A Letter Home by stegall
January 2, 2009, 7:06 pm
Filed under: AR, Elizabeth, Family

Kir and I were cleaning out the basement this weekend, going through a bunch of stuff Mom and Dad brought up from Arkansas back in November.  While sifting through it all I learned that my Mother was an incredibly fastidious file clerk to my childhood.  I found the following:

1.  Every single report card from every single quarter of my elementary, middle, and high school career.

2. Every plaque and certificate of achievement I was ever handed.

3. Letters, notes, and doodles of varying significance from friends, youth ministers, classmates, and old girlfriends.

4. Birthday and high school graduation cards.

5. Toys from my infancy up to late childhood.

6. Baseball cards, collectible Willow figurings (Mad Mardigan on Horseback!), and comic books…

You get the idea.  Among the rubble was a folder that was probably supposed to go to Elizabeth, a relic from our time at Camp Ozark–a Christian-themed “sleepaway” camp that was actually in the Ouachita Mountains many hours from the Ozarks.  In that folder was a most desperate and demanding missive from Elizabeth to Mom and Dad:

[If you can’t make out her handwriting, I’ve transcribed it below with my comments added.]


Mom and Dad,

SEND FOOD! I’m serious. Ilene [her counselor] said to please send food and you can send it to Ilene Rees and they won’t check it [apparently the staff searched boxes sent to campers for contraband, but not those sent to counselors] and I will share it with my cabin.  Cookies and chips are good.  Thanx [sic] 4 the magnet I (heart) the dogs!  Patrick has told you about the kittens [this was her plan, I would bring them up in my letter and then she would come in for the hard sell] but he hasn’t told you that if no one takes them after this session they will be put in a bag and drowned [!!!!!] Can we save at least one life please [!!!!!!! – the church camp guilt is clearly taking hold]  It would be a good lesson in responsibility! [By that she must mean that we would learn a lot about responsibility by watching Mom care for and feed the new cat] Mom, how was the cabin?  Dad, how was work? [gimme gimme gimme, oh and by the way how are you?]

(Heart) ya,


P.S. If Patrick forgot- he is going on living land tonight. [See she’s looking out for little bro–responsible]

P.P.S. BOTH SUBJECTS IN THIS LETTER AR [sic] SERIOUS [all caps and underlined serious]

I want food and a kitty! [just in case you forgot what those two subjects were]

It just so happens that we did get our kitty after all, and we ended up naming him Ozark.  In fact, if I remember correctly, all of the kitties that were born in the Camp Ozark barn found new homes.  Funny how letting campers play with kittens and then telling them they will be drowned works so well to solve your too many kittens problem.  Ozark was a good enough cat, but he meowed, mewed, and cried constantly. Constantly!  Mom did all the work, Elizabeth and I learned nothing about responsibility, and we pawned Ozark off on the Holt family five months later.  Responsibility!  Let this be a lesson to all of you.


4 Comments so far
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Comment by kate

Your dad and I had a good laugh over this post. I had forgotten about that letter. And by the way, Ozark is alive and well and still living with the Holts in the Hot Springs area. (I know she got the kitten, but did she get FOOD? Can’t remember)

Comment by Mom

I remember the whole kitten thing very well (one of our first carefully constructed sibling-plots), but I have NO memory of being so hungry. And now, of course, I’m shocked the my COUNSELOR would have been encouraging contraband!

Comment by elizabeth

Wow, I cannot tell you how much this cracked me up!!! Too, too hilarious.

Comment by rach

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