Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Letter Home…

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My son is still at camp, enjoying the 6th of 8 weeks away from Mom and Dad. Well, make that 7 weeks away, because I was up there in the North Woods myself a few weeks ago playing doctor.

My son is a bright fellow, but when it comes to writing home, well, we never get to see that brilliance in action. My daughter, who behaved exactly the same way when she went to camp, decided to do something about this behaviour, and she wrote the following:

We noticed you were struggling with the art of writing to your family, and so we thought we would include a sample of how the typical, loving, caring son, tackles this difficult task. First we will name the unacceptable forms of letter writing:

1. Empty Envelopes: Save yourself a stamp, an empty envelope says I’m thinking about you like (a friend of ours) says I have sympathy (In the dictionary, sympathy sits between sh*t and syphylis!)

2. Sending Food: Unlike at camp, this is not a hard to find commodity when at home. We have our own potato chips, thank you very much, but we do appreciate the offer!

3. Stick Figures: We are out of the Stone Age thank goodness! That means no loin cloths, no grunting, and NO picture writing!

Now that we have looked at the less than desirable forms, let us now examine the correct way to write a letter:

Step 1: The Greeting...Typically, a kind phrase or welcome is used here. This may include, but is not limited to the following examples: Dear Mom and Dad,Hey Family!What up, home dawgs?!Hiya Bubba, Bubba Senior, and Bubbette!

Step 2: The Summary...Usually following the greeting is an inquiry into the state of the family, followed by a description of one’s current state. Next, a list of activities, complete with details and opinions concerning the events, is given:
How are you? Camp is AWESOME! Today, I had a blast at canoeing- I portaged for 3.4 miles, using only one hand and blindfolded. Then, Bobby Joe and I went hiking on a nature hike, and caught a bear! We’re having a great time teaching it to dance and do tricks! I’m leaving to go on Isle Royal tomorrow- my pack weighs 150 pounds, so I think I might take my mattress and the toilet out of my pack so I can actually carry it!! I can’t wait to go on the trip though!

Step 3: The Wrap Up
Finally, after the letter is complete with information, you may gradually bring it to an end. The kind writer informs his reader he will soon be ending the letter, and uses a hope or promise (see example) to conclude:
Well, that’s all going on here! I hope that everything in boring South Carolina is going well! I promise to write again after Isle Royal with tons of stories about my trip!

Step 4: The Sign Off
This difficult skill is left out by sons at camps across America, however, it is one of the most important parts of the letter! Your family’s assurance of your well being lies in this lone signature. Typically, campers will precede this valuable information with an expression of emotion:



Haven’t showered in a week- I smell,

Mr. Jonathan B.

Hope this helps your writer’s cramp! Can’t wait to hear from you soon!

Your Family

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