I am working on a piece for the Star-Herald about why I am a journalist. Honestly, I didn’t pay close enough attention, but I think it’s going to be used in ads or internally. I just listened to the topic, said I’d do it and stopped listening. Not a good trait for a journalist.

However, it got me to thinking about something I wrote when I was nine years old.

This is the oldest story I have saved from my days at Mechanicstown Elementary School. It is likely the first story I ever wrote. It was for a Language Arts assignment in Mrs. Sylvester’s 4th grade class. I hated that woman so much.

I don’t know if I would have caught the mistakes I made if I proofread it, especially the giant run-on sentence, or not. I was nine, so I’m guessing not. Also, I was nine and that airplane needed to be drawn. Pfft. I’m not going to proofread. Plus, I got a star for it so no need to make it better, right?

I have no idea why I spaced it how I did. Other than the corrections the teacher made – apparently I couldn’t spell the word toilet – and the weird spacing at the start, I’ve typed the story below as I wrote it on October 30, 1979.

The Well-Mannered Balloon by nine-year-old me

The day James and his mother went downtown to buy him some new shoes. Whom should they meet but the ballon man.

“Please, Mother, buy me a ballon,” said James.

“Later,” said his mother.

So, after they bought some shoes, his mother ballon.

When they got home his mother said, “Go do your homework without your balloon, and no lip.” So he went and did it. His mother flushed it down the toilet and it popped in the toilet drain and his mother fainted and her hair went in the toilet bowl and her wig fell off.

James went down stairs and asked what was wrong. His mother said, “My wig my beautiful wig.” James said, “Too bad.”

His mother died because she lost her wig. James died of starvasion. They were never burried and the house was haunted. Some people were tring to sell it. But when they heard the noises they said, “Lets scram” and they never went there again.