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MFA in Writing at Vermont College

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Childhood Told in Story

I read Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos this week and need to discuss!

The protagonist of this book is a young Jack Gantos and it is part fiction, part memoir.  As I read this book I was intrigued by trying to figure out which parts were true and which ones were fictional.  I then started thinking about my own childhood and wondered if I would be able to write a book based on my life. Below is a list of ideas I came up with to start my novel.  It is up to you to figure out which ones are true. 

·         While the family gathered at my grandmother’s farm to slaughter chickens I started the tractor and rolled over the barbed wire fence and into the cow pasture.  The face of my grandmother's open mouth while holding a headless chicken will haunt me forever. 

·         I once ate a whole jar of pickles for an afternoon snack and later yacked in the sandbox. A sandbox is tough to clean.

·         I was so excited to finally go out for Pizza that I had diarrhea all over a Pizza Hut booth.  Dad cleaned me in the sink, flushed my clothes and carried me out to the car naked.  I kicked and screamed to go back inside while my brother followed carrying a to-go box and eating pizza.

·         On the way home from church I was run over by our neighbor’s Sheepdog and have been afraid of dogs ever since.

·         There is a hole in our garage door where my brother threw a baseball at me when I beat him in homerun derby.  Lucky for me he couldn’t throw a strike to save his life.

·         I always volunteered to mow the lawn… that way I could mow base paths and foul lines in our backyard.

·         I owned a large collection of Smurfs.

·         Graveyard Granny would keep any homerun ball that went over the cemetery fence. 

·         When Dad wasn’t looking I would slide across the hood and climb in the windows of the car like Luke Duke.

·         Was sent to the office during art class for drawing a beautiful picture of my 3rd grade teacher. It is not my fault she resembled the Wicked Witch of the West.

·         Was knocked out cold playing tackle football at recess in 5th grade.

·         Bumped into Joe DiMaggio in the concourse of a baseball game and spilled my soda all down his pant leg.

My mother recently told me to be careful with what I put in my blog because my aunts read this.  Hopefully they will still call me family after this entry! Sorry Mom.


  1. When do we get the correct answers?

  2. I'm guessing that first one didn't actually happen?