Words. I love words. I love reading words. I love writing words. Words make my heart beat faster.
By the time I turned four, my momma gave me a magical gift that literally changed my world; she taught me how to read. It all began with sight words and treasure hunts, and I can still remember running around our large Victorian home while frantically searching for the day’s treasure. Sweet notes read, “Go the lamp,” with a picture momma drew of a lamp. Next note, “Go to the….well..my treasure hunt adventure would continue until I found the note that sent me straight to my cherished gem. Some days I would discover a new set of fancy barrettes. Some days, I would find a sweet treat. Fun ways to learn words and their meanings.
Since I loved reading so very much, I even started a neighborhood library. After talking to my parents and receiving their amused permission, I started my small, extremely small library. After hours and hours of work, each book had an added place to write the due date of the book. I had not yet purchased a stamp and ink. Each book also had its own note card with the information about the book and the author’s name that I kept in an old recipe box that momma had donated for the cause. My father also built a bookcase and hung it up in the corner of his office. Although I had a grand time creating my sweet little collection of books, my library did not make the impressive splash with my friends that I imagined! Friends and neighbors politely made an appearance for my grand opening, but few checked out a book. The Lincoln Avenue Library closed shortly after when I discovered that one the neighbor boys left Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out in the rain. Crushed, I could not believe that people could treat books so horribly!
For me, it was a natural progression to turn to writing. At a young age I started a journal, for writing was just a great way to express myself. In junior high, I remembered I wanted to be a journalist, and that was my dream for years. I did want to be on the school paper, but I didn’t make the cut in middle school, and I was too bashful to try in high school. Still, that did not deter me from wanting to write. Over the years, I continued to keep a journal and continued to write. And yes, I was that girl that loved it when the teacher said we had to do research and write a paper. I even took Mr Campbell’s English class for two years in a row because he also taught, you guessed it, journalism.
Now as an adult, writing still calls to me which is good news since I now teach language arts to sixth graders. At the same time, I still love research, and I have started investigating my family tree. To me, this has been a fun adventure, one that I have carried into my classroom Each year, our sixth grade team works on a westward expansion unit. Each teacher contributes something to this lesson. In my language arts class, each student chooses a topic, researches the topic, and then writes a story about it. Since implementing this assignment, this historical fiction writing piece has become the all time favorite writing assignment. And yes, I did my research, and wrote a short story too. Last year, I wanted to learn more about the historical facts of Cherryvale, Kansas since some of my family lived there for a time. It was fun to write about that area, and learn what life was like at that time for my great-great grandparents. While searching my family tree, I came across some interesting and exciting information and stories that should be shared with others in the family. That’s when I decided to write a blog. This way, I can add the stories, and the family history as I find new information.