The following letter was sent by a girl in college back home to her parents (un-edited version):
Dear Mum and Dad,
It has been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and I am very sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. You are not to read any further unless you are sitting down, okay.
Well then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival are pretty well healed now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get those headaches once a day.
Fortunately, an attendant at the gas station near the dorm witnessed the fire in the dormitory and my jump, and he was the one who called the fire dept. and the ambulance. He also visited me at the hospital and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt out dormitory, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It's really a basement room, but it's kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven't set the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.
Yes, mum and dad, I am pregnant. I know how very much you are looking forward to being grandparents, and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love and devotion you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has a minor infection, which prevents us from phappying our premarital blood tests, and I carelessly caught it from him. This will soon clear up with the penicillin injections I am now taking daily.
I know you will welcome him into the family with open arms. He is kind, and although not well educated, he is ambitious. Although he is of a different race and religion to ours, I thought your oft-expressed tolerance would not permit you to be bothered by the fact that his skin colour is somewhat darker than ours. I am sure you will love him as I do. His family background is good too, for I am told his father is an important gun bearer in the village in Africa from which he comes.
Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you there was no dormitory fire; I did not have a concussion or skull fracture; I was not in hospital; I am not pregnant; I am not engaged. I do not have syphilis, and there is no boyfriend in my life. However, I am getting a D in sociology and an F in Science; and I wanted you to see these marks in proper perspective.
Your loving daughter
This letter is hugely popular on the UL circuit, and has to go down as one of my favourites. Although very funny and witty, this letter intelligently plays on the parent's fears and attitudes towards college life. The tables are cleverly turned to stifle the impact of the real problems, bad grades! An elaborate story is told to put the bad grades into proper prospective.
This version of the letter is from 1968, and although there are many different versions, they all have the same structure. The only difference normally being the grades and the subjects to which the girl is taking.