Thursday, August 16, 2007

Please send Miss Eleanor a postcard

UP DATE: September 5, 2007 - I drove by her work, and there she was - wearing a "thank you" on her outfit. Isn't she beautiful?

How it started:
I printed the request below on my writers online community - and I have been really pleased with the positive response I've received from everyone. It is all in fun - so I'd thought I'd share it here too.

Please send Missy a postcard

There is a mannequin near my home in front of a restaurant-supply store (about two blocks from my house) She sits out there every day - dressed in a professional chef coat and chef hat. We call her "Missy" and ever since the kids were little, we'd wave at her every time we drove by. It all started innocently about several years ago - I told them she was a real person who was out there. We met her when I took a wrong turn on the way to school and the girls asked where I was going...

"I want to drive this way to wave to my friend Eleanor," I said and then pointed to her as we drove by. They said it was a fake person, I claimed she was real. We still call her Eleanor when we drive by and a postcard or two has her listed as Eleanor -- but later, when we wrote Ms.Mannequin on the card, we started calling her Missy.

While in Hawaii recently, one daughter said, "Lets send Missy a postcard" -- so we did and we had such fun, we have sent her cards from everywhere we have gone this summer -- Texas, Oregon, etc.

We never really say who we are, just that we are thinking of her and hope that someday she can join us or that someday she can take a trip or we just ask how she is and how the restaurant business is going, etc. Very G-rated. Nothing bad.

It suddenly reminded me of the gnome story -- obviously we can't steal "Missy" to photograph her all over the world - she's human size - not a little gnome.

But I do wonder what the heck the business owner must think every time a card comes in. We've sent at least a dozen.

So, here is my request: If you can, can you please send "Missy" a postcard from where ever you live? And when you do - let me know here so that I can keep track as to how many states are sending (sent) a card. I'd love for her to get them from all over - from California to Seattle to New York to Florida - and from other countries too -- from Canada to Mexico and across the oceans from India to Australia - where ever you all are. You don't have to write much, "hello from Alabama" or whatever state or country will suffice.

But PLEASE - if you do write something -- keep it very clean. It is nothing illegal - just sending friendly post cards.

Miss Eleanor Mannequin
C/O Handley's Restaurant Equipment
400 N. Johnson St.
Visalia, CA 93291

Thanks, everyone.
Missy (Eleanor) thanks you too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Does anyone remember seeing the stationary-store commercial? -- parents smiling and laughing and dancing through the store hallways, filling their cart with paper and binders and pencils and pens -- as the Christmas song plays. Then they focus on a little boy and a little girl - frowning.

1998: Jennifer and Catherine - posing for annual "First Day of School" photo - which I have taken every year on the steps of our home for the past 13 years. (Catherine is a senior this year)

Both of my girls were very excited about going back to school and seeing all of their friends. I am lucky my children love school as much as I did. Of course, both of my high school girls are involved in band, sports and service clubs - and both both are honor students and have been inducted into the National Honor Roll Hall in Washington D.C.

School started today. It seems as if each year it starts earlier in the year. Whatever happened to school starting the day after Labor Day?

After the traditional "Stand in front of the house" back to school photograph - which I've been taking since kindergarten, the girls were off to school -- they start at 7 a.m. and do not return until almost 6 p.m. -- Very long days for them.

And - being the studious kids that they are -- they had plenty of homework on day one! And so did I! It took me more than an hour to sign dozens of "contract" forms from each classroom. It took another hour to fill my calendar with their tennis matches, band practices, band reviews, band Disneyland and San Diego trips, etc. etc.

How do they do it? I browsed through the tennis calendar -- there are 23 matches, starting next week through October 24! Including Sept. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, skip a Sunday, again Monday. Skip a Tuesday, again Wednesday, skip Thursday, and again on Sept. 14, 15, 17...... the list went on and on. I was exhausted by the time I finished jotting down everything.

I also noticed they have band practice every Tuesday night.

"Can you girls handle all this?" I asked. They looked at me as if there was something wrong with me.

Later, Catherine, a senior, was at the kitchen nook table.

"Oh! I love this! I actually understand it all," she said as she worked on her AP calculus. I looked at it. Looked foreign to me.

"I've joined the math club," she said nonchalantly and then sighed, "I guess that means I have meetings every day at lunch."

Math club meets Tuesdays at lunch, Wednesdays is Key Club, Thursdays is Future Business Leaders, and Link Crew meets as needed on rotating days.

At the dining room table, Jennifer worked on her homework and talked excitedly about biology and other courses.

I smiled. Inside I was beaming. These are my babies. I am so blessed.

I love Back To School time.