Closer To Free

When I went to visit my mom on Mother’s Day, she had a present waiting for me. She had collected together all the report cards, school work, and pictures from all five of us kids and separated it so that we could all take our respective pile home.

I’ve been sitting on this gold mine of material for three and a half weeks now. But tonight I sifted through my container and selected some stuff that I want to post here, though it won’t all be at once.

For tonight’s blast from the past, I have chosen one of two holiday stories that I wrote in 1978 at the ripe old age of eight. I am going to try to keep the original punctuation and spelling, even though it is going to drive me batshit. I won’t draw any special attention to punctuation errors, but the misspellings will be noted with the standard editorial phrase “[sic]”.

The title page of this story reads: The (Half) Of Thanksgiving Story. (an easy reader) by John Leeming

There is even an “About the book” which states “In this book you will find most about The Pilgrims or Thanksgiving”.

Chapter 1: We Want Free!

The first Pilgrims lived in England. The Pilgrims wanted to be free. So finely [sic] they got together and said, “This land Isn’t free! This king is not fair! So They soon got together and made a plan to escape. Now this would be hard, because the king didn’t want anyone to escape. The brave Pilgrims got their stuff ready soon the next night. It became almost dark.

The Pilgrims threw their stuff in the boat.

[In my large print handwriting, the above chapter took up two full pages.]

Chapter 2: Escaped!

Soon they were off. The king heard about this. He shouted at his men, “I demand you to guard the dock at all time [sic]!” Soon the Pilgrims were at Holand [sic]. but they thought, “This isn’t like our old land in England. We will need to find a land that we can have free land, and start a life that we can live alone. They voyaged for along [sic] time. (You will find out how long it took them later in the book.) Soon some Pilgrims thought they were not gonna’ make it to land. They sailed, and sailed, and sailed. Soon they found land. They were about 3 miles from land. It was about 7:00 p.m. And the next day they stepped on land. They sailed for 66 days. The sand felt good between their toes. But one thing different, it was colder. They searched for good housing areas.

[That was not only a three page chapter, but a three page paragraph. Plus, it contained probably the very first example of my eventual obsession with the paranthetical.]

Chapter 3: Indians!

The Pilgrims searched for a day or two. They are looking for a good clean area for a village with clean water. They found alot [sic] of good places, but dirty water. One day one of the Pilgrims saw an Indian. Now they had to keep, an eye where they walk! [Oddest comma placement ever…] Then they found a clearing with a fire in the middle. They slowly walked toward the clearing. Something was there. When the Pilgrims where [sic] a distance away the fire was burning well, now sand is scatterd [sic] all over it. Next the Pilgrims found a vally [sic] with sand hills. The sand hills were small, and hand made. Then the Pilgrims took their guns and dug in the sand hills. The Pilgrims found colored corn pieces, and fish. The Pilgrims continued with their tour.

[There wasn’t a paragraph break here, but I thought everyone might need a breather.]

Next the Pilgrims found-an-old-Indian village. The Pilgrims are hungry. The fish haven’t been in the river because it has been so cold out. But now the fish are in the river. The Pilgrims caught about 40 fish. The Pilgrims built a log cabin. But then, one night the Indians came the Pilgrims had a fight with the Indians. After the fight, none were hurt. And a few days after the fight the Pilgrims made friends with the Indians. The Indians, showed the Pilgrims how to plant squash, pumpkins, and corn. The Indians told the Pilgrims that the corn would grow and taste better, if you have fish. Well…….. that was part of the story. (Pilgrim story) Oh yeah alot [sic] of Pilgrims died, about 30.


So there you have it – the genesis of my love of writing. The thing I am the most proud of in the story was my proper use of “their” and “there”. The thing I am the most ashamed of is my use of “where” in place of “were”.

And the last line still makes me giggle. The dark jokes started long ago, obviously.

Happy goodnight to all. And remember: Plant your corn with fish.


One thought on “Closer To Free

  1. It amazes me that you were 8 years old when you wrote this. My God had we reproduced there is no telling what we could have created. Your brains and my beauty…eh, the world wasnt ready for such perfection.

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