This weekend Lain and I attended one of the most fun, creative, and altruistic birthday parties ever. For a nine-year-old we had never met. Would you like some background?
Several weeks ago, Lain and I received the following email:
Lain and Amelia,
My name is Jeff, long-time blog reader, first time writer, as well as 19th century folk-tale enthusiast (who isn’t?) and fan of house museums. I write to you with a proposal/request/announcement/heads-up. My 8, soon to be 9 year-old daughter Matilda has for the last several years hosted birthday parties at our home in which, instead of children bringing gifts for her, she raised money for some worthy cause. A car wash for the Humane Society at age 5, hit the dads with pies in the face for the Red Cross and Katrina Victims at age 6, a backyard Hawaiian fair for bookshelves for her school at age 7, and last year’s American Shoe-Kicking Association (ASKA) National Championships for the Red Cross. I’m proud and a little nonplussed to write that this was her own initiative, though I’m sure taken from some TV show.
I write you now to let you know that this year you are on the docket as planned beneficiaries of the first (and perhaps last) Iverson Park Literary Festival! Mathilda visited the Wren’s Nest with her class this past year and was impressed by he experience and wants to join in the fun. Possible events include a short-story telling contest and for those less inclined to prose, a book throwing contest.
Within about two minutes we told Jeff we were in. Playing it cool is not our strong suit.
The Iverson Park Literary Festival wildly exceeded any expectations we could have had. I mean, they had tote bags. And a mascot!
(Haiku the bookworm)
There was a lot of literary fun going on. You could guess the number of pages in the book.
(Waiting has never been so exciting!)
You could throw books at William Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott, or Edgar Allen Poe.
(This activity made Lain nervous thanks to the children shouting “KILL SHAKESPEARE!”)
You could even tell your own story. Curtis warmed up the crowd, and then the kids competed to see who was the best storyteller. Lain and I served as Celebrity Judges.
Unfortunately, we did not get any pictures of the amateur storytellers, as we took our judging jobs VERY seriously.
Jeff, author of the above email, played the part of our host — Dr. Armstrong, PhD, MA, RN, NASA, from Valdosta State Technical Community College and State University A & M.
We even wore our most literary duds. A Kenyon shirt and tweed for Lain, and my “I’m a Bibliophile” shirt from age 5 for me. Still “fits”!
Curtis played it cool, as always.
We especially felt at home because some of the kids tried to bribe the Celebrity Judges by wearing their Wren’s Nest t-shirts.
The children really wailed on the authors. So much so that they broke and had to be fixed with a nail gun.
We would have left the nail gun by the snacks, too.
By the end of the Festival we had totally forgotten about how we benefited monetarily, being too busy making exclamations like “This is the best thing ever!” and “I love tote bags!” and “Too bad I will never produce a child as awesome as Matilda.”
So thanks to Jeff, Marisa, Matilda, and everyone at the first (and possibly last) Iverson Park Literary Festival. Did we mention we had a great time?