Friday, June 28, 2013

Unhappy Endings Exist

Light from the bathroom spills onto the floor, offering the perfect chance to ignore bedtime for the more enjoyable task of reading. This is my saving grace from ever being held back a grade -- I like to read.

You might remember my first interaction with our librarian. I searched for books about Rudyard Kipling, and he nearly expired from a heart attack.

Tonight, I lay on the ground in my doorway, using the light from the bathroom to read Riki Tiki Tavi. Wendy and Maria are asleep behind me, hence why the closet light is not on.

This book is very loved. It's been read at least once a week, if not once a day.

I am up late. I know this because the entire house is dark, and my parents are in bed. Of course, my mother understands my habits and is up checking on me. She pads down the hallway. I expect her, so I don't immediately snatch up my book and hurl myself in bed. This is a regular routine for us. She's never gotten mad at me before, so there is no fear of being caught.

However, she surprises me with the following:

"Kara, perhaps it's time you read something else."

I look up at her. "I read lots of books."

She yawns. "Yes, but I think you might enjoy a new one. Go on and go to bed. In the morning, we'll start another book."

I groan inwardly. This means she is going to pick a book for me. That is the WORST. But, I don't argue, and in the morning, as promised, is a new book. Little Women.

She reads it to me. And Maria.

I am enthralled with the characters. These four sisters who love each other so dearly, who make believe, and tear down walls. I love Meg. I love Jo. I adore sweet Beth. I laugh at little Amy.

I decide I am like Jo. She chooses independence over marriage. I think that is a pretty smart idea.

And then...the unspeakable...sweet Beth.

My heart is ripped from my chest, a bloody, pulpy mess lying on the ground. The author is grinding her heel into it and twisting. The pain is excruciating. I stare aghast at my mother.

"What kind of book is this?" I cry.

She just smiles at me.

When the book is done, I walk around in a trance, wondering how my mother and Maria can function. Poor Beth! How can we go on as if nothing happened?

Thus begins my rapture with the lives of fictitious people. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. They were my first.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Second Grade Project

My Grandmother loved this so much, she hung it in her house. It hangs in mine now. The following story was written on a piece of lined white paper, cut to look like a ghost. I did not correct the spelling or other errors. Enjoy!

I was at a cave
and in that cave Ther was a gost
and I was scered!
Will he grabed me
and Then I said
Help no body hred me
So I tried to get
out but I coodet
get out
I did some thing and do you
know what I did
I scereed him myself.


Saturday, June 8, 2013


Through Kindergarten and First grade, I spent recess in the following ways:

1) Cajoling kids into games of tag.
2) Cajoling kids into games of kickball or dodge ball.
3) Climbing on the varieties of playground equipment. Alone.
4) Defending people from "The Bully" that kicked my sister.
5) Forcing myself to play those hand games with the girls. You remember....."Apples on a stick, they make me sick, they make my stomach go two forty six...."

I distinctly remember the day when I ran over to the balance beams. Ponytail Girl was on one doing back walk-overs. I asked her if she wanted to play. She put her nose in the air and completed a perfect cart wheel. I took that as a no.

It wasn't easy trying to get kids to play with you. Recess during these two years wasn't always fun, though it still was my favorite part of school.

Second grade was different. You might recall my earlier post about the new redheaded girl, Jennifer. She made second grade very bearable. She didn't always want to play tag or kickball, but because she was loyal to me, I forced myself to do "girl" things.

When the summer came, she gave me her phone number. We had plans for slumber parties and swimming.

I almost looked forward to third grade....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Quite A Character

Grace's husband.....

Calm, steady, quiet, and brilliant. He can travel the Appalachians on foot. He can probably survive in the woods with nothing but a stick and his smarts.

He fixes problems with few words, has a ready smile, and a firm handshake.

One always felt safe around Grace's husband. One always felt encouraged by his genuine interest in how you were doing and what you were doing.

But...I always thought him surprisingly contradictory.....

He went to work in a suit and tie. He made sure all activities were safe. He cautioned you on making the right decisions. He advised with wisdom and an unassuming tone.

And yet, he came to the Halloween party as a flasher. I can see him in my mind, clear as if it was today. A trench coat over shorts that bore a sign that said "Boo!" in orange letters.

What an interesting and fearless person.


The strength of his character shows a will I admire and try to practice....every day of my life.