In honor of my 100th post today I thought I would let everyone in on a little secret. Also, I would like to dedicate this post to my mom. She is hands down, the best mom in the world. She is also celebrating her birthday today! I’m so lucky to have her in my life!
I almost flunked my Creative Writing course my senior year in high school. In all actuality I should not have been passed.
I HATED high school.
I had such a hard time sitting still through those classes and focusing. I was the kid in the back of the class playing pranks and cracking jokes. I had some very nice teachers and many of the friends I had in high school are still my friends today. My friends were smart, studious and well-behaved. In fact, my best friend was Class President and Salutatorian of our graduating class. So, the disliking of high school was just due to the fact I couldn’t sit still and could think of a hundred other things I would rather be doing.
This is me, my senior year
My sophomore year of high school I got a job as a receptionist at a large car dealership. I really liked the owners and people I worked with but answering phones was a bit boring. I kept begging people to give me any of their extra work to do while I was in between phone calls. My co-workers happily handed over things that they weren’t able to get done and were suitable for a high school girl.
By my junior year in high school I went from working 17 hours a week to about 35. They had plenty of filing and data entry to keep me busy every day after school and Saturdays. I did very little homework. Somehow I had accumulated enough credits and a high enough GPA that I was eligible to graduate early my senior year. My boss at the car dealership had already been teaching me accounting due to my eager requests to have more work to do after school. When I told him that I was graduating early he offered me a full time position of taking over the accounting for the used car department. I jumped at the opportunity. The pay was really good and it meant I wouldn’t have to go to college.
With the money I had saved from my job, I went and leased a brand new purple S-10 pickup and put a deposit down on an apartment. I was all set to start my adult life and just had to wait a few more weeks until I actually graduated.
I thought everything was in the bag until my Creative Writing teacher approached me one day. She said that there was no way she was going to be able to give me a passing grade because I had only completed 2 essays out of the 15 that were assigned. I had only filled in 3 daily journal entries out of the 50 days that were required. If I didn’t get at least a D in her class I would not get to graduate early. She said I HAD to get an A on the last assignment that was due tomorrow or else she would fail me. The assignment was to write a children’s book. She had given us all a blank book 2 months earlier and had told us to begin working on it right away. I had not so much as thought of a title let alone began writing this.
That night I skipped work and as any normal person does, I sat down to write, illustrate and use a calligraphy pen to write a children’s book that had to be of grade A quality.
Ironically, I wrote about motherhood. The book was a tribute to my own mom. It was my way of letting her know I understood the perils of being my mom. As much as I rebelled and didn’t like her requests and rules; I got it. Now as a mother myself, I understand it all that much more.
My teacher gave me an A+ on this book. She handed me a hand written note as well. She told me I needed to continue to write. It was a very lovely letter and the basic message has stuck with me… I can do things, possibly great things, if I try.
That was 20 years ago. Sadly, I have written very few things creatively until beginning this blog. I feel great remorse for not applying myself in school and giving my teachers and parents such headaches. I hope by writing this blog I have in a small way made up for not completing my assignments and journal entries. I hope I have now truly earned my passing grade.
Here is the book I wrote that basically saved my life:
book cover of my book Fletcher
Fletcher (written and illustrated by me in 1993)
I woke up this morning to the sound of my mom’s screechy voice yelling, “Get up, Fletcher. It’s 7:30. You’re going to be late.”
“Who cares?” is what I thought. Mom had laid clothes out on a chair for me. I found my old, red t-shirt and muddy, worn sneakers and put those on instead. I managed to wet my hair enough so I could comb down all the parts that were sticking up. Mom screamed up the stairs, “Hurry up and come down here so you can eat your breakfast.”
I quick brushed my teeth and went in my room to feed my hamster, Marvin. He was wide awake and spinning on his wheel. I got Marvin a year ago when I was eight. At the time, Dad said I wasn’t old enough to have a pet. He said I’d forget to feed it and it would die. I told him he was wrong and through a little help from mom we convinced him to let me get one. It’s been a year now and I’ve taken real good care of him-not one problem. As I stood there watching Marvin I was interrupted once again by my mom’s scream, insisting I was late. She sounded really mad this time.
I rode the banister down the stairs even though mom always tells me not to because I might break my neck. As I stepped into the kitchen mom immediately began to scream. She asked me, “Why do you always have to be so pokey?” She said she should have named me Dillydally. I wonder what makes moms so crabby. Maybe there’s a crabby mom flu that goes around.
Mom placed a bowl of Fruity-O’s in front of the chair in which I sit every morning. She had to add, “Eat Quick,” as she threw me a spoon.
As soon as I was done I grabbed my backpack and coat and got ready to leave. Mom came into the kitchen with a wool hat in her hand just as I was about to head out. She told me to take the hat with me because the weather was starting to get cold. I told her I was too big for hats, and then slammed the door. Two seconds later mom was hanging out of the house yelling, “If you ever wear that raggedy red shirt and those awful sneakers to school again, you’re grounded.”
As my feet pounded against the pavement, the gears in my brain began to churn. Instead of following this sidewalk to school, as I did every day; I thought of running away…
The sidewalk led me to the jungle where I was a big-game hunter and carried a bow and arrow with me at all times. I was free and there was no one there to yell at me. I made friends with the monkeys and took showers from the elephants. It was a great life until I got hungry. I just couldn’t make those bananas fall down from that tall, towering tree. I tried shaking the tree but it just wouldn’t budge.
Next, I tried climbing the tree but only managed to get a few feet before sliding back down. I tried finding other food closer to the ground but nothing looked familiar and mom always tells me not to eat things that I don’t know what they are. Finally, I gave up and sat next to a lion drinking from a pond. I was really hungry. I wished mom was there to make me something to eat.
I felt the jungle was no place for me so I left and journeyed to the Arctic. There I was a powerful dog sled racer. The dogs and I drove around all day practicing for the big race. Sometimes we would rest, eat and play in the snow together. Life was great until I got cold. My ears, hands and feet started to feel numb. I tried rubbing my hands together and jumping up and down but nothing helped. I wished mom was there to give me a warm hat and mittens.
The Arctic was too cold for me so I traveled to the Oceanside to try my luck at deep-sea fishing. I sat on the end of the dock and dropped my line. I didn’t get many bites but that’s okay because I probably wouldn’t have been able to reel up anything too heavy anyway. When the sun got too hot I would simply jump in the water and swim and dive with the dolphins. I darted in and out of the coral reefs as I played tag with the swordfish. Everything was going wonderful until one day when an older man came up to me on the dock and said, “You’re too young to be a deep-sea fisherman. You’ll have to get off this dock.” No fair. I wished mom was there to tell him I was old enough. She always stuck up for me.
I yelled good-bye to the dolphins and headed for the mountains. The weather was perfect-bright sunshine with a tiny breeze to ease the heat. There was silence as I climbed the steep mountainside. A few hawks and coyotes howled and sang out to me, cheering me on to the top. Everything was peaceful. There was certainly no one up there to yell at me. I considered living here for the rest of my life.
All of a sudden, as my arm was reaching up and I was moving closer to the top my left foot slipped and I felt myself sliding down the mountain. My heart raced as I lost control of my body. Suddenly, my hand reached out to a rock stuck out from the mountain. I gripped it and held on tight. I instantly came to a stop. I had never been so scared before in my whole life. I wished my mom was there, she would have told me that I shouldn’t climb that because it’s too dangerous for me.
“Fletcher? Why are you walking so slowly? Don’t you know you’re going to be late for school? Here, hop in.”
Mom drove up next to me in her car. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see her in all my life. I jumped in with a smile and we headed to school. I had a minute to spare when we arrived. I’m lucky I have a mom or else I would have been late.
I leaned over and kissed my mom good-bye then I ran up to school to meet my friends.
Thank you to everyone who has read my blog Motherhoodisanart! Have a wonderful weekend!