Juvenalia: “They Felt Like Clapping Hands & Jumping Up & Down”

Apparently, this was my first published byline, which appeared in the Enosburg Standard somewhere around 1967-68. I’m the dejected chubby girl in full Girl Scout regalia in the back row.

I’ve often wondered as I consider cleaning out an overstuffed closet whether one’s juvenalia is an important enough record of a writer’s development to preserve. In my own case, common sense would say no, of course not, don’t be silly.

Yet, I refuse to part with any of it, even though these painfully immature little poems and stories tucked into the folders and boxes that clutter my daily existence are of absolutely no use to me and certainly of no use to posterity.

Regardless, this little article from the Enosburg Standard is worth preserving because it tells me how much I was loved as a child, even a chubby and dejected prepubescent child. My mother had clipped the article and mailed it to my grandmother Velma, who saved it with her papers, leaving it behind when she died in 1975. “They Felt Like Clapping Hands & Jumping Up & Down” came full circle back to me in 2016, when as the eldest of my generation, I became the keeper of The Family Archives.

What about you? Have you held onto your own writing juvenalia? Or has it all gone the way of your finger-painted refrigerator art?

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