I’m Jackson Connor. You might remember me from such emails as “So I Dropped out of School to Live in a Volkswagen Golf” and “How to Become a Father of Three Overnight.”
I’m writing today to talk to you all about North Carolina. Where I live now. But it’s not just me who lives in North Carolina. It’s my wife and four kids and 8,856,505 other human beings. (U.S. Census Bureau 2006 estimate)
North Carolina was discovered in 1961 by a visionary man from Emporia, Kansas. Dean Smith, as the natives called him, was actually not a dean. He, along with twelve other brave men (known as Tarheels), spent the next thirty-six years defending North Carolina against invaders from as far away as Indiana and UCLA, as well as fighting an ongoing battle against a group of insurgents known as Blue Devils. In 1997, Smith apparently just said, “Screw it,” and moved back to Kansas.
That’s all I can glean about my new culture and heritage from the local radio stations and the big screen television at the town meeting hall or the “bar” as it’s known here. Beyond that, we seem to be adapting pretty well to this new place.
Zac is preparing to enter 10th grade at Western Guilford High School, which, he was eager to inform me, is where Ender of Ender’s Game went to High School. I don’t know how I feel about my kids going to schools that graduate fictional characters, but, since Ender’s creator got his master’s degree from the same school traci and I got ours, I’m willing to pretend to withhold judgment.
We’re not sure where Sam will be attending his salad days of middle school. We have applications at a couple of private schools, though, we realize, it’s late in the year for that sort of thing. To be honest, though, I think Sam’s bright enough that I could just drop him at the public library for eight hours a day with a handful of nickels and a stick of gum, and he’d probably have seven or eight patents pending by winter break.
Naomi will be back-handspringing into 4th grade at Jefferson Elementary School. This will be her first year of formal schooling without her brother(s) in attendance with her. It might be an affect of the Southern humidity, but I swear I hear her dancing the Snoopy dance each evening as I tuck myself and those around me in to bed.
Leah, of course, still doesn’t go to school, as she is only fifteen months old. She did, however, just recently learn how to make suds with soap and scrub herself up. If she had language, I bet she’d like to mention that you can’t make suds nearly as well with catfood, lint from the dryer, or the dog.
The dog, Desi, is fine, though I just cut her hair, so she’s a little embarrassed to go outside. She thinks the bowl cut is totally early nineties, but I think it’s still hip.
The cat, Daisy, is still just sitting there staring out the window, until we let her out, at which point she stares back inside. Plato would have had a field day with a cat and some glass, but the cave thing was a nice place to start.
traci is anxiously anticipating her first days at Guilford College. She has earned a professorship at the school teaching fiction. Founded on Quaker principles in 1837, Guilford is a small liberal arts college in Greensboro, North Carolina. traci got the job after a stressful year of research, applications, and interviews. Other things traci did that year: have a baby, complete her PhD., defend her dissertation, publish her first book.
Things Jackson did this year: I did make a really nice stew in April – really, the kids raved about it for days. But, it’s like that old saying: life isn’t a competition.
It has been a big year for us all, which is, in a way, an excuse for not writing as often as I should, but, let’s face it, even when I was working twenty hours a week without any friends in Salt Lake City, I still didn’t write very often.
As for me, I still have about two years of my PhD. program left, and at this moment I’m taking a leave of absence. When I asked the head of the English Department at OU how I should go about taking a leave of absence, he said, “Just don’t show up for anything anymore.” Well, if I’d have known it was this easy to drop out of Ohio University, I would have done it years ago.
My plans for the immediate future are to be make some dinners and get the kids ready for school. At this moment, though, I’m sitting in a chair of the highest quality, drinking a beer made of the finest materials, resting my semipalmated feet on a dog and a cat of the best breeding, wondering what would be the name of the album Modest Mouse makes about my life if Modest Mouse were making an album about my life.
All Our Best to All of You,
Jackson Et. Al.