Saturday, March 21, 2015

Liar, Liar, pants on Fire!

It's true: I'm a fibber. 

Back in 1969, I lied my way through sixth grade English class, though I suspect Miss Kutz, my English teacher at that time, knew. But whenever I talked to her, she attended to my every word as though my ideas were of great importance, which is a rare gift for a child in a family of eight. The students in Miss Kutz's class were supposed to independently read a book every month and afterwards write a summary. My summaries were copied from my father's Encyclopedia of Book Summaries. I handed in well written synopsizes of books like, A Tale of Two Cities, Silas Marner, and Great Expectations . . . you get the picture.

But Miss Kutz never once called me out on it.

And then I decided to write my own book on loose leaf paper about a family. It was completely independent of any work I needed to do for school. I showed it to Miss Kutz. She took it and actually read it and wrote encouraging comments in it. I don't remember anything else about the rest of middle school. Only that. But I hadn't thought about her or that loose-leaf-book until these past few years.

Little snippets of time like that one stay inside us—sometimes buried so deep they're unreachable. Over the two years that Your Own Kind was written, Miss Kutz slowly slipped back into my memory. I think she would be proud of this one.

Here is Chapter 1: