The mother book of memories that I am using to spark my writing ideas asked what my most cherished item was when I was a child. This is an important question because in this writing class I was thinking about using a book called Dogger by Shirley Hughes as my mentor text for a writing unit I am going to do with second graders. The premise of the book is that a boy looses a special toy and his sister is self-sacrificing in a way that gets it back to him. I was thinking that if I used that book I could write about a cherished item of mine and when I lost/misplaced it. But, unfortunately, I cannot think of an item.
I am not too worried because Shirley Hughes writes another awesome book called Lucy and Tom at the Seaside and I can turn my summer vacation at the beach memory into a similar story.
A cherished item?
* Maybe the gold beads that my grandmother gave me – they were hollow and unfortunately I would put them in my mouth and “nibble” on them so now they are very dented gold beads on a chain.
* Maybe my Barbies, which I played with much longer than all of my peers. While I was not great at the imagination part – making up stories, I did use barbies to act out normal life situations. Plus, I thought they were fun to dress up and do their hair.
* Maybe the pillow I had when I was a baby. I was never really attached to it, however. In fact, I so un-attached to it that my mother used it as the stuffing for my sister’s baby pillow. My sister was VERY attached to that pillow. I remember one time when my sister and I were having a fight and to get back at her I said, “Fine, you can have your pillow, but I want my pillow.” And I took my pillow out of her pillowcase and went to my room, leaving her will a flat, limp pillowcase. She was so upset. And when I got to my room I remember asking myself, “why does this pillow mean so much to her and so little to me? Why aren’t I attached to something like this?” Of course, about that time my mom came into my room to make peace between us. I conceded that my sister could have the pillow. I don’t know how the rest of it played out, I only remember the part about the pillow, not because of my attachment, but because of my lack of attachment. (Doe Valley)
Maybe because I am an Army brat, I don’t quite feel an attachment to things (or even places) like a lot of people have. Instead, I am the kind of person with a strong attachment to ideas/ideals like faith in God, patriotism in my country, my family’s southern heritage. Having strong family bonds is very important to me.
I guess that does not lend well to the Dogger story.
Although, Dogger is also a story about a sister who does something very kind for her brother. Have I done anything really kind for my sister? Did I when I was a kid? I guess I would have to ask her. I can’t think of anything.
* When she was in middle school, and I already had my driver’s license in high school I would go to her school during her lunch period and take her out to lunch using the money I earned in my job (at the video shop). (Skipcha)
* When my sister was preschool and Kindergarten aged I would play school in her bedroom. I would get worksheets from the neighbor next door and have a classroom for my sister. I would try to teach her to read. I remember one time when she memorized a book because my parents and I read it to her so many time and I thought she was reading it and so I took her to my mom and said, “Mom, Mom, look, She can read!” But my mom said, “No, she just memorized the book.” Sure enough, my mom closed the book and my sister could still recite it. My poor sister, I don’t know if all those classes were as fun for her as they were for me. I enjoyed them a lot. (Montclair)
Maybe I should send my sister an e-mail and ask her what she remembers. That would be interesting to know! But I am kind of scared to know what she remembers. Maybe she remembers something horrible that I did that I have blocked out of my memory.
* When I was in high school my sister would come into my room at night and talk. It was a fun bonding time. Unfortunately, I am a morning person and she is a night owl, so by evening I was wearing down just trying not to fall asleep and she was just revving up, her body clock ready to get going. I would eventually tell her, “I just have to go to sleep. You have to go to your room.” Of course, now, as we are not close friends I kick myself for ever cutting her off – wishing that I could go back in time and bond some more with her. But at the time I was going to an early morning religious class at 6am ever school day before high school, so I had to wake up at 5a and by 11pm I just couldn’t stay up any longer.
Maybe I won’t use Dogger as my mentor story. I will use a different Shirley Hughes story. And by the way, if you have not read Shirley Hughes – check her out. AWESOME children’s writer. She even has some adolescent stories that are superb, too!