Everything old is new again

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I discovered an old story buried in a file. It’s so old I don’t have it on my computer. I read it, remembered it, and liked it. According to my journal, I wrote it thirteen years ago, sent it out once in 2002, once in 2004, twice in 2005, and stopped. What a quitter I am!

I have no business tormenting an old yarn trying to sleep it off in a drawer, especially when I have other stuff with deadlines attached. But I can be so weak! I’m probably wasting time but just a few more tucks here and there and . . . who knows?

Sandy Asher, I know you recently returned to tales of the past and turned some of them into cash. So I hope you’ll understand and approve of my irresponsibility.


Back in the day

BULLETIN: Hello, kids at Cowden Elementary School. I’m coming to see you today at 2:00. I predict that we’re going to have a fine time!

Hi everyone,

Sandy recently ran across her great-uncle’s 1915-16 report card when he was in 7th grade in Mt. Grove, Missouri. His name was Noel Thompson. His teacher was Lutitia Hudson. Noel did well in school. He scored 90 in geography, 95 in U.S. History, and 95 in Agriculture.

Mt. Grove is a rural area and in those days girls and boys took several courses that would help them grow up on a farm. Girls took Sweeping, Dish Washing, and Ironing. Boys took Feeding, Milking, Currying, Preparing Fuel, and Repairing. Noel received a G(ood) in currying and an E(xcellent) in the others. It looks like Noel also excelled in sweeping, dish washing, and ironing too. He was an all-around good student.
Noel's report card
He grew up to be a good husband. He and Sandy’s great-aunt Cuba were inseparable. All the years of their long marriage they did everything on the farm together. I visited them with Sandy and her folks more than once on their place near Fair Play, Missouri. When Noel died, I bought his pea-green Chevrolet for a block company sales car. Had it for several years.

Who else came from farming people? I had several relatives, mostly near Rogersville, Missouri. So many good memories!

More blended fun

Hi everyone,

Thank you Jane Yolen and Matt Forrest for chipping in with poems based on the prompt CR. “Crazed” and “Croissants & Crackers” are great fun and good examples of how wordsmiths can take off from any point and find clever ways to amuse and entertain. I’m eager to see poems from others and know that some of you are still at work. By the way, here’s mine. It’s part of the LEARNING THROUGH POETRY series I mentioned earlier. I cast it in two voices. When my co-author Mary Jo Fresch and I went to California to record all the poems, we had a fine time reciting the girl or boy parts respectively. In this case, I was “Croc” and she was “Cricket.”

Croc and Cricket
David L. Harrison
A crocodile and a cricket
Fell in love.
He crooned, “I’m crazy about you,
The cricket cried, “I’m lucky
That we met!
I wuv you more than cracker
Crumbs, my pet.”

“I wuv you more than crabs,”
Her lover cooed.

She said, “My darling, eating
Critters is rude.”

But snooky-wookums,” he said,
“I crave my meat!”

She whispered, “Honey-bunny,
You’re so sweet.”

He croaked, “No crow or crane
To crunch and crack?”

“Not even,” she said, “a crispy
Crawfish snack.”

To give the croc credit,
He didn’t fight,

But he did insist on ice cream
Every night.

© 2013 Shell Education Publishing, Inc.
Reprinted with permission of David L. Harrison

Learning through Poetry

Piggy Wiglet soars to new heights

Hi everyone,

Here’s the latest on one of my old favorites, PIGGY WIGLET, Adventures of Piggy Wiglet originally published by Golden Books in 1973 and brought back to the market by Boyds Mills Press in 2007. Piggy Wiglet 2
I first heard from Mary Schweyer, a fan of PIGGY WIGLET, in 1995. She wrote one of the loveliest letters I’ve ever received to tell me why my storybook held such good memories for her. She and her sisters, Laurie, Sally, Debbie, and Becky, used to gather around their grandmother while she read the story about the runaway pig that chased the sun. I posted about this on January 18, 2014. Here’s a picture of the five women holding copies of the book. https://davidlharrison.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/5-women-holding-piggy-wiglet2.pdf

I haven’t corresponded with Mary’s sisters so Mary, if you see this, please tell everyone hello. Mary is married now and her last name is Cosker. She told me recently that as a teacher at a vocational school in Ohio she has read the book and given the back story to students 16 and 17 years old and that the diesel and auto mechanic students liked it best. w00t w00t for those kids!

What brought all these pleasant thoughts back to mind was a note from Mary two days ago. A friend found in a thrift store a framed print of THE HAY WAIN (1821), one of John Constable’s well known paintings, and painted Piggy Wiglet and the Ghostbusters on it. Mary sent a picture and here it is. 20151120_193023-1 She’s going to hang this in her living room. And what more could an author possibly ask! With all due respect to the marvelous Mr. Constable, I’m delighted. Mary, thank you!

How about a prompt?

Hi everyone,

I haven’t suggested a prompt lately other than W.O.M. Recently I’ve been talking to teachers about challenging their kids to write poems inspired by a phoneme, such as a vowel, consonant, consonant blend, or digraph. Quick definition. In a consonant blend, two consonants are paired together but we can still hear both sounds, as in bl. A digraph produces a new sound, as in sh.

I wrote 96 poems inspired by phonemes for the five book series, LEARNING THROUGH POETRY, co-written with Mary Jo Fresch, published by Shell Education. My challenge in every case was to start with a subject sound and create a poem that emphasized the sound as many times as I could. The point was to help young children make the association between what they hear and what they see on paper.

For example, when I began with the short A sound in ANK, this was the eventual result.

Need a Bigger Tank
By David L. Harrison

I put two guppies
in my tank.

One was Bob.
One was Frank.

One of them played
a little prank.

Bob’s a girl
or else it’s Frank.

© 2013 Shell Education, Inc.
Reprinted with permission of David L. Harrison

And here’s what happened when I started playing with Y, which can be either a consonant or a vowel.

Yellow Y
By David L. Harrison

A yak walked into a yoyo store
And yelled, “I want a yoyo!”

“Why do you want a yoyo, Yak?”
Yelled back the yoyo fellow.

”A yoyo’s yummy!” yelled the yak,
“But only if it’s yellow.
Blue ones make my tummy hurt,
Oh yes, they make me bellow.”

And then he gulped a yellow yoyo.
“Yuck!” yelled the fellow.

© 2013 Shell Education, Inc.
Reprinted with permission of David L. Harrison

Here’s Mary Jo and her grandson Nicholas having fun with Yellow Y.

So here’s your prompt. Write a poem, repeating the sound as many times as you can, beginning with the consonant blend CR. I hope you have fun with it.