Once Upon a Time...

With this month's theme's being journaling and family stories, I decided to combine them based on my recollections of early writing as a kid. My sister and I grew up in a poor but loving family. Dad was disabled due to WWII injuries, and Mom stayed at home to care for us. Dad's monthly disability check provided us with food and kept us clothed, but there wasn't much left over for "frills". Yet, we always had newspapers, paper, pencils, crayons and access to books thanks to a local library.

Both my parents were readers, so my sister and I naturally gravitated toward books in all forms. And, we were encouraged to color, draw and write to our hearts content. I remember keeping a diary of sorts as a young girl, where I eagerly filled in such things as Got a haircut today, or Bobby smiled and said hello to me on the playground. And, since we received a grade for penmanship back then, I spent a lot of time practicing cursive writing so I could be good at it.


Practicing my writing skills through letters to friends and relatives was a sort of pastime since calling them on the telephone was expensive and a wasteful use of what little money we had.

I loved these quiet moments putting my thoughts on paper. My reward for these efforts came from the letters I received in return. I'd write on whatever was available - paper bags, wrapping paper, discarded letters - anything that had a clear surface was fair game. I continued this letter writing tradition well into college where I wrote home asking for money or sent greetings and the latest update on college life. In addition to that letter writing, I began journaling in college and have continued the practice - off and on - to this day...10 filled notebooks later.

When I reread some of these letters my Mom happened to save, I chuckle at the wide-eyed optimism and enthusiasm for the life I was living. Though my circumstances have changed and I no longer have to count every penny, the sight of a fresh pad of paper and a newly sharpened pencil still brings chills and makes my fingers itch with possibility. That younger me sits on my shoulder every time I begin to write, reminding me to be open to ideas and to view the world with wonder. Creativity and imagination are free. All we have to do is write.


  1. This was delightful. I especially loved the photo of little-writer-you and the scribbled over foot!

  2. I agree--absolutely beautiful. Love the passage about "wide-eyed optimism and enthusiasm." That's exactly how I feel about younger-me.

  3. Thanks Claudia and Holly. I think each of us who writes for children has our own child muse reminding us, coaxing us, and encouraging us to be children again, even if only while writing.


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