more naughty than some of the other letters. But it had to be included.

Because Don’s writing voice screams summer camp. *ahem*

Don basically disregarded all my suggestions.

In his letter, he encouraged my kid to do things that would definitely get him kicked out of camp. He used tons of double entendres, and poked fun at my suggestion to use cute stationery! Don opened his letter by writing:

“Your mom said to use pretty paper and stickers and such, but since your a 14-year old boy and not a 5-year-old girl, I thought I’d pass on the pretty. I’m writing this on lined paper to spite your mother because she’s fun to heckle. Did you know she can suck on a cherry pit for like 30 minutes?!” 

He goes on:

“I promised your mom I’d not share a funny story about a time when I was 14 and met a girl at at Six Flags Park. She was 16 and had a 66 Ford Mustang. I loved that Mustang. I rode her real good and hard, let me tell you!! They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. That 16-year old girl made me a man by teaching me how to drive a stick.”

{Oy.}

And, of course, Don had to take things further. He had to write about this time he couldn’t seem to stay on a horse named Sugar Cane, a mare who wouldn’t let him ride. This is the part of the letter where Don used profanity. He also drew a picture to show what a good time he had:

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Did you know Don of All Trades is an artist AND a writer?

Don, as usual, you are the icing on the cake. The cherry on top. The happy ending.

If you love these snippets from Don’s letter, check out his blog or stalk him on Twitter at @THE_DOAT.  Trust me, Don’s not afraid of stalkers. Or pervs.

Much gratitude to Don & Michelle for writing these fun handwritten letters. Tech will be home in a few days and after he has been deloused and declawed, I’ll wrestle him down and make him select one winner! I’ll get back to you soon!

• • •

To see other posts in this series read letters from:

Maria of BrickHouseChick

Stuart Sheldon

Misty of Misty’s Law’s

Rivki Silver of Life in the Married Lane

Daile of Kiss Me Out of Desire

Naomi Hattoway of Box 53B 

Pleun of La Vida Loca

Clay Watkins of Making the Days Count

Ange

Nick

tweet me @rasjacobson

Handwritten Letters From Clay Watkins and Other Folks!

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Guess what everyone? My mailbox has been flooded with letters from readers, so I’m bundling a few together or I’ll end up dragging this summer contest  into the middle of the first academic marking period! Speaking of school, Clay from Making The Days Count is a middle school teacher. We bonded back in 2011 as fellow teachers, and we’ve followed each other’s blogs ever since. A writer and lover of literature and history, Clay attended Boy Scout Camp only once as a kid. He remembers that it rained every day… except the day he had to leave to go home. Despite the fact that he was only there for one week, he still managed to earn merit badges for swimming and marksmanship.

Back in the day, Tech’s camp offered riflery as a hobby. According to former campers, the guns went away when the Vietnam War started.

{I’m guessing kids made out read a lot between 1965 and 1975 .}

I know Tech reads tons while he’s at camp. In his letter, Clay mentioned a book that Tech hasn’t yet read.

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Great handwriting, yes?

Clay knows my son starts high school in September, and he included some helpful advice from his 15-year-old who just finished his freshman year.

• Make new friends. Keep the old ones, but meet new people.
• Get involved. Join a club or clubs, play a sport – get involved in the school – don’t forget the clubs you were in either.
• Don’t procrastinate. Do the work before it’s due. Or your mom and dad will go nuts and take away your phone.
• Remember. You don’t have to like your teachers, just do the work they assign. And do it well.

But that’s not all!

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Seven postcards! Whaaaat?!

Clay included postcards from six different states he visited this summer: from Illinois to Alabama, Arkansas to Tennessee, Mississippi to Michigan!

And he wrote a short note on the back of each postcard! You guys, he basically sent Tech EIGHT letters! Faboosh, right?

Clay believes in making every day count, and I’m grateful to him for helping to make my son’s time at camp even more special! If you’d like to read the words of a wonderful educator filled with positivity, check out Clay’s blog. Or chat with him on Twitter at @makingdayscount. You won’t regret it.

• • •

Ange told Tech about the summer she spent all her free time slaving away over composing long, handwritten letters to her son while he was away at overnight camp – only to learn that he had been turning them over to his counselor to read.

“Because they’re too long,” her son complained.

Luckily, the counselor really liked her letters. And what of that son these days? He hardly writes her… unless he wants something! Check out a little piece of her letter!

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• • •

Liz got her son to write a little letter! That Liz is no fool. Who can resist emerging handwriting? It’s soooo scraggly and cute. Nick packed a lot of punch into his letter, considering it’s only 41 words! In a tiny little space, he managed to reference plenty of things that Tech loves: camp, LEGOs, Robotics and Minecraft! Will the handwriting win Tech’s heart?

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Many thanks to Clay, Ange, Liz and Nick for taking the time to write these gorgeous handwritten letters. They’ve been sent off to the boy in camp.

• • •

To see other posts in this series read letters from:

Maria of BrickHouseChick

Stuart Sheldon

Misty of Misty’s Law’s

Rivki Silver of Life in the Married Lane

Daile of Kiss Me Out of Desire

Naomi Hattoway of Box 53B 

Pleun of La Vida Loca

tweet me @rasjacobson

Handwritten Letters From Naomi, Daile and Pleun

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Three deliciously yummy letters arrived from exotic places last week: entries in this summer’s Write-My-Kid-a-Handwritten-Letter-While-He’s-At Overnight-Camp Contest.

The first letter came from Australia and was authored by Daile of Kiss Me Out Of Desire. At 29-years, Daile told Tech a little bit about herself, like how she started her blog as a place to challenge herself to do 30 things before she turns 30 in December — kind of like a bucket list, without the dying part.

In her letter, Daile explained there aren’t summer camps where she lives.

Summer camp is foreign to me as it’s not something we do in Australia. We love camping and we also have summer, so I’m not exactly sure why we haven’t combined the two…  All I know about American summer camps I learnt from books like Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High (both of which I’m sure you’ve never heard of because I doubt a 14-year old boy is reading teen girl books from the ‘90s).

Daile claimed her Persian cat, Bixby looks a lot like Garfield. I was skeptical, but she included photographs. Um, put a lasagna in front of that cat and it’s him, right?

Look how grumpy Garfield is?

Look how grumpy he is!

She also introduced Tech to her two rats.

Apparently, they have freakishly long tails.

Apparently, Betty & Veronica have freakishly long tails.

• • •

A second letter came from Naomi Hattaway of Box 53B. After living in India for three years, Naomi and her family relocated to Singapore – and they just returned to the United States!

Naomi sent a cute Opus ‘n Bill card.

You know. This guy.

You know. This guy.

Instead of Telling Tech about herself, she asked a zillion questions.

She was all:

What’s your favorite part of camp? What do you miss most [about home]? Are there girls? Who’s your favorite super hero? My kids love angry birds. Do you get to use electronics at camp? My middle kiddo is 10-years old. What books would you recommend for his summer reading? 

Pssst. Naomi, in case you missed it, Tech recently recommended scads of good books for teens and tweenaged boys. I’m assuming your middle will dig any of the titles on that list.

• • •

Finally, Pleun of La Vida Loca wrote to say hola because she lives in Mexico and that’s how you say hello south of the border!

A sample of Pleun's penmanship.

A sample of Pleun’s penmanship.

I forgot to tell Pleun that Tech has 3 years of espanol under his belt, so she could have peppered her letter with a little Spanish.

Drat!

I totally blew that! She could have written her  letter in Spanish and quizzed Tech to see how well he is retaining his Spanish vocabulary.

But Pleun is nice. She isn’t interested in turning summer vacation into summer school.

And Pleun is smart. Clearly, she knows my boy is picking the winner in this contest and so she sucked up to him showered him with praise. She penned:

I think you are an awesome kid. I realize I can only judge you by the stories you mom writes about you, but even if you take away the “mom bias,” you come out pretty well compared to other kids that I equally don’t know. And I’m going mainly on the story where you gathered and gave away books to kids at another school. Not because you had to, but because you wanted to share the great things that can happen to you when you read.

Let’s be honest, kids. This comment earned bonus points with me, too. I didn’t even know Pleun had been reading my stuff for that long. That post about how Tech donated 1,300 to Rochester schoolchildren is over a year old! Thanks for being a loyal reader, Pleun. Seriously.

Muchas gracias and thank you to Daile, Naomi and Pleun for taking the time to write these gorgeous handwritten letters. I am over the moon smiling, imagining each of you hunched over a table, pen in hand, writing words to bring my boy so much joy.

• • •

To see other posts in this series read letters from:

BrickHouseChick

Stuart Sheldon

Misty’s Law’s

Rivki Silver

tweet me @rasjacobson

Rivki’s Old Fashioned Letter

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Y’all, I’ve forwarded another stunning letter to my son in summer camp in the Write My Kid an Old-Fashioned Letter” Contest!

This one comes from Rivki Silver of Life in the Married Lane.

Rivki blogs about being a mother, a wife, a woman, a musician, a friend, a writer. An observant Jew, Rivki combines the big stuff (religion, ethics, personal development) and the little stuff (laundry, dishes, meal planning). Because that’s the challenge, right? Making meaning amidst the mundanity.

In addition to being a wife and mother, Rivki is also a musician. She plays the piano and the clarinet — maybe other instruments, too.

I’m telling you, that Rivki is so clever!

She integrated her love for music into her letter.

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One side of her letter features the Yiddish folk song “Tumbalaika”; the other side, her handwritten letter to my boychik! Here’s an excerpt:

The song I included here is one of my favorite Yiddish songs. The gist of it is that there’s a boy who asks a girl a number of riddles:

  1. What can grow without rain?
  2. What can burn & never end?
  3. What can yearn, cry without tears?

The girl responds:

“Silly boy! Why do you have to ask?”

  1. A stone can grow without rain
  2. Love can burn and never end
  3. A heart can yearn, cry without tears.

Now I don’t know about the whole “growing stone” thing. If you have insight into that, I’d welcome your input. Also, I don’t know why the girl was so sassy in her response; they seem like reasonable riddles to me. My suspicion is that the girl has a crush on the boy & that’s why she was being a little rude. I don’t know if you’ve discovered that yet. Girls don’t always make the most sense (even to ourselves, sometimes) buit we’re great anyways! Keeps life interesting, right?

In her letter, Rivki not only teaches my son about the balalaika (a traditional Russian instrument with 13 strings), she also gives him some cool lyrics to think about and she aplies them to his life as a teenager!

And just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. Rivki included artwork from her children! Oh yes, this letter is a treat for anyone who loves the arts! Check out piece #1.

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I call this “Ladybug, Stars, Scribble Scrabble People”

Somehow Rivki remembered Tech will be celebrating his birthday in August, while he is away at camp, and she got her little guy to make my son a birthday card in advance! Look how hard her little guy worked to make all those 14’s! That’s a labor of love.

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I call this one “Fantastic 14 & Falling Bananas.”

So you’re probably thinking, that has to be everything, right?

But it’s not.

Rivki included another letter.

This one was written to me.

I won’t share her words here, but I will say that I pressed the pretty lavender card against my cheek before I ever read it. And I sighed aloud — several times — alone, to myself, in the room as I read her words, and I promise I felt a bit of Rivki’s spirit being transmitted right through the ink.

Because that’s the way it’s been.

Reading everyone’s handwritten words has been a profoundly personal experience for me. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this eventually.

For now, I’ll just express my gratitude to Rivki by adding these few sentences. If you’re trying to get organized, trying to figure out what to feed your children, if you’re a lover of music, or if if you’ve someone interested in reading one woman’s views about Orthodox Judaism, consider subscribing to Rivki’s blog. Her posts are so beautifully crafted.

Just like her letter to my son.

• • •

To see other posts in this series read letters from:

BrickHouseChick

Stuart Sheldon

Misty’s Law’s

tweet me @rasjacobson

Misty’s Old Fashioned Letter

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Y’all, another bloggy friend submitted a beautiful letter to my son in summer camp in the Write My Kid an Old-Fashioned Letter” Contest!

This one comes from Misty of Misty’s Laws.

Here’s the thing you have to know about Misty. The girl loves to send cards. This isn’t the first card that’s shown up via snail mail from Misty. She sent me a birthday card when I turned 45, and I got a little verklempt. Besides my mother and my husband, I don’t think anyone else gave me a handwritten card. Oh, I received plenty of Facebook comments on my timeline. And I got a bunch of texts. But the electronic stuff can never replace the joy of receiving and opening a personal letter.

In her letter to my son…

Misty writes as if she is a former bunkmate who didn’t return to camp this year.

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Click HERE to see Misty’s letter bigger-er!

Here’s an excerpt:

I remember all of our previous camp experiences, don’t you? Like that time we all went hiking & silly Mikey walked through all of that poison ivy. He was itchy for days! Ha. And do you remember when we went canoeing & our boat got stuck in those marshy reeds? It took forever to get out of there! And who knew mosquitoes really liked marshy reeds? Talk about itchy. Yikes. Ah, good times.

Misty “remembers” singing John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt, roasting marshmallows, and canoeing out to the marshy reeds where the itchy mosquitoes live. She hopes my son isn’t living with He Who Shall Not Be Named — which is perfect. Because everyone who ever went to camp knows there’s always one kid in the bunk you’d like to paddle out to the marshy reeds and leave with the mosquitoes.

Misty’s postscript is going to destroy my boy.

P.S: As I know you are suffering without your beloved Minecraft, in your honor, I have vowed to play an extra 2 hours of video games every day to make up for it. You’re welcome. It’s really nothing. I’m a giver.

The thing is Misty really is a giver.

If you read her blog, you know Misty goes all out to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and takes care to make everyone feel special. She buys silly stuff she knows readers of her blog will enjoy and hosts fun giveaways on her blog from time to time — just because. And she gifted me with a most delicious guest post when she shared her #SoWrong moment not long ago.

Thanks to Misty for making my kid’s summer camp experience even funner-er.

Whaaat? It’s summer. I can break a few grammar rules.

• • •

To see other posts in this series read letters from:

BrickHouseChick

Stuart Sheldon

If you’d like information about how you can win a $25 gift card by writing my son while he’s at summer camp, click HERE.

tweet me @rasjacobson

Stuart Sheldon’s Old-Fashioned Letter

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Guess what, everyone? I just shipped off another letter to Tech as another bloggy friend has submitted an entry in the Write My Kid an Old-Fashioned Letter” Contest

This one traveled all the way from Miami.

When I tore open the envelope, I found a miniature piece of art because this little card? It’s hand-painted on one side.

Remember that guy who was following me on Twitter? @Stuart_Sheldon? I wrote about him HERE? Well, Stu wrote a letter for my kid. How cool is that?

I call this one “For a Bro.”

Because Stu penned “For a Bro” in ink on the front of the card.

See?

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Letter 2 – From Stuart Sheldon

Stu’s letter contains some profound advice.

On the surface, Stu’s advice may appear to be for the heterosexual male.

But.

If you look deeper, you’ll understand that his words are really a life metaphor for anyone of any sexual orientation.

In fact, Stu’s letter is so profound, the counselors at Tech’s camp should read it to all the campers in the village and then launch a 3-day mass program based on his words of wisdom.

Check it out.

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Click to make Stu’s words bigger-er!

In case you can’t read Stu’s words, I’ve translated here:

So Tech, here’s the thing about camp –

Talk to that girl you think is ALL THAT. You know the one! She makes you feel all shy cuz she’s so pretty and nice and natural and smiley. And maybe you think, “I could never talk to her; she’d never like me. She’s out of my league.” WRONG! She will like you and think you are kind and a gentleman…BECAUSE YOU ARE. Worst case, she will be your friend. Best case…who knows.

But life is about marching up to what you desire most and introducing yourself.

Trust me, little brother. I got your back.

Stu. 

Are you crying? I kinda teared up a little when I read Stu’s words.

The tone found in the letter is a lot like the one in Stu’s blog where he writes beautiful, heartfelt pieces about being a father to two young sons. About being a husband and a father, a writer and an artist, a thinker and a dreamer, finding his way in the world.

I know it’s easier to type or text these days, but typed letters don’t feel the way a real letter feels in your hands. I don’t care how many emoticons you use.

There is intimacy in the ink.

I love Stu’s loopy letters, the lightness of his hand in some places, and the places where he chose to linger and make things dark. 

For emphasis.

And I love Stu’s message, too. And I assume Tech will, too. Once a counselor reads the letter to him. You know, because he can’t read cursive since they don’t teach it in school anymore.

Read Stu’s latest piece HERE, and poke around a bit. He likes that.

Who sent you the last handwritten letter you received? Do you feel the difference between typed and handwritten letters the way I do? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

When Flying Was Fun

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Photo by KONTROLLHAMSTER

After being cooped up inside the airplane for thirty minutes, a cabin filled with passengers learned we would not be taking off.

“We can’t seem to locate the pilot,” the flight attendant announced over the loudspeaker.

Everyone groaned.

“We’re doing our best to remedy the situation. In the meantime, sit tight.”

Sit tight.

Is there really any other way to sit on an airplane these days?

Can you tell this guy is in my space?

Can you tell this guy is in my space?

The man next to me had claimed the armrest and, as he began to snore, his legs relaxed into a wide stance, his knees encroaching into my tight space.

I thought about the Good Ole Days.

Before we had to take off our shoes. Before we had to be patted down and swabbed. Before we had to be x-rayed and scanned and probed.

Once upon a time, people loved to travel by air. Folks even dressed up to look nice in the airport because air travel was for the elite. Cheerful clerks gave us our boarding passes, tagged our bags, and placed them gently on the conveyer belt. So long as our suitcases didn’t weigh over eleventy-seven tons, we were allowed to check two bags through without any additional charges.

(It’s true.)

In the good ole days, security was minimal. A man could carry a whole case of rubbing alcohol onto the plane if he wanted; no one would have thought a thing about it. No one had to remove his shoes or belts or jacket. We did not have to be x-rayed or scanned or swabbed or probed. Our gels and liquids did not have to be segregated into quart-sized baggies.

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Click to see other uniforms from the past!

Once upon a time, air travel was sexy. Flight attendants were women. We called them stewardesses. They liked their jobs and seemed interested in passengers’ comfort.

In the 1970s, stewardesses had names like Kimberly, Debbie, Julie and Susie. They wore starched uniforms and easy smiles. Tall and tan and leggy, stewardesses looked like life-sized Barbie Dolls.

Appearing quickly at the touch of a button, stewardesses wore starched uniforms and easy smiles, prepared to offer an extra blanket.

But back then, everyone had blankets. And pillows. And if you got on the plane early enough, there were even magazines to borrow. Good ones.

(It’s true.)

People rarely needed anything. After all, our bags had been checked and were out of the way, so we read books or napped. No one walked around admonishing passengers to turn off their electric devices because those things hadn’t been invented yet.

Once passengers buckled up, they started to think about the meal they were going to receive because for a time, every major airline served 4-course meals. And these meals were gourmet.

(It’s true.)

The Transportation Library archival collections at Northwestern University lists scores of old airline menus. United Airlines’ coach class meals included salads, desserts, sandwiches and beverages, with menu items such as “Broiled Tenderloin Tips a la Deutsch” (1973, Chicago – San Francisco) and Continental boasted ” Breast of Chicken Vodkaliano” (1979, Washington to Denver).

My husband remembers United Airline’s Sunshine Flight that departed daily from Rochester, New York to Florida in the 1970s. “Everyone got crab legs and a slice of key-lime pie,” he says with a faraway look in his eye.

I remember airline meals coming on silver trays with cloth napkins and real cutlery. Everyone was given knives. And no one worried about getting stabbed.

On my recent trip to Florida, I felt fortunate to have received my tiny pouch of pretzels and half can of soda.

While we waited for the pilot to be located, the woman on my right read over my shoulder as as I typed my words. “I see you’re writing about the way air travel used to be.” She crossed and uncrossed her ankles. “There used to be a lot more legroom.”

She’s right.

Once upon a time, there was more legroom.

And more space between seats, too.

And they never misplaced the pilots.

What do you remember about flying in the Good Old Days?

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