Letter to my sons, March 19 1849
I can't believe it has been three years since we sent The Pea off on her first overnight class field trip! She was in 4th grade when she attended the Coloma Outdoor Discovery School to learn about life during the California Gold Rush -- and now, 3Po and Jammy are going on the same trip. This time, I'm coming along as a chaperone! I didn't volunteer to chaperone The Pea's class because I had to stay and take care of the boys. I'll admit, I also didn't want to give up my smart phone and internet connection for three whole days. But The Pea had so much fun that I regretted not going, so I resolved to volunteer when the boys' turn came. This time around, The Pea is old enough to get herself to and from school, and I've arranged for her transportation to and from her dance classes.
Even though I'll be there, 3Po and Jammy will still get their share of independence -- I'm going to be assigned to a girls' dormitory, and I'll be helping out with classes from other schools, so the only time I'll get to see them will be at dinner time. Chances are, they'll be having so much fun with their friends that they won't even bother to say hi, much less want to sit at the same table as me, but that's okay. I'm doing it because I want to share in an experience that all 3 of my kids enjoyed, and be able to relate when they talk about it.
One of the traditions that Coloma Discovery School students enjoy is getting a letter from their parents for each night of their stay. Parents pretend that it is 1849, and they are writing a letter to their child who is away in the gold mines. I posted the letters I wrote to The Pea on her first and second nights, so I'm posting my letters to 3Po and Jammy on their first and second nights as well. Actually, I should say our letters, because this time around, I asked Alfie to write the letters for Day 2. After all, we've got 2 kids to write letters for this time!
March 19, 1849
First off: A WARNING. YOU ARE BEING WATCHED. A woman pretending to be your Ma has followed you and your brother to the Coloma gold rush camp! You may see her while you are panning for gold or adjusting to life as a greenhorn. She may even approach you at supper or breakfast and say hi! So if a beautiful dark haired lady wearing glasses says hello to you, pretend that she is your ma and tell her you love her. You may even want to give her a kiss.
Other than that, I hope you are doing fine. No need to worry about us -- we are fine (although we miss you already!), so just concentrate on learning as much as you can at this amazing experience. Your cows are doing fine. I took a photo of them to show you how nice and fat they've gotten. The only problem is, one of the cows, Horton Chouchie, is missing. He hates being away from you and your brother, so I have a feeling he tagged along to Coloma with the woman that claims to be your ma. That wasn't a very smart move on Horton Chouchie's part -- you know how he hates physical exercise. I hope your Sourdough guides give him lots of pickaxes and shovels and rocks and gold to carry so next time he'll think twice about running away.
Ma and Pa
March 19, 1849
I hope this letter finds you well. How is life in the gold mines treating you?
What do you think of this letter? As you can see, it is not hand written. The words were stamped onto paper, letter by letter, with an amazing machine called a typewriter. Your pa and I are testing it for a man named Christopher Sholes. It's not perfect yet, and it's going to be a long time before he can actually submit a patent for his invention (I predict it's not going to happen till 1866!).
Sorry about the smudges on the letter. They were made by our cow, Horton Chouchie. That Horton Chouchie sure is one strange cow. The other day I caught him trying to eat the chicken I was plucking for Sunday supper. It was such a strange sight that I had to take a photo of it to show you. I swear, Horton looks more like an elephant to me, but your pa says there are no elephants in California, and besides, elephants are vegetarian. I'd smack the tar out of him, but Horton seems to have wandered off again. Any idea where he could have gone?
Ma and Pa