In my report card dated June 5, 1970, my teacher, Mrs. Marlene Larson, wrote: “Lynn is a good natured and friendly child who is most considerate when associating with her peers…She completes the majority of her assignments with a high degree of accuracy.” It was Mrs. Larson’s nice way of saying, “Lynn is a bit high strung and nervous. She hates conflict, hates to make mistakes, and seems to be growing a large stick out her ass.”
Ah, the good old days.
Academically, first grade was my favorite year ever. That’s when I learned how to write the alphabet, then words, then stories. I apparently was quite good at math, too, but it didn’t take long for my right brain to eat up most of my left brain, and in future years my math skills went in the toilet.
But I could write!
“In our creative writing program,” wrote Mrs. Larson, “Lynn can express her ideas through written communication. Her stories are indicative of advancement in the use of capitalization and punctuation technique.” Not exactly a rave review of the content of my stories, but it’s good to know my love of grammar was apparent from the beginning.
My parents kept a few of my stories, and dad was kind enough to put them in the envelope he gave me years ago that contained my report cards that I found last week. Here’s what I wrote, verbatim, however, in a few instances I put the real word in parenthesis so you don’t struggle trying to figure out what the heck that misspelled word is.
Jan. 28, 1970
I have a friend who lives in Omaha her name is Teela her est (used) to live here with me I love her very much her love me to
OK, so my grammar sucks in that one, but Teela is still my friend (although she doesn’t live in Omaha anymore), and look at the next one and how much my punctuation improved in just a few weeks.
March 6, 1970
If I want to go to the moon I wood see. Captain kangaroo and Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. And the Man in the moon. That’s how Mane (many). I liked it.
Some girls dreamed of being princesses. I dreamed of seeing Captain Kangaroo on the moon. Inspired, no doubt, by the moon landing seven months prior, I was apparently very excited about the possibility of space travel. I was no Phil Nowlan, but it’s fun for 44-year-old Lynn to see 6-year-old Lynn still had enthusiasm for fantasy.
This next story was no doubt inspired by my love for Dr. Seuss books. I wish I could remember what was going on in my head as I wrote this because it is incomplete. Either I wasn’t given enough time or enough space to explain what “sneefing” is. The Gleefle went to the zoo and I’m sure he meant to “sneef” while at the zoo, but he apparently didn’t get past the pig exhibit.
LynnH May 2, 1970
The Gleefle that Sneefed
Once upon a time there lived a. Gleefle and he was going to the zoo. He saw a big pig his is a big fat one to.
Sneefing could mean so many things. Maybe that’s what my husband was doing in 1970 when he and his friends got stoned at ZZ Top concerts on the beach in Galveston. Perhaps Nixon was sneefing in the White House.
This has potential as a creative writing assignment: finish the Gleefle story and define “sneef.” Care to post your ideas?
I’ve not known a time when I didn’t write. My grades in language and reading were always top notch, and I’ve kept a journal since fifth grade. I once thought about being a veterinarian, a marketing major, and a teacher, but always, always, I went back to writing. Yes, I am still sort of uptight and anxious, and that stick is still there much of the time, but writing has always been a release, a way for me to understand who I am. I appreciate it for the gift it is.
What were you passionate about as a kid? Did you recognize it then and does your career or educational path reflect that passion? As always, post a comment or send me an email. And don’t forget to make your best guess about “sneefing.”