Letter from Home

I was digging through my old papers trying to find an old chart of my various ancestors the other day…I didn’t find it, but I did find an old letter from Thanksgiving 1995 from our father, he’s a linguist so he loves getting into all kinds of ways of looking at language–even spell check programs. I had a good laugh reading it over, and thought I’d share 🙂 –although I don’t know if it will make any sense if you don’t know the people it is talking about!

It makes me realize that I have a different relationship to writing than most people have anymore. We went away to boarding school for high school and had to write letters home every Sunday. Later, when I hit college email was available, and we started using that to communicate. I much preferred it to phones, as it was always a huge struggle trying to get through to Papua New Guinea, and my parents always wanted me to call them on my birthday. It was meant to be a special thing, but I always found it to be a hugely stressful event, and much preferred written communication! These days people always seem to be a little surprised with my long emails, and I have to keep a restraint on my fingers or they will babble and never stop–actually that is one of the main reasons I have this website, so that the poor people in my address book don’t get completely annoyed from my talkative fingers.

Dear RD,

I tried my spell check program on the letter, and it was interesting all the suggestions it made about how to “correct” the various names it didn’t recognize. This is how the spell checker thinks I should have written the letter:

Amber or Cat has been annoying Mom lately by yelling in the wee hours of the morning, asking to be let in. Mom keeps saying, “We’re going to have to give this cat away if we can’t think of something to make it stop yelling in the morning. ” I did try to leave it in one night, but it did a mess on the rug, which was even worse!

Yesterday was quite an eventful day. It was a Sunday, and Mom had decided to have Thanksgiving dinner for Mr. Hover, the Ditches and the Omissions. So she was busy cooking and the phone rang. It was Rounder, who we hadn’t heard from for quite a while. She said she’d been sick with pneumonia or something, and actually had to be in the hospital for a while, but she was all right now.

So we went back to work and then the phone rang again. This time it was Murmur, telling us that Ratio was in a hospital because of her behavior. Uncle Add had talked to the doctor, and he seemed to think that they were on the right track, but they couldn’t keep her in the program if she wasn’t willing to stay. So would we please phone Rattier and try to convince her to stay. So Mom asked me to do that. Rioter was going on and on about how she couldn’t stand being away from Courteous, but she knew if she could just come to PNG for two months or so, then maybe Courts would be ready to take her back. And I kept trying to convince her that unless she could get some help for her problems, Carrots wouldn’t want her any more two months from now than he does now. It was a very difficult conversation, and she finally admitted that the main problem was that it was “boring” just sitting in the hospital. Anyway I may have convinced her to stay. I hope so, because the phone call must have cost a fortune.

I had been planning to go to church, but by this time it was getting late and Mom was getting more desperate for help. So I started helping make some nut cups, and the phone rang again. R says, “It’s probably Reign, saying she’s been in the hospital.” Well, it was Wren, but no hospital. She was just phoning to say happy Thanksgiving.

We finally had our dinner about 3 in the afternoon, after waiting for some time for the Emissions, who never showed up. The food was very good, but there was so much of it that even when we were all stuffed, it looked like we had barely touched the serving dishes. Now we’re trying to think of who we could have come round tonight and help us finish it off!

Well, I’d better stop and get off to the post office.

Love,
Papa

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