Children's Books

Love Letters and Children’s Stories

This morning, in the throes of throwing out and packing up, I found a packet of love letters to and from exman. I had them in the car from when I found them at my parent’s house. At that time, just a few months ago, I figured that at some point I would want to read them, or that they were an important archaeological part of my past that had to be preserved. But today when I saw them I opened one card that I had sent to him and just seeing that I wrote the word “kisses” to him turned my stomach. Without further ado, I dumped the whole packet in the dumpster. There is nothing to see there, there is nothing to recount or relive. Garbage, it’s all garbage. Harsh? Perhaps. But why excavate to the good when the bad has poisoned it all. Why think back when I need to look ahead.

In that same bag, though, I did find two children’s stories that I wrote in 1992, when my eighteen-year old was one. Of course, they were rejected by publishers, but, of course, I think they were wrong. At the time of writing, I thought that it was a fun, educational book teaching the very young about sounds and the fun of words. Enjoy one part of my past that I am pleased with.

Down Went the Spoon, by Laura G.

Down went the spoon
with a great, big boom!
the pancake batter.

Down went the cup
(certainly not up)
and out spilled the water
to make a new brook.

Down went my cookie
all ready to munch
well, it broke into pieces
and now is a bunch.

Down went the soap
right into the sink
where it started to slide
so my eyes I did shut
to suppose a round rink.

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Is Grandma Okay?

This story was written in honor of my parents and their 54th wedding anniversary, which they celebrated last week. I might not have sent a bunch of flowers like my brother and sister-in-law, but I don't think they wrote a story. So there, mom. This story is cross posted over at +StoryRhyme, a great site for children's stories.

Corinna is a nine-year-old girl with dark dark brown hair that is almost black. She has very dark eye brows that sometimes make her look as if she is scowling when she is not because she is generally smiling since she is so very very sweet.  Her eyes are a soft dark brown that twinkle when she is happy, which shows that she likes to share, because that certainly is the best way to share your happiness.

Corinna lives with her mother and her older sister, Amanda, and her little white Maltese, Mr. Small Tongue, in Virginia. She likes to talk to her dolls about her day at school and look out the windows of her bedroom. Her best friend is Meghan, who lives down the street; they always wait at the bus stop together and talk.

One of the things that Corinna likes most is to visit her grandparents in New York City. Every summer since she was six she would spend a week with her grandparents. Her sister would go a different week and her mother wouldn’t go at all, which is what made it especially special. She would pretend that she was an only child that week, and be happy not to have to share anything with Amanda. For one whole week she would not have any fights with her sister. Their fights weren’t very bad and they always made up, but sometimes Corinna got tired of storming off to her room because Amanda would get their mother to agree with her, or else she would give in to Amanda because she didn’t want to fight.

Her week in New York was also special because her granma and granpa would always take her into Manhattan to do exciting things. They would also always have Chinese food at least two times (Chinese food is Amanda’s favorite). In their favorite restaurant they would always order soup dumplings which were so amazing because the soup was inside the dumplings. Corinna didn’t know how they did this, but the idea of biting into soup was quite exciting, especially since Corinna loves all kinds of soup. Her mother calls her a “soup nut” sometimes because of her love of soup.

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Reading List of a Single Parent

In the last week or two I have read the following books:

Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama
Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver
Kissing Games of the World, by Sandi Kahn Shelton
Postcards from Berlin, by Margaret Leroy

There is an interesting thread to these books, three of which are novels and one, obviously, a memoir. Obama’s memoir I placed on hold a few days after the election and my turn (I was number 78) finally came about a week ago. Animal Dreams I read about on another blog (sorry I can’t remember where), the other two I found in the New Books section of my library.

First, before analyzing for that thread, I just want to say “Wow” about Barack Obama. Wow that the man who wrote a book that is so self-analytical and contains such an intense degree of honesty, intellect, inquisitiveness, compassion, and openness will become president is truly stunning. He surely is change not only because of his skin color, but also because of his family history, his desire to understand himself and his society, which is both America and the world, and because it truly doesn’t seem to be about him, but about what he can do and inspire and set in motion for the good of us all.

On the critical side of things, I could not finish the book; there is just so much I care to learn about his family and its roots and various contingents. I see no reason to know more about his family tree than my own. The Africa part of the book was more touristy or “these are my roots” than the rest which was more reflective, and, I believe, more insightful and worthwhile reading.  

Now onto those threads. Obama was raised by his mother, at times by his grandparents, and with a step-father for a few years, but, without his biological father’s involvement. The main character in Animal Dreams was raised by her father, her mother having died a few days after giving birth to her younger sister. In Kissing Games of the World there is a single mother, the father was out of the picture when her child was just a few days old; and a man whose father left when he was still very young, whose mother died a few years later, whose wife died when their child was four days old, they, of course, find each other. In Postcards from Berlin there is yet another girl whose father was never in her life, but here the switch is that the mother placed her in a home when she was thirteen and left the country with her new man. My goodness, unbeknownst to me I picked up three books—and read four—that feature aspects of either being a single parent or a child with only one parent, or none.

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