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September 10, 2008


I'm from Massachusetts and, therefore an honorary Kennedy. I didn't grow up in a really political household, but I did find the time to write to politicians. I thought it was something you were supposed to do, the civic duty of every youngster in the USA. Not to get a message out to Washington or ask for support on issues, just to say hi and tell them how hard math was and which new Pound Puppy I just got. Since it's a political time in our country, I thought you'd like to know that you're dealing with a blogger who really takes the time to get involved. 

My parents gave me a big scrapbook for high school graduation and it was full of adorable Liz memorabilia, much of it, hilariously enough, was stuff I had asked them to mail and they never did. One was a letter I wrote to my soccer coach when I was like six complaining that my team didn't get a write--up in the weekly town paper and just what was he going to do about it.

Another was a letter I wrote to Ronald Reagan when I was seven. I don't have a scanner but lucky for you, I transcribed it. Mind you, this was the second letter I wrote to him, the first one was sent and, as other White House corresponders know, I received a "thank you" informational booklet about the executive branch, the default response mailing. It was disappointing, which is why I wanted more from the second letter. I think my parents saw through me and knew I was being greedy, which is why they didn't mail it. 


Ronald and Nancy
I already wrote to you before.
I already got one of those booklets maybe you can probably give me something else. If you’re giving something else?
Im in third grade. Im 7 years old too. I have a father who is a minister we live wright next to our church. Its really neat. I know you probably think Im young to be in the third grade I have lots of friends. I play soccer too I love games
(Ron and Nancy needed to know that it was time to turn over the page)

Schools pretty good my teachers name is Mrs. Cahill shes really nice BYE.
Elizabeth Black

I also drew a picture of a return envelope addressed to me, so they would know exactly how to respond. Now that I think about it, if he had gotten my letter I bet Reagan would have appreciated the instruction. Of course at this point in my life, I still thought Ronald and Nancy Reagan were not real people, just the puppets from the "Land of Confusion" video.

Later, when I was about 10, some classmates and I wrote a letter to MA Governor Michael Dukakis, expressing our disappointment that he didn't win the presidential election in 1988. Having just lost, Dukakis had nothing to do aside from preventing his wife from drinking her own perfume, so he wrote back saying: 

Thank you for writing. I’m glad to know I have such good friends in Acton. Judging from the mail I’ve been receiving from all over the country, if we could have lowered the voting age to include fifth graders we would have had a landslide victory!

I did enjoy the campaign. There were some good days and some not so good days, but I will never forget the beauty of this great country or the kindness, hospitality and decency of its people.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me.


Michael S. Dukakis

So yeah, I was totally penpals with the Duke. Also, pretty safe to say that if any fifth graders could vote, Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas would be president and VP, but that would be an improvement over our current situation, so perhaps we should consider it.

Another time, my family went to DC and I had my picture taken with John Kerry, and in keeping with the delightful 1980's-ness of it all, I rocked a big perm,  turquoise denim jacket and a charm necklace. That picture and these letters, like flies in amber, will forever commemorate my dealings inside the Beltway.