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:
“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.
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.