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Just what you wanted: homework!

The gingerbread man ran away and started a large family.

The gingerbread man ran away and started a large family.

Attention, World of Julie Readers! (All 12 of you!) A call to action! A ridiculous, random, call to action!

Henry’s class is studying geography in December. Being December, the geography unit also has a gingerbread theme. I guess the class is going to make a gingerbread man, and then bring him to the school kitchen to be baked. The baker is going to come back and say that, during baking, the gingerbread man ran away. Once the kids get over the incredible terror that comes from baked goods you made yourself springing to life and running off, they are going to learn about geography and mapping as the gingerbread man is spotted traveling around the country.

That’s where you come in. Henry’s teacher wants our friends and family (presumably those who don’t live in South Portland, to make it a little more exciting) to send postcards saying you have spotted the runaway cookie. They’re going to keep track of his adventure on a map.  You’re also supposed to mention that you saw the gingerbread man doing something that he might actually be doing in your area, like, I don’t know, climbing Mount Hood or something. Sweating in Tallahassee (Paticus, I’m sure there’s something else people do in Tallahassee…isn’t there?). You should also, of course, mention that you know Henry, so that Henry continues to rock kindergarten. So your postcard might say something like,

“Dear Kindergartners, Hey! I saw your runaway gingerbread man shopping on Rodeo Drive. Whose convertible was he driving? Sincerely, Henry’s pal, Edwina Sugarcracker.”

Though you’re supposed to sign your own name. Not that I’m telling you you have to. I am proud that all 12 of my readers are probably the funniest and most creative people in the country, so I know you can write something interesting. (The actual example the teacher gave was, “I saw your gingerbread man here in Dallas, TX! He was wearing a cowboy hat!” which isn’t so horrible, but it lacks that certain sardonic edge that I think most elementary school correspondence should have.)

I don’t want to sound like I’m mocking this assignment, because this is exactly the sort of assignment I would come up with if I were a kindergarten teacher teaching geography in December.

Ok, now the paranoid question is: can I actually put the address of Henry’s school on the internet? Will some crazy stalker person figure out who we are from this information and track me down? Am I being ridiculous? Email me at julie AT worldofjulie DOT com for the address. Or comment below if you think it’s fine to post the address. And, on the off chance that someone I don’t actually know wants to send a postcard, please do! Step right up! Especially if you live somewhere where I don’t know anyone else! (Because again, this is all about Henry rocking kindergarten, isn’t it?)

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18 Responses to “Just what you wanted: homework!”

  1. 1
    Clog:

    That sounds like fun. What is the beginning and ending time for this project? I could get Cordelia to send one from Paris!

  2. 2
    Anne:

    What a fun assignment! I would love to do this, though I’ll be hard pressed to come up with something cool the gingerbread man would be doing in Stamford. Running a red light in his Lexus SUV? Tearing down a modest home to build a McMansion? Practicing guerrilla parking maneuvers in the Bed Bath and Beyond parking lot? I’ll think of something. I wouldn’t post the school’s address here, but please email it to me! I’m off work today so I can buy a postcard (though if I was at work, I’d have been able to procure an RD postcard).

  3. 3
    Julie:

    I think you could send a postcard anytime starting now. Not sure when it ends, the bit in the kindergarten newsletter just says “throughout the month of December.”

    I totally think the gingerbread man should be running a red light in his Lexus SUV in Stamford. Or getting buying a Fendi makeup bag to hold all of his new product from his makeover? Though I guess that would shed a whole different light on the gingerbread man.

  4. 4
    Christina:

    We’ll send one from Long Beach! Of course we’ll have the gingerbread man doing something wholesome in long beach (visiting the Queen mary, the aquarium, etc) rather than rolling with Snoop Dog (Long Beach’s most famous native)

  5. 5
    Julie:

    If he did roll with Snoop, he would have to come up with a new rap name, like G Man or Gingah or something.

  6. 6
    Elizabeth:

    I don’t know…gingerbread might be right up Snoop’s alley. I saw him cooking with Martha on her show this week…dumping lots of Frangelico into whatever they were making. Anyhoo, count me in. Please send me the school address. We did this for my nephew when he was in elementary school, too, and it was a lot of fun.

  7. 7
    Emily:

    YO NEW YORK CITY STEPPIN’ UP. You want gritty new york, glittery new york, or Harlem? – like,”I saw your gingerbread man last night buying discount electronics and an “I love New York” t-shirt next to a peep show on ninth avenue and 42nd street!” OR, “he was skating under a GIGANTIC Christmas tree at the end of a kicking line of ROCKETTS wearing thermal nude pantyhose! (the rocketts) OR “I saw your gingerbread man coming out of apollo night in his patent-leather kicks whistling at some girls while getting their hair braided in mimi’s african hair braiding salon! He smelled awesome” I mean, New york is MANY cities.

  8. 8
    Julie:

    Emily, clearly you need to get one of those oversized postcards and have him EVERYwhere. And thank you for clarifying that it was not the cookie wearing the nude hose.

    And I can actually see the gingerbread man being into Frangelico as well.

  9. 9
    Christina:

    Do they want just one postcard- or several?- I can make up a little envelope of several local postcards- but I dont want to overdo it if that’s not what the teacher is looking for. Is it like the specific gingerbread man (or Gingah) that Henry made, came here to Long Beach to see us?- like do i sign the card “Henry’s Gingah” or not? Just getting all the details straight…Erik thought we should make a gingerbread man and take pictures of him around long beach- but then if he looked drastically different than the original Gingah the gig is up.

  10. 10
    Julie:

    I think just one postcard from you will be fine. They’re going to pinpoint the locations on a map, so more than one might get confusing. The idea seems to be, as best as I can suss it out from the newsletter, that the class is going to jointly construct one enormous gingerbread man, and that is the one who will run away. So you might want to write something like, “This is Henry’s cousin Christina in Long Beach, and I just saw your gingerbread man surfing with Snoop!” If you and Erik get super inspired and want to make a weekend of it, you can definitely expand to a letter. Doesn’t have to be a postcard! :)

  11. 11
    Emily:

    so, we spent the weekend getting VERY excited about all the people we know far away- the only time we are EXCITED about this rather than sad-verging on angry: do you think the gingerbread man might want to go to EGYPT? or GERMANY? I have a couple of old students who are spending their junior year abroad this year (let us not even talk about the other fact which I have just discovered – that some of my old students have FINISHED THEIR MASTERS and are actual working social workers and such. Jesus H. Christ). i wonder, speaking of Jesus, if we know anyone in Jerusalem! Egypt might be as far as we get.

  12. 12
    Julie:

    Oh, hurray, Emily! EGYPT! GERMANY! I definitely think the gingerbread man wants to go there.

  13. 13
    Robyn:

    Ready to spur the conversation on gender expression? The gingerbread man comes to San Francisco, lets his frosting grow out, and starts saying “just call me Ginger.” I’ll report on lip-synching, lamé gowns, and running for the cable car in platform heels.

    Or we could all go to Golden Gate Park and see the gb man learning to swing dance on roller blades, getting some fine cannoli in North Beach, and picking only the best tomatoes at the Ferry Building farmer’s market.

    Which will be odder to the Maine children?

  14. 14
    Julie:

    Yes, well, the former might be odder to Maine children, though I think it might, as you say, spur some interesting conversation.

    Actually, not to brag too much, but I think you can swing dance on roller blades, get awesome cannoli, and pick tomatoes at the farmer’s market all here in Maine (not that I’m trying to convince you to move here or anything…).

  15. 15
    Robyn:

    Okay: crossing the GG bridge and admiring the new suicide barrier…er, the VIEW of Alcatraz, brief home of the American Indian Movement; watching salmon swim upstream under the redwoods in Muir woods; chatting about his school garden with Alice Waters over a rabbit and fennel…er, beet, fennel, and grapefruit salad; waving to the cable car passengers as he huffs and puffs up to Nob Hill.

    and keep trying to convince me…someday, it’ll work, and you’ll be stuck with me. (and Rachel will be so helpful and fun…so you won’t feel stuck with her, nope)

  16. 16
    Julie:

    Yes yes, those be a Maine-kindergartner-appropriate list of San Francisco activities for our worldly cookie.

    I think you just need to come to Maine and you’ll be so happy here you’ll never want to leave and then YOU’LL be stuck with ME.

  17. 17
    Robyn:

    stuck with you sounds like the best stuckness a girl could ever have.

    …so I’ll need that address!

  18. 18
    Julie:

    sending address your way!

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