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Monthly Short Story Contest > August 2018 - Back To School

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message 1: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Short Story Challenge (750 to 1000 words)
Deadline is midnight (EST) Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Voting will take place between August 29 and August 31. Winners will be posted in this thread on September 1, 2018.

Highlights:

A new school building
A yellow bus
A school age boy or girl (between the ages of 4 and 17)
A calendar

Theme: Pre-Schools through high schools generations ago as compared to schools now.

Setting – any

Plot – your choice

Ideas to get you started.

• A comparison of school when you attended (any grade level) to current day schools.
• The thrill of getting your first laptop even if it is a refurbished one with a few glitches.
• A high tech business’s rescues a low performing school.
• How missing the bus turn creates an opportunity to pass a difficult school exam.


Challenge Guidelines – Skip over this comment section if you are familiar with the Writers 750 Challenge.

Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime, Comedy, Romance, or a mixture (BASICALLY, anything but erotica)

Purpose -
Some fiction writers are looking to win a short story contest, keeping in touch with making deadlines, and/or simply sharpening the skill of writing fiction. The main purpose of this contest is to sharpen plot and character skills, collect your own short stories, receive good feedback, make a good connection with other writers, and take a short break from your current novel to get a fresh view when you return to it.

Rules and Directions -
* Type in English - a minimum of 750 words; a maximum of 1,000 words; no erotica, no profanity.

* Post your title, by line, and word count total in the first line of your story posting.

* Writers are responsible for their own copyright. Authors keep all rights. PRIVACY POLICY IS ENFORCED. COPYRIGHTS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS BELONG TO INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. THIS CONTEST DOES NOT GRANT ANY PERSON THE RIGHT OR LICENSE TO COPY OR USE OTHER STORIES. EACH STORY IS PROTECTED BY THE COPYRIGHT OF THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR.

* ONE entry per person must be writer's original work, a final revision, and a new piece of writing. If you need to edit your submission, click "edit" and do not repost elsewhere in the thread. Try to post your final revision.

Judging: The story will be judged on the use of the above story prompts, creativity, proper grammar, good punctuation, and overall good quality for the story.

Voting: Please vote for the first, second, and third place. You are not allowed to vote for yourself. If posting this month, you MUST vote in order for your story to remain eligible.


message 2: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
Just think, most of us attended grade school and high school before the mass production of home computers. I even took typing class on an old fashioned typewriter.


message 3: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Me too, Glenda. Started writing short stories on a little portable typewriter. Still have a few faded stories in a folder from back then. We had to beat off the dinosaurs to get to school, and walked uphill both ways, to and from school...through the snow.... Right?


message 4: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments The stories this month should be very interesting.


message 5: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Oh this should be a fun one since I was just home for the all School Reunion and we were talking about when the new school was built and how we were all strung out all over town. This will be a true story for me. Just have to figure out from what angle I want to write it.


message 6: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Elaine wrote: "Me too, Glenda. Started writing short stories on a little portable typewriter. Still have a few faded stories in a folder from back then. We had to beat off the dinosaurs to get to school, and walk..."

LOL Elaine. For reals! And the dang snow banks were taller than we were.


message 7: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Glenda wrote: "Just think, most of us attended grade school and high school before the mass production of home computers. I even took typing class on an old fashioned typewriter."

You know those were the good old days! Several of us did a tour of our school last month. Now keep in mind this was a tiny little town in Central Montana and k-12 is still in the very same building.
As we went from room to room of that school, we marveled at how the old typing room is now full of computers. The old encyclopedias we would have spread out all over the tables were there but the dust told us they haven't been touched for years. It was kinda bittersweet as many of us shared those memories with each other, children, and even grandchildren.

One of my schoolmates even remarked "When the heck did we become the old people?" LOL


message 8: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Daddy’s Big Hand (A 'fun' version of a true story)

In 1950, I was a first grader, one of the first to attend school in the county’s newest rural school house. The children marked the days off the calendar, waiting for the two days a month that the yellow Sonoma County Public Library bookmobile visited the school and we could select a library book! Without today’s technology of televisions, computer games, videos or CD’s, a book was our gateway to another world of fantasy, imagination, and excitement.

We lined up at the bookmobile door in two rows. Squirming, wiggling and chattering, barely able to contain our excitement, we stood in the hot sun, waiting our turn to enter the truck. Finally, it was my turn.

The librarian directed me to the two shelves dedicated to beginning readers, and I made my selection. The librarian admonished me with the responsibility of caring for library property, and wrote down my name and the title of my book. She tucked a small card into the back cover. The book was mine to enjoy until the bookmobile returned in two weeks.

Triumphantly, I carried my book down the steps of the bookmobile and flashed a smug smile at the fidgeting children still standing in the hot summer sun. Their jealous gaze followed me into the shade of a nearby tree where I sat down to read.

The book was a treasure, sent to me personally by the President of the United States, who owned the Sonoma County Public Library System and personally sent out the yellow bookmobiles to rural schools, as a symbol of truth, justice and the American Way. I knew this in my heart of hearts.

I walked home from school that day, carrying my lunch pail, sweater and my precious library book under my arm. One of my companions suggested we take a different route home. Though I knew this was against my mama’s rules, the chanting of “chicken” cinched my decision to agree.

Several blocks from the school, our path brought us to a deep PG&E worker’s hole, loosely covered by boards. Our leader pranced across the boards and “double-dog dared” us to follow. Another child crossed the teetering boards successfully.

I was afraid, but unable to defy a “double-dog dare,” I had no choice but to succumb to peer pressure. Fighting back tears, I clutched my lunch pail, sweater and library book, closed my eyes, and took a precarious step onto the wobbly boards. Flailing my hands outward to keep my balance, my precious book tumbled down between the boards into the dark hole, and surely, into the pits of hell. Horrified, we crouched over the hole and peered into the darkness; it seemed a hundred feet deep at least, where my book had disappeared. I could barely see the pages flipping gently back and forth. The hole was too deep, and rescue too challenging for our small six-year-old minds to comprehend. My precious library book was gone!

I contemplated the outcome of this catastrophe. The President of the United States had personally commissioned the book into my hands and I had failed him…. miserably. Someone was going to jail. I felt sure they wouldn’t put a six-year-old in jail, but if not me, then who? Suddenly, it became all too clear. They would put Daddy in jail because I was his kid and somebody had to pay for my grievous error.

Tears of regret, shame and panic plagued the remainder of my walk home, where I hid in the closet for hours, despite my mother’s pleas to come out. I sat in the darkness, crying, imagining what would become of us. Mama would have to go to work. We would be poor and everyone would point fingers at me, knowing I was the reason my Daddy was in jail.

When Daddy came home that evening, he grabbed me by the collar and pulled me out of the closet in about four seconds. Then, he whacked my bottom. Daddy always could get to the seat of a problem in about four seconds. “What the heck is going on?” he bellowed.

Between tears and trembling, I confessed my disobedience in coming straight home and the loss of my library book down a hundred foot deep hole along the way. I decided not to mention the part about him going to jail. It wouldn’t be long before the library police would be here to arrest him.

After dinner, Daddy drove me back to the gigantic, monstrous hole that yawned beneath the boards at least a hundred feet deep, the hole that had swallowed my precious book, the hole that was the cause of his impending incarceration, and my everlasting shame.

“Stand back, now,” He said. Daddy leaned over the yawning cavern, reached down with his long arm, and pulled out the book!

Things were easier back then, when I was six-years- old. No matter what happened, you could count on Daddy to solve enormous, life- shattering problems with one sweep of his big hand, or at least, it seemed so to me. I remember that I snuggled against his shoulder as we drove home, with my very own library book clutched tightly to my chest


message 9: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Come on folks. Let's get the stories coming. We all have memories of childhood to tell about.


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Another great story, Elaine. I actually held my breath momentarily. I love the outcome which was not anticipated as I read through the story. Elaine wrote: "Daddy’s Big Hand (A 'fun' version of a true story)

In 1950, I was a first grader, one of the first to attend school in the county’s newest rural school house. The children marked the days off the..."



message 11: by Glenda (last edited Aug 08, 2018 05:58PM) (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
Bitter Sweet School Memories
829 words

Bitter Sweet School Memories

I remember the first time I walked the campus of my Christian high school. It was as if it were a piece of heaven. But that was before I was actually enrolled there.

I should’ve known better when the school brochure said things like, “If you own a pointed bra, sew the tips in,…no rock music is allowed,…skirts and dresses must be worn below the knees,…sleeveless shirts and sleeveless dresses are not allowed…” But still, I reasoned with myself that attending this school would be good for me. I chose to live with neither parent, somewhere neutral of their influences and would distance myself from the bitterness that had grown since their divorce. The school years that would follow would prove to disappoint me many times after receiving no mail during “mail call”. I would also be plagued by reoccurring dreams in early adulthood of being enrolled and not being able to escape campus.

There would be no big yellow buses to pick me up at the curb. I would wake to the sound of the loud bell in the hallway of my dorm. The girls’ dormitories were located in three different buildings: in the Administration Building above the classrooms, above the library, and above the Dining Hall. The boys all lived in two huge buildings at the other end of the campus. We had no new buildings since the school’s founding in 1925. The students kept it squeaky clean since we were assigned to clean dormitories, class rooms, staff homes, or perform kitchen duty. My sister and I were given the grueling job every Thursday of cleaning Meat Basement. It is where they processed the beef or pork meat. After cleaning the blood and grease with Spic & Span, we had to make ourselves presentable enough to attend dinner in the Dining Hall with the rest of the students.

One of my best friends that I made my Freshman year was Darlene. We were an odd pair. She was from Trinidad, Virgin Islands and was from East Indian descent. Darlene was short, stocky, and had beautiful flowing dark hair that framed her very round face. She confused me when she started wearing her Hindu red dot on her forehead which after a while she discontinued. We both fell for the same cute senior guy with the jet black hair. And during Saturday basketball games held under the chapel, we kept our legs warm using my winter coat with the faux fur.

Throughout those school years, learning was with text books only. The IBM personal computer would not be sold until another six years. Even the type writers we used in typing class were the old fashioned kind that if you hit two keys at once by mistake, the letter arms would lock up on each other. Heck, even the clothes washing machines were the wringer type. I never used one. I washed my clothes on a scrub board molded into the concrete sink for four years. The clothes dried outside on a line or in the attic. If you didn’t retrieve your clothes off the line, they would be confiscated and sold later.

The only things that I excelled at during my high school years were art, music, and volleyball. On Saturday evenings we were allowed to play next to boys during volleyball games. When it came time for me to serve the ball, I put a wicked spin on it, sending it low and fast over the net. The opposition would fail to return it after it came into contact with two or three people. As far as the art and music, this spilled over into my personal life. Back home (with my grandmother) I participated in church talent contests with art sketches and singing both solo and group numbers. I won trophies for these. But there was one instance that stands out as far as my art work. During my senior year, the art teacher introduced us to acrylic paints. I painted a forest scene that included a blooming white dogwood tree and a short waterfall. Somehow this painting caught the eye of Mr. Swauger, an old widower on campus. He was one of the kindest people that I had the honor of knowing during my four years there. When he would lead the singing in the chapel, he would raise his hands and look like he had just tossed a rubber ball into the congregation. Plus his hair looked like the comic book character Dagwood. He came to me one day and asked how much I would be willing to sell my acrylic painting for. I named the price of $25.00. The painting remained on his wall until his passing.

There is no denying that my high school helped shape my character and spiritual life. We attended chapel every day except Monday and twice on Sunday. The memory of sermons and prayers have faded with time, but I can honestly say that some bonds will never be broken.


message 12: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
Sorry that I didn't "show, don't tell". I wouldn't know how to do this challenge any other way. My short story is based on true events.


message 13: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments Loved your story and your precious memories. Even some of the bad ones can become precious over time! I think you told the story just fine and I was convinced it was true. good job!


message 14: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 536 comments Mod
Glenda -Excellent story and very interesting.


message 15: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
Thanks, guys. I appreciate the feedback. I bet there aren't many schools like that one. I'm surprised they didn't make us wear uniforms.


message 16: by F.F. (new)

F.F. Burwick | 154 comments When there was a previous contest for stories with a theme of a fantasy island to be included, what I submitted had some expressing interest to hear more about it. I like honoring such interest being expressed with what I can write, and I said I would submit more about it. I got around to working on more for it, and saw that it doesn't look like I could fit it with contest stories with further parameters to be included, though I was thinking I could try. But I just came up with the further writing for that story, to just share as it is without themes of another contest. So now I would want to know if I could submit it here where newer submitted stories are appearing, or in the thread of that previous contest, that finished a couple of months or so ago.


message 17: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Another great story Glenda. I wonder what would be the reaction with some of the students today to your school's dress code. Strict. Glenda wrote: "Sorry that I didn't "show, don't tell". I wouldn't know how to do this challenge any other way. My short story is based on true events."


message 18: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments FF: You should be able to submit your story. If it doesn't fit into the monthly parameters, it would affect how it is judged, but I'm sure there would be no problem for us to read it and enjoy your story. (Moderator - If I'm wrong, please jump in here and correct me. )


message 19: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
Fred, as a moderator I will request that you post your story in the May Fantasy Island thread. When you have done so, post a message here that it is there to read. Only stories that keep to the theme and writing prompts for each month should be posted in its correct monthly theme. Thanks for asking.


message 20: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
Patricia, they'd probably wonder what century I went to school in. They would most likely find the request to sew in the pointed bras pretty hilarious.


message 21: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments I stand corrected. Thanks Glenda for clarification.


message 22: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 536 comments Mod
Fred. I for one will go back to the May postings and read your story. Place post. Thanks.


message 23: by F.F. (new)

F.F. Burwick | 154 comments I have posted a continuation that I wrote there now.


message 24: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Good Morning All, how are you doing with your August story challenge?


message 25: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Posting a link to the May Challenge. Hopefully this will get us to your continued story. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...F.F. wrote: "I have posted a continuation that I wrote there now."


message 26: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 536 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "Good Morning All, how are you doing with your August story challenge?" I know nothing of today's schools with public, private, charter, etc. I could not do justice to a story this month.


message 27: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Your well-crafted story will be missed, Terry.TERRY wrote: "Patricia wrote: "Good Morning All, how are you doing with your August story challenge?" I know nothing of today's schools with public, private, charter, etc. I could not do justice to a story this ..."


message 28: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Faber (elainefabergoodreadscom) | 142 comments yes, Terry. Maybe now, some of us have a chance of being first, since we don't have to compete with your genius! LOL We will miss your great storytelling talent! Next month.


message 29: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hello Elaine, Glenda and others,

I appreciate both of your stories individually.
It has been recently brought to my attention by an editor acquaintance, that writing language is like music in that it involves rhythm and beat. I commend you on this appearing in your sentence flow and length. This is an area where my writing is improving.
A minor concern is dialogue. Here, the rules may be relaxed: Should not dialogue be on its own line or paragraph?

I am currently working on my autobio and may submit part of my school years section for this month's theme. It is being edited and tentatively published in October.
Thank you.

David Russell


message 30: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 536 comments Mod
David wrote: "Hello Elaine, Glenda and others,

I appreciate both of your stories individually.
It has been recently brought to my attention by an editor acquaintance, that writing language is like music in that..."


David. I like your idea of writing language like music very much. Can you demonstrate please. Thanks in advance.


message 31: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Terry and others,

The illustration given to me was from comedy with contemporary comedians like Bob Newhart or Bill Cosby. Listen to the way each may deliver monologue or dialogue and notice how their sentences share a common length. I don't know what this is, but the term slam poets or poetry was used as another example of this idea.
I think on a very simple level nursery rhymes like Mary Had A Little Lamb or Hickery Dickery Doc or any of your choosing also show this idea of sentence length similarity and rhythm in writing being parallel.

It was suggested to me that since I tend to mix formal and informal sentences, take a block of writing and express it poetically. That will help make sentences similar in length and similar in appearance. I write short articles for a content mill and sometimes that genre crosses over into writing fiction. Hope that helps.
David


message 32: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hello again,

This is a snippet from my autobio, working title, Homecoming.
Brian, Mark and Jeannine are my other brothers and sister. The rest should be fairly self-explanatory.
Word count about 600.
Homecoming
David Russell
Excerpt:

#
My youngest brother, Mark, was born in late January 1965. And about three months later, I would be going away to the Michigan School for the Blind.
Spring 1965
Seventh grade was a challenging school year.  In English, I learned a preposition was anywhere a mouse could go. In Social Studies we learned there are 535 members in the US Congress. In math, my winter final was the day after the TV showing of "The Wizard of Oz" and my failing grade allied me with the scarecrow. Math was a very unclear yellow brick road to use an analogy. Much of the school day was spent going from class to class with sighted peers and Chris, who excelled at academics. In March we made a return visit to the Michigan School for the Blind (MSB). It was 125 miles away in Lansing, Michigan. We had gone there one time before when I was in fourth grade, but I didn't want to attend. Around April 20, school location changed, and a new era began. Home became North Wing Two, in a multi-story structure that was built in the 1930s. Rooms were fitted with the old style room radiator for heat. I brought my portable radio and a suitcase full of clothes. I smelled the packed clothing to get a whiff of the wash detergent that left its aroma in the fibers. The portable radio had its own unique scent, but each conveyed the scent of home. At the School for the Blind, the dorm became the neighborhood and felt institutional.
There were occasions when I did not want to be at 'the blind school' as some area adults called it, and identified with the Simon and Garfunkel song, "Homeward Bound." I departed Marysville Junior High with a beginning crush on Julie who had been assigned by our teacher to be a textbook reader for me in seventh grade science class. She was soft-spoken, smart, and her dad was the new public school Superintendent. She could pronounce 'centigrade.' Of course, she never knew I liked her.
One Sunday evening after my parents had brought me back from a home weekend visit, I was homesick and crying. I went to the main floor, which was one story underneath the dorm, and used the pay telephone to ensure privacy. I called the pastor from the church my parents had arranged for me to attend, and after we hung up, decided then and there, I would shape my own faith experience.
"Pastor Hubbard, this is David Russell. Can I talk to you?"
"You're talking to me, David. What do you want?"
"I'm homesick. I miss my family. I hate it here. I wanna go home."
"David, tell someone there and I'm sure they can help you. Good night, David.""Good night yourself."
I then started visiting different churches, and would call to get rides from someone in the congregation. I finally settled on two or three: Grace Brethren, Maranatha Baptist, and First Assemblies of God. By senior year, I eliminated the last church because it was furthest from the school.
One time, I participated in a state youth talent show that occurred at a major Baptist church in Lansing and received first place. This church provided bus transport for about twenty students who regularly attended scheduled services and youth group on Sundays. I would go on occasion, but preferred something smaller than 1200 congregants in a church service. I gave the trophy away, because I felt my parents would be terribly upset if they found out their Lutheran son had jumped ship and did something with the Baptists. In that era, faith practice was a big issue.
Around 1968, my parents allowed the old Royal typewriter and FM stereo receiver into my living environment at MSB. Then, I resided in a one-story unit, more home-like, called a cottage. About fifteen adolescent students - each lived in four separate cottages on the campus. These were constructed in the early 1960s. They were one-story brick buildings with a dining room, kitchen, living area, and hallway with bedrooms on either side. They might resemble the wing or floor of a college dorm built in that era. House chores were assigned by the two house parents in charge. There was always a house parent on duty during after-school hours. It may have resembled the home environment more so compared to the multi-level dorm, but still held the inescapable aura of institution.
The school provided linens, meals, classroom instruction, supplies and so forth. The school provided students transportation to the bus or Grand Trunk Railway Station in Lansing on Friday afternoons for those who had weekend plans to go visit family. I went to visit my family once or twice a month during these years by train. Generally, two other blind students from our area were returning to MSB that Sunday, and parents would take turns providing transport. Grand Trunk was the passenger train carrier that served Michigan and some other Midwest states.
During the high school years, my reluctance was replaced by off campus adventure.   I participated in a church youth group. In senior year, I provided piano accompaniment for an area youth group that performed the faith musical, "Tell It Like It Is." It felt good to mix and mingle with other 'sighted' peers. My piano skills served well to level the social playing field.  Academics improved from the middle school period in Marysville; my GPA held at about 2.5 on a 4-point system throughout high school. The school offered instruction in piano tuning and chair caning. I did learn to tune pianos, but more as means for earning spending money than a livelyhood. I was thinking of becoming the next Billy Graham, then. The instructor, Mr. Manley, and his wife, Barb, would arrange for students to tune pianos on Saturdays for $6.00 if interested. On one occasion, I tuned the piano at the Governor's living quarters in Lansing, and met then Governor Millican as he was departing for an engagement. I was paid.
Summers were spent with my immediate family in Marysville. In the mid '60s, my parents purchased a used tandem bike, which was 'my two-wheel bike'. Either Dad, Jeannine, Brian, or a friend from town would ride and steer the bike from the front seat.
One adventure included a fifteen-mile bike hike to and from the beach with the church youth group for swimming and a picnic on a summer Saturday. The youth group leader and I rode the tandem. A sense of accomplishment was felt by all when we finished the day. Few had problems sleeping that night. I became acquainted with a local radio host, Joe Remington, and Brian and I would often ride the bike to his house just to say hello. We were fondly called 'the boys with the first two names' by him. He worked Sunday mornings, and I sent him to work one Sunday with an album by the Blackwood Brothers Quartet with a request to play the first song on side A. I purposely put a scratch in the vinyl record so it could be heard, and thought that it was nice to be recognized, and even nicer that he played the song at all. I was a scrappy adolescent perhaps bordering annoying.
#
Note: I am having the entire document edited and am curious to see what changes are suggested. Most of my sentences seem to be similar in length. Comments welcomed, I can take it!


message 33: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Hey, I have my story ready to post before the deadline for a change. This month's topic was a perfect one for me being that last month I actually returned home to attend that all school reunion. Plus, it has been awhile since I written a historical fiction. First time the historical fiction is in first person. The events in the library really did happen . The events of the night of the grand opening are 50 years old so a little creative writing went into that part.

Anyway, hope you enjoy a piece of my life.


message 34: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Fifty Years Later by Lynette White Word count 992

Fifty Years Later

“Finally. I get to sit in an actual classroom instead of the stupid fire hall. And no more walking to the stupid church for lunch,” my older sister grumbled.

Attempting to pacify her, I pointed at the reason why we are gathered together. ”Oh, come on. It wasn’t that bad. And look, in two days we will be going to this brand new school.”

“About time,” she retorted and marched off in a huff.

My mother is looking at me with a cocked head. “What’s her problem?”

I just shrugged. “Heck if I know.”

Fact is the past two years have been a little rough. Our little community of 200 people has been in turmoil since the old three story school was leveled to make way for this new single story school.

During the building process the children have been relocated to the American Legion Building, the Fire Hall, and the old Gym. My class was in an old house that was converted to accommodate us and the kindergarten kids.

Every day we all walked back and forth to the Catholic church for lunch. Except during the winter when the buses picked us up and deliver us back to our makeshift classrooms.

But tonight we are anxiously awaiting the tour of the new facilities. According to the grumbling adults Mr. Thompson, the Superintendent, is suppose to cut the big red ribbon across the front doors and he is late. My eight year old mind is not grasping the importance of this whole ribbon cutting thing. Besides, since my dad works for the school I have already seen the inside so this seems a little pointless to me.

Someone yelling nearby attracted my attention. Several boys, including my younger brother, have started chasing each other around the seven shiny yellow buses. Parents suddenly starting barking orders for the rambunctious boys to return to their sides.

The last of the boys just reached their parents when Mr. Thompson finally appeared with Don Derks and Bill Spratt. Mr. Thompson is going on about how this is a great day and something about some sort of sacrifice.

Finally, they cut the ribbon and open the doors. Mr. Thompson keeps trying to tell everyone to follow him but no one is following the rules very well. The adults are too busy talking to each other or having fits because we all scattered the moment the doors opened.

My friend Diana, and I went straight for our classroom. Inside is our shiny new desks. A chalkboard covers most of the wall in the front of the room. One side of the classroom is all windows and the opposite side has the racks of little hooks where we will hang up our coats. Near the last window is our own personal library and on a carpet remnant little chairs are set up in a semi-circle, waiting for our first reading time. Shoot, we even have our own little bathroom.

*****
We would spend the next five years simply moving down the hall to the next room. Once we reached Jr High we moved from room to room each day. We had lockers out in the hallway that we were allowed to decorate and we thought that was the best thing ever!
The large library, where we spent hours doing homework and term papers, was located in the center of the building .

******

Hard to believe that grand opening was a half century ago. I have returned to these hollowed halls with classmates, schoolmates, spouses, children, and even grandchildren for an all school reunion. As we walk from room to room we notice the little desks are not near as shiny and some of the racks are missing their little hooks.

The reading nooks have been replaced with three computer desks. That reading time we looked so forward to is now computer lab. Do teachers even read to the kids anymore?

As we move down to the High School end the room where we first typed on manual typewriters, and then electric ones, is now full of computers. Textbooks are slowly being replaced with tablets.

Even the library is different than we remember. In that cherished inner sanctum the tables we used to sit at as we did our homework, or generated those term papers, are gone. Replaced by computers. In the section where there were at least ten sets of encyclopedias in my day there are now just a couple, and the dust on them descries their neglect.

A former schoolmate joins me wagging her head. “Man, I can’t guess how many hours we spent reading through those stupid encyclopedias trying to do one of Mr. Denton’s term papers. Those suckers were brutal.”

“Not to mention all those stinking English papers for Mrs. Deegan.” I added.

“Yea, I remember having two or three books open at a time trying to siphon information out of them.”

A young voice chimed in behind us. “What books, grandma?”

“In our day when we had term papers to do we used encyclopedias,” Terry explained to her granddaughter.

“Why didn’t you just google it?” she guffawed.

“God, I feel old.” Don remarked as he joined us.

“Indeed,“ I agreed, “but you know what? I wouldn’t trade our years in this library for all the modern technology in the world.”

“You know what? Me neither.” Don agreed. “Yea, we had to spend some long hours in this room putting together all those stupid term papers, but we had some good times too. Remember all those hours we spent playing football?”

We all laughed.

“Man, I never was good at snapping those pieces of paper into the goals.” I quipped.

“And it seemed like I was always freaking out over those stupid deadlines.” Terry remarked. Pointing toward the wall she asked, “remember that big calendar that used hang there? Where they got those big calendars every year I never asked. But, man, I hated that thing.”

“Why?” I inquired.

“Because it always reminded me that I was running out of time.”

Suddenly that statement took on a whole new meaning.


message 35: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Lynette and others,

Nice recollection from the past. Life is sure going to look different in a few years for school age children of today, especially if parents are actively utilizing alternative means. Back to your composition though.
I notice in part two, the reunion, you shift into present tense. I have heard that discouraged, though the reasoning isn't totally clear. (See Quicky and Dirty Tips, Grammar Girl website).
I think even "Elements of Style" might favor past tense form.

Since you are more experienced at this craft, what is more appealing for scene breaks?
I note you use five or six * while others may use a # hashtag.
- Early on, you have a good example of showing vs. telling, thanks.

David


message 36: by Lynette (last edited Aug 22, 2018 03:46PM) (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments hmmmm, stories are kinda scarce this month. I know we all have memories. Hopefully we will have some more stories come in before the deadline.

Elaine: I kept waiting for the cat to enter stage right. LOL. That was a beautiful, enduring story.

Glenda: I have to say parts of the story were almost scaring me. Having been exposed to a strict Catholic school a few miles away from my own I could relate to a great deal of the story. You either came out of those schools with a strong character or scarred for life. I met people on both sides of the spectrum.

Terry: I'm sorry to see you are passing this month. I look forward to your stories.

David: I just want to clarify: Are you submitting your "snippit" to be judged or just to share?


message 37: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
Lynette wrote: "Glenda: I have to say parts of the story were almost scaring me... You either came out of those schools with a strong character or scarred for life..."

I have to say that I came out both scarred and with a stronger character. It was both spiritually enriching but at the same time tormenting me since I was with neither parent. My parents divorced when I was 3, but I loved them both. You can imagine that I felt very depressed when I relived these moments as I wrote this short story.


message 38: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 933 comments Mod
David & Lynette, I enjoyed reading your upbeat school years stories. Ah, the bulky encyclopedias in the library. Speaking of library, I have a vivid image of the librarian in my head from back in the 70's. She was a very strict, almost bitter lady. She tried to enforce the "boys use this door" and the "girls use this exit" whereas a young girl replied, "Maybe we should jump out of the windows!" She also came to me during Study Hall and said that I wasn't sitting like a lady. I must admit that I had my left leg propped up on the desk in front of me while I wore a dress, but heck, there were no people in front of me. :)


message 39: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Lynette, Glenda and Everyone,

I am submitting my story just to share, not to be judged. It is being edited and is part of a bigger work but fit with the theme. Thanks for asking.

David


message 40: by F.F. (new)

F.F. Burwick | 154 comments Other Than Your Education Now by F. F. Burwick 928 words

"In those old days, a caravan of camels were our yellow bus for going to school. And the new school building we used was the old millhouse, up against the cliff along the swift river Walbrook. You think these are hard times, but you have privileges you take no consideration of. We didn't always have those things."

"Oh Gramps, you exaggerate. There isn't that much difference," Billy responded.

"There was that much difference. You have those things, but those things were not always around. It started with beads being used on an instrument for counting. There were no more complicated machines back then. That is how elementary mathematics started. More even trading started with that. And originally depictions with figures were used for reading anything left for a communication. Then these became more abstract, and were used in combination for further sounds of other spoken words. Bark of trees, and sheets from plant materials, were used, and also animal skins started being used, for the writing of such depictions. These things were taught in the unused building that had been the old millhouse."

"All that would be how it started, a long time ago, but in your lifetime you had it more like we do!" Billy persisted.

"And why would you think that? You cannot be sure, and you just claim that."

"Gramps, you are certainly very old. But those things at the start must have been hundreds of years ago!"

"And you don't know how old I am! No one has ever told you, have they?"

"That's ridiculous. You can't be so old to see those things at the beginning, just because I was never told your age. And why can't you just tell me your age? It would in no way be old enough to have seen those things in the beginning."

"Billy, I am a Bengen. There are few original Bengens left in our lands. We have been around from the early times, many hundreds of years ago, we live long and age slowly compared to anyone else. We have experiences with which we are wiser than almost any other people. We don't have much communication with other people in these times. But there is a special reason I have been coming to see you."

"Really? What would you be coming to me for? You had me believe you are just an old friend of our family, as Ma says you are. How can I know you are so different, too?"

"Here, see this? It is a calendar I still have among what I carry, from many centuries ago. You can see it is very old. It is not in our language, it is older than that. See here, there is Aprilis with 29 days, Maius with 31 days, Iunius with 29 days, Quintilis with 31 days, Sextilis with 29 days, September with 29 days. This is something real that people in general don't have. Billy, I come to you and say these things now, with her knowing, because your mother is a half elf. She will live very much longer than other people around here, though not as long as Bengens. She also has known some of these things about me. She did not want to tell you while you were too young to learn about it. But I have been involved with her fitting in with others here. She has also a much greater intelligence. You have that strain of elf in you, and you yourself would live rather longer, and you have more promising intelligence. I have been around to watch you. You will need to know what you will learn in school will be useless for the things people will need to learn, for the betterment in this world, instead of greater and greater problems they will have. The ease all students have with their privileged advantages these days is a distraction to the inferiority in what there is to learn with that, though there is information more available. You are one to be chosen for learning what is needed to be of important help to this society which is headed into greater problems."

"Oh my! You're telling me my education will be useless! You will undermine my schooling, that I will fail!"

"Nonsense! You are too intelligent for that. You will go along with the schooling there, to still fit in, and progress in their system with the others. But you are not to just believe things that are taught there. You will know to check everything. I will be here often, and I will be instructing you in what you will really need to know, with countering some of the false things that would be of value to know, and there will be the information in this which is needed to have people involved in doing things that will have this world avoid many of the problems that are otherwise going to develop, with the ways there are for you to do this."

"Alright, I will learn what you will show me. There are many people though, so there must be a really effective way I would be shown for having enough of them involved in doing things differently for that."

"You are right, Billy. There are ways for that. We will start now with some of this education for you, before you go off again to your contemporary school to go along and fit in for now. But this that we deal with just now will be more important, you will have that to keep in mind still. Alright, let us start with this."


message 41: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Hi Writers. I've read some of the stories submitted for the August Challenge and they are great! If you have not submitted one, the period ends at midnight on Tuesday, August 28th. You still have plenty of time to post one of your great stories.


message 42: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments August 25th. Stories that have come in so far:
1. Elaine 0 Daddy's Big Hand
2. Glenda Bitter Sweet School Memories
3. Frank Burwick Other Than Your Education
4. David Russell Homecoming
5. Lynette Fifty Years Later


message 43: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Patricia and all,

My story, Homecoming, is not to be judged but is only shared. Thanks.

David Russell


message 44: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Glenda wrote: "David & Lynette, I enjoyed reading your upbeat school years stories. Ah, the bulky encyclopedias in the library. Speaking of library, I have a vivid image of the librarian in my head from back in t..."

My goodness and I thought our librarian was strict with her constant "patrols".


message 45: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments As a kid, it is hard to distinguish between being mean, assertive or trying to employ the rules. I lean toward my librarian operating on the overly firm/mean side. In retrospect, I now know that a bunch of school-age children can be more than a handful to keep quiet. Lynette wrote: "Glenda wrote: "David & Lynette, I enjoyed reading your upbeat school years stories. Ah, the bulky encyclopedias in the library. Speaking of library, I have a vivid image of the librarian in my head..."


message 46: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments David, thank you for sharing your experience of going through grade school. We'll remove your story from the ones to be judged. Lynette wrote: "Fifty Years Later by Lynette White Word count 992

Fifty Years Later

“Finally. I get to sit in an actual classroom instead of the stupid fire hall. And no more walking to the stupid church for lun..."



message 47: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 536 comments Mod
Lynette wrote: "Fifty Years Later by Lynette White Word count 992

Fifty Years Later

“Finally. I get to sit in an actual classroom instead of the stupid fire hall. And no more walking to the stupid church for lun..."


Lynette. I like how you integrated all the requirement for the month into your story. Interesting read. Nicely done.


message 48: by TERRY (last edited Sep 22, 2018 06:41AM) (new)

TERRY | 536 comments Mod
After reading Lynette's story I suddenly got inspired and wrote a few lines on the subject of school. I am posting this story but it does not meet the requirements for the Aug contest so it will not be voted on. Hope you like.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE


All students were asked to clean out their locker before leaving for Summer break. We would not be coming back to the old school in the fall. Instead, we will be occupying the brand new school which is scheduled for completion in a few weeks.

I can not tell you how happy I am to be out of the old school building. Many of my classes were held in mobile cubes which the administration preferred to call “modular classrooms.” It was no fun when having to go to the restroom which was over in the main building especially in the cold of Winter. In warmer weather the small air conditioner unit stuck in the wall had a hard time keeping the air cool.
And my other complaint is how the whole room creaked and vibrated when someone walked across the floor. There was this one student who was very heavy…… well, I won’t go there.

I have been lazy thinking there was plenty of time to clean out my locker but alas, the last day of school is here and I am left behind to gather all my things. When I finally emerge through the exit door, I see no one around; all had departed; students, parents, teachers, and buses. I see my car parked all alone across the way. The place seems like a ghost town.

I hated spending my sophomore and junior year in the old school with it’s rickety makeshift classrooms but I can take solace in knowing my senior year will be glorious in the newly constructed school.

As I stand here looking at the new school with a smile on my face, I notice heavy black clouds approaching from the West. I hurry towards my vehicle which is some distance away but two of the workmen who were finishing up a few details on the new school ran past me headed to the storm shelter. They shouted that I should follow and then I heard the tornado warning sirens blaring from across the football field.

I hesitated; wondering if I could get to my vehicle and go home before the bad weather hit but my thoughts were interrupted when another workman ran past me yelling excitedly, “it is coming; it’s coming. I turned around to see the clouds had formed an enormous funnel shaped finger reaching to the ground, twisting and howling like a freight train.

I raced through the shelter door where others had already gathered just as the powerful winds arrive. Someone slams the door shut and everyone rushes to the back wall with panic looking faces. I can hear the roar of destruction outside as the world is being shuffled and rearranged overhead.

We have been in here for a good half hour but it seems much longer. Finally the noise subsides and someone opens the door slightly to see if it is safe to leave. He stands there as though in shock as two other men join him. Everyone else stands as the door opens wide for all to exit.

It is eerily still and quiet standing here looking at the devastation left in the tornado’s path. It seems our shelter was lifted up and set down on an alien planet. Nothing looks familiar. Where is the old school building? Where is my car? And then it hit me; where is the new school? It is all gone. Gone in the blink of an eye.


message 49: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 536 comments Mod
F.F. wrote: "Other Than Your Education Now by F. F. Burwick 928 words

"In those old days, a caravan of camels were our yellow bus for going to school. And the new school building we used was the old millhouse,..."

FF...... you really brought the ancient educational past to meet the present in your story. Very creative.


message 50: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments F.F. wrote: "Other Than Your Education Now by F. F. Burwick 928 words

"In those old days, a caravan of camels were our yellow bus for going to school. And the new school building we used was the old millhouse,..."


Fred, it has been a real pleasure watching your skill change and grow while you have been in this group. I think this has been the best one you have done yet. The sentences are cleaner, the story easy to follow, and the flow is finally there. Great Job!!!!!!!


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