by Linda Cornett
(Appeared in Kuryakin File 16
My name is Lorelei Tate. I am 11 years old. Me and my parents moved here to Broomfield two weeks ago but I just started here at Centenial Elementary School this week. I hate starting a new school, I hate this town, I hate eating lunch alone ever day. The kids here are snobs.
I'm so glad to have you in my class. What a lovely name you have! I know how hard It can be to start over When I was a child my father was in the Army and my family moved a lot. Every (watch the spelling on that word) time I made friends and started to feel at home, we had to move again. But I took something with me from every place we lived a memory or a friend or a memento. I hope you soon find something to value here.
Please memorize the correct spelling of our school, Centennial Elementary School. The proper construction is, "My parents and I...
I liked eating lunch yesterday with you and those other kids you brought over. When Jack Thomas snorted that green bean through his nose, I thought I would die laughing! Is that what you mean by a memory to take with me?
Then today in first period this girl named Donna Laskey offered to share her book with me. She interduced me to some of her friends at recess, but she Is the one I mostly talk to. Shes fab. Maybe some day I can invite her to my house.
I knew you would soon make friends here. I know Donna and she is very nice. The correct construction is "she is the one to whom I talk most " The contraction of she is requires an apostrophe - she's. Please memorize the correct spelling of introduced.
I went to the movies with Donna on Saturday to see Beach Blanket Bingo and that was fun, but then we met some of her friends after at Woolworths and they asked me too many questions. How come people are so nosy? I couldn’t have Donna overnight because my mom said we aren’t ready for company yet. Parents are a royal pain.
Sometimes it can seem that parents don't understand, but you must remember they have a lot on their minds. I'm sure your parents love you very much and want you to be happy.
A movie title requires quotation marks, just like a book title - "Beach Blanket Bingo." (Do you think Frankle Avalon is handsome? I surely do.) I believe Woolworth's is possessive the store of Mr. Woolworth and therefore requires an apostrophe.
Miss Cartwright, the third grade teacher, told me today that you had a little trouble on the playground, that you got into a fight with a boy who was teasing your brother Gerald. Is this true? I was surprised to learn you have a brother, as you don't mention him in your writing.
Ger is a pain, too, but he is my brother. This big kid was picking on him, so I had to do something. Nobody messes with my family.
You sound like a very protective older sister, but it would be best to let adults deal with problems on the playground. Fighting (especially for a girt) is never the answer. Is there something I can help with?
There's something, all right, but I can’t tell you about it. There's stuff I can't tell anybody.
I understand that sometimes, especially for girls your age, it is important to have secrets. It is also helpful to have someone to confide in. When I was your age, I was very unhappy about having to move so often. I felt that my parents didn't understand what I was feeling. (It turns out they did.) That is when I fell In love with writing. I kept a journal and told it everything I couldn't tell anyone else, knowing that it would not betray my confidences and would not tell me I was stupid or silly. Perhaps that would be useful to you, too.
It would be more precise to say, There are secrets I can't tell you. Good writing is precise and clear.
I been thinking, maybe you're right. There's a lot of secrets I can't tell anyone, not even Donna, but I can't get this stuff out of my head. My mom and dad are too busy and Ger is just a kid. I think I'll write it down, like you did, in my journal.
See, this all started one day when Ger didn't come home from school in time for the "Uncle Benny Show" one day. He never missed that stupid show. He even had a stupid Uncle Benny hat that he wore while he was watching it. So my mom got worried and made me go out on my bike looking for him but he wasn't anywhere so she called my dad at this big top secret lab where he worked and he told her not to worry but he came home early anyway. My mom waited at home and me and my dad went driving around to all the places I'd already been and Ger still wasn't there. When we got home, my mom was looking all worried and she and my dad went in their bedroom and talked with the door shut and when they came out he looked all worried, too, but they wouldn't tell me what was wrong.
Mom went in the kitchen and was finishing dinner and my dad sat in his chair and looked at the newspaper, just like usual, but I could tell he wasn't reading it because he never turned the page or said how stupid the president was.
I was setting the table for dinner and trying to decide whether to set a place for Ger or not when the doorbell rang. My dad Jumped up and my mom came running out of the kitchen and they both looked at each other and my dad said he'd get ft but I followed him because If they weren't going to tell me anything I was going to find out for myself.
So anyway, there were these two guys at the door. The guy in front had dark hair with a little curl on his forehead like Barbie's dorky boyfriend Ken and he put on this smile like the guy who tried to sell us incyclpedeas. The guy behind him had blond hair that was long like a hippie and he didn't smile at all. They told us their names and where they were from and even showed my dad these gold cards but it's all top secret so I can’t tell you so I'll just call them Slick and Blondie. So Slick says they understand there has been a kidnapping and they are here to help, blah, blah and can they come in. My dad was shaking his head but my mom surprised us all by saying "Let them in, John" so he did.
My hand's tired, so I'm going to stop now.
Well, you have certainly got my attention. What an interesting introduction to your story!
Your first sentence should read: "I have been thinking.”
Be careful of run-on sentences. Remember, each sentence should be about a single idea. Also, the word “so” indicates the beginning of a dependent clause, a sentence should not begin with this word.
Please memorize the correct spelling of the word "encyclopedia." Did your parents buy the encyclopedias? It is a wonderful resource for students to have In the home.
Miss Butcher, I need to ask you a question. How old should a girl be before she lets a boy kiss her? Because Mike Anderson walked partway home with me yesterday and when we came to this hedge around the house at the corner he grabs my arm and says can he kiss me and before I could make up my mind, he just did it! It wasn't a big deal like I was expecting. I don't know why they make such a big deal about it in the movies.
Mike should not have kissed you without your permission. Would you like me to speak to him about It? When you are older and there is a boy that you care about you may feel differently about being kissed.
I am still very curious about the story you began. I hope you will finish it sometime.
Remember what I said about dependent clauses? The word because also signals the beginning of a dependent clause.
Be careful about mixing tenses in your writing.
The phrase should be: part of the way home.
Well, now everything is just a whole bunch worse. Mike went around telling everyone that he kissed me and that I liked it! And it turns out Donna was sweet on him so she's mad at me and I didn't even do anything. Why are boys such jerks?
I'm sorry about what has happened. I am very disappointed in Mike, and in Donna, too. I spoke to each of them today and I think they understand that they are not being fair to you Sometimes boys (and men, too) don't behave as we would like them to because they don't know how to express themselves appropriately. I guess It is our job to help them do that, and to forgive them when they forget.
Thanks for your help, Miss Butcher. Mike is still being a jerk but Donna is talking to me again. I'm sitting in her living room right now doing homework, so that's OK.
I think I'll write some more on my story. Where was I? Oh, yeah, so the two guys came into the house and they took us all in the living room. My dad told me to go to my room, but I kind of hid in the hallway and listened.
Slick said they knew my dad left work to look for Ger because all the calls to the super secret lab are recorded and somebody got curious when my dad left the office and they listened to the tape. They were going to send somebody else to check on what was going on, but Slick said him and his partner knew more about the bad guys they think took Ger so they were handling it.
While they were talking, Blondie was wandering around the room. From where I was by the door, I could see him in the mirror over the piano, looking at the pictures and picking up ashtrays and stuff, real nosy. My mom and dad were sitting on the couch looking at Slick and not paying any attention but all of a sudden I realized Blondie was looking right at me in the mirror! He didn’t say anything and pretty soon he walked back and sat down.
My dad was saying it was OK and Ger was just probably distracted by something on his way home and lost track of the time, which the little doofus probably would do any day except when Uncle Benny is on.
Slick and Blondie didn’t buy it, either, and Slick said they would need to stay in the house in case the bad guys called. My mom and dad didn’t like that, but Slick wasn’t asking, he was telling.
Finally, my mom got up and said she had to get the meatloaf out of the oven or it would burn so I had to run off to my room.
Oh, I am so glad you've taken up your story again. It must be very upsetting to have strangers barge Into your home and announce that they are staying. Why do you think Blondie didn't "rat you out" to your parents?
Ordinarily, I would suggest you not use such vernacular (it you don't know that word, you can look It up In the dictionary behind my desk) terms in your writing, but I think it suits the tone of this piece.
Congratulations on making up with Donna. I'm sure Mike will understand eventually that he is being unfair to you. Do you have any Idea who could have left thumbtacks on his desk seat during lunch?
The phrase "kind of” is unnecessary; you either did or did not hide in the hallway. The correct construction is “he and his partner.”
I am very sorry to hear someone was so mean to leave thumbtacks in Mike's seat. Was he hurt? Maybe it was like our minister says, Divine Retribbution. Do you think people get punished when they do something really, really bad? I mean before they go to you know where? Because it seems to me like good people end up with most of the problems, like the king in Camelot who only wanted to do good stuff but ended up losing his best friend and his true love and having to fight a war on top of everything.
Did you study the legend of Camelot at your last school, or did you discover it on your own? It is a lovely, sad story, isn't it? I guess I am just a romantic, but I have always sympathized with Guinevere and Lancelot and their great love for each other.
Please memorize the correct spelling of the word retribution.
Sorry, but I think Guinevere was a sap and Lancelot was a jerk. I would of stuck with the king. After all, she owed him everything. In the book I have, he has blond hair. Do you think he really did in real life?
We must agree to disagree on romance, I guess. I'm afraid the story is not true, so I guess the king can have whatever color of hair you like.
Your second sentence should read "I would have stuck with the king," but it would be better to reword it: "I would have remained loyal to the king."
You haven't forgotten your other story, have you?
I didn't forget.
Since Slick and Blondie were staying, I set two more places at the table and helped my mom get dinner on. She pretended she had pepper in her eyes, but I knew she was crying and that scared me more than anything. I mean, Ger was usually kind of a dork and he likes to hog the TV, but I didn't want anything bad to happen to him.
Anyway, I went to call everyone to dinner and my dad and Slick were in the living room sort of arguing, but real quiet, but Blondie was upstairs poking around in our bedrooms! I gave him a look as he came down the stairs, but it didn't seem to bother him much.
For a skinny guy he sure did eat a lot and Slick kept telling my mom what a good cook she was, but she wasn't paying attention and had even forgot to take off her apron and after a while he shut up and you could just hear chewing and forks clanking on the plates. The meatloaf was a little crunchy on top, but OK. I ate my green beans without anybody telling me, but nobody noticed. Blondie had this funny way of eating, with his fork upside down, but he didn't spill anything.
After dinner, Slick offered to help with the dishes, and my mom let him and told me I could go watch TV. My dad sat in his chair but he wasn't watching. I saw Blondie walking around outside the house poking at the bushes and stuff. Boy, that guy was nosy. I turned on Rifleman just to see if my dad would notice but he didn't so I watched it. Big deal.
What a fine eye you have for detail! I almost feel as if I had been a participant at that very uncomfortable dinner. I believe some Europeans use their fork as you described.
I have watched "The Rifleman" too, and I agree with you - big deal.
What on Earth do you suppose Blondie was looking for in your bedrooms and outside the house? I agree, he seems to be a very nosy person. It was nice of Slick to help with the dishes, wasn't it?
Your father and Slick were arguing really quietly. Your mother had forgotten to take off her apron.
I don’t know what Blondie was looking for, but you can bet I checked my diary and other secret stuff in my room to make sure he didn't look at anything.
Nobody even said when it was time for me to go to bed, so I stayed up a lot later than normal and finally went upstairs to have my bath and stuff. It made me kind of nervous to be in the bathroom all alone, but I sure wasn't leaving the door open with Blondie wandering around!
My mom and dad came up to say goodnight and they both hugged me really hard and my mom started crying again. After they left, I couldn't sleep, even though my mom plugged in my old nightlight from when I was a baby. I tried everything I could think of, even rereading the first of Black Velvet, which I loved last year but is suddenly very boring. So finally I decided to go get some Twinkies, which always helps me sleep.
I was walking down the hallway with just the light from the bathroom because I didn’t want anyone to know I was up when I heard a snore from Ger's room. Boy, was I releived because I figured since it was nighttime and I was in my p.j.'s I must have been having a bad dream, but when I looked in there was Slick in Ger's bed. He had moved the furniture around like he owned the place, so the bed was right across from the door and he was facing me but he was asleep because just then he let out another big, honky snore. He had his jacket hanging over the back of Ger's desk chair, and his shirt folded over that, with his tie on top just like those sets you can buy your dad for father's day. His shoes were lined up next to the bed and there was a gun and holster hanging from the bedpost. At first I thought it was Ger's Roy Rogers gun, but it was too big and it didn't have the Indian beads on the holster. For some reason I really wanted to touch it, so I tiptoed in real quiet and touched it with my finger and then I tried to pull it out of the holster. Boy, was it heavy! And then he grabbed me by my wrist and jerked me away so hard I almost fell down. His fingers really hurt on my arm but after he blinked his eyes a couple of times and kind of squinted at me like he needed glasses, he let go. He asked what I was doing there and I told him I just wanted to see his stupid gun and why had he changed Ger's room around? He said he wanted to be able to keep an eye on things, although the way he was snoring I didn't think he was doing much good at it. So then he does the lecture on how guns aren't toys and blah, blah, blah and I said right, and the guys who kidnapped Ger weren't playing a game, either.
He looked at me a minute and then he showed me the lever to click on the side of the gun so it would shoot and he had me hold it with both hands and aim it at this plastic horse Ger has. He had me touch the trigger, just a little, just so I could feel how hard it was to pull, and he told me never to pick up a gun unless I intended to use it and if I used it not to get fancy but to point at the biggest part of the body and pull the trigger.
Then he started in about why was I up and did my parents know and blah, blah, blah so I said I had to go to the bathroom and that shut him up.
What interesting house guests your family has!
Sometimes, when I can't sleep I do long division problems in my head. I Imagine Mrs. Thomas, the fourth grade teacher, would approve of that solution, don't you? I hope you will give Black Beauty another chance as it really is a fine book.
What a vivid description of the sound of Slick snoring, and of the way he folded his clothes! As I've said, you have a fine eye for detail!
Remember when I cautioned you to be precise in your writing? The phrase and stuff really does not give me any information; try to provide additional detail or simply leave out the phrase. You tiptoed into the bedroom really quietly.
Please memorize the spelling of the word relieved.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Slick took his gun back and put it in the holster and said he needed to get a little rest and he lay down and closed his eyes, so I figured he wanted me to leave.
I went on down and I was standing in the hallway trying to see the clock in the dark to tell if “Johnny Carson" was still on or not. Usually I'm not allowed to watch it, but I figured this wasn't usually. It sure didn't feel usual, standing there in the dark in the middle of the night with no noise but the ticking of the clock. It started giving me the creeps. All of a sudden, I feel somebody is watching me. I was so scared I couldn't move for the longest time, but then nothing happened and so I turned my head real slow and I see Blondie sitting in the dark in my dad's recliner staring at me. What kind of thing is that to do when somebody's already scared to death? So I told him kind of snotty he was sitting in my dad's chair and he just said, Oh, really. like that, 0h, really like he didn't care.
Then he asked what I was doing up and I said I couldn't sleep. I went in and sat on the couch and stared back at him for a while. Finally I got bored, so I started asking him things about being a spy like did he ever wear disguises and what was the neatest secret he ever found out and did he have a bunch of girlfriends like James Bond. He must not have been a very good spy, because he answered me (I can't tell you what he said because it’s top secret, except he said Slick got all the girlfriends, only of course he used Slick's real name, which I also can't tell you).
I asked him how come he had such a funny name (Not Blondie, but his real name, which you never heard anything like in your life.) and he told me he was from the Soviet Union, like Khrushchev! So I asked if he was Red and instead of answering me he said something like “it was remarkable in a country that prided itself on the quality of its education system how ignerant Americans are."
So I said, if you like it there so much better, why did you leave? And he said he had a job with the place he works for and they were working for peace for everyone and mutual respect between nations and blah, blah, blah.
So I said, how come you're here bothering us? and he said my dad knew something very important and dangerous and he had to be protected and I said Ger was the one kidnapped and he said the easiest way to a loving parent is through their child, which I had no anser to.
Then he asked me if I was scared because of Ger and I told him of course not and he said that was sensable because Ger was going to be fine and we were safe with him on guard. I asked him if he would die defending me, which is what the Knights of the Round Table promised and he said he would. So I went and got the Twinkies and taught him how to suck out the middle.
I think I'm going to stop here because it's happy and I don't like to think about what came next.
You certainly know how to keep your audience interested! I hope you will finish your story soon. I can't wait!
That was a very rude comment Blondie made about Americans being ignorant (please memorize that spelling). However, you probably should have asked him if he were a Communist rather than Red.
Watch your run-on sentences; try reading your writing aloud and see if you can finish each sentence without taking another breath.
Slick laid down to sleep, the past tense of the verb to lay.
Please also memorize the correct spelling of “sensible" and "answer."
I think I must of fallen asleep because the next I knew there was some noise and I woke up on the couch. The noise was the front door closing and I could see my dad through the window running out to our car.
Blondie came running into the hallway and he said something foreign that sounded like a bad word when he saw the car driving away. He hollered up the stairs for Slick, who came stumbling out of Ger's bedroom with his gun in his hand and Blondie told him my dad had taken off. My mom came to the upstairs hallway and Slick said, kind of mad, where did my dad go. At first she shook her head and then she started crying and she told him some street names that I don't remember and she showed him some little box and said somebody left it on the front porch while me and my dad were out driving around with a note that said it was a comunickator and they would call later with instructions and she had been walking around with this thing in the pocket of her apron all day.
About then, I realized my dad had gone after Ger and Slick and Blondie were going to go after him, so I snuck the living room window open, which is what I do when we're playing hide n seek and I need to get out of the living room, and I hid on the floor in the back seat of their car.
I got to go now. We're going to get me a new pair of shoes, penney loafers.
You should write cliffhanger movies!
The first sentence should read "must have fallen asleep". Please, please watch the run-on sentences. Remember. One thought per sentence. The next to last sentence should read "I have got to go now" or, better, "I must go now."
Please memorize the correct spelling of the words communicator (congratulations on using such a big word, though) and penny. The game is hide-and-seek.
Pretty soon, the front car doors opened and Slick and Blondie jumped in. They didn't even look in the back seat, which just shows you how careless spies can be. They didn't talk much, mostly because Blondie drives pretty bad, if you want to know the truth, and Slick and I were just trying to hold on. About the time I thought I might have to throw up, the car screeches to a stop and they hopped out. I could hear Slick telling Blondie to hold back until he had time to circle around.
I took a chance and poked my head up. We were at this park near a friend of mine's house. I could see our car parked kind of crooked in front of us and Blondie was crouched down so all I could see was the top of his head. He was looking through some bushes at something in the park and after a minute I could see it too. My dad was standing over by the swings and talking to a guy with a moustach by this really tall slide they have there. Ger was at the top of the slide, just sitting there still wearing that stupid Uncle Benny hat, and another guy was on the ladder right behind him holding onto the back of his belt. Ger had the silver kind of tape Daddy uses to fix things at home wrapped around his hands and another piece was over his mouth. I knew he was crying because he was kind of shaking and every now and then he would make a real gross snuffling sound. Another really big guy was over by the swings.
There was some kind of weird bird sound and Blondie started moving, hiding behind bushes and in shadows but moving closer and closer to Daddy. I was right behind him and being real sneaky but all of a sudden he turned around and pointed his gun at me. I kind of sqeaked and he grabbed me and put his hand over my mouth. We held real still for a minute, but nobody seemed to notice us so he let me go and shoved me toward the car, but I stayed put and shook my head. He rolled his eyes and then pointed at the ground where we were and started sneaking again. I let him get a ways away before I started following him again.
Things started happening right then. The guy on the slide let go of Ger and he slid down and Daddy ran up to grab him off the slide and was hugging him. The guy on the slide sort of slid down the ladder and the other two bad guys started closing in on my dad.
There was this wierd coughing sound and the big guy all of a sudden fell down and Slick came running out of the bushes on the other side of the playground. The guy from the slide laid down in the hole at the bottom of the slide and started shooting at Slick, who tried to hide behind the poles of the swing set but he didn't fit.
My dad started running away with Ger and the mustache guy pointed his gun at them, so I picked up a rock that was under my knee and threw it at him. I throw pretty good and I hit him in the stomach. He turns toward me and his gun is pointing right at me and I couldn't even think to move. All of a sudden, something whammed into me and there were a couple of bangs. I was sort of squashed under this heavy thing that I realized was Blondie. I waited for him to move or say something, but he didn't. I wiggled partway out, but he was too heavy for me to move my legs. Some other stuff was happening, but all I could see was the guy with the mustache walking toward us with his gun pointing.
That made me think about something hard that was pushing into my stomack. I felt around and sure enough it was Blondie’s gun. I pulled it out of his hand and checked like Slick showed me and pointed it at the guy. It was heavier than I remembered, and I couldn't get both my arms loose to stick out, so I had to hold it with one hand. So I just pointed it at the guy the best I could and pulled the trigger, really hard, and the guy looked at me really surprised and fell down.
I guess Slick shot the guy by the slide because all of a sudden he was standing next to me and pulling Blondie off me and shouting was I all right. I couldn't feel anything so I nodded I was and he leaned over Blondie and then he pulled out his pen and started talking into it, which I guess was another kind of communicator.
I crauled away and then my Daddy was there hugging me and Ger and I didn't mind that Ger had peed all over both of us.
What an exciting climax to your story! I am so glad you gave it a happy ending for your family. How brave of you to protect your father and brother! How sad, but how touching, that Blondie gave his life protecting you, just as he promised. It is a wonderful story. Congratulations.
I think you meant to say that Blondie drives pretty badly. In your second paragraph, the proper construction would be a park near the house of a friend of mine. Be careful about mixing tenses; you shift from present to past tense occasionally in your writing.
Lay and lie trip up many writers. Lay is to place something and lie is to place oneself. The man who was on the slide laid himself down in the hole
Please memorize the spelling of the following words: moustache, squeaked, stomach, weird and crawled.
Miss Butcher, you don't understand, it wasn't like that. I didn't feel like a hero. I felt sick. I had blood all over me, which was really gross, hot and sticky, and I was shaking so hard my teeth chattered and I bit my tunge. I kept thinking the guy with the moustache would get up and come after me again and my dad was no help because he just cried and cried and squeazed us so hard it hurt and Slick was busy holding his jacket against Blondie's stomach.
Finally an amblance came and they took Blondie to the hospital and the police came and acted like they were going to arrest somebody and then some more guys in suits who took us home and stayed all night. Ger slept with my mom and dad and I snuck in and slept on their floor.
The next day, Slick came by and boy, was he a mess. He had dried blood all over his shirt and he needed to shave and his eyes were all red. He said Blondie was alive and the bad guys were dead but because of something my dad knew, we were going to have to move right away and change our identy and everything. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to my friends.
We had to pick new names and my parents let us pick our own so I picked Lorelei, which I always liked after I read it in a princess story, and my brother, the goof, picked Geronimo, like the Indian chief, so my parents pretend his name is Gerald so people won't be curious about him. He's kind of weird because of what happened, and he sucks his thumb when he thinks nobody is watching. That's what the fight was about on the playground, somebody saw him and started calling him a baby.
I can't sleep a lot. I keep thinking they're coming for me next, or they're coming back for Ger. Sometimes I sleep on the floor in his room just in case. My mom feels the same. She hardly lets us leave the house and we can't have anybody over.
I just want things to be like they were before. I want to not be scared all the time and I want my family to not be so different. I want to have friends and not have to lie to people when they ask questions.
I know you think I made all this up, but I didn't. It happened, just like I said.
I believe that you believe this story is true, and that concerns me. A girl your age should not have such fears and worries. If there is something that has happened to make you so fearful, I hope you will tell your parents about it.
Please memorize the correct spelling of "tongue," "squeezed" (it Is confusing, I know, when compared with the correct spelling of squeaked), ambulance and identity.
I can't believe you would do that! You said this journal was just between us and then you go and tell my mom everything, even about kissing Jimmy Voss! I trusted you and you go and betray me!!!!
I'm very sorry. I did what I felt was necessary. You see, I am also your teacher and I have some responsibilities for your well-being. After your last entry, I became concerned about your mental health and I felt your mother should know. She was very understanding and explained to me how unhappy you are that your father's job will require you to move again. I'm sure it is hard, but I hope you have some good memories to take from Centennial Elementary School and will make new friends quickly at your new school. I have enjoyed having you in my class.
Principal Rosen tells me your uncle will be coming this afternoon to pick you up.
Before you leave, please remember to turn in your essay on My Most Memorable.. so I can forward your grades, when you are settled and know where you will be attending school next.
The words "go and" serve no purpose and clutter up the flow of your writing. Excessive use of exclamation points is distracting to the reader; let your words express the intensity of your feelings.
Please memorize the correct spelling of the word betray.
Your friend, Miss Butcher