Life Doesn't Fit in a File Folder Summer Writing Life

Handwritten Letters From Naomi, Daile and Pleun

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Three deliciously yummy letters arrived from exotic places last week: entries in this summer’s Write-My-Kid-a-Handwritten-Letter-While-He’s-At Overnight-Camp Contest.

The first letter came from Australia and was authored by Daile of Kiss Me Out Of Desire. At 29-years, Daile told Tech a little bit about herself, like how she started her blog as a place to challenge herself to do 30 things before she turns 30 in December — kind of like a bucket list, without the dying part.

In her letter, Daile explained there aren’t summer camps where she lives.

Summer camp is foreign to me as it’s not something we do in Australia. We love camping and we also have summer, so I’m not exactly sure why we haven’t combined the two…  All I know about American summer camps I learnt from books like Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High (both of which I’m sure you’ve never heard of because I doubt a 14-year old boy is reading teen girl books from the ‘90s).

Daile claimed her Persian cat, Bixby looks a lot like Garfield. I was skeptical, but she included photographs. Um, put a lasagna in front of that cat and it’s him, right?

Look how grumpy Garfield is?
Look how grumpy he is!

She also introduced Tech to her two rats.

Apparently, they have freakishly long tails.
Apparently, Betty & Veronica have freakishly long tails.

• • •

A second letter came from Naomi Hattaway of Box 53B. After living in India for three years, Naomi and her family relocated to Singapore – and they just returned to the United States!

Naomi sent a cute Opus ‘n Bill card.

You know. This guy.
You know. This guy.

Instead of Telling Tech about herself, she asked a zillion questions.

She was all:

What’s your favorite part of camp? What do you miss most [about home]? Are there girls? Who’s your favorite super hero? My kids love angry birds. Do you get to use electronics at camp? My middle kiddo is 10-years old. What books would you recommend for his summer reading? 

Pssst. Naomi, in case you missed it, Tech recently recommended scads of good books for teens and tweenaged boys. I’m assuming your middle will dig any of the titles on that list.

• • •

Finally, Pleun of La Vida Loca wrote to say hola because she lives in Mexico and that’s how you say hello south of the border!

A sample of Pleun's penmanship.
A sample of Pleun’s penmanship.

I forgot to tell Pleun that Tech has 3 years of espanol under his belt, so she could have peppered her letter with a little Spanish.


I totally blew that! She could have written her  letter in Spanish and quizzed Tech to see how well he is retaining his Spanish vocabulary.

But Pleun is nice. She isn’t interested in turning summer vacation into summer school.

And Pleun is smart. Clearly, she knows my boy is picking the winner in this contest and so she sucked up to him showered him with praise. She penned:

I think you are an awesome kid. I realize I can only judge you by the stories you mom writes about you, but even if you take away the “mom bias,” you come out pretty well compared to other kids that I equally don’t know. And I’m going mainly on the story where you gathered and gave away books to kids at another school. Not because you had to, but because you wanted to share the great things that can happen to you when you read.

Let’s be honest, kids. This comment earned bonus points with me, too. I didn’t even know Pleun had been reading my stuff for that long. That post about how Tech donated 1,300 to Rochester schoolchildren is over a year old! Thanks for being a loyal reader, Pleun. Seriously.

Muchas gracias and thank you to Daile, Naomi and Pleun for taking the time to write these gorgeous handwritten letters. I am over the moon smiling, imagining each of you hunched over a table, pen in hand, writing words to bring my boy so much joy.

• • •

To see other posts in this series read letters from:


Stuart Sheldon

Misty’s Law’s

Rivki Silver

tweet me @rasjacobson

33 thoughts on “Handwritten Letters From Naomi, Daile and Pleun

  1. Dagnabbit!

    I must have been in twirling-top, can’t finish a sentence, a project, a thought mode when your invitation to write a summer camp letter.

    Groaaaaan! I would have loved to participate. Winner or not.

    These are great — especially coming from ’round the world. And, the artwork? A savant created that me/cabin drawing.

    It’s August in Texas. Can I come to summer camp at your place in the north, Renee? I’ll make my own bed. I’ll get coffee brewing when I wake at my normal five a.m. Can I? Yes. May I?

    *added that last bit so the teacher in you didn’t smack me with a ruler*

      1. Don’t worry, Gloria! I’ve hardly participated in my own contest! Thank goodness these bloggers have helped me this summer! My eyes have been giving me a lot of trouble this summer (not sure why), but I’ve only been allowed 20 minutes on screens in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. I’m falling apart, I swear.

        PS: I don’t grade comments on Thursdays! 😉

  2. Tech is such a lucky guy receiving letters from great people (strangers to him?) all introduced to him by his even greater Mom! This was such a BRILLIANT idea Renee! Major kudos to you Gurly! 😉

    1. How fabulous would THAT be? I’d love for him to go to all the places these bloggers have written from. The next post features a blogger who collected postcards from each of the SEVEN states he visited this summer! And Tech hasn’t been to any of them! You’re always up for some travel! Would you consider taking my 14-year-old on a major vaycay?

  3. It had been ages since I hand-wrote a letter. It was fun to do and I seriously mean all that stuff about him being an awesome kid 🙂 Oh, and I guess Tech’s Spanish is probably better than mine, so hola is about as much as I can muster haha!

    1. Hi Pleun! Thank you so much for writing to my boy. He is loving all of the letters! So far we’ve only received the Canadian version of your letter — so I’m really glad you submitted your letter via your friend. But I’m keeping my eyes on the mailbox. Can’t wait to see how long it takes to get that other letter from Mexico! Maybe the stamp will be in Spanish, eh?

  4. I’ve only been following your blog for a month now i think if not less. I didn’t even realize that this handwritten letter collection was part of a contest! That’s really what amazes me about a blogging community. It doesn’t matter where you are, you connect on a different level and even send letters to strangers. I think it’s great that you expose your son to these types of experiences as well as cultures! It’s definitely not something every kid brings to summer camp or back to school and is able to share with others.

  5. I LOVE this line: “even if you take away the “mom bias,” you come out pretty well compared to other kids that I equally don’t know. ” I feel the exact same way about tech and I love how she worded it.

  6. How lovely that these wonderful bloggers sent Tech letters. It’s good to see they haven’t lost all ambition to do ANYthing this summer, unlike a lazy slug whose name rhymes with Freg-o-keg.

  7. Yay for hand written letters! I want to find out if Tech ended up being able to decipher my cursive hand writing 🙂
    Bixby is sending him (and you) a very grumpy hello from Australia! If you want to send him some lasagna I will pass it on

    1. Hi Daile: So far he has been able to decipher all letters.
      He admits it was much easier to read the printed ones.
      And yet.
      He immediately knew that “the one from Australia featured all the animals.”
      So there’s that.
      I have no idea how he’s ever going to pick a winner, but he’s going to have to figure it out.

  8. I dropped the ball on this one, Renee, and I’m sorry. I wish I would have gotten my letter in the mail in time, but I’m happy to know so many others jumped in. Tech is a lucky young man to have you for a mom!

    1. Mary, don’t you worry your pretty, little head. Seriously, the kid has been bombarded with mail this summer! There are a few more letters I need to write to write up and send. If there were more, I wouldn’t have had a chance to get them to him in time! I didn’t think this many people would be interested in writing my kid. I guess I should have known because I truly have the best readers in all of cyberspace! ANd you are included in there! Mwah!

    1. Fantastic, right? I love reading all these letters — each one is so very different! When I saw my son over intersession, I asked him if there was a frontrunner in the letter-writing contest. He said he was waiting until all the entries were in. I’m really glad I’ve typed up snippets here because something tells me that some of those letters might not make it home!

    1. Naomi, seriously. He has soooo much food; it’s hard to explain. Plus it would have had to be kosher and it probably would have cost more to send it to me here and than forward it. I wanted to keep things fair for all bloggers: no sweetening the pot, so to speak! I appreciate the kind thought, trust me: he’s good on the candy front. 😉

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