Dear Rachel Robinson

In a new series that I will inevitably forget about after two or so posts, I thought I’d write letters to fictional characters. The first is to Rachel Robinson, of Here’s to you Rachel Robinson fame.

Rachel Robinson

Dear Rachel Robinson,

I’m writing to you now, as you turn 38, to check in with you. The last I heard of you, you were finishing seventh grade, and about to head to music camp to relax after a stressful few months.

So what’s happened in the intervening years? First of all, I hope you have managed to find a way to relax, and realise that happiness does not necessarily lay in perfection. As a thirteen year old, you imagined that anything other than an A was a failing grade and that you had to say yes to everything that your teachers asked you to do. Who knows why they thought that you’d be a good candidate for Natural Helpers? You were (and I’m sure are) brilliant at a good many things, but a natural peer counsellor? Possibly not.

In your biography you mapped out three distinct careers for yourself, something that seems perfectly feasible aged 13, but entirely impossible once you have a little perspective. I imagine that you probably graduated top of your college class, and went on to practice law, like your mum or, more likely in my opinion, medicine. Maybe, given the difficulties your brother Charles had, you went into psychology and became a therapist. Or maybe you became a world-famous cardio-thoracic surgeon.

Talking of Charles, I wonder what happened. There did seem to be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel; it felt that by the end of your story, you were starting to discover ways to deal with him, that you might be able to connect with him in a way that wasn’t instantly antagonistic. I hope that he got the help he needed, and you were able to enjoy your teenage years without the constant worry of the havoc he was wreaking on your family. It’s hard to realise when you are so close to something, but hopefully time has given you the perspective you need to realise that he was a kid who was hurting, and lashing out was the only way he knew how to deal with that.

And what about your best friends? Stephanie and Alison both had their own issues at home, and you seemed so different from them, that I have to wonder if your friendship survived into high school. I’ve been there with people that I grew up with that I suddenly had nothing in common with at 14, so if this happened to you, I hope it was an amicable break and that you found other people to share your high school experiences with. Of course, there’s every possibility that you remained best friends with them, and now you are older, and possibly living in different parts of the country, you see each other infrequently, but it’s just like old times when you do catch up. I bet you still reminisce about the time that Jeremy Dragon kissed you, and discuss what happened when you saw him again after music camp (what did happen?!).

Most of all, Rachel, I hope you’re happy. I hope you realised that your parents would still love you if you weren’t at the top of all of your classes, or if you decided to skip a club or a programme to just have fun with your friends. I hope that as you got older, you stayed true to your belief that ‘normal’ and ‘average’ aren’t the same thing, and that it’s OK to want different things from the people around you.

Friday Letters

Dear diet, you and I are going to have to get on much better terms next week. The same goes for exercise.

Dear Red Nose Day, I love you and I’m looking forward to watching tonight!

Dear Jen, I dreamt of you last night. It was all a bit weird.

Dear V, when will I see you again?

Dear Anna, I didn’t want you to feel left out.

Dear Call the Midwife, I caught up with you today, and now I’m sad you’re over for another year.

Dear Lady Luck, please visit again soon. I haven’t won a competition in ages!

Jane loves links

Hello all

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend! I managed to complete my self-imposed task of posting every day last week, Monday to Friday, and then Sunday. The plan is obviously to stick with that schedule, so today we have a links roundup.

Firstly, three letters from Letters of Note, a website that I have brought to your attention before. The first one is from Steven Spielberg to a group of young men who were undertaking a remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Another, from a ten-year-old John F. Kennedy, is to his father asking for a raise in his allowance. And the last is from Joe Biden, current vice-president but then-Senator, to a young man regarding his stutter. They are all lovely letters and I love that they are being saved for posterity! Letters of Note is a great site, I’d heartily recommend checking it out.

Last week was the anniversary (198th unless I’m mistaken) of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t know, or I would have done a special ‘celebrations’ post, seeing as I love Pride and Prejudice so much. Anyway, to celebrate now, here are the Top 10 Pride and Prejudice covers according to The Bennet Sisters blog. I have at least three copies of the book – my old trusted one that is dog-eared and well-read, another that I bought intending to make it my ‘good’ copy, and then another that my sister Kim bought for me for my birthday that is actually my good copy – it’s hardback and gorgeous and I refuse to read it because I don’t want to crease it. A couple more literary links here:

  • An interesting article on how novelists are coming to terms with the internet, and how they are using it (or not) in their stories.
  • Twenty books that are hard to finish, as voted for by readers of this website. I have actually read five of these books, so I don’t agree with them all, but it’s still interesting to see a few classics on here.
  • An old Guardian article, celebrating ten heroes from childhood. My favourites are Matilda Wormwood and Petrova Fossil.
  • Another older piece, on books that should have been made into films and yet never have.

I love this website – If It Were My Home. It allows you to compare living conditions in two countries, to see what would be like, for example, to live in Belgium rather than the U.K., or Barbados rather than Australia. It’s fascinating, and allows you to realise that you probably have it far better than you think! Continuing on a geographical theme: Just What Does Your State Do Best? Unsurprisingly, Florida has the amusement park that attracts more visitors than any other in the U.S., whilst California has the largest economy and the highest number of U.F.O. sightings. Slightly more shocking may be the news that New Mexico has the oldest continuously used building in the U.S., and Alaska has the highest number of suicides per 100,000 deaths. Check it out!

Very quickly (I only just remembered that I had this), proof positive that I am a very good judge of character – Mark Harmon has been voted television’s top star, beating Oprah, Conan O’Brien, and inexplicably, Charlie Sheen (he ranked 5th somehow). Mark ranked 8th last year, and has jumped to the top in 2011. It’s because NCIS is such an amazing show, still, after 8 seasons. A couple of weeks ago, it registered 22million viewers in the U.S. which is just incredible for a drama this far into its run.

Finally, a few more links that I have come across through all the blogs that I read:

  • Can you even begin to imagine what Oprah Winfrey’s wardrobe looks like? Or Christina Aguilera’s? Wonder no more, for you can see! (via Checks and Spots)
  • A brilliant idea, from Nathalie Stämpfli, for anyone who prefers a tablet of soap over liquid soap, but wants the hygiene and convenience of a soap dispenser. (also via Checks and Spots)
  • Something we’ve all wondered no doubt: Just what happened to Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, Dawn, Mallory and Jessi (also known as the fabulous Baby-sitters Club, of Stoneybrook, CT) when they grew up? Well, they’re now approaching 40, and apparently, Kristy’s a lesbian (well duh!), Mary Anne became a nurse, and just wait until you see what this fan had Stacey getting up to! (via Go Fug Yourself)
  • A lovely little story of how an expectant couple found out whether they were having a boy or a girl, and how they included their family in the inventive moment of truth! (via A Cup of Jo)
  • The most amazing birthday party in the history of the world. I shall either be having one of these myself, or forcing a child that I know to have one. Just incredible. (via Where the Lovely Things Are)
  • A Tardis dress, that just screams geek. But I want it. (via Miss Malaprop)

Until next time,

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