The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


A Series of Unfortunate Events

What can you remember from childhood?

Age 4: I wake up. The hallway and bedrooms of our ranch house are dark. It feels like the middle of the night, but I have no way of knowing what time it really is. There are lights and voices and phone calls happening out in the kitchen and the living room. My parents are awake and something is wrong. My teenage cousin is coming to babysit me and my baby brother because my dad's father has had a heart attack. I can't really really remember Grandpap McGuiggan, but I slept with Muffin, the brown and white stuffed dog he gave me, until I went to college.

Age 6: I'm going to have an operation to remove my adenoids. Mom and Dad had originally signed me up for cosmetic surgery taken me to a doctor because I had a perpetual cold, but that first wacko doctor thought he should also perform cosmetic surgery on me because my ears stuck out so far from my head and they were afraid I'd be ridiculed at school. But the a second ear, nose, and throat doctor was more concerned with my constant stuffy nose thought that I'd be better served without the ear pinning. (Yay for second opinions!) It's the night before I go to the hospital in Pittsburgh. I walk around the house saying goodbye to things: Goodbye dining room. Goodbye couch. Goodbye little brother. While in the hospital I watch a video with Mr. Rogers explaining that I'll go to sleep for a little while and then I'll wake up after the operation. He was right. Of course he was. He's Mr. Rogers. Twelve years later, after a full school year of sore throats, I'll have another operation to remove my tonsils and wonder why they didn't just do it all at once. (Edited 10/20/07 after having dinner with my parents and finding out that I've been telling this story wrong all these years. Dad said, "We always called you 'Dumbo' with affection!" I was a lucky little girl.)

Age 7: My second grade teacher mocks me in front of the class when I say I don't know what street I live on. I DO know that I live on Harrison Avenue, but she didn't ask for my address or for the name of my avenue. She asked for my street. My friend Julie lives on Third Street, but I don't live on a Street. I live on an Avenue. This penchant for exactness will later drive my husband crazy.

Age 9: I make my mom talk to my third grade teacher because Amy H. was tested for the gifted program and I wasn't, even though I make better grades than her. I finally join the gifted program in sixth grade. Much later I realize that while Amy may have had average grades, this had absolutely nothing to do with her stellar intellect.

This post was inspired by this mighty blogger, this superhero, and this cheesy gal. I like this format and think I might play around with it -- especially since this sampling makes it sound like my childhood was full of nothing but grief, pain, humiliation, and frustration. I promise: I was a happy child and am well adjusted. My head finally caught up with my ears. But my nose was a source of contention in middle school.

Got a timeline? Share it in the comments!

add to kirtsy | 1:21 AM


Blogger David said...

The scary part is that I rem you taking the gifted test. Mom and I waited in a hall for you. Took forever!

10/16/2007 5:37 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

David: Sorry to have burdened your childhood with my academic pursuits! :)

10/17/2007 4:36 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

the comments made me giggle ... this is really cool, i may have to try it during nablopomo ... i am collecting ideas for the month of blogging :)

i would have done the same thing with the street / avenue ...

10/25/2007 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Jen, I happened upon your blog through Linked In and Jenelle's contacts. I just pressed a few buttons and there I was listening in on your stories of youth. What fun. It is great to see you doing so well with your own entrepreneurial venture! On a side note, Nathan was a lion last night - very cute. Becky C.

11/01/2007 9:57 AM  

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