Thursday, July 29, 2021

Teenie Tiny Trophy

I won a teenie tiny trophy in high school. It didn't have anything to do with sports.

Kane High School was such a small school that we didn't usually compete in anything other than the basics, like football and basketball. But our theater arts teacher, Mrs. Harman (about 4 foot 9, seriously, with cat eye glasses, skinny, high energy) decided to sign up some of us theatre (!) students for a forensics competition. Speeches, poetry recitation, that sort of stuff. She just told us we were doing it. She gave me a piece of prose to read--about 1,200 words is my estimate now (I didn't keep it!). It was a small synopsis from a piece of John Steinbeck's THE PEARL. "...a tiny furtive movement..." is the only line I remember.

Anyway, we all went to Bradford (oooh, big place!) for this thing. We walked into an auditorium, and there were school teams, like sports teams, groups of kids who did this thing instead of football or basketball. We must have looked like the Beverly Hillbillies. Murmur murmur. Kane!! Kids from Kane!

Robin Hollingshead did a dramatic piece about Charles Dickens. And I did my Steinbeck reading. 

Robin and I both won. The other teams were shocked. It was my senior year or I would have done it again and again. I got slightly marked down for things like "use a folder" and "don't have piece written on both sides of paper." But I beat 16 other kids who had done this type of thing before. 

I had always been the kid who read the introduction to parents for school plays, etc., starting in second grade, maybe even in first grade. They say (who the heck is "they" anyway), that the thing you love in first grade is often what you're meant to do, to be. I guess I'm doing some version of that, writing for children, doing school visits, running a children's book festival. 

Thanks, Mrs. Harman. My favorite teacher.

Here's an interview with her from 2019:

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