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From the Mixed-Up Files of Joan Jett

May 17th, 2010 · 59 comments

Emily says her parents in Massachusetts recently dug out this note from the family archives, written when Emily was six. (She’s now a high school English teacher.)

“None of us have any recollection of the circumstances surrounding it,” Emily says, “but my mother must have done something pretty awful to warrant such a melodramatic note, my six-year-old rage boiling just below the surface.”

Mom, I'm going to run away tomorrow at 9:30 when you are Dad are sleeping. Be sure to say goodbye forever. Emily P.S. I will be packing tonight

Adds Emily: “Given my use of the word ‘steepping,’ I also apparently confused my parents with bags of tea.”

related: My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Parents

FILED UNDER: kids · Massachusetts · Moms & Dads · most popular notes of 2010 · Mother-daughter notes · p.s.

59 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Escape Goat

    At least Emily decided to wean them off gently, by allowing them to watch her pack.

    May 17, 2010 at 8:31 pm   rating: 36  small thumbs up

  • #2   Quite Contrary

    Dear Emily,
    I’m going to save this note for your children.

    May 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm   rating: 50  small thumbs up

  • #3   Desiree Ladd

    As the mother of a six y/o currently learning to write I just LOVE this note! The inventive spelling and “steeping” mistakes are just so precious. I understand why the parents have saved it all these years. GREAT! :D

    May 17, 2010 at 8:37 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

  • #4   Nack

    How polite to inform them first! Next note was:

    “Dear Mom and Dad,

    I couldn’t run away, because I couldn’t find my suitcase to pack things in.”

    May 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Flaboy2425

      I got pissed at my mom when I was about that age and told her I was going to run away. She asked me if I wanted her to pack my bag for me

      May 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   KoS

      Or, as happened to my uncle, be unable to run away because your mom won’t let you cross the street.

      May 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm   rating: 55  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   VZG

      Flaboy, my mother did the same. And yet I regularly repeated my threat! Once we were outside and I told her I was going to run away, and she stepped aside and pointed to the gate. “Go on. Let’s see how far you get.”

      I also eventually realized that the only places I could “run away” to would be my neighbor’s house and the ice cream store a few blocks away, because I didn’t know anywhere else to go.

      May 17, 2010 at 11:32 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Wolverine Girl

      KoS, I had the same problem as your uncle. I ended out just walking round the block. Fortunately, half way round the block there was a giant mulberry bush which was loaded with ripe mulberries, so it wasn’t a wasted trip.

      May 18, 2010 at 1:14 am   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   Bunnee

      When my 6 year old told me he was going to run away, I asked him where he was going. He said, “To Nana’s”. I then asked him how he was going to get there. He said, “Nana will pick me up.”

      Yay! Mini -vacation for Mom and Dad! Be sure to stay the entire weekend!

      May 18, 2010 at 8:59 am   rating: 42  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   HappyNat


      Was your uncle Teen Wolf?

      May 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #4.7   Clumber

      Around that age I gathered up my important possessions, including the survival manual called, iirc, The Bernstein Bears Go Camping, and piled it all into a laundry basket. Dragging it to the door I loudly announced, “I AM RUNNING AWAY FOREVER!” to which my mother replied, “Not with my laundry basket you aren’t.”

      Yeah, actually that sums up my entire relationship with my mother.

      May 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm   rating: 52  small thumbs up

  • #5   Jynical

    I also have a 6 year old… and I’m jealous of Emily’s beautiful writing. ;)

    May 17, 2010 at 8:55 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   Having Fitz

      I’m amazed that a six year old wrote this. I’m nearly 35 and even I can’t read my own writing.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:19 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #6   farcical aquatic ceremony

    Emily’s mom and dad sure go to steep early!

    May 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm   rating: 30  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Bunnee

      Right? I wondered how they were going to say goodbye if they were asteep!

      May 18, 2010 at 8:55 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Mo® bang

      Oh they are “steeping” alright!
      apply steeping and tea bagging joke here

      May 18, 2010 at 8:55 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   Escape Goat

      Yo, steep this bag for me, baby.

      (Geez, I’m a jerk.)

      May 18, 2010 at 3:28 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #7   farcical aquatic ceremony

    Mebbe’ Em’s parents really wanted alone time @ 9:30 so they could really steep in each other’s sexy juices, RAWR!!

    May 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #8   Canthz_B bang

    Finally!! There will be peace in that home once Tom Roe is run away.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #9   mamason bang

    Now see! That’s a sweet note! None of this, “I’m warning you,” crap. Just a nice little, “I’m leaving you forever.” I can’t even explain why this little note tugs at my heart strings. Precious! ♥

    May 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #10   Ethnic Avenue

    As a high-school English teacher, Emily must have mixed feelings about: her precocious understanding of capitalization rules and letter-writing format, on the one hand, and her failure to split words in their correct syllabic places, on the other.

    May 18, 2010 at 2:04 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #11   Grant

    Your parents are into tea-bagging?

    May 18, 2010 at 4:01 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #12   clea walford

    very funny, love melodramatic notes

    May 18, 2010 at 6:29 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #13   Splint Chesthair

    I wrote a similar note about that age, but we had a bunch of woods in our backyard and my parents knew where I was running away too. I took my tent and camping supplies and some pop-tarts and SSips brand drink boxes and left to set up camp and live forever amongst the trees. I made it one night and into the next evening before my pop-tarts ran out and I got mad at my parents for not coming to find me.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:38 am   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   oi!

      I kinda did that. I did not want to go to school when I was in KG, so I hid in one of the shops and came out only after the school bus was gone. I had thought to pass the day around bus stop in the shops but one of the shop keeper saw me loitering and took me home. My mom was first horrified but then sent neighbor to take me to school where I had to stand outside in sun for two lectures! He told teachers everything. That sure taught me a lesson! Never thought of doing again but my mom always made sure that I actually board the bus before leaving.
      My brother outdid me in bunking schools. He would simply lock himself in his room until the school bus is gone then he would come out with a smile bigger than heath ledger’s. We had to uninstall all the locks form all the rooms because of him!

      May 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   Mo® bang

      Oh oi you adorable scamp!

      May 18, 2010 at 1:15 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   oi!

      ♥ mo ♥

      May 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #14   jaywalke

    Dear Emily,

    Be sure to lock the door behind you.



    May 18, 2010 at 7:58 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #15   farcical aquatic ceremony

    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by
    d by

    (when does ‘committing’ to a joke become ‘just being irritating’? too late to ask?)

    May 18, 2010 at 8:04 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   Clumber

      i think right about when the words lose meaning.

      So yeah, right about…………… there.

      May 18, 2010 at 3:43 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   Escape Goat

      d by

      4 eva


      May 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #16   js

    Reminds me of the Beatle’s song “Leaving Home.”

    May 18, 2010 at 8:08 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   park rose bang

      so much depends, fac.

      May 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #17   Woman on the Verge bang

    The only thing that would make this better is if she had signed it, “Love, Emily”.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:31 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Escape Goat

      The Former Daughter Known as Emily 0+.”

      (p.s. “0+” is a sad version of the sign for female.”
      (p.p.s. I need a life.)

      May 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #18   noah

    “None of us have any recollection of the circumstances surrounding it,”

    –sigh. When high school English teachers can’t get grammar right, it’s time to give up the ghost. “None of us has.”

    May 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   Z

      No one like a grammar nazi with the stick shoved so high up…

      May 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #18.2   anglophile bang

      Well, there noah, first off I’d like to say hi, welcome to PAN, thanks for commenting and I enjoyed the weary scorn plainly palpable in your post.

      Secondly, I’d like to tell you you’re a complete idiot and in this sentence, the plural verb is completely acceptable.

      To close, I’d like you to come back and try again the next time we have a “To whomever” post. You might have better luck.

      May 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm   rating: 33  small thumbs up

    • #18.3   Woman on the Verge bang

      Glo, I simply adore you.

      May 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #18.4   Splint Chesthair

      Wow, if you’re going to be a grammazi at least try and get it right. There is at least a modicum of respect for even the most blusterful of the kind so long as the impression is that the intent is to correct grammar at all cost. But to get it wrong, that is a shameful thing.

      May 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #18.5   Escape Goat

      I met a grammarian once. She bitch-slapped me.
      I said, “I like books.”
      She said, “How ’bout you go ‘F’ yourself.”
      I said, “But?”
      She said, “Conjugate this.”
      I said, “But I was an English major at a special, way-too-expensive college.”
      She said, “That and a MetroCard’ll get you a ride on the subway.”
      I said, “I friended Strunk and White on Facebook.”
      We hooked up.

      Yeah, I’m cool like dat.

      May 18, 2010 at 3:42 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #18.6   noah

      yawn. All the super-technical comments are right, in the sense that the English language is always amendable to multiple forms of usage. Thus, for example, “literally” has come in recent years to mean, “figuratively.” Similarly, by way of popular usage, there has been a significant uptick in the use of a plural verb along with a singular subject such as “none of us.” In my opinion, the misuse of the plural verb has not traveled far enough along to have become correct. I suppose, though, that the fact that English teachers (i.e., those who actually have thought about it) have come to accept this usage perhaps proves me wrong. Not that I think Emily is one such English teacher. She just got it “wrong.”

      May 18, 2010 at 6:11 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #18.7   infant tyrone bang

      Secondly, I’d like to tell you you’re a complete idiot and in this sentence, the plural verb is completely acceptable.

      At the risk of exposing myself as a Douglas Hofstadter groupie, I hope when you said ‘this’ sentence you meant ‘that’ sentence (or ‘your’ sentence, meaning Noah’s).

      I looked a couple times in your sentence for a plural anything before I realized you meant his sentence.

      Keep up the absolutely smashing good work,

      May 18, 2010 at 6:55 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #18.8   Woman on the Verge bang

      Ty, when you read glo’s entry, picture her pointing to the offending sentence. Seriously. Then it makes perfect sense.

      By the way, don’t ever even think of hinting that she might be less than perfect. She’s anglophile.

      May 18, 2010 at 7:04 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #18.9   park rose bang

      ty, there’s pedantic and there’s pedantic.

      We all bow to the goddess, that being Kerry, of course. Then we all bow to the other goddess, she-who-can-rarely-be-faulted, that being ‘glo . . . or this . . . either way, you don’t mess with a deity, especially when your . . .or my . . . punctuation is as bad as this, or that ;)

      May 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #18.10   Canthz_B bang

      I isn’t got a clue what you all are talking about. :-(

      May 18, 2010 at 8:31 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #18.11   another English teacher


      You say “[i]n my opinion, the misuse of the plural verb has not traveled far enough along to have become correct.” Really? If you will kindly read the links I included in my comment below, you will see that it’s not a “misuse.” Moreover, use of the plural verb with “none” dates back at least to King Alfred the Great in the year 888 and appears in the King James Bible. It was used by Dryden and Burke, among others. I think it’s “traveled far enough along.”

      Oh, and if those links aren’t enough for you, Noah, here’s another (from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary of English usage) :

      Lazy, stupid, and pompous — not a good combination, Noah. Get over yourself.

      May 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #18.12   Splint Chesthair

      Damn Noah, slapped down again, how many times will you stand up again? I’m kinda curious now.

      May 19, 2010 at 6:18 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #18.13   infant tyrone bang

      Wo + rose,

      I did say I figured it out…it was me being slow on the uptake…not anything wrong with Her construction.

      Possibly I was predisposed to the ambiguity ’cause I just got a copy of a Hofstadter book I hain’t red yit…
      ‘t’s called I Am a Strange Loop
      if I get out alive I’ll do a book review in the wreck hall.

      May 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #19   another English teacher

    Dear Noah,

    If you’re going to leave a pedantic passive-aggressive comment, you’d better get it right. You didn’t. See, e.g.,,

    another English teacher

    May 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

  • #20   Claudia Kincaid

    OMG, from the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was one of my favorite books as a kid! I loved the Boxcar Children too, but the idea of running away to a museum seemed so much more appealing to me.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:01 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   Mark bang


      May 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #21   comment

    Yeah running away is all fun and games when you’re six walking around the block. Unless you’re my 5 year old brother who believed he was a cave man and spent 2 1/2 days in the woods behind our house.

    The worst part was he was fine. I mean, that’s great and all but he wasn’t cold, tired, scared, hungry, etc. He was well fed on wild strawberries and raspberries and even made himself some shelter. When the rescue team finally found him all he asked was “Did mom and dad learn their lesson yet?”

    May 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   Clumber

      Don’t leave us hanging for heaven’s sake!!! Well did they?

      May 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #21.2   another English teacher

      I’m betting the kid’s still out there. Some parents never learn.

      May 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

  • #22   Dm

    My little brother decided to run away when he was about six; my mother helped him pack my father’s large military bag, including lots of water. She figured it would take him about 20 minutes to push and drag it to the nearest neighbors, which estimate was spot on. I’ll never forget how cute he looked with that bag and his determined expression.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #23   (Dad, too) | — funny (if not necessarily "passive-aggressive") notes from pissed-off people

    [...] Be sure to say goodbye forever Share0mail [...]

    Aug 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #24   Under the tree next year: a copy of “The Gas We Pass” |

    [...] related: From the Mixed-Up Files of Joan Jett [...]

    Dec 28, 2010 at 9:41 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #25   See you never again in my life |

    [...] (I’m Gonna) Run Away [...]

    Mar 6, 2011 at 10:55 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up


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