An envelope arrived at my folk’s home today.
The handwriting was unmistakably mine: The characters bunch up in places, rounded letters proceed along wavy edges, and finishing marks run sloppy from a lazily lifted pen. The return address said, “ECMS / Mr. Waite” (in my hand writing). Hmm. Did I write this to myself in… 8th grade?!?
I had completely forgotten if I had. What would it say? I greedily dove in.
Yes, I do remember now! The class: American History. The teacher: Mr. Waite–taller, lithe, slightly balding and for whatever reason I imagine him with a weak chin that melts into his throat. But I think that’s just an unflattering caricature I’m making up. The age: 13.
This was the year of 9/11. And if memory serves correctly, we learned about the planes colliding into the World Trade Center in that class. (The school had actually restricted information flow on the premises, turning off TVs and preventing access to computers. We only found out because fellow students were receiving text messages. Cell phones had only become a thing a few years before). That event, a framer of world views, took place three months prior to this letter writing exercise, and it clearly influenced the content. I was also clearly unimpressed with the latest homework assignment.
Well, what did I find?
It turns out I was snarky then (and I still got it!), laid on the sarcasm (ala, “All thanks to the great teachings of Mr. T-Waite, I am able to find peace and joy in school!”), and full of ambitious predictions about the future.
For the record, let it be known that I was highly accurate in my guesses, and I still have three years more to run the cycle through. Mark it, Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, will be the richest man in the world in 2022!!
Without further adieu, I present to you, 13 year old Aaron:
(Typed letter below the pictures. Spelling mistakes, etc. copied over from the original document.)
“Rip Van Essay”
January 2nd 2002:
Today at school I had a horible day. Our teachers seem to have no sympathy for us, and they simply dumped homework onto us. They pilled it on and it’s like it might take me 20 years to complete. I will write to you later.
As he put down his pen he felt a great sense of sleepiness embrace his soul. He put his journal back to the shelf it called home, and he trudged over to his backpack. Slowly, the books were taken out and placed onto the desk.
“Math, Science, Language Arts, Spanish, and my most favorite subject American History. All thanks to the great teachings of Mr. T-Waite, I am able to find peace and joy in school!” The boy shuffled his books around and then once again arranged them, first by color, then by size, and finally weight, before even looking at the homework he had to initiate.
DOWN went the pen to the clean and fresh piece of paper. Down, further and further still. Down to the unmarked paper, and the excruciatingly long process of homework had begun. He rhythmically began to put the heading of his paper on, as it had been “drilled” into his head earlier that school year. Then, suddenly Aaron had an idea!” Wouldn’t it be great to go into the future? He pondered the question as he automatonically went through his homework.
Slowly Aaron fell asleep. At first only nodding his head every once and a while, but before long he felt it gnawing at him. He wouldn’t be able to fight it for long! At that moment, almost cliche, a commercial with the song “Go to sleep Little Baby” played, and Aaron was done. Off into Dream World for him, little did he know when he would wake up, the world as he knew it would be a thing of the past.
When I said I would write to you later, I didn’t think it would be this late! As I’ve come to discover it’s the year 2022, which came with many snickers and sneers from the people I have met. Apparently I had been sleeping the whole time, and my parents hadn’t realised for I simply spend all my time in my room anyways. As it stands I hardly know where to begin. I woke up and had a horrible need to go to the bathroom. After I finished, I looked up to the mirror, but much expecting to see a child, all I saw was hair. That was the first time I knew something was wrong.
That was pretty minor compared to some of the other things I learned. First off, I learned there was a common currency used around the world, my petty change I traded in for the New World dollar. More minor, each sink had three knobs now, one hot, one cold, and one mixed with soap already in it (I found this out the hard way). I also learned that after George W. we had a black president who took charge immediately and finished up the war on terrorism. The string of presidents were all well bread, and intelligent who managed to reverse the economic slump, but where else is there to go after you go up? I even learned a few female’s were running for the next presidency, which had been lengthened for 5 years.
While looking through the newspaper I learned some very startling news. Supposedly America had claimed many countries for itself after the war on terrorism, stating they were obviously inadequote and unable to govern themselves, so America found it their responsibility to take it by force. On a lighter note, I learned the new fashion was baggy clothes once again, after it had been leather and other cow products for a long time. I was also suprised to hear Bill Gates was now the second richest man in the world, second to the one and only man who started Starbucks coffee, where coffee is their life and ambition. You can always count on Starbucks to be there for you. I have learned more, but I have grown weary of writing. I will write to you later. He fell asleep on his journal, and had a peaceful dream.