June 24, 1990, GHP

 

 

 

My dad wasn’t the only family member to send me letters when I was away – he was just the most rude. Mom also sent a steady stream of mail, some of which I saved and some I didn’t. On this one occasion, she asked my brother to send a joint communication:

24th June 1990 (1)24th June 1990 (2)

“June 2, 1990. Dear Mindy, This is a joint venture between your brother Marc and your mother. We decided to write you a letter. But which letter shall we write? A? B? C? or another? Well, Marc said that “yo mudder’s a veg” and “yo dog smells like she’s been rolling in shit.” Your mom hates that word!!!!! It was quoted by your brother, not your mother.

Well, you said not to write a boring letter. We planned a joke on your dad. Your mother baked two batches of cookies. One batch was made with chocolate chips and the other batch with Exlax. But then your mother forgot which batch had the Exlax and which had the chocolate chips. She guesses she mixed them up by accident. Anyway, you were sent some of the cookies. But dont worry both chocolate and Exlax are edible. And Marc said that you are full of Sh–t anyway. Oh mom hates that word again !!!!!!!

Spiker the biker is definitely in heat. We don’t know what we’re going to do with her. She is leaking everywhere and so we can’t let her in and we can’t let her out because of dogs coming around. Spike has more boyfriends than you. Hope we don’t have to board her for two weeks. We’ll call Dr. Gordon tomorrow for a solution hopefully.

Dan is at Camp Barney Medintz. We’ll  get his address for you. You can write Dan and Howard since they are both there.

IN THE NEWS TODAY:

  • Donald Trump joined the race for governor.
  • Marla Maples, Jessica Hahn, Fawn Hall , admitted to forming a corporation dedicated to the exploitation of rich and powerful men. Your bubby wanted to join.
  • Your brother is forming a lynch mob to have Richard Simmons removed from television.
  • IBM issued a new version of DOS today for use in the inner city. Instead of standard error messages such as “Bad system disk,” “syntax error” or “disk error” the system replaces them with more user friendly comments such as “fuck off you white ass honkey” or “This ain’t no piano keyboard Scroeder.”
  • Your cousin Dan is missing, last seen attempting to ride his bicycle around a Moebius strip drinking out of a Klein bottle.
  • A cat scan was done on your mom’s head and we found a lot of interesting things including silver plated whistle, a dreidle, a ’68 Plymouth, 6 missing bags of M&M’s and no trace of any nerve tissue whatsoever. PEOPLE MAKE FUN OF YOUR MOTHER (because they CAN)!!!!
  • A similar scan of your dad’s stomach revealed the Andrea Doria, Amelia Earhart, the entire passengers and crew of the Titanic, the entire cast and crew of the Love Boat, every Barry Manilow record ever pressed, 500 metric tons of methane in pressure bottles, Susie, Rosemary’s  baby, Rosemary’s baby’s lawyer, and Casey.
  • Marc was revealed under a complete medical scan to be perfucked. OH WE THINK YOUR FATHER HAS BEEN PLAYING WITH THE SPELL CHECKER!!

We are glad you’re having such a good time!

Love,

Mom and Marc”

I would like it to be known, before the whole internet, whose letters to me, aged 16, contained the most foul language – my mom’s. She’s been complaining since before I was born about my dad’s prolific use of four-letter words – but she’s the one dropping the s-bomb and the f-bomb.

That will be my big brother making the bad joke about Exlax cookies.  I will probably have told that story to all my friends, right before we tucked into  the cookies, not really believing it, but worrying all  the same. Cheers, Marc!

 

June 22, 1990 – Governor’s Honors Program, Valdosta, GA

In the summer after my junior year of high school (that’s year 11 for you Brits), I was selected to attend the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) at Valdosta State College in Valdosta Georgia.  It is a 6-week long summer program for some of the top students in the state. We got to live in the dorms and hang out with students from across the state. Although it was technically an academic program, it rarely felt like school. As a social studies major, I was treated to activities like a Model Congress and a Model UN. As part of my Classics minor, I got a taster of Greek (something I never pursued afterwards).

My dad’s letters continued:

22nd June 1990

 

“June 22, 1990. Dear Mindy, Well, we finally got to enjoy a letter from you.When are you coming home?  Your batty mother and your delirious brother are driving me crazy. I told Marc to give the dogs a bath so he put them in the washing machine. I told him to dry them off and he put them i the dryer. It took Trouble a half hour to stop staggering around. I asked your mother to make a cake and some chocolate chip cookies with those great big white hunks of chocolate. She made them ok, but she cooked them so long you could use them for hockey pucks. Everything was inedible. Your grandparents gave Marc the car just like they said they would. The only trouble with it is that it has no engine and only three wheels. Marc also says it smells kind of funny. Have you noticed the sky lately? Has it gotten colder all of a sudden? Look out for things falling from the sky. When Spike got out of the dryer she went into your room, looked at me, looked at the bed, and puked all over your softball glove. There are ‘big pieces’ still in the fingers. Trouble dripped snot all over it. Well that’s all I can stand to tell you about for now. I don’t want to spoil your fun. By the way, NJCL called and said for you not to bother coming because they never got your registration and you smell kind of funny.

Love,

The Mad Snowflake”

 

So nothing ever really changes… Dad’s new game was to wind me up about the national Latin convention (National Junior Classical League, or NJCL) I was going to attend straight after GHP. I think he was feeling a bit of empty nest syndrome as it meant I would be away from  home for 7 full weeks during the summer vacation. I can imagine he found the idea that I might believe him rather amusing. He probably thought it would prompt a letter, or even a phone call.

He further stirred the pot by calling himself the Mad Snowflake.  The previous year, a friend and I had invented the “character” of the Mad Snowflake while decorating basketball team lockers as part of our cheerleader duties.  We would also tape a snowflake with a message to the door of our chemistry class for our teacher. It’s somewhat embarassing now to think about it (every girl in school had a bit of a crush on our chemistry teacher) – but I’ve found out recently that he actually kept some of them. So, embarassing or not, at least he appreciated the effort.

31st July 1987, another letter to me at Camp Judaea

My dad was always good about sending lots of letters when he knew I’d appreciate it. He kept a steady stream of one-way letter writing to me at summer camp that year. Most sounded a bit like this:

31st July 1987, to me at Camp Judaea

 

“Dear Mindy, Everything here is still the same as the last time I wrote to you. We notified our insurance company that you are going to submit a claim for a severe case of nonwriteitis. It seems that the post office is only on strike in Hendersonville, NC. and only the Mindy Silverboard mail is in dispute, they think that nonwriteitis is contagious. Well, I would suggest that you crank out the old pen and paper and send your brain into gear. Trouble brought some friends home to spend the night. Naturally they slept in your bed. Ryne came by for a visit but we told him to buzz off. Yonaton moved next door into the Downey’s old house. All the little Blackbarts smell like farts. Boy are they nasty. Marc is working hard at getting fired. All he knows how to do is bitch. His stupid friends are calling the house after 10:00 p.m. You know I love that. One more time and I go after them with the shotgun. Have you smelled the skunk yet?  What kind of swimming program do they have you in? Have you changed your linen yet. How about your underwear? I bet you could out stink the skunk. I told you you would miss me I am never wrong.

Feel homesick

Love,

Dad”

So, for context, Trouble was our beagle. She would have been a couple of years old at this point.  By the time I left for university we had acquired a second dog, Spike, and Trouble had got fat and crotchety. But at this point, in 1987, she was still puppy-like and I used to love to wrestle with her on the living room floor. I’m fairly certain I would have missed that dog as much as I did the rest of my family.

As for Yonaton, he was a friend from primary school. His father, Mr. Bleichbard, was my seventh grade Hebrew teacher.  My father was convinced I’d had a crush on Yonaton (or maybe that he was my secret boyfriend) because he was a boy and he was my friend.  By this point, Yonaton had been back in Israel with his family and was in Yeshiva.  I’d received a few letters – again leading my lovely, supportive father to mock me endlessly.

And my brother and his friends…note the shotgun threat. It will rear its  head again later on.  He had a double-barrelled shotgun that he kept in the bedroom when I was growing up. Secretly I think my dad wished he hadn’t been born into a Jewish family so he could have embraced his inner redneck with gusto. As it was, he had to settle for keeping a couple of guns, ostensibly for self-defence should anyone burgle the house while we were in, and to shoot snakes with them once or twice a year.  In fact, every so often the neighbors would hear a gunshot and they’d stick their heads outside and shout over their fences “Has Stanley seen another snake?” So the shotgun was for snakes, intruders, and as a threat made to boys he thought wanted to date me, boys who dated my friends, and friends of my brothers who irritated him. He liked watching our friends squirm.

In any case, this was pretty typical of the letters I received all through summer camp. I did eventually write him back – just not as often as he wrote me.