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Dear President Reagan;

My name is Dora Jean Ashley Craddock and I have a terrible problem I hope you can help me with. I am writing to you because my teacher said the Supreme Court Justices only listen to problems if lawyers bring them up. And I’m not a lawyer, at least not yet. I’m actually twelve years old and being deprived of my constitutional right to sleep in my own room. If you’re too busy for this will you please give my letter to Mrs. Reagan. She seems like a nice lady and I think Susan Margaret would listen to her, especially if she says you agree with her, but Mrs. Reagan might need to throw in the Pope or the Queen of England for good measure.

I know that sounds like a lot but you don’t know my sister. She hasn’t come out of our room in three days and I think she may have settled in for good. Like Emily Dickinson. I think that’s just fine actually. It’s just that she won’t let me in. She has thrown clothes out the door to me and then locked the door again. And my parents have just given up as usual.

My sister, Susan Margaret Carter Craddock is blaming me for what she calls the humiliation of her life and there is no way I can be considered to be in the slightest bit to blame for this admittedly unfortunate occurrence.

Here are the facts and I’ll let you (or Mrs. Reagan) decide.

Susan Margaret has always called me mean even when I’m just being playful. She is four years and three months older than me and that makes her the queen of the earth, she thinks. She always uses her VOCABULARY against me and loves to argue and then pretend I started it so she can be the mature one in the family. She is a Rainbow Girl which is a very secret club which she holds over me by saying if I’m not nice to her she won’t nominate me when I get old enough to join and she will BLACKBALL me if someone else nominates me. She is some color of the rainbow in the club which sounds pretty silly but that’s all I know about it. She doesn’t even have anything written down about it in her diary or in any of her things. I guess it’s all memorized. She said she wants to be a Worthy Advisor. And she got mad when I told her to watch out about the babies. It was a civic duty I was performing. All the Worthy Advisors in this town end up pregnant. I think it must have something to do with the job.

My sister always has to be perfect in everything. This makes me mad and so I can’t help a few little jokes now and then, like recording her and her friends when they had a slumber party and the old saran wrap over the john routine. But I had nothing to do with the terrible accident and she has no right to blame me.

As part of Susan Margaret’s club, she had the job of being on the Miss Sweetwater High committee. (And her job wasn’t to be a contestant, believe me! The men in our family get the looks.) Well, anyway, she was supposed to introduce the contestants and more or less run the backstage part of the contest. I was pretty impressed by it all so I decided to go to see the show. I honestly didn’t know anything was going to happen.

Even though Susan Margaret wouldn’t let me go with her, (She said she wouldn’t be caught dead with a pupa like me. She can be very insulting.) I got a ride with my mom who was good enough to drop me off at the auditorium so I could support my big sister. I applauded like crazy when she walked on stage and she smiled until she saw it was me. Then she narrowed her eyes, like she does, for a second and then smiled really big to the audience again and began her speech.

She was standing in front of the curtain and you could hear the contestants lining up behind, the click-click of high heels and swoosh of long dresses. Susan Margaret was talking about how each contestant had talents that were more than skin deep and all that and she introduced the judges who stood up and looked embarrassed or pleased or ready for a serious job. Susan Margaret had note cards and she checked them but she was really good at it. She didn’t look nervous at all. I was proud of her.

Then she ended the speech with, “And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, our lovely contestants!” She swept her arm out toward the curtain and up it went. There must have been a hook or something in the curtain because it caught on Susan Margaret’s dress, and pulled it right off! There was a gasp from everyone present and then Susan Margaret screamed and I screamed. And then she just stood there screaming and covering herself with her arms but you could still see the Kleenexes in her bra and everything. I screamed out, “Run, Susan Margaret!” And she came to her senses and ran off the stage. Then everyone started to snort and giggle like at church or a funeral where somebody gets tickled and can’t help themselves. The next thing we knew people were holding their faces and hurting themselves to try to keep from laughing. Then all of a sudden, somebody snorted really loudly and the whole place just broke down laughing. The “most delicious pandemonium ensued.” That’s what Skeeter Carlson said at school the next day. But I didn’t stay to find out.

Like the good sister I am, I ran out of the auditorium and around back to find Susan Margaret. She was wrapped in an old costume cape, sitting in a lump, and crying her eyes out which any normal person would do. I came up and started to pat her on the shoulder. She jumped back and looked at me. “I’ll never forgive you for this,” she said between her teeth. And she ran out of the building.

When I got home the door to our room was locked. I called through it to Susan Margaret to ask her why she was mad at me. She yelled, “You laughed at me!” “I never did!” I yelled back which wasn’t completely true but I am human. “You little witch,” she screamed. “I heard you laughing at me! You started up the laughter. You were the goddam leader of the laughing people!”

You see how she talks to me? So, please Mr. President, tell her that I’ve got a right to stay in my own room. Tell her it wasn’t my fault. She won’t listen to me or Mom or Dad. And it’s the law she has to go to school isn’t it? Please tell her she has to come out. If it isn’t possible for you to order her to do these things, could you at least write and let me know you’ve read my letter? It will be a great comfort to me to know the President of my country knows all about my situation with my sister even if you don’t have an opinion about it.

Sincerely Yours,

DORA JEAN, the first


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 23rd, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
I've got a giant grin. This is such a fun read!
Jan. 24th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
Cute story
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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