Monday, December 20, 2004

Letter to My Godson


The wreath on our door is about 40 years old.  The bells are newer than that.
Dear Jacob,

, and !

I hear that you're going to be eight years old on Tuesday.  That is so cool!  I wish you still lived in Tucson, or that Tucson and Los Alamos were closer together, so I could see you more often.  I think you were just barely five years old when I saw you last.

Eight is a pretty good age.  I remember being eight years old. That was the year I got in trouble for losing my glasses.  I had to sit in school all the next day without any glasses.  I couldn't read the blackboard even if I sat up front. When I did get to the eye doctor that night, he said I needed new glasses anyway, because my eyes had gotten so much worse.  I was seeing 2-80 with my glasses on!

I had a great teacher when I was eight.  Well, my second grade teacher when I first  turned eight wasn't that great, but my third grade teacher was wonderful.  Her name was Miss Olds.  She used to travel every summer, and bring stuff back from all over the world to show to her students.  The main one I remember was a cricket bat from Australia.  She'd been to Alaska, too.  The day before I graduated from high school, I went back to Manlius Elementary to visit any of my old teachers who might still be there.  I talked to Mrs. Livingston (first grade) and Miss Olds.  They both remembered me.  After that, I went to Burger King.  There was Miss Olds!  She laughed and said a word I didn't know at the time, synchronicity.  I had to go home and look it up in the dictionary.  It sort of means coincidence, except that it's more like the coincidence was supposed to happen.  I was supposed to see Miss Olds again, so she could teach me that word.

Jacob's stuff, unwrapped Your mom tells me you still like Legos and science fiction. I didn't buy you any Legos this year, because I didn't want to give you something you already have. I did buy you one book that was pretty much the first science fiction I ever read.  If you don't like it yet, put it away somewhere and try it again in a couple of years.  I was in fifth grade when I read it for the first time, but I know that some third graders read it too.  Maybe I sent it a year or two too soon, but I can't tell, because I don't know what you've been reading. Who knows?  Maybe you will like it now.  But if you don't, please forgive me!

There are a couple more books here.  One I'm sure you're old enough for.  A friend of my mom's loaned me a copy of this book when I was about your age, maybe a little younger.  It's another one of those books that kids like, and adults like.

One thing I'm sending is not a book at all.  It's from a store called the Discovery Channel Store.  They don't have any Discovery Channel Stores in New Mexico, but they should.

The last thing is some stuff I wrote for my online journal, or "blog."  I was up pretty much all night on Thursday, putting it together and printing it out for you.  But like the first book I told you about, I'm not sure you'll like it much.  Maybe I should go through it again and only send you parts of it. No, I think I'll leave it alone.  Maybe your mommy can look it over, and help decide whether it's right for you.  You see, I'm mostly used to writing for grownups.

I've been writing a new story lately, and putting it on my blog.  It's about a science student who becomes a wizard, and leaves the normal world behind.  I wanted to sent it to you, but I haven't finished writing it yet.  Well, maybe I can send it later.

I'm glad you still remember me.  I think about you often. I still keep pictures of you over my fireplace at home.  Maybe I'll have new pictures to put up there soon.

How do you like Los Alamos?  I've only been there once.  It seems like an unusual place, up on the mesa like that, not very big, and most of it taken up by the famous but also kind of secret laboratories where Oppenheimer did his work before I was born. Do you have a lot of science in school?  Do you get snow?  Do your parents drive you all the way to Albuquerque sometimes to go shopping?

There's this story I like to tell, and it's not even  my story. When my husband's mom was in school, maybe sixty or seventy years ago, her class was talking one day about Albuquerque.  For some reason, one of her classmates was sure that the whole class, including the teacher, was pronouncing the name of the city wrong. He raised his hand.  The teacher called on him. "I believe it's pronounced 'Al-BUE-ker-KAY!'" he said. (Nope!)  Okay, I don't have much of a reason to tell that story, except that you live in New Mexico. I just like telling it.

Have a great birthday, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



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