Subject: Sisters, Silliness, and Spaghetti
Dear Sully (or Arpeggio),
I apologize for my spelling errors. My daddy set up the spell-checker on my computer so that should fix things. Also I had to look up seven words from your letter. Eight, if you count electromagnetic energy. I like words. I like talking. I like writing. I like learning new words. My teacher says this is good vocabulary practice. Most kids in my class would be mad, but I’m not. I love words. Maybe we can share a new word each time we write each other.
Today I learned a new word – a-l-g-e-b-r-a. It is ninth grade math. My sister Lexie does algebra problems. Algebra is a noun and it means the study of math where there are letters and symbols used instead of numbers in an equation. I learned this word because Lexie is not enjoying algebra. She often frowns and throws her pencil when she gets stuck and upset.
You said you like your babysitter. Miss Sweet sounds nice. I wish my babysitter brought candy. He’s cool though. He’s also Lexie’s math tutor. Dad hired him because he knows how to do math really really good. He did math in college. He seems really smart, but Daddy says he dresses kinda sloppy. He wears a hat on his head and a sweatshirt and sandals. He wears sandals even when it is cold outside. He said he likes kids and that is why he babysits. He also teaches swim lessons down at the local pool, the Public Swim and Splash. I took swim lessons from him the last three summers. His name is Jamie Wickland. He
is has many talents.
My sister Lilee is silly. She works out in her room all dressed up in front of her big window in case he looks up when he comes over. She wears big earrings and makeup and stuff. I do not think he can see her face well through the window. She does something called crunches and jumping jacks where she bounces up and down and stretches
at weird places directions. She plays here music way too loud. Lexie always complains if she is doing homework and Lilee is prancing and pounding on the floor upstairs.
Lilee says Jamie is dreamy. I think that means she likes him. I do not have dreams about him. Well, I did one time. He was saving a squirrel from a monkey rabbit that was foaming at the mouth, but I think it was from the root
bear beer float it was drinking. I’m not sure how you get a monkey and rabbit in one animal combined, but dreams are a weird thing. Lilee spends hours getting ready in her room before he comes over. And if we have to go to school first and stuff, she hogs the bathroom because she says she has to look pretty for Jamie. He’s a real grownup man, she says. I think she’s weird. Is that what you mean by GIRLS?
When Jamie comes over, he helps Lexie with her homework on the dining room floor. I don’t know why they work on the floor, but she says it helps her. I prefer to do my homework at my desk. It is more comfortable there. I like the feel of the wood as I press my pencil down into my notebook. Sometimes I break the tip off and I have to go sharpen it in the kitchen sharpener. That’s when I see Jamie and Lexie studying. He always smiles at me and asks how I’m doing. I think he’s nice. He helps me poke the hole in my juice boxes when it’s time for a snack, and he unscrews the milk lid when Daddy isn’t home for breakfast and is at the bar. Man! They put those milk caps on tight.
My little brother, Logan likes to do his homework at the kitchen table. It’s too noisy down here for me to concentrate. But I like to come in the kitchen for a snack. Logan is only in first grade. He has easy homework. Sometimes I help him when I get done with my homework early, especially with his letters. He likes to write his ‘s’ and ‘b’ backwards, and he likes to overuse the exclamation points.
Daddy usually works long shifts at the family bar so Jamie is often here after we get home from school. Sometimes I ride the school bus and sometimes Jamie picks us up. Logan and I go to the same school – and Lilee and Lexie go to the middle and high school across the street. What’s the name of your school?
Lilee likes to come downstairs after spending hours in the bathroom. What does she do in there? Blow-dry her hair for three hours? I don’t remember my Ma spending that much time in the bathroom in front of the mirror. Does your mom? Today she was wearing a strappy black dress with a white ruffle skirt and lots of necklaces around her neck. She was wearing her cute pink heels. She only wears her cute pink heels when she wants something, like attention. She came downstairs and she said hello in a really funny tone of voice. I gave her a weird look. Who talks like that all high and then all low pitch?
She stood with her hand on her hip too and got all giggly and started telling Jamie lots of jokes…maybe even bundles of jokes like you said, but I think you meant lots of jokes. Lexie and Logan finished their homework and I got my snack. I rolled my eyes.
Big girls do weird things. I guess it’s different for you since you are the oldest. Sometimes I wish I was the oldest. Then I would be older and I could go places and see the world, or at least walk to the Delaya Library by myself. I like to go on submarine adventures in the bathtub too. I would
skout scout out good places to eat with you.
We have a restaurant here in town called Kim Gould’s Steakhouse. I like their mashed taters and fries. They make them with cheese and red hot chili. It is tasty. It is owned by a lady name Kim Gould. Daddy says she’s a vampire and she sucks blood and stuff, but she is nice and gives me cherry flavored lollipops at the counter when Daddy pays for our meals. She does not eat
peopl people and I have never seen her bite a human. I think she is lonely. Her family is far away in Alasimka, and sometimes she tells Daddy that she would love to have four kids like he does. I have never seen her go oustide outside during the day time though. I think she is afraid of the sun. One time I did see her outside during the day and she jumped right into the outside trash bin. Who does that? I am sure she was smelly and gross afterwards.
And of course, I like my Daddy’s bar food. The bar has been in the family for three generations, my great-grandfather, my grandfather, and my daddy. It is a Simirish pub called The Garden Gnome. They serve traditional Simirish food there. My favorite is boxty. It’s a traditional Simirish potato pancake. It is yummy with sour cream and chopped little green onions. I like green onions better than the red onions you talked about. The red onions make my eyes tear up but not over soap operas.
I’m not allowed to watch soap operas. Daddy says they’re too adult. Sometimes Lilee sneaks and watches Mexsimican soap operas so she can practice her Mexsimi. I think the ladies wear too much makeup and they always cry when their man goes away or picks another woman. Not that I watch them that often. Only on occasion when Lilee sneaks to watch them.
Simirish soda bread is good too. It has a buttermilk taste too and has the wrinkly raisins. I like scones with raisins too. Sometimes I get them when I see my grandmother of Simtannican descent. That’s so cool. We both have grandmothers who are from Simtannica. Mine is actually from Scotchland so technically she’s Scotches. I am Scotches and Simtannican on my mother’s side and I am Simirish and Deutchsim on my father’s side. What about you? Did you really have blue skin once? Was it cuz you were cold?
Lilee pranced around the kitchen in her dress like a little pony until Daddy came home. He had stopped at the gym before coming straight home. He scolded Lilee and told her she couldn’t wear her outfits. He said the dress was inappropriate. She wasn’t wearing any bows like your friend Mary and your neighbor. I don’t think you’re supposed to eat bows, silly. After Daddy scolded Lilee, I think our babysitter Jamie felt awkward. I felt awkward.
Lilee tried to give him attitude, but she got sent to her room while Daddy fixed dinner. He invited Jamie to stay. He thought that was nice. He doesn’t have any family that lives close by. Lilee came downstairs and had to do her homework at the table while Daddy cooked, while Lexie went to practice piano and I watched sports with Logan and Jamie.
Logan was already watching cartoons when we went into the den. Daddy sometimes lets us watch tv before dinner if we’ve already done our homework. Logan was nice and let Jamie check the Monday night football score. He was happy. The Mayfield Spring Steelhawks are a favorite team around here. I do not know. Football doesn’t interest me. I wrinkled my nose while they watched, my brother and Jamie, and then I slipped outside to swing. I love the swings. I think I told you that. I think it would be fun to fly someday. Maybe one day I can fly to meet you.
Daddy fixed spaghetti tonight with his secret recipe red sauce. It always tastes yummy and has plenty of herbs and garlic. I like garlic. He also baked breadsticks and tossed a humongous salad for us and set it in the center of the table. When he called us to a meal, Jamie came too. He didn’t take his hat off right away. I giggled. Daddy always makes Logan take his hats off, and Lexie when she wears them. We bowed our heads and folded our hands so we could listen to Daddy say grace. He says the words every night so we know them by heart.
Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Thy, and Thee, and Thou are weird words. They are old, Daddy says. I once asked him what he meant by bounty and he told me it means the Creator gives us gifts and he is generous. Food on our table is a gift from the Creator. I try to understand. I don’t always get everything in the Jacoban faith. It is complicated. You go to church too? What church? I peeked my eyes open during the prayer and saw Jamie had his eyes open too. I think he is not used to praying before a meal.
We do not get frozen ice pebbles that often. They are called hail here on Simterra. Is that what you meant? It did rain tonight. I could hear it, loudly pounding its little feet on our roof. It was raining hard during dinner. I am glad I came inside when I did to eat because otherwise I would have been soaked through my clothes.
I’ve never thought of the blue sky and the yellow sun like a toilet bowl. I would like to see these electro-whatever storms that shoot blue light. I have never seen those here. Once a man in town got electrocuted because he was stuck by a big fat lightning bolt. He was standing in water while washing his car. He lived. Daddy said it was a miracle of the Creator.
We do have lots of fresh water and salty water on Simterra. The ocean is about a day’s drive away. We live in Mayfield Springs on the Great Northern Lake. We live in the Belmont Bay area near St. Marie’s Marina. It is big and expands very far and it is hard to see across the water. It is pretty, especially at night. I like the night blue. It is pretty and I like to see the stars over the lake.
I like blackberry jam best. Or strawberry jelly. Or blueberry preserves. Maybe I like them all. Jam is good. So is honey. Your mom’s blueberry pie sounds yummy too. Mmmm. Grape pie would be interesting. My dad doesn’t bake pies. At least I don’t think he does. My Nana bakes all sorts of cookies and breads, especially at the holidays. Her house always smells like sugars and spices. She lives across town and we see her sometimes, usually for Sunday dinners once a month if Daddy isn’t working. I like hot chocolate too. We get it at the winter festival and on the first day of winter. Daddy makes it at Christmastide too. Sometimes he makes a grownup hot chocolate for himself and others at the bar by adding something called Baileys. He says it tastes good but it is not for little kids.
Michael sounds messy, but most tots are. I remember Logan being messy too. These days he is much neater. Maybe Michael will grow up out of that phase. I have never played a video game. Daddy says they are usually too violent, but racing a car around a track doesn’t sound too bad. I read instead. I have been reading a book called Mr. Popper’s Pandas. I love pandas. They are awesome. I have lots of panda things in my room. A panda piggy bank. It guards my cow print coin purse. A giant stuffed panda. A smaller panda bear. A panda paw prints toy box. A panda paw prints dresser. A panda clock. I think pandas are awesome and cute. What animal is your favorite? Do you have animals on the moon? I think I will get a book on chess from the library this week. I can check out up to twelve books at one time if I don’t lose any and I bring them back on time. I read pretty fast. I have not played chess, but I do like games. I am pretty good at checkers and Lexie is teaching me how to play a game called Scrabble with words. It is fun.
Your mom and dad sounds like they argue about normal stuff. My parents argued a lot and my Ma said mean things a lot. She was mad at dad for putting all his money into the bar, I think. That and I don’t think she wanted to be a mom and she got us four kids. Lexie says I shouldn’t worry my head about it. Logan never talks about Ma. I don’t think he likes her. I don’t think Lilee does too. She says mean things about Ma sometimes when Daddy can’t hear her. I don’t ask my Daddy about my Ma because sometimes he gets a sad look on his face and I have to crawl up in his lap and give him a kiss and tell him not to be so sad. Maybe if I got my Ma a box of chocolates from a nectary she would like that. We have one here in town. It’s called the Mayfield Springs Nectary. It’s not a very original name. I do not know if they sell chocolates. I know the Market Basket, our grocer does. That place is not far from our house. I could walk there.
Hot dogs make my tummy sick. I think they have to be burnt on a campfire to be eaten. Daddy says then it is just charcoal, that’s the burnt stuff, but I like it that way. Then I know my tummy won’t hurt if it’s cooked all the way through. We get out a fire pit in the summers sometimes or when we go camping. That way we can cook our food and stay warm. Have you been camping?
Superman is okay. I like Jimmy Sprocket too. He is interesting and fun and has great adventures. I like Jimmy Sprocket and the Cave of the Dragons the best. Dragons are cool. They fly and have scales and breathe fire, but I think they are very nice. I will have to find an Altruistic Squad comic. Maybe I can send you a comic book. I do not know if we have a comic book shop here in town. I will have to ask Jamie. I think he would know.
I need to sleep. It is getting late and my eyes are heavy. I am yawning every other word here so bed time. Daddy is yelling up the stairs for us to brush our teeth. I enjoyed your letter. I hope you have a good night and day.