Greetings Muggles,

We’re sure that you, too, are spending your days anxiously awaiting your acceptance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Checking the mail for letters written in green ink, letters that could find you even if you were on vacation in the middle of an ocean. We have waited for ours for an entire year since discovering the Harry Potter series. Nothing yet, but we are preparing nevertheless. We requested that there be broomstick racks installed on the new van just in case, but the dealer refused to paint “Nimbus 2001” on the side. Clearly, she was a Muggle.

Everyone here is working on defining their magical qualities. One never knows what ordinary skills you possess that would qualify you to fight dragons, defeat dementors, and confuse Bogarts. For example: Julie thinks Tom the photo guru at Target does magic in one hour. Shelly the piano teacher is clearly magical, if not saintly. And any babysitter that when called, says they are available – definitely magical. Since we are sure that we, too, have innate magical qualities, we have taken the next step and planned out a shopping list of school supplies. However, we have had the tiniest bit of trouble obtaining the necessary equipment in Minnesota for entrance into Hogwarts.

Wands: They say that the wand picks the wizard but since we don’t have a local branch of Ollivander’s Wands, we’ve had to improvise, and have tried out a number of options. Hannah and Elizabeth are still experimenting with various straight objects with no luck. Shannon was picked by a 5 iron and has been using it to levitate balls. Chr’s and Julie have both field tested the weed whacker and have been successful at shortening weeds, but not in making them disappear.

Cauldrons: Haven’t found any suitable cauldrons lying about the house but we would sacrifice the spaghetti pot if necessary. Elizabeth’s backpack is like a black hole, and that would also work very effectively.

Telescope: Thank goodness our schools start astronomy early. We may be able to skip this item since all of the girls learned to identify Orion in kindergarten… over and over and over … I’m sure there are other important constellations, but once you are friendly with one, the rest should be easy.

Three sets of black work robes per student: As long as they don’t care what kind of socks you wear, then Julie is okay with the robes. Chr’s is looking for something that doesn’t resemble a dress (what would the guys at work say!?) We’re having trouble convincing the girls to wear the plain black robes. They’re indignant enough about being mistaken for triplets in their regular clothes, (all of them being 4 foot, 1 inch, straight haired blonds,) why would they want to wear identical clothes?

We are aware that first year students are not allowed to have broomsticks, but after our experience with Delta Airlines we will be applying for special dispensation. We attempted to take some advance, preparatory classes at the Magic Kingdom this fall. We learned only one useful spell, a very simple one, that can be used anywhere once you have it down. With a wave of your hand, and the simple incantation “Charge it!” we discovered that you could obtain almost anything. Chr’s was appalled to find that apparently Julie has known about this spell for years, and has done her motherly duty of passing it on to her children. This spell can be countered with a flash of an empty wallet and a stern look.

We don’t expect to have any trouble adjusting to life in the castle. Shannon has always assumed that she would someday live in one. I think her dream includes a prince, not her parents with her, but since she is only 7, Chr’s is not about to let some classmate try charming her unless he is standing right there. He’ll probably enlist the help of Filtch the Caretaker, and Peeves the Poltergeist to follow the girls around and report back to him. We’re looking forward to the dining hall where food magically appears on your plate. The best we’ve been able to do is delivery to the front door. I wonder what they do about laundry?

We’ve had difficulty learning to speak parsel tongue, but Shannon and Elizabeth have picked up a considerable amount of Spanish from the summer recreation program. We thought that it would be more useful than Latin. Hannah is getting braces, and we hope that it doesn’t cause her to slur too many words. What if she turned the ‘wagon’ into a ‘dragon?’ We’ll put a fireproof lid on the hamster cage just in case.

Elizabeth, who still aspires to be a singing veterinarian, can hardly wait to take Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class. If only she had a three headed dog named Fluffy, her life would be complete. We won’t allow her to bring home any other homework; our garden doesn’t need any Blast-Ended Skrewts.

Until recently there has been very little press coverage of the wizarding sport of Quidditch. We wondered how Hannah would do as a seeker so she has begun playing basketball two nights a week, however, it appears that her skills favor chaser over seeker. As long as she gets a cute uniform with a number three, she’ll be happy.

Please send us an owl if you will be in the neighborhood and we’ll send you the password to get in the portrait hole we’ve installed in the front door. If you don’t feel up to crawling through it, we can meet at the Leaky Caldron instead. If we don’t see you this holiday season, we’ll look you up in the mists of the crystal ball, or in the webs of cyberspace. Have a safe year, and watch out for the dirty green colored Bertie Botts All Flavor Beans. We have it on good authority that those are the booger flavored ones!

For a translation of this parchment, please refer to the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling – or call for showings at a theater near you.
Phelps Family: Chr’s, Julie, Hannah, Elizabeth and Shannon

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