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Dear Angie . . . I’m an Expert Cartwheeler Person

July 17, 2012

Yesterday I told you how I bumped into my old childhood pen pal from England, Jessica, while out-and-about blogging.  I also let you read the letter that I wrote her in 1982 when I was 7 and incredibly charming and smart.

Today I’m posting the first letter she wrote to me in 1989 when she was 7 and also quite charming and smart.  Oh.  About the date.  Yeah, the math doesn’t come out quite right — but it’s a really, really long way across the ocean.

Below is the letter I received from Jessica.  When you’re done reading, check out her hilarious blog, Jessseeker, for more on the expert cartwheeler person.


2nd July 1989

Dear Angie,

My name is Jessica, I am seven years old and when my mum isn’t looking, I like to stick my tongue through the gap in my mouth where one of my two front teeth used to be.  I live in England with my mum, dad, four brothers, lots of house spiders and one crazy dog.

My biggest brother is called Oli.  Oli is a complete nerd, but he lets me play on his Etch a Sketch sometimes, so I like him.

Chris is bigger than me too.  He kidnaps my Roger Rabbit all the time and throws worms in my hair.  I try really hard to like him, but he makes it so difficult.

Then there’s me.  I am an expert cartwheeler person and have a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do.  I can swim 25 metres without arm bands.  I like to draw Snoopy, have just learnt to blow bubbles and can almost roll my tongue.  I love purple, minty-green and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  I don’t like orange, grey or baked beans.  When I grow up I want to be a children’s TV presenter-lady and have a pet giraffe named Elmo.

My brother Joe is younger than me.  He loves trucks, tractors, trains and picking his scabs.

Mike is the youngest.  He’s only a baby, but already likes bedtime stories and eating his own socks.  I was his first word.

My mum cooks the best roast potatoes in the whole wide world and helps me with my spellings and times tables.  She is beautiful and smells of fabric softener.  My dad works almost every single day so he can win the bread.  (Mum says he is the ‘breadwinner’).  Sometimes, when he’s not working, he takes me on bike rides and I like them more than chocolate.  He smells of Old Spice.

At the end of term I’m going to be a daffodil in my school play.  I don’t have any lines, but there are 3 songs for all the flowers to learn, so it’s a big responstability.

I’m pretty sure Kermit the Frog, Johnny 5 and Fievel Mousekewitz have taught me all there is to know about America.

I enclosed a sort-of friendship bracelet that I made just for you.  I’m still learning how to make them, so it’s really just a plait, but you must never take it off.  Not even in the bath.  Not ever.

I’ve also put a picture in here of me with my smelly brothers.  (I’m the one with the long hair and the dress).  Can you tell my mum cuts our hair?

Your new best friend forever, from England,

Jessica, age 7¼  x

78 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2012 12:10 pm

    Both of the letters (hers and yours) were quite adorable and smartly written. I want to see more of them.

    • July 18, 2012 12:33 pm

      Oh Amanda, thank you! There are plenty more where these came from! If only you knew what you were letting yourself in for… :)

    • July 22, 2012 6:01 pm

      Thanks, Amanda — Jessica and I will have to scrounge around our boxes o’ crap to see what we can find. Please stay tuned for more in the future.

  2. July 17, 2012 12:15 pm

    The math makes sense to me. I also learned everything I needed to know about America from Johnny 5. In fact, that gd song is in my head. Curse El Debarge and his outstanding lyrics.

    • July 18, 2012 12:37 pm

      Excellent maths skills Speaker7, bravo! I would expect nothing less from you.

      Johnny 5 – alive! I shed a tear the day I realised I would never marry him… I was 23.

    • July 22, 2012 6:03 pm

      I curse El DeBarge for leading six-year-old-me to believe he was the most attractive man alive while donning his jheri-curled mullet.

  3. July 17, 2012 12:27 pm

    These letters are priceless. I’m a bit sad Jessica did not mention sticking her dogs paw in her mouth and biting it until he barked. Did she ever admit to such a thing?

    Her ‘British’ accent was lovely with the ‘smells of’ and ‘mum’. We call my mom ‘Mum’.
    Great stuff, Gals. How very cool that you kept these gems and had your paths cross again. Bravo!

    • July 18, 2012 12:48 pm

      Thank you Lenore! Apologies for the glaring borderline animal cruelty omission. How foolish of me! I’m pretty sure it crops up in a later letter of mine though. You’ll have to wait and see!

      If you’d like to experience my true British accent in all its finery, then check out my welcome video on YouTube: It was described earlier this week by a fellow blogger as “Pringleicious” ! If you watch it, you’ll see why.

      • July 18, 2012 2:55 pm

        Jessica, your video is brilliant and most certainly “Pringleicious”! Well done!

      • July 18, 2012 2:57 pm

        Thank you! I’m going to try and introduce ‘Pringleicious’ into every day usage, Feel free to spread the word! :)

      • July 22, 2012 6:10 pm

        I love that video — my husband and I had a great late-night laugh watching it last weekend.

    • July 22, 2012 6:04 pm

      I can attest that dog toenails don’t make for good paw-nibbling.

  4. July 17, 2012 1:57 pm

    This was SUCH a great idea! You both did an amazing job – so funny and sweet. “Win the bread” made me laugh out loud!

    • July 18, 2012 12:51 pm

      Thanks Jules! Can you believe I never saw a single loaf of bread that he won? Outrageous! I’m glad you approve – we have plenty more where these came from. :)

    • July 22, 2012 6:05 pm

      Thanks, Jules. We are definitely going to have another letter exchange soon. 1982-Angie and 1989-Jessica are just too good of friends to not write each other again.

  5. July 17, 2012 2:14 pm

    That is so cool!! I read both of your blogs but I found them separate from each other. What a small world it is that you knew each other!

    • July 18, 2012 12:54 pm

      Well hello again! Thank you my dear. I made a much cooler seven year old than 29 year old. I’m still waiting for my mail order giraffe named Elmo. I knew that man looked dodgy…

      • July 22, 2012 6:11 pm

        Despite its meaning, “dodgy” is the most adorable English word — second only to “fancy.”

    • July 22, 2012 6:06 pm

      I have a suspicion that the world is actually no larger than Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.

  6. July 17, 2012 2:38 pm

    These are awesome! I’d hardly believe that you were both seven when you wrote them!

    • July 18, 2012 12:58 pm

      Two things Audrey: Firstly – congratulations on the coolest Avatar image of all time. You rock! Secondly – I can hardly believe it either!

    • July 22, 2012 6:08 pm

      Are you doubting that we actually wrote these letters as children, Audrey? I’ll have you know that 1982-Angie and 1989-Jessica were the presidents of their letter-writing composition clubs!

  7. July 17, 2012 3:09 pm

    Another fabulous letter! Jessica, I learned so much about you. I think you and I might have had the same worms-in-hair existence as I grew up with five brothers. I feel your pain.

    Angie, just how cruddy and disgusting looking is this friendship bracelet now that you’ve worn it (even in the bath) all of these years?

    • July 18, 2012 1:05 pm

      5 brothers?! Oh dear mother of God! I thought I was the only one.

      The worms on head thing just wasn’t a good look, was it? Now don’t knock the friendship bracelet! I spent literally minutes on that!

      • July 18, 2012 2:18 pm

        Oh, no! Not knocking the bracelet at all. It’s super cool. Just probably a bit dirty since she hasn’t taken it off for 20-odd years.

      • July 18, 2012 2:28 pm

        But think of all that bubble bath! :D

      • July 22, 2012 6:12 pm

        And that bracelet looks even better in person — clearly some intricate artisan craftsmanship here.

    • July 22, 2012 6:35 pm

      Where I probably went wrong was wearing the bracelet throughout 10th grade biology class animal dissections.

  8. Teresa Cleveland Wendel permalink
    July 17, 2012 3:26 pm

    I remember having pen pals. I wonder if the still do that anymore.

    • July 18, 2012 1:07 pm

      I sincerely hope so! How can you send scratch and sniff stickers via email or Skype?

    • July 22, 2012 6:14 pm

      Now it’s called, “Get a load of this nice looking guy from Spain that I found on Facebook. He said to send money?”

  9. July 17, 2012 3:59 pm

    I’m with Teresa. We should get back to pen-pals from the days of old. Those two letters were just awesome, Angie and Jess. The friendship bracelet and scratch-n-sniff stickers are perfect for mailing and brought back some fabulous memories of my youth.

    We bloggers should start a new pen-pal movement. We might even be able to prop the US Postal Service up for a little while longer, before Fed Ex takes over and everything costs $15 to mail. Pen-pals FOREVER. XOXOX

    • July 18, 2012 1:09 pm

      Thank you!

      Pen pals of the world unite! Do we get to wear badges and have a secret handshake?

      • July 18, 2012 1:12 pm

        Angie will probably agree that the badge must have unicorns and/or hearts on it, and the secret handshake may be some combination of hot-potato, hand-jive and lost-my-dolly-in-the-dirt.

      • July 18, 2012 1:36 pm

        Sold! Where do I sign?

    • July 22, 2012 6:15 pm

      I vote for unicorn badges — I’d also suggest we add in some rainbow badges, but they mean something entirely different today and I wouldn’t want to misrepresent ourselves.

      • July 22, 2012 7:42 pm

        You know, I prefer unicorns sliding joyfully (gayly?) down the rainbows. With stars shooting out from behind them (but not out their butt). And party streamers. That should capture the emotions of pre-adolescent girls writing letters just fine, right? I would be shocked if anyone thought otherwise. Now we just need a catchy club name…


      • July 22, 2012 7:46 pm

        Wow, the visuals there — you actually set me right back in college. I can almost feel the heat of the black light and lava lamps. Well done, Shannon!

  10. July 17, 2012 4:04 pm

    Hi Angie,
    Wow, you two really are destined to stay in touch. Both letters have so much personality in them. I also used to push my knees up my nightgown and pretend to be a big-breasted woman. How funny to remember that! Happy reunion to you and Jessica. Thank you for inviting all of us to the party.

    • July 18, 2012 1:12 pm

      Thank you Amy! The party is just getting started. Can I interest you in some fizzy pop? Peanut butter sandwich? Sausage roll?

    • July 22, 2012 6:18 pm

      Thanks, Amy — I still play the “what if” game and push my knees up into my nightgown. Only, now I don’t share this information with people in letters. On my blog? Sure, of course I do.

  11. July 17, 2012 4:24 pm

    I love these letters!!! LOVE!!!

    • July 18, 2012 1:13 pm

      Oh Gilly, what an impressive beard you have. My husband will be jealous! Thank you! There are more to come!

      • July 18, 2012 3:13 pm

        Yay more letters!! I am looking forward to more. It’s like a Harry Potter/Hunger Games series. I’m hooked!

        Thanks for appreciating my beard. When I first revealed my sexy beard in a blog post, Angie suggested I made it my blog/comment pic.

      • July 22, 2012 6:45 pm

        I remember the day you revealed your sexy beard. Maybe your baby will inherit it? Bearded just like her mommmy! Awwwww.

      • July 23, 2012 10:28 am

        Haha! I hope so!

      • July 18, 2012 3:49 pm

        Ha! I love that you’ve likened them to Harry Potter / the Hunger Games! That has just made my day!

        She’s a wise woman that Angie. Stick with her (and your beard) and you’ll go far. ;)

    • July 22, 2012 6:18 pm

      Thanks, Gilly!

  12. July 17, 2012 5:28 pm

    ha ha! These letters are priceless. Never thought of it before but pen-pal-ing is such a natural precursor to blogging. Do kids today have pen pals? Text pals? IM pals? I mean, why write when you can skype? :)

    • July 18, 2012 1:15 pm

      Why thank you! Kids don’t know what they’re missing with the lack of scratch and sniff stickers. You can’t send those via email! (Trust me, I’ve tried).

    • July 22, 2012 6:21 pm

      When I write a blog post, I actually start by imagining that I’m writing to a 7-year-old British school girl who likes peanut butter banana sandwiches and Kermit the Frog — it really helps get that easy-going, conversational tone that people want in a blog.

  13. July 17, 2012 7:43 pm

    Awww! The baby is already eating his own socks. They grow up so fast!

    • July 18, 2012 1:17 pm

      He’s all grown up now! Long hair, personal hygiene issues – and I’m pretty sure he still eats his own socks. Funnily enough – it’s not quite so cute anymore. ;)

    • July 22, 2012 6:22 pm

      Unfortunately, I hear that socks are a stepping-stone drug.

  14. July 17, 2012 10:43 pm

    How in the WORLD did you happen to come across your old pen pal?? Maybe I need to go back and catch up before I ask that.

    I had a pen pal back in the day. I remember it well. He (or she?) told me all about his/her life in China (or Russia?). Yeah, good memories.

    • July 18, 2012 1:22 pm

      I think Walt Disney covered it. It’s a small world. ;)

      You childhood pen pal from China / Russia clearly made a lasting impression on you – didn’t he / she?

    • July 22, 2012 6:24 pm

      China, Russia, what’s the difference — they’re practically the same country.

  15. July 18, 2012 1:34 am

    I love pen pals. Maybe that’s the attraction of all of us blogging, ya think? We’re pen pals of a sort. So now…show us the picture of you still wearing the friendship bracelet years later, you are still wearing it aren’t you? Adorable letters.

    • July 18, 2012 1:25 pm

      Barb, what a shrewd observation. You are absolutely right!

      As for the friendship bracelets – I never take mine off. Not ever. Not even in the bath. ;)

    • July 22, 2012 6:26 pm

      Thanks, Barb. In fact, I haven’t taken off the friendship bracelet for 23 years. As a result, I have one normal-sized wrist and one the exact width of a string bean.

  16. July 18, 2012 11:01 am

    How did the daffodil songs turn out? How did they turn out??!! She’s right – that is a lot of responsibility at such a young age.

    • July 18, 2012 1:30 pm

      I played Daffodil no.6. And what an excellent narcissus I was too! It was a heuwage responsibility. (Or responstability – as I said when I was seven). Oh to be seven again. I quite fancy being a sunflower…

      • July 18, 2012 2:51 pm

        Daffodil no. 6 has always been my favorite.

    • July 22, 2012 6:29 pm

      I would’ve rather played the dandelion, unarguably the prettiest flower in the bunch.

  17. July 18, 2012 2:53 pm

    Pleased to meet you, 7-1/4-year-old Jessica. Wow – you can swim 25 metres? What’s that in real measurements – like, across the English Channel? That’s great!

    • July 18, 2012 3:02 pm

      Yes, 25 whole metres! That’s like 7 elephants, 4 giraffes or 3,576 Pez dispensers.

      Great to meet you Pegoleg. Charmed, I’m sure. :)

  18. July 22, 2012 12:45 pm

    Fabulous. I *still* can’t swim 25 meters without arm bands, so you’ve one-upped me, Jessica. (You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.) Great letters, ladies! :)

    • July 22, 2012 6:32 pm

      Me either, Dana — and I’m not kidding either. I can swim just enough to keep my head above water. I blame this ineptitude on swimming lessons that were taught at 6 a.m. in an outdoor pool in April.

  19. July 22, 2012 6:42 pm

    Oh, my goodness. She wrote this at age 7?! It’s so wonderful and tender and smart and lovely.

    • July 22, 2012 7:03 pm

      Yes, she (and I) were quite advanced at age 7. You might say Jessica and I wrote like 29 and 36 year-olds (respectively) trapped in 7 year-olds’ bodies.

      • July 22, 2012 7:10 pm

        Ohhh, I should probably not try to catch up on blogs until I have recovered properly from my vacation… (BLUSH)

      • July 22, 2012 7:13 pm

        Nicki, if I had a nickel…..I would be rich enough that I wouldn’t feel so bad about telling every other person in this comment section that Jessica and I just wrote these letters last week.

        Hope you had a great vacation! You and your blog were missed!

      • July 22, 2012 7:17 pm

        I’m a teeny bit relieved. I have writing samples of my own at age 7, and I was nowhere near as eloquent. I was starting to think my education was substandard (and maybe it was since I obviously have not learned to read the other comments first, haha)

      • July 22, 2012 7:20 pm

        Dear Jessica,
        How are you? I am fine. It is fun to write letters. I like rainbows.
        Your friend,

        That would’ve been my letter at age 7.


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