“Dear Mountain Room Parents” by Maria Semple

Here’s an oldie-but-goodie, tongue-in-cheek essay from The New Yorker. It’s a send-up of a preschool teacher trying to throw a Day of the Dead party and the email back-and-forth that ensues, for example:


Some of you have expressed concern about your children celebrating a holiday with the word “dead” in it. I asked Eleanor’s mom, who’s a pediatrician, and here’s what she said: “Preschoolers tend to see death as temporary and reversible. Therefore, I see nothing traumatic about the Day of the Dead.” I hope this helps.


Dear Parents:

In response to the e-mail we all received from Maddie’s parents, in which they shared their decision to raise their daughter dogma-free, yes, there will be an altar, but please be assured that the Day of the Dead is a pagan celebration of life and has nothing to do with God. Keep those photos coming!



Perhaps “pagan” was a poor word choice. I feel like we’re veering a bit off track, so here’s what I’ll do. I’ll start setting up our altar now, so that today at pickup you can see for yourselves how colorful and harmless the Day of the Dead truly is.


Aubrey Cohen, writing on the Seattle Post Intelligencer website, says, “It’s funny cause it’s true.”

Read the whole thing here.
New Yorker article "Dear Mountain Room Parents"