Ooh! Oh! What did I just find? That’s right, a story written by me in the 8th grade that I’d completely forgotten about. I don’t even remember writing it. Whew, what a laugh I’ve been having typing it up.
I won’t subject you to all of it, but I will give you the first page. Background: You must know that I grew up on a farm and had NO experience whatsoever with middle class life, unless you counted some cousins who had a pool. Also, I was obsessed with horses, and I loved the movie Phar Lap, which I can’t remember any details about at this point, but I do know that it was about a racehorse. Also, I never was woken up by my mom or stepmom for school; I was expected to get myself up. So when you read this, know that I had absolutely NO personal experience with pretty much anything in the story. At all. Herewith, I give you:
(with typos from my dad’s ancient typewriter removed)
Aside: I loved the name Veronica in junior high. Don’t ask me why. I just loved the
sound of it.
“Aw, Mom! I’m gonna be late for school! That stupid clock of mine never goes off at the right time, the darn digital thing!” By this point, Veronica Gerrard was fuming. Just then she remembered something: her mother, a big advertising president*, had an early brunch with a client. “Hey, Brien! Get up! You’re going to be late for your computer class again if you don’t hurry up,” she called.
Brien, her older brother, walked groggily out into the hall. He replied thickly, “Ronnie, didn’t you know that Pam called last night? She said we might as well sleep in today–tomorrow, too. The old furnace quit again, and they finally decided to replace it with a new natural gas furnace. It may not get cold around here often, but when it does, it gets really cold.** We get out of school while they install it.”
“Oh. Sorry for waking you up. I’ll go find something for breakfast, and if you want, go back to bed. I might have to go to the grocery store or get some take-out from Max’s… on second thought, I’ll just drive over to McDonald’s. What do you want?” she finished.
“Oh, I’d say an orange juice, a sausage & egg biscuit with cheese, hotcakes with syrup,*** anything! I’m hungry, and awake, too. I’ll just go into the living room and watch cable T.V.**** Come and get me when you get back.” With that, he waltzed into the living room. Bri was just that way. He looks like he’s so tired that he’ll drop unconscious right before your eyes, and the next minute, he’s as energetic as a puppy.
Now, to fully understand this story, you need to meet the characters.***** As you know, Veronica’s mother is an advertising president… of Fulton & Mazer, with the second largest sales rep in the state [which, of course, makes me think, “how tall/heavy is the largest guy?”]. Her father is what you might classify as a yuppie. He skies, he bikes, he jogs, he lifts weights, a full-fledged member of the local health club, he spends (and makes) a lot of money, and he wears a lot of designer clothes. He’s an architect for the research and development department of Daniels & Sons, Inc., and is due for a promotion soon.
Her brother, Brien, is cool. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, as the saying goes, and exactly eleven months older than Ronnie. [ripped right out of Trixie Belden] He sort of freaks out for about a month each year when they’re the same age. BUT, those few months are all it takes–while Brien’s a senior, Ronni’s only a junior. They look nothing alike–you’d never think they were related. While Brien is heavy-set and dark, with brown eye and hair color, like their mother, Veronica was more like their father, with blonde hair and sea-gray eyes. They were all tall, and considered themselves as a close, strong Mormon family, in spite of their wealth, which they would gladly give up, when needed. Their names? Christopher, Beverly, Brien, and Veronica Gerrard.
So anyway, Ronnie went down to the garage floor via the elevator. She decided to take the Ford Thunderbird instead of the Caddy; she had to get used to stickshifts sometime, and the Ford was smaller. She pulled out into what was, supposedly, Charlston rush-hour traffic******. It wasn’t as crowded today, it seemed. She took the familiar route down Main and pulled into McDonald’s. She didn’t want to go inside, because it would probably be crowded. She pulled up to the drive-thru, ordered, and pulled up to the window. She pulled out, and realized she had barely any gas left. She turned into the Shell station, to the full service. She got ten dollars of gas and had the oil checked just in case.
She got back later than she expected to, and found Brien sprawled on the couch watching Phar Lap, a movie about an Australian horse, on the VCR.
Okay, I won’t subject you to the rest. There’s NO story here, just a lot of occurrences of things I was fascinated with at the time–like Phar Lap, having a VCR, being able to afford to fill the gas in the full-service lane, being able to afford to eat out whenever I wanted, and being close enough to a restaurant to do so (the nea
rest McDonald’s was 15 miles away). There’s a story within a story about a plantation that used to be where the town now was or something, and a lot of preachiness about what it means to be a Mormon. Not a lick of story in sight–and I can’t remember ever being taught how to write one, either. We talked a lot about what makes up a story, but I guess I never made the connection between published stories having the beginning, middle, and end, plot, denoument, all that, and my own stories.
That said, what a window into my life at that time!
*Watch much Who’s the Boss? as a kid?
**As you know, Bob…
***Why yes, McDonald’s was frequented by my family back then.
****Back then, cable was a huge deal to me, because we lived in the country and we couldn’t get it so far out.
*****Yes, I did write that narrative break. In my defense, I was in 8th grade. And I grew up on a steady diet of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, and those old-style series books did exactly this. Note that I have no idea what Veronica’s father does, he just makes a lot of money at it, and apparently his main interest is sports. Oh wait, then there’s the architect sentence. Did I even know what R&D was when I was in 8th grade? It sure sounded cool, that’s for sure.
******I had never been to Charlston at this time, and also had no clue what rush-hour traffic looked like. I grew up in a town of 2700 people, for goodness’ sake, and the next town over had 30,000 tops. Ah, innocence.