On the way to swimming lessons yesterday, Hadley and Harper came up with the “Fast Talking Company.”
“If you’ve lost your voice, we will give you a potion so you can speak again,” Harper explained.
We drove down Father Hurley across Wisteria towards the pool, and as soon as we got on the other side of the railroad tracks, I got a little nostalgic. I drove down this road almost every day, sometimes twice, for four years to take the girls to preschool. Now, as trite as it sounds, preschool is a memory.
Father Hurley didn’t always extend as far as it does today. When we first moved, I think it was a cul-du-sac, though I can’t remember. I’m annoyed that I can’t remember because it’s only been nine years. Anyway, we drove towards the pool, and I wondered if the reason I don’t run out and make plans to do stuff in the summer is because I want to be with Hadley and Harper as long as they’ll let me. I love going through our days together. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing. Sometimes it’s more of an uphill climb. Still, I love our life in the summer. Well, I can’t quite put it into words. Something’s going on and it has to do with nostalgia and watching my kids grow up.
“If you have problems saying words,” Harper continued, “we have vitamins you can take. They’re gummy vitamins so they taste good.”
I could use some of those vitamins, I thought.
“What if,” I began, “you really want to say something but you are afraid or nervous. Or you think you will be wrong to say it. Do you have something for that?”
Harper thought for a while. She looked out the window and twirled her hair. “OH! You mean, what if you’re shy? Yeah, we have a potion for shyness. You can drink that and you won’t be afraid.”
“We have potions for people who talk too much, too,” Hadley added.
“I think I need all your potions and vitamins,” I told them. “I think I have all these problems.”
“Our number is 888-668-8866,” Hadley said. “Do you want to write that down?”
When we got home, we worked on the bookmark page of our Summer Reading Journals over lunch. I used quotations from The Fault In Our Stars. (I realize I made a spelling mistake on the last one. Sorry.) I was wrecked after reading that story. Like Eleanor and Park, I think it will be a while before I can write something more than, “It’s so good; it’s so sad.” However, taking a few sentences and designing a bookmark allowed me to sit with the words for a bit. It was sort of like taking a vitamin to help you say the difficult words.
Hadley chose the last sentence of Applewhites at Wit’s End by Stephanie S. Tolan: “They could never say later whether E.D. had kissed Jake or Jake had kissed E.D., but Winston’s tail thumped on the porch floor. Even the dog knew how much had changed.” Hadley read that and smiled. It was the sort of smile you feel at the end of a story that has a big pay off, you know? When I asked Hadley why she liked that sentence, she said, “I think it tops off the whole story, and showed how much change there was.”
“I’m keeping this one for myself,” Hadley said after she finished writing it. She stuck it in her journal for safe keeping.
She made a bookmark for her buddy down the street because, “This sentence is so much fun to say!” (Are you reading the Skippyjon Jones books? They are hilarious.) After Hadley made the bookmark, she wrote her friend a three page note asking how summer was going.
Harper is reading Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. She loves the first two sentences in the story: “There was only orange juice in the fridge. Nothing else that you could put on cereal, unless you think that ketchup or mayonnaise or pickle juice would be nice on your Toastios, which I do not, and neither did my little sister, although she has eaten some pretty weird things in her day, like mushrooms and chocolate.”
Maybe you don’t need potions and vitamins. Maybe you hold on to your dreams and stories until you’re awake enough to share them with the world.
(PS-Purchase your Summer Reading Journals here.)