The 31 Letters Project.
It’s March. And we’re marching into March with LETTER WRITING.
Grab your writing materials and get ready to give your child/children, grandchildren, niece/nephew/special friend a wonderful gift… 31 LETTERS all about YOU in your own words. 31 Letters arriving in the mail.
LITERACY is all about WORDS – experimenting with words, seeing words, hearing words, knowing the importance of words, loving words. Literacy is about your child reading to him or herself. Literacy is all about your child reading aloud. Literacy is all about your child listening to you read.
With your 31 Letters, your children will do it all. So let’s begin.
Today’s letter, Letter # 1, is all about the memory of your favorite toy or a special toy when you were a child. This prompt comes from reading the poem The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams. The poet so vividly sees the importance of that red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens. So much depends upon that image. It’s the simplicity that makes all the difference.
The simplicity of one memory. So much depends upon our happy memories, too. These memories, these images locked in our brains, make us smile. These memories recall happy, carefree times, days or moments. Whether everything around us was swirling with either delight or chaos, that moment of that toy is locked in for a reason. The simplicity of it. It’s time to share this memory with the special child/children you are writing to. This LETTER of this toy, in your own words, will help your kids read, think, listen and share their own stories. This is LITERACY.
Here is my letter for today. I will be hand-writing these words in my own special (if not impossible) penmanship and mailing 1 letter to each of 3 families of grandchildren (my 9 grandchildren range in age from 10 to 2):
March 1, 2011
Dear (names of children),
Hi, my little darlings. I am participating in a project called 31 Letters and I will be writing a letter each day in March and mailing it to you. I will be writing about things from my childhood. I think this is going to be lots of fun!
Today, I am writing about a very special toy that I cherished when I was a child. It was a doll. I remember the very day I got this doll. It was my 7th birthday. I remember this so well because when I woke up on my birthday way back in 1959, I was wishing… wishing hard… for a Barbie doll. Barbie was very new back then. There was only one style of Barbie. She had a long pony-tail and curly bangs in either blond or brunette, and she wore a bathing suit and high heels. Barbie was the only, only, only gift I wanted.
I remember waking up. It was October, but I lived in California back then and it was a very sunny day. My Dad had already left for work. He was in the Navy and had to be at the base in San Diego very early. My Mom and two brothers were home.
It was a good day for a Barbie. There were gifts for me to open that morning. There were clothes and books. But no Barbie. I began to cry. My Mom was upset with me because I was crying. I tried not to cry. But there was something that I didn’t know, and I wouldn’t know until that afternoon.
When I got home from school that day, both my Mom and Dad were home. There were lots of envelopes in the mail, too. The mail was birthday mail for me. All of my relatives lived far away in Massachusetts and Michigan, and my aunts and uncles and grandparents sent birthday cards… sometimes with money in them! On that day, on my 7th birthday, I got a total of $5.00 in the mail. Then my Mom and Dad told me that they were taking me to a store to pick out my Barbie, and I could spend my money on her clothes!
I jumped with joy!
I did get my Barbie that day. What I didn’t know that morning is that my Mom and Dad wanted to take me to pick out my Barbie… the exact one I wanted. I felt sad that I had cried that morning.
I got the blond Barbie in a black and white bathing suit. I also got her a black dress with big colorful circles on it. I played with my Barbie for many years. I never cut her hair like lots of my friends did. I collected lots of clothes, shoes, hats and awesome wigs for her and kept them very neat and clean. I also got another Barbie when I was 9 years old. We didn’t have lots and lots and lots of toys back then, so every toy was very special. My new Barbie was called the Bubble Barbie and she had a beautiful hair-do and little pearl earrings.
I packed up my Barbies and their wardrobes when I moved to Rhode Island when I was 12. I didn’t play much with them anymore. It was kind of like Toy Story. But one day I opened the beautiful box that I kept them in and discovered something that horrified me. There was Bubble Barbie. There was my original Barbie with her brunette wig. I took off her wig to discover her pony-tail cut off. I almost fainted. One of my friends from back in New Hampshire had always tried to get my pony-tail Barbie from me (she had cut the pony-tail off her Barbie)… and she did. She must have put a wig on her Barbie and taken mine. She traded them before I discovered it and MOVED away.
I cried that day. I cried because that Barbie was so special to me, and my Mom and Dad were so happy to take me to pick out that Barbie. I wrote a letter to that girl but she never wrote back.
But I still have Bubble Barbie. I still have her red bathing suit. She still has both pearl earrings. I still have that black dress with the big colorful circles from my 7th birthday. I can’t wait to show her to you the next time you come to my house!
I hope you like my story of my favorite toy. I hope you have a favorite toy story, too.
I love you to the sky and beyond!
31 Letters. Begin today the art, the intrigue and the magic of correspondence… and dropping a line!
March 1st Mail Tidbit: The Pony Express consisted of relays of men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail. Wow!