Category Archives: Summer

One August

Click HERE to see more work by Poly Cinco via behance.com

Click HERE to see more work by Poly Cinco via behance.com

One August, a man I loved tried to kill me.

Only he didn’t kill me.

Earlier that day, we had gone kite-flying.

I stood quietly by his side watching the blue of the kite blend with the blue of the sky, watching him control the kite, make it do what he wanted it to do.

Later that night, he took my body and showed me that his was stronger.

That he was in control.

His leg weighed tons, and I couldn’t wiggle out from underneath him. At first, I thought he was just fooling around but he wasn’t laughing and he didn’t get off of me even when I told him I couldn’t breathe.

Afterwards, he took my head and tried to make me believe that he wasn’t a monster.

But he was.

Even though he sent me long, love letters filled with apologies.

Even though he put a heart-shaped rock on the windshield of my car.

Even though he tried to make me remember sweet, summer peaches.

I could only picture them bruised and split down the middle.

I remembered how he pushed me under water and tried to drown me.

How it almost worked.

Except it didn’t.

Every August, for over twenty years, I find myself remembering this man.

And, strangely, I feel an odd sense of gratitude.

Because that night, in a stranger’s room, in a borrowed bed, I learned that I could be broken.

But I also learned that I could put myself back together again.

And somehow, it’s August again and I find myself in a park wrestling with a kite.

It is windier than usual and tough to fit the cross spars in their slots because the kite fights me impatiently.

I think it knows what I have planned.

Finally, I stand up. The tails snap, wanting.

I run backwards, feeling the pull.

I run, turning my back to the wind.

With the front of the kite facing me, I release it into a gust and pay out line and pull back to increase the lift.

In thirty seconds the kite is far out over the lake, pulling hard.

I run around the muddy field, making the kite dip and soar, dive and swirl.

From the ground, I control that rainbow diamond in the sky –  make it answer my commands.

I remember how he hated things that refused to be controlled and so it is with great swelling pleasure that I release a new kite each year.

I like to imagine him chasing after the dropped driftwood reel, his hands outstretched, the Screaming Eagle kite a quarter of a mile up, blazing.

Blazing.

Like me.

NOTE: This piece originally appeared on Deb Bryan’s blog. I needed to call this one home.

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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 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

Mid-Summer Sunday Report

Two weeks ago, Hubby and I attended Visitor’s Day at our son’s camp. Eager to see us, Tech waved his long arm at us as we approached his village. After he introduced us to his counselors, showed us his bed, and shoved the treats we’d brought into his trunk for safekeeping, we went for a walk. As we strolled, Tech explained that a bunch of campers had been temporarily quarantined because they all had bumpy rashes on their torsos.

Tech stopped in the middle of the road and pulled up his shirt. “Check it out,” he said, pointing to his midriff.

Hubby inspected the boy’s belly.

“Looks like heat rash,” I said dismissively.

“But it could be something,” Hubby said.

“The Health Department let us go,” Tech said.

“The Health Department was here?” Hubby and I said in stereo.

Rolling his shirt back down, our son resumed walking down the road. “They said it was nothing. The nurse told us we could go back to our bunks.”

Despite the fact that Tech seemed fine, I found myself arranging for him to have a throat culture.

As you can imagine, the Health Department was right.

All’s well that ends well, yes?

At noon, the boy came home for intersession: a few days where folks go home and drink and sleep and do laundry before returning to camp for the remaining three weeks. It’s a LoveFest over here.

And by that I mean, the boy is loving his technology.

Once in a while, I seem to manage to get a smooch in.

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Spotted in natural habitat.

How’s your summer going? And to those of you with kids who went to camp, what’s the word? Any weird rashes?

tweet me @rasjacobson

PS: Check out what my kid has been doing!

http://www.cslsummerblog.com/2013/07/end-of-july-2013-video.html

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

BrickHouseChick’s Old-Fashioned Letter

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As my regular readers know, my son decided to go to overnight camp for 7 weeks this summer. Before the school year ended, I asked folks to consider sending him a letter. You know, to supplement mine.

To sweeten the pot, I promised that the author of the best letter would win a $25 gift card to somewhere, to be negotiated later with the winner.

I’ve already received a few letters, and today marks the first of the entries in the “Write My Kid an Old-Fashioned Letter” Contest.

Before we get to that, let me tell you about the postcard I received from my son the other day. A simple form letter, the no-nonsense blue postcard features a bunch of check boxes to let parents know our kids have arrived, been assigned to cabins, and unpacked a bit. Yadda yadda yadda.

Normally, my kid just checks things off and signs his name at the bottom.

This year, he had demands.

I can’t find my clipboard. Did I leave it at home? Also, I need a white collared shirt and long socks. Thanks.

{Note: Next year? The boy is  packing himself so we avoid moments like this.}

I hunted down a white shirt, found several pairs of tall socks, and tossed everything into a tiny pile on my son’s bedroom floor.

And then I went to find the clipboard.

My old clipboard.

I was sure I knew exactly where it was.

Except I didn’t.

I must have spent an hour ripping apart the house. I searched the main closet, the basement, my car — where I discovered the remains of a green salad I’d brought to a friend’s house a few nights before. The bowl was slimy and covered in mold.

But no clipboard.

I looked in my son’s bedroom, in his closet, in his dresser.

I was all: Did he take it to school? Did he leave it somewhere?

Then I got pouty.

My father’s gave me that clipboard when I became a counselor three decades ago. Over the next six years, I covered every square inch of it with stickers.

Most people throw away stuff like that, but I’ve held onto it.

Since 1983. 

Annoyed, I walked into my closet. It was the only place I hadn’t looked.

And, there it was.

I have no idea why my old clipboard was in my closet, but it was.

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My clipboard, circa 1983-1989.

Yesterday, I learned my niece would be home for her first day off. She agreed to deliver the goods to the boy, so I bundled everything up and brought the bag of odds and ends to her.

He’s probably got the package in his hot little hands right now.

In fact, he’s probably reading the note I stuck inside the bag right about now.

Dear Tech:

Here’s the stuff you asked for.  Are you impressed I found a way to get everything to you just 3 days after receiving your requests? You should be.

About the clipboard. PLEASE don’t lose it. I know it’s just a clipboard, but I kind of love it.

Plus, it’s just a wicked good clipboard.

Also, you’ll notice I threw in a raincoat for you. Dude. The rain? Holy torrential downpour. Do you think it’s going to rain every day this summer? I’m guessing you don’t think you need a raincoat. Just take it. I’ll feel better knowing you have it and that you could be dry. If you wanted to.

xo Mom

See how lame my letters are?

Thank goodness BrickHouseChick wrote him an awesome letter, which I forwarded to him a few days ago!

Look at it? All orange and filled with cut-outs and swirly handwriting! Now that’s what I call a fabulous old-fashioned letter.

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Entry 1: From BrickHouseChick! Click on the image to super-size it!

I’m grateful to BrickHouseChick for sending a fun letter to my kid. After six years of sending him faboosh letters, I so appreciate the assistance. If you haven’t met Maria yet, you should. She’s a wonderful blogging buddy, and I’m hoping she’ll submit a #SoWrong moment here sometime in the future! *hint hint*

If you’re interested in writing TechSupport a letter, it’s not too late. And you could win a $25 gift card if he thinks the letter you’ve sent is the best! Details about this contest are found HERE.

What are the odds that I’ll ever see my old clipboard again? Do you think he’ll wear that raincoat? What’s your favorite part of Maria’s letter?

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

Write An Old-Fashioned Letter To My Kid At Camp

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Last year, Tech went to overnight camp for a month. When he got home, he ate and slept. And then he complained that I hadn’t written enough.

You guys, I wrote a lot of letters.

Seriously, I wrote one every other day. That’s 14 letters, if you round down.

My son claims some kids received mail every single day.

This year my son is going to overnight camp for the entire summer.

That’s seven weeks, people.

I don’t have enough going on in my life to write him a letter every stinkin’ day. I know what you’re thinking: use your imagination. Believe me, I sent that boy plenty of creative letters, but there’s such a thing as burnout.

Plus, I’m old-school in that I believe there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned letter. One that someone wrote with his or her own hand.

Those types of letters take a little longer to craft.

So I’m appealing to you, my friends from the blogosphere. You’re readers and writers. You’re funny and smart and creative. You have pens and stamps.

WILL YOU WRITE TO MY KID WHILE HE’S AT CAMP?

Last year I asked you to write to Tech at camp, and you did! I gave him all your letters on Visitor’s Day, and he responded to people in a 3-part post when he returned home. If you’d like, you can check out Part I • Part II • Part III

This year, I’m begging asking you to write my kid a handwritten letter.

Partly because I think it’ll be hilarious for Tech to receive letters from people he doesn’t know.

But also because I’ve noticed how few people send letters anymore. Sure, we have email, mobile phones, and Facebook, but sometimes it’s nice to go to the mailbox and find something with your name on it.

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ALSO, IT’S TIME FOR A CONTEST.

Here’s what you do to enter:

  • Write a letter of any length, appropriate for a 14-year-old boy.
  • It must be handwritten. Typed letters will be disqualified.
  • It must be legible. Please print neatly. 
  • It must be pretty. No boring white paper. Be creative.
  • Send the letter to me between now & July 31, 2013. If you send it after that, I won’t be able to get it to Tech in time as U.S. Postal Service to camp is wicked slow!

When I receive your letters, I’ll steam open the envelopes to check out the submissions. That’s right, I’ll review each letter for originality, creativity, and visual appeal before forwarding it to the boy at camp.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?

I’ll feature my favorite letters on my blog, and include blurbs about their authors. 

One of you stands to win best letter writer. That person will win a $25 gift card to somewhere awesome.

Tech isn’t in the dark. He’s agreed to respond to the winner. In addition to sending a handwritten letter to the winner via U.S. mail, I’ll post his illegible, yet handwritten response on my blog.

When writing a kid at camp, there are 3 rules.

Rule #1: Don’t be sad. Never tell your child that you are missing her so much that it hurts. That’s a disaster. And if your kid writes to say he is homesick, don’t get all hyper and tell him you’ll pick him up. Oy. He’s just venting.

Rule #2: Don’t be scary. At overnight camp, kids are completely cut off from the outside world. They really don’t know what’s going on, so it’s not funny to say the family pet died. They don’t need to hear about shootings or death or illness. A zombie apocalypse isn’t funny when you are away from the people you love.

Rule #3: Be funny. Camp is fun – and your letters should be too. Tell stories. Take a moment from your day and embellish it like crazy. When I write to Tech, I try to entertain him. Suggested topics: 1) girls, 2) Minecraft, 3) fencing, 4) Euchre, 5) technology (since he won’t have any), 6) tips on how to live with mean kids, 7) tips regarding how he can keep track of his socks.

If all else fails, tell him about what you used to do when you went to camp.

Unless you set things on fire or got girls pregnant.

In which case,  don’t write about that.

*smiles*

If you’d like to write a handwritten letter to Tech while he’s at summer camp, please indicate your interest in the comments section. I’ll contact you with the necessary information. Don’t wait. You know what happens when you wait. 

tweet me @rasjacobson

Best Books for Tween and Teenaged Boys: Summer Reading List

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Photo courtesy of Gigi Ross @KludgyMom

My blogging friend Gigi Ross of Kludgy Mom just posted a list of books for boys ages 6-12 to read over the summer. You know, so their brains don’t get all gushy.

I’m fortunate because my son still really likes to read at 13 years old.

Looking at Gigi’s list was like traveling back in time.

I remember when Tech discovered The Big Book of Boy Stuff. His friend Matt gave it to him for 8th birthday. He read it over and over and over again.

(Like so many times that I started to worry something was wrong with him.)

After I finished reading Gigi’s list, I knew I had to compile a list of my own. After today, Tech is officially a middle school graduate.

I know teenage boys are all over the place when it comes to reading comprehension.

So.

Please understand I’m sharing these titles not to brag about my son’s reading ability but because I realize it’s challenging to find books for tween-age and teenage boys.

Books sit quietly on tables. They’re unassuming, and they have to be awesomesauce to compete with the obvious appeal of all that technology which tries to lure them away. In the summer, it’s even more challenging to get kids to read as tweens and teens become increasingly social, wanting to spend all their time with friends and less of their time with their noses in books.

The following titles represent multiple books as each is part of a series. Each book is a minimum of 300 pages and dystopian in theme. What can I say? That’s what floats my kid’s boat.

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins.

The GONE Series by Michael Grant

The H.I.V.E. Series by Mark Walden

The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner (& The Kill Order Prequel)

The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch

I Am Number Four Series by Pittacus Lore

I know this list might not look very impressive, but it’s actually pay dirt. If your child likes the first book in one of these series, run and get him the next book! (I think the G.O.N.E. series has 6 books! That oughta last a summer, right?)

What books have your tweenage & teenage boys devoured more quickly than a bag of Doritos? What titles do you remember reading as a teen?

NOTE: If you have boys ages 6-12, be sure to check out Gigi’s post HERE. She also did one for girls ages 6-9. You can read that HERE. Also, if you aren’t following Gigi at KludgyMom, what’s wrong with you?

tweet me @rasjacobson