The two following stories are from the Judy Blume Challenge. Judy is a very famous author, many of whose books were aimed at pre teen kids. I took her Masterclass, which can be found here. In that class she presented a challenge, to write a letter, to whom it did not matter, from your childhood. I was able to connect well to this challenge because like Judy, I had a very happy childhood, filled with wonderful memories. This was written from the voice of about a 7-8 year old.
I wrote to Grandma, and mom says you’d like a letter too, so I’m sending you one. Reno is different than I remember it when we visited last year. Living here isn’t like vacations where you visit friends and go eat dinner.
Our house is small and yellow. Dad took a picture of it outside and I’ll show you when I see you. It’s two floors but someone lives in the place on top of us. We met them. Their name is Crossing and they have two girls. Laurie and Kelly. They are younger than me, but fun. Laurie maybe talks too much. There is a park behind us with really big walls on our side next to a playground. We play there after school on the swings and monkey bars. I don’t like falling off them because the dirt is hard. There is a woman there with a really big dog I don’t like, it looks at me really mean. I told mom it was a Saint Bernard, but she saw it from above near our house, smiled, and said it was a hound.
When Laurie and Kelly can’t play mom takes me to the library. She likes going there a lot. We can walk there from our house, and there’s only one busy street to cross. The library is kinda boring because it’s so quiet and mom wants me to whisper in there. But it’s also really pretty. There are these flower like pods that stick up from the floor that you can sit in at the top and read. I never saw anything like them before and at first I didn’t know how people even got up there. But mom pointed out the stairs and pathway that you can walk on to get to them. It’s kinda scary looking, but neat too. Like some space ship maybe.
The school I go to is called Libby C. Booth. It’s only a couple blocks away, and after mom walks me past Wells street which is busy, I walk the rest of the way by myself. Some days I see a couple other kids, but I don't really knw them. It’s a small school but I like it. Our principle has a short haircut like dad and he’s really nice. Mr. Ouren is his name. I like the way when he talks to me and other kids, he gets down low so you can look at him. He always seems to smile too.
I was in the playground last week and there were some mean kids who took one kid’s glasses and were shining the sun through the glasses to make tiny bits of fire. They did it to a couple ants and killed them and I thought that was terrible. One teacher caught them and I was happy.
I miss Oregon and when I come visit in summer to see you, Aunt Cil and Uncle George I know I will see you too.
I was happy to talk to you on the phone. We are so happy to live in Hawaii. Every day is warm and every hill is green and there are a lot of flowers. Just like you said when you were here during the war. They like flowers here. Mom says they grow here because of the sun and rain.
All the Hawaiian words are weird to me, but fun to talk. Mom laughs when we try to say them. I see a lot of people that look Japanese here, but dad says they are from Hawaii, and some are from Japan, China, and other countries he called the Orient. I don’t know if that’s a country or was, I couldn’t find it on a map at school.
I miss playing with Laurie and Kelly, but I know I will see them again because dad left his camper parked at their apartment. He said he didn’t want to lock some things in the back of it, but we couldn’t move them here.
I am making new friends I’m meeting at my school. I have to look it up to spell it. Ka’ahumanu. I guess it was the king of Hawaii 100 years ago. Maybe some day I will be a king and they will make a school after me! My new friends are Don and Jimmy. Maybe they will be king instead of me. We mostly go run around to the park and the school or go adventure in the trail in the trees behind our apartments. We ate about 100 mangos we took off the trees one day and I started to get sick. Mom told me to not eat them anymore and we will go to the doctor to take a allergy test.
Last weekend we walked past the school and there was a river there with cement. Dad called it a ditch, but it looked like a river to me. We walked across it to explore there and it started to rain. When we went to come back, the river had a lot more water in it. When Don started to cross it he was sliding and almost fell. It was like the water would take him all the way to the ocean! We thought to join our hands and walk across that way. Don went first, Jimmy in the middle, and I was on the end. Don made it across, but I was really scared when I was the last one. I could feel my feet slip in the water when I moved them and was almost crying. But they pulled me across and we made it.
Next week we are having a bone dance at school. The teachers are going to make us dance with the girls there. No one wants to have to dance with May, a Hawaii girl who talks a lot. I told Don if they picked her for him, I would do it because he saved me at the river. But he said it was okay.
I hope you can come visit us here and see Hawaii again.