Today is Day 2 of 3Po's and Jammy's 3-day school field trip to the Coloma Outdoor Discovery School. The boys and I (I'm chaperoning them!) will be traveling back in time to 1849, going on hikes, panning for gold, and participating in all kinds of hands-on activities designed to teach kids about life during the California Gold Rush. They'll have read the letter I wrote to them last night, and tonight they'll be reading the letter that Alfie wrote to them, written as though we were living in the Gold Rush era and they were away seeking their fortune. I went the extra mile to make the letters look old, staining the paper with tea and using a vintage font (Yes, I printed the letters -- no way I'm going to hand write them! My desire for authenticity only goes so far!). I found a vintage postmark and stamp online and printed them on the envelopes. I even printed out the vintage photo that we had taken in Virginia City in December.
I doubt if the boys will be feeling homesick at this point. They'll be having too much fun, and besides, they'll have the comfort of knowing that I'm close by (even though I won't be assigned to their dorm or to their classes, so I won't really be seeing them much). But I hope these letters remind them that we're still thinking about them and cheering them on as they have fun and learn.
March 20, 1849
Dear Master Philip,
Your sister and I are missing you terribly. We are having to work extra hard in your absence. It's with great difficulty that we're keeping all the (stuffy) animals in their proper places; they are running about the house and the yard with reckless abandon. I suppose it's because we're not feeding them or treating them as well as you do when you are here.
Please work very hard and find lots of gold as we sure do need help with the bills! Our wagon hit another pot hole and collapsed in a heap, so now we'll probably have to spluge $60 for a brand new one!
Don't forget also to have plenty of fun when you're not panning for gold, but don't be chasing the ladies or drinking too much whiskey! We don't want you getting into trouble!
Love from us all back home. We sure are proud of you.
Pa and Choochie
March 20, 1849
Dear Master Jammy,
I am so envious of you being able to go on a venture to find gold and to help our family with the finances. Times are sure hard at the moment back here at home as your sister and I are struggling with all the housework. You see, your Ma and your brother are also away seeking fortunes somewhere and gosh, how we miss everyone!
If you manage to get a haul of gold, you can be sure to put some cash away for yourself so that you can buy yourself a horse and a wagon when you get older. In fact, if you put the money away for long enough, with good interest, you may soon have enough to buy the new lamborghini wagon that we heard about from that mysterious fortune teller who came through town last spring!
Try to stay healthy and go easy on the beans. I'm not sure if the fellas in your tent will appreciate hearing you say 'safety' all through the night!
We're proud of you son.
Love from your Pa and your sister