Friday, July 02, 2004


Week #4 of DI #2

Before the age of e-mail, web-mail, voice-mail, pagers, beepers, text messaging, internet phones, answering machines and palm pilots, do you know how people kept in touch? They wrote letters! That’s right, they put pen to paper, wrote a note, then put an address and a stamp on an envelope and dropped the entire thing in a big blue metal bin called a mailbox. (Those of you born after 1980, try to stay with me here. Use your imaginations if you must.)

Then, in a few days or longer, depending on how far away you lived, a second person would open their mailbox at home and viola! An item that wasn’t generated by a computer, or addressed to “resident”, or demanding money from you. Well, if it WAS demanding money from you, then maybe you were corresponding with the wrong sort of friends!!

Anyway, one of the things that makes me happiest (besides finding a bag of m&ms hidden in the back of the pantry) is opening the mailbox and seeing a personally addressed envelope inside. Unfortunately, thanks to this damn contraption called a computer, 99 percent of my previous letter-writing buddies now send “quickie” e-mails, usually about four sentences in length. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing from friends both old and new in any fashion and I’ll take e-mail if that’s all the time someone has. But, it’s just not as satisfactory to someone like me who enjoys nothing better than curling up and reading three or four pages from a long-distance friend.

I only have two friends left who haven’t succumbed to the lure of the e-mail curse. One has no choice because he’s in prison, so that technically leaves only one single SOLITARY person who enjoys letter writing as much as me. Her name is Amy and we’ve been friends since our husbands were stationed together in North Dakota fifteen years ago. When Uncle Sam scattered us to the Air Force winds at the end of our assignments (remember, this was back in the days before e-mail) we promised to keep in touch by writing letters and we did. Still do, in fact. Her letters have long been one of the highlights of my month. Sure, maybe our news and gossip is outdated by a few weeks, but it’s worth it for the anticipation of what the next letter might bring. (And there’s always the telephone if it’s an emergency!) It’s one of the few areas in my life where I win the battle with instant gratification and can hold out for the greater reward.

So, imagine my delight when Amy told me that her daughter Stephanie approached her 2nd grade teacher earlier this year about having the kids in her class send get-well cards to Kendrie. The class mailed again last week, each student writing a letter and drawing a picture. In my opinion, their teacher Mrs. Klinger is doing a great thing. How many 8-yr olds can practice penmanship, empathy, and the long-lost art of letter writing all at the same time?!?

Mrs. Klinger explained that the class would be meeting this summer for a reunion picnic and if Kendrie would like to write back she would be sure to read it to the kids then. So, I took the liberty of “helping” Kendrie compose her masterpiece and thought you might all like to read it as well. I don’t know that Ann Landers needs worry about her job just yet, but I found it entertaining, just as well.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great 4th of July holiday. We don’t have anything planned (if anyone local is reading this journal and is as pathetic as us, with no plans either, give us a call!) but I hope everyone has a great time with whatever patriotic thing it is you do. Maybe I'll spend mine browsing pen-pal sites. Hug a vet, if nothing else. (No, I don’t mean veterinarian, although that reminds me that the cost of the deck Blaine built last weekend went up by $70 because we had to buy our old, tired dog some arthritis medicine to get up and down the steps!)

Love, Kristie

June 27, 2004

Dear Mrs. Klinger and the 2nd grade class (who is really in the 3rd grade now but you know what I mean):

Thanks so much for the second set of letters you sent me before you got out of school for the summer. I love getting mail! It’s so exciting to see a big envelope in the mail for me and the best part is that it makes my brother and sister jealous! Since several of you asked me questions in your letters, I thought I would take a moment to answer them for you. Be sure to send me more questions if you think of any more!

“Dear Kendrie, Do you like four-wheelers? I have enough money and maybe I can buy one. How much money do you have?” signed, Jacob R.

“Dear Jacob R, I have only ridden a four-wheeler one time …. Actually it was a three- wheeler and I thought my mom was going to have a heart attack so it’s probably just as good that I don’t have enough money to buy one. But if you get one maybe you could give me a ride some time!” signed, Kendrie

“Dear Jacob R, make sure if you buy a four-wheeler that you also buy a helmet and protective gear. Otherwise your mother is going to have a heart attack.” Signed, Kendrie’s mom
“Dear Kendrie, Do you like swimming in the ocean? I don’t like it because it gets sand in your mouth. I have a swimming pool, but I am going to the beach for my birthday this year. When is your birthday?” signed, your friend Kelsie

“Dear Kelsie, I really like the beach. I like playing in the sand and digging, but I get a little nervous when the waves knock me down. My birthday is Sept 2 and I will be five, so I’m still not big enough yet to do much in the water plus like you said, the ocean gets sand in weird places! Also, remember not to get too much sand in the van afterwards or your mother will have a heart attack” signed, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, what is your favorite color? Mine is pink because I like flowers and some flowers are pink. I like swimming but a mouse chewed a hole in our pool so now I can’t go anymore” love, Caitlin

“Dear Caitlin, yes, I agree, pink flowers are really pretty, but my favorite color is blue. I am not sure why, but that is what my Dad likes so I picked it, too. Sorry to hear about the mouse chewing a hole in your swimming pool. That really stinks. Check with Kelsie. She has a pool, maybe you could go swimming at her house.” Love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, What is your favorite sport? Mine is soccer because I am a great goalie and kicker like David Beckham” sincerely, Dylan S.

“Dear Dylan, I am not sure who David Beckham is, but he sounds like a good player. My sister played soccer this year and she was NOT great. In fact, all she cared about was the snack. I will do much better when it’s my turn!” sincerely, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, My sister has diabetes. She has to prick herself to take blood and she also has to give shots, too” love, Zoe

“Dear Zoe, you know, before I got leukemia, I had no idea what giving blood and getting shots and all this other stuff meant. Now it’s just a part of my day, like it is for your sister. But don’t forget how brave she is, and tell her I am very proud of her!” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, You know, I don’t think being a boy is a bad idea so you be what you want to be” love, Alyssa

“Dear Alyssa, I’m glad to know someone supports my goal to be “a Boy” when I grow up, thanks! Every time I mention it to my mom she just gives me a funny look. I guess she figures one boy, like my stinky brother, is enough for our family!” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, I have played soccer for 4 years. I won 42 times in my life. Soccer is fun. What sport do you play?” your friend, Colby

“Dear Colby, I don’t officially play any sports yet since I haven’t even gotten through my first year of Pre-Kindergarten. But I can’t wait to play t-ball! My brother has played for two years and I’ve been paying pretty close attention so I think I will be pretty good at it. Maybe even as good as that David Beckham guy” Your friend, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, did you ever play football? I didn’t but I might next year” your friend, Jake

“Dear Jake, when I first got leukemia, I had to have surgery so they could put a “port” in my chest. It’s a little round button that lets the nurse take blood from the veins around my heart. But, I can’t get it bumped too hard, so I know that football is out for a few years. But our family loves football! You should hear my mom yelling when the OU Sooners play! She sounds like a maniac. Football is HER favorite sport, so maybe someday I will get to play, too. Good luck to you!” your friend, Kendrie

“Dear Jake, if you play football, make sure you use a helmet and protective gear, otherwise your mother is going to have a heart attack,” your friend, Kendrie’s mom
“Dear Kendrie, do you like going to the beach? I do, it was in New Jersey, it was fun” your friend, Tyler

“Dear Tyler, I have been to the beach in New Jersey with Stephanie and her family, a long time ago! Stephanie might not remember, but I had a great time digging in the mud. I wasn’t even a year old yet, so I got pretty dirty. I thought the New Jersey beach was great” your friend, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, How do you feel? I hope you get better soon so you can visit us some day. What kind of dog do you have?” love Jazean

“Dear Jazean, we have a white dog that is very old and can’t hear very well but I love him a lot anyway. I would love to come visit your school sometime!” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, I like reading very, very, very ,very much! Do you?” love, Erin

“Dear Erin, I like reading a lot, too, except I can’t do it by myself yet. My mom enrolled me in a summer reading program at the library so every time she reads to me for fifteen minutes I get to color another line on my library chart and if I get to the end of the chart I will get to pick a book out of the drum at the library! I hope I can finish my chart this summer! My sister loves to read even more than I do. She reads a lot of Junie B. Jones books. Do you like Junie B. Jones?” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, Why do you like playing with GI Joes? I like GI Joe, too. That’s good that you like GI Joe. I hope your leukemia goes away and I hope you don’t have it again” love, Daniel

“Dear Daniel, I like GI Joes because I think they are cooler than Barbies. My brother and I like to build forts out of blocks and then have the GI Joes to protect the forts. I am taking all my medicine like my doctors tell me too so that my leukemia goes away and doesn’t ever, ever, ever, ever come back!” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, I hope you get better one day because I feel sorry for you. I hope one day your sickness goes away.” Love, Tyreek

“Dear Tyreek, thanks! I hope my sickness goes away, too. It’s no fun to be sick and have to take lots of yucky medicine and get shots and needles and things. But it helps a lot to have nice friends like you and the kids in your class who send me letters and pictures to help cheer me up!” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, I like swimming. At Pine Ridge pool you can go on a curly slide, a straight slide, a low dive and a high dive. What will you do this summer for fun?” your friend, Raine

“Dear Raine, wow! That pool sounds great! If I ever come to visit Stony Brook Elementary I will have to be sure and come in the summer so I can swim there, too! I love to swim but I’m not brave enough to go off the diving board yet. My brother goes off the board all the time. He loves to do cannon balls the best.” Your friend, Kendrie

“Dear Raine, if you go off the high dive, make sure you are a good enough swimmer or wear a life preserver otherwise your mother will have a heart attack.” Your friend, Kendrie’s mom
“Dear Kendrie, what is your favorite place to swim or play? What is your favorite thing to do inside?” your friend, Kelston

“Dear Kelston, my favorite place to play is a place here called DJ’s Galaxy Quest. It is like a Chuck E Cheese only much bigger and with moon walks. It’s where I had my 4th birthday party and it is awesome. I can’t go now because of all the germs and because I am not well enough yet. But once I get completely better, I am going to have another birthday party there!” your friend, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, Do you have any best friends? What is your favorite food?” love, Stephanie

“Dear Stephanie, my best friend is my brother Kellen. We like to play together and hang out together. I play with my sister Brayden a lot, too. Mom says I will make lots more best friends when I start to school this fall. Chemotherapy, the medicine that I am taking to get rid of the leukemia, makes my appetite go away a lot so I don’t really have a best food anymore. But sometimes I like macaroni & cheese! Thank you for asking your classmates to write me letters. I really like reading them!” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, Do you miss your dad when he is in the Air Force? My dad was in the Army but I did not miss him because I was not even born” your friend, Taylor

“Dear Taylor, that is cool your dad was in the Army! Like you already know, being in the Army or Air Force is a very important job and so I am proud of my dad. I’m sure you’re proud of your dad, too. My dad works at the Air Force Base here in the town where we live so he gets to come home every night. That is good because that way I don’t miss him too much and if I do miss him very much it’s not long until he comes home for dinner.” Your friend, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, do you like to play with your Mother before? I always race with my mom all the time, do you? I like leopards, do you?” love, Chantel

“Dear Chantel, I like to spend lots of time with my mom but we don’t do many races because she is kind of old. Mainly we read books, do puzzles and watch tv together. Sometimes she lets me help her cook. The only time I ever saw a leopard was at the zoo but I thought it was neat!” love, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, How much teeth have you lost? I lost 8 teeth. We’re glad that you send us letters and we’re glad that we send you letters, too. Have a great day and get better before you get sick more” your friend, Brandon

“Dear Brandon, wow, the Tooth Fairy must be going broke around your house! I haven’t lost any teeth yet but I can’t wait because I am ready for the money! I’m glad you guys write me letters, too!” your friend, Kendrie
“Dear Kendrie, I want to be a tom boy just like you. Do you know that boys smell? Some boys, that is. They smell when they don’t wash their armpits. Have a great summer” love, Justus

“Dear Justus, I know what you mean about the boys! I still want to be a boy when I grow up but I will definitely wash my armpits. They all should, don’t you think? You have a great summer, too!” love, Kendrie

Thanks to everyone for the letters. It was so much fun to read them all and see all of the wonderful pictures that everyone drew! I hope when I am finished with the 2nd grade I can draw and write just as good!

You guys have a great summer!

Love, Kendrie

No comments: