Saturday, July 26, 2008

i'm glad i'm not a slave! and other profundities

I'm at my dad's house right now, and, due to the small miracle of him finally getting DSL, able to blog. I came home to help him clean out the attic, and amidst baby blankets that made me want to cry and '80s clothes that made me want to cry in a different way, I discovered lots of school papers and stories. Here are a few excerpts:

a personal essay by Cheryl Klein, age 5 (as dictated to a teacher)

I'm thankful for sunsets and the beautiful world we have. I'm also thankful for the healthy life we have and for the sunshine and firecrackers.

a personal essay by Cheryl Klein, age 5

I'm afraid that a car is about to hit me and getting killed.

research paper? historical fiction? by Cheryl Klein, age 5

George Washington had two step children Jackie and Patsy.

The Most Beautiful Doll
a short story by Cheryl Klein, circa age 6

I always wanted a doll. But I could not have one. My birthday was tomorrow. Oh oh how I wanted a doll. I got a doll.

Why Wasn't I Invited?
a short story by Cheryl Klein, circa age 7

One day when I went to School, Karen (my best friend) asked if I was invited to Tanya's party. "I didn't know Tanya was having a party," I replied. "Oh," said Karen.

When I went home I told my Mom about it. All my mom said was that life isn't fair.

[Illustration of Mom with word bubble saying, "Life isn't fair."]

The day of Tanya's party I went fishing with my dad. Now I can have fun too, I thought.

My mom was right. Life Isn't Fair.

P.S. I caught a fish.

My Best Friend
a personal essay by Cheryl Klein, age 10 (excerpt from the longer work My Encounter with Life...)

Someone in my life is very important to me. That someone is Bonnie, my best friend.

We have alot in common. For starters we both think little kids are adorable. That is the reason we started the Mother's Helper Club in which we baby-sit only when the parents are home. We both adore animals, especially those cute little hermit crabs that look like aliens. Bonnie and I both like to act funny and weird sometimes too.

We like to do things together. Whenever possible we work together on school projects. We also both take gymnastics.

However, not everything is always good. Sometimes I get mad because she leaves me out of things. Sometimes I think she's mean because she's jealous of me. I try hard to talk to her about what bothers me and usually things work out.

I know I'm often jealous of her: jealous because her parents let her do more things and because she has more friends than me.

Even though we don't always agree Bonnie's the best friend I've ever had.

[Photo of Bonnie with the caption, "Bonnie!!!"]

A Conversation With...Mary Lou
a speculative essay by Cheryl Klein, age 10 (excerpt from the longer work My Encounter with Life...)

I've always wanted to be a famous gymnast, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw Mary Lou Retton in Lucky Super Market. At first I didn't recognize her because she wasn't wearing a leotard, but a blue and lavender striped shirt and jeans, but the minute she turned around I jumed up and cried, "You're Mary Lou Retton!" I know that was stupid, but I couldn't help it.

"I certainly am. Would you like to ask me anything?" she replied calmly.

"Lots!" I said still jumping up and down. "Like, why did you retire?"

"Oh gymnastics was taking up too much of my life."

"Well," I began, "when I grow up I want to be a professional gymnast too. Maybe even win the Olympics. I have another question. You don't live in Manhattan Beach, so how come you're shopping here?"

"I'm visiting some relatives," she explained and started to leave.

"Wait!" I shouted. "I want your autograph." She gave it to me and I left in a happy mood.

excerpts from a research paper by Cheryl Klein, age 10

Peru is a very interesting country in many ways: In it's geography, history, industry, people, coustums, and goverment. From the ancient Incas to modern-day mineral mining Peru has all kinds of exciting facts!...

Even before Peru was founded people lived there. They were thought to have come across a land bridge connecting Asia to North America. These people were the Incas....

They managed to invent a way of growing crops in the mountains. Into the mountains they carved grooves that were much like stairs. On each "stair" they planted corn (maize), cassava (a kind of melon), squash or beans. These were their main crops.

This idea wasn't their only good one! They had lots of other great ideas. They had a good way of communication, a smart of conquering other tribes and they even tamed llamas!

Unfortunately they didn't even last a hundred years because in 1532 Francisco Pizzaro conquered them....

These facts about Peru are all amazing but there are many more that would take thousands of pages to write, but even the facts in this report are interesting as they are!

English class journal entry by Cheryl Klein, age 12

I really like to watch TV on Sunday, Thursday and Friday.

On Sunday "Life Goes On," "America's Funniest Home Videos," "The Simpsons" and "Married With Children" are on.

On Thursday "The Cosby Show," "Different World" and "The Young Riders" are on.

On Friday the TGIF shows are on. Actually, "Full House," "Family Matters," "Perfect Strangers" and "Just the Ten of Us" are pretty stupid, but I like them anyway and will probably watch them tonight.

English class journal entry by Cheryl Klein, age 12

I like Valentine's day, but it's an easy holiday to forget about. I remembered Valentine's Day at about 3:30 yesterday. Luckily my mom was able to take me to the store to get candy.

I've gotten quite a few valentines so far today.

Valentine's Day would be more fun if I had a boyfriend and unfortunately I don't.

In case you haven't already noticed, I'm dotting all my "i's" and "j's" with hearts since it's Valentine's Day.

English class journal entry by Cheryl Klein, age 12

I barely know anything about India, but I learned a little when I saw "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" for the first time yesterday.

I saw on 20/20 that you can go to jail for being raped if you're a woman in India.

I know some Indian women wear red dots on their foreheads.

I know India was where Columbus was trying to get when he discovered America. India is shaped sort of like this: [illustration of bladder-shaped blob]. I think it looks a little like Texas.

English class journal entry by Cheryl Klein, age 12

I would hate being poor, being beaten, and being sold like a piece of furniture, but mostly I would hate not having a chance at a good life. Slaves were born slaves, grew up slaves and died slaves. There was no such thing as an "executive slave." To me, there is no reason to live if you can't advance in life. If I were a slave I would be very depressed because I would know that the only life that lay ahead of me would be the life of a slave unless I tried to run away which I would be too scared to do. I'm glad I'm not a slave!

English class journal entry by Cheryl Klein, age 12

I don't think much about being of German ancestry. For that matter I don't think much about being of English and French ancestry either. I'm just glad to be an American. I'm also glad that some of my Jewish ancestors lived in America because if they lived in Germany during World War II they could have been killed by Nazis. I don't know very much about Germany, but German looks and sounds like a hard language to learn. I don't really like how the way to say most German words you have to sound like you are throwing up, either.


jenny said...

Oh, man. I don't even know where to begin commenting on these treasures. What would it take to get you to scan all of them and email them to me? You were a brilliant writer even as a 5-year old!

PS - Why were you all corporate ladder climber at age 12?

PPS - I don't trust Bonnie one bit.

Laura and the family said...

I think you got the writing talent from our GREAT Aunt Maggie. She wrote a poem at age 6. :-)

Veronica said...

i LOVE perfect strangers. balki!

Peter Varvel said...

Great closing line about the way German sounds, LOL!
What a treasure trove! I want to comment on each and every essay!
You are rich with raw and original writing ideas to develop.
I loved this! More please.

jenny said...

I had to comment again to say that when I write my autobiography, I'm going to call it, "My Birthday Was Tomorrow."

That might be my favorite line. I'll give you full credit, of course, as well as an extra piece of cherry pie, which I will be serving at the book signing.

Veronica said...

ps you have mail (but it's in cc's email :P)

Cheryl said...

J: Guess what else I found? Patty, the platypus my mom and I made for my third grade animal report! I took a photo which I will totally email you once I get off my lazy butt and upload it.

L: And I hear she greenlit Roots when she worked for whatever studio produced it. I guess she knew that slavery sucked too.

V: I loved it too, but when I was 12, I spent a lot of time trying to reconcile the passions of my early youth with my newfound desire to be cool. Ironically, I thought dousing myself with Aquanet would help. (Thanks for the pic!)

PV: One of the big revelations of visiting Germany a few years ago was that the language does not, in fact, sound like barfing. It's quite lovely, especially when it's not Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking it (who isn't German anyway).

Jesi said...

my fave line:
There was no such thing as an "executive slave."

these were great! thanks for sharing. please share more if possible.

Cheryl said...

Yeah, the abolitionists really could have used my talking points back in the day.

I did write a short book from the point of view of a young Aztec girl that may need to find its way onto the blog. Curiously, her dilemmas--such as a bratty younger sister--are surprisingly similar to the ones a ten-year-old from Manhattan Beach might face.

Peter Varvel said...

Wait. What? A PLATYPUS that you M A D E ? !
You have GOT to share that photo with your readers, too, in another post.

Cheryl said...

Coming soon to a blog near you, I promise.

Don Cummings said...

"but even the facts in this report are interesting as they are!"
I hear it. This was something else. I especially loved the Tanya-fishing story. Come on! You even caught a fish!
And those poor Inca people! Just 100 years? Who knew!
I love German. I've studied it and need more. I want to dot the i of schwein with a heart.

Tracy Lynn said...

This idea was not their only good one!

That cracked me up, dude.

Cheryl said...

D&TL: Yeah, I was oddly optimistic and pessimistic about the Incas, apparently. You have to admit, they accomplished a lot for a civilization that only lasted 100 years before the Europeans "founded" Peru.

Ms. Q said...

I think you have to hand it to "there was no such thing as an executive slave" - it just says so much about America right there. So much.

Cheryl said...

I was a deep seventh grader, when I wasn't busy Aquanetting my hair.

Bonnie said...

Oh boy! I don't know if I should be honored to be such an important part of your 10-year-old-life, or should apologize for sometimes being such a bitch. I'm pretty sure I've become a more considerate person since then. We did have some good times.

P.S. Just yesterday I was telling someone about our Mother's Helpers Club.

Cheryl said...

You should totally be honored! And I think everyone should get a free pass for any bad behavior between age 10 and 17. I was quite the little brat too. And apparently I thought you were jealous of me--I have no idea what for. My T-shirt design skills? :-)