My real Father's Day gift to my dad was finally cleaning out a couple of cupboards in the room we always called "the playroom," which was, at various points, an office, a parakeet room and the room where our second TV lived (as in, "Fine, if I'm the only one who wants to watch These Friends of Mine, I guess I'll watch it in the playroom").
My best find yesterday was a copy of Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi, signed with big colorful flourishes by the author/illustrator to my mom in 1962. But my most blog-worthy find was more early writings by a young Cheryl Klein. You may notice that plot has never been my strong suit. Some excerpts:
Pickle the Passenger Pigeon
historical fiction by Cheryl Klein, circa age 8
Hi! I'm Pickle the Passenger Pigeon. I am the very last, but I don't mind that. In fact it makes me special.
I've had lots of adventures. I think I'll tell you about my favorite. One day when the sky was filled with Passenger Pigeons flying in the park, I saw a pond. In it was a fish. Now this was not a plain old run-of-the-mill fish. It was a Rainbow fish. The fish had every color of scales you could imagene.
I knew this was probably my only chance to meet a Rainbow fish in person. So I flew down and saw that there were one hundred Rainbow fish!
I met Tickle the Rainbow fish first. Of course I liked all the rainbow fish, but Tickle was my favorite.
That was a long time ago. Now all the Passenger Pigeons are extinct and all the Rainbow fish are extinct, but Tickle and I are still alive and we're still best friends.
The Elf and the Pony and Spot
a short story by Cheryl Klein, age 9
Once there was a Pony named Choclate and an elf named Daisy.
One day as Chocolate came walking down the road he saw Daisy. He had never seen an elf before, so he was very surprised, but he was polite any way.
"Hello," said Chocolate, "My name is Chocolate. What's yours?" "My name is Daisy. I'm an elf," said Daisy, "Could I have a ride on your back." "Okay," said Chocolate, "Where do you want to go?" "Elf Land," said Daisy. So they went to Elf Land.
When they got to Elf Land Daisy got off Chocolate's back. She looked aroud. Everybody looked sad. Finilly one elf said, "There is a puppy who will kill us. His name is Spot. We have to fight him."
Spot turned out to be a firce puppy. Just before Chocolate was about to step on Spot, he said, "If you will be nice, I will not step on you." "I will," said Spot, and he was!
Lesson: It's better to be nice than to be mean!
The Wells Fargo Museum
reportage/advertorial* by Cheryl Klein, age 9
Yesterday I went to the Wells Fargo Museum. I saw some interesting things there. I saw the Challenge nugget. That's a huge nugget of gold the size of your fist. I saw a safe that was made so heavy you can't pick it up. It is made that way so it's hard to steal. My favorite thing that I saw was the stage coach....
At the Museum I also learned some of the history of Wells Fargo. It was started in 1852 by Mr. Wells and Mr. Faro. It was a bank & an express company. There stage coach took people aross the country. Unfortunetly Wells Fargo was robbed by Black Bart alot. They quit the express part of the company at the begining of world war 1. Today Wells Fargo is a well known bank across the state.
Excerpt from Kimber's Crisis
a short story by Cheryl Klein, age 12
[Our protagonist, Kimber McGee, has just been sent to a strict private school as a result of her bad behavior. When we pick up, she's experiencing a bit of a culture shock.] Recess might as well have been called oat bran break (all the snobs were into health food). All the kids did was sit around and talk about stock market prices and cocktail parties. Kimber was about to drift off to the sound of a kid with the I.Q. off 201 droning on about the importance of proper dental care when...BRRRIING! The bell rang. "I've GOT to get out of here!" she thought.
*Note: Our elementary school was sponsored by Wells Fargo. We took field trips to the Wells Fargo Museum, rode on a Wells Fargo stagecoach in the Manhattan Beach 75th anniversary parade, had a stagecoach-drawing contest and flew the Wells Fargo flag just below the American and California flags in front of the school. It may not be entirely coincidental that I went on to become a fan of The Young Riders and write a novel partially set in the turn-of-the-century West.