26: Good News, Bad News


Dianna and I have been friends from the cradle. Not that our parents had enough money or space for a cradle, you understand, it’s just a term to let you know that we’ve been friends from the get-go. Her family would come over every Sunday afternoon, and while our parents played badminton, Dianna and I played school. I was the teacher, she, the student. Like any good teacher, I always prepared ahead, turning game boards into bulletin boards and newspapers into folders to hold handouts and homework.

It’s a wonder I lived to tell you about this.

One summer our parents shipped us off Dianna and I went to Camp Inagahe. The good news is: we got there early enough (try before the staff woke up early, thanks to eager parents) that we got our pick of top bunks. Right beside each other. The bad news is that the top half of every wall in the cabin was screen . . . which means that when it rained – and in Georgia summers, it rains every afternoon like clockwork – our beds got soaked.

The bad news is that the camp made us drink milk. About a gallon and a half of milk at every meal. Two gallons for breakfast. Now I don’t like milk, and Dianna doesn’t either, though she was smart enough to tell the camp staff that she’s allergic to milk. They didn’t care. They made her drink it anyway, so she had no choice but to get sick and wind up in the nurse’s office. Being her best friend, there was no way I was letting her stay on that cot in the nurse’s office by herself, so we spent the entire afternoon – including our favorite time of day : arts and crafts – there. The good news is they didn’t make either of us drink milk any more after that.

The good news is that arts and crafts came around every day, and our favorite craft of all was to take some of those thin colorful plastic strips and weave them into lanyards. The bad news is that we made so many lanyards – enough to give one to everybody on our Christmas gift list – we used up the entire allotment of thin colorful plastic strips and had to switch to building bookends and bowls and skyscrapers and wallets and stuff from popsicle sticks.

The good news is that mail call came every afternoon right between lunch and free time. The bad news is that Dianna is the only one who got mail, and boy oh boy did she get mail. That girl got her own mail delivery truck. It took three – nay, sixteen – mail carriers to tote the boxes and bags of Dianna’s mail over to her bunk. The first day of mail call, the staffer distributing the mail lost her voice from calling out Dianna’s name so many times. The good news is that Dianna (sometimes, when she was in a particularly good mood) (or when I paid her with my cookie from lunch) let me read her mail because the bad news is: I didn’t get envelopes with my name on them.

Nary a one.

Why, you ask?

It seem my mother talked to her friend, Helen G. after dropping us off at camp, and Helen told Mother that when her boy Jimmy went to camp (now bear in mind that Jimmy is waaaayyyy older than me. He’s so much older than me that he still doesn’t speak to me when he sees me.), it made him homesick to get mail.

I’m not kidding.

Because Jimmy was such a wimp and got homesick when he got cards and letters at camp, I didn’t get so much as a postcard. Not even a smoke signal. Next time you see my mother, maybe you want to ask her what she has to say for herself.


Yep, I’m still at it – penning 100 stories in 100 days. Thanks for reading along. If you want them delivered to your e-mailbox – and it’s okay because Jimmy no longer gets homesick when he gets mail or email – just mash the black “right this way” button in the orange strip at the top of the screen, enter your email, hit the send button, and there you go. It’s all free, too, except for about two minute soft your time.


  1. Linda S

    Poor Jeanne!!!

    • whollyjeanne

      It’s a sad story, isn’t it? Somebody should’ve called child services.

      • Linda S

        My husband did something similar… when my son went away to college, I wanted to call him (a lot) and he told me not to annoy him with “mom calls.” So I didn’t. What do you think my son said when he finally called me? “You never call me! Don’t you miss me?” Argh.

        • whollyjeanne

          Ha! Mothers Know. Well, some mothers do;) I think the letters and mom calls are things kids love to hate. Or hate to love.

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