135 thoughts on “Juvenilia: “They Felt Like Clapping Hands & Jumping Up & Down”

    1. Thanks, Merril. My memory is very fuzzy about how I came to write this article, except that I did propose the headline (and cringed over it later). A poem, eh? Now, there’s a thought.

      My dad was friends with the editor of the local newspaper. That might have had something to do with it?

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  1. Definitely these moments are worth keeping. I agree on the show of love from your family it represents, but I also believe such things are helpful to our sense of self – who we were, how far we’ve come, and who we can be. There’s a kind of hope captured when we gain a byline or other recognition, and I think it can help us believe we can be more and move forward to be the best we can be.
    I know many writers and artists who say winning a poetry contest or having their artwork awarded by a teacher in grade school was the spark that made them feel they were a writer or artist. That identity caused them to practice their craft and take opportunities to learn and develop that aspect of themselves.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comments, Sheri. What I remember about getting started as a writer was other people responding to my words and what they represented. It made me feel very powerful! (Decades later, I take care to harness that power for good. 😉 )

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      1. Yes, I guess that’s what I’m getting at. It’s not always an award or newspaper article, perhaps it’s broader, but some form of recognition or response from others at key moments can spur us forward. And having a memento of those moments can be a good thing. (Absolutely agree. It’s a responsibility as well as a talent and skill, and I also do my best to use it for good.)

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        1. The opposite holds true as well. I couldn’t tell you the number of times a student in one of my writing classes announced he or she was a bad writer–when they obviously weren’t. They had to have gotten that mistaken idea from somewhere . . .

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      1. Hi Liz, that is so interesting. There was a blog hop on this very topic recently and I found the posts fascinating. When I first decided to publish my Sir Choc books I was going to use my maiden name of Robbie Eaton. The reason was merely to keep my writing name separate to my professional name. Terence was quite upset and asked me to use my married name and so I did. I thought it was rather sweet that he wanted our family name on my books.

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  2. Archiving is more than saving a piece of paper, isn’t it, Liz? What you are saving is the knowledge that people cared and loved you. That what you did made them proud of you and grateful that you were taking your place on the “world stage” even at a young age. A wonderful reflection on a time that has past, but remains ever alive in your heart and memories.

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  3. Someday, someone will be grateful to take possession of your keepsake, a jigsaw puzzle piece in the life of the writer. Just as you have been grateful to have those of your relatives. 🙂

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  4. Absolutely worth keeping! I wish I had everything I ever wrote. I have a lot – school papers, etc. Even a published question I wrote to a column in the Miami Herald back in the 1970s! And I took a picture of the check I received for my first paid article, and the check for the advance on my book! Hey, it’s all about progress.

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  5. A clipping that circulates from Mother to Grandmother and back to you is certainly worth keeping. We have parallel lives in that regard, Liz. Recently, I found a few postcards that I sent to my mother. I found them in the attic when we cleared out Ma’s house, placed them in my own special album, and now discovered them again searching for other photos.

    I believe you hit on this clipping’s value when you say it is “worth preserving because it tells me how much I was loved as a child, even a chubby and dejected prepubescent child.” Precious–cherish that! 😀

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  6. Ohhhh what a lovely post and memories it has jogged mine I had an armful of proficiency badges from when I was a brownie/girl guide and not a picture until I read your lovely post I had forgotten…Thank you, Liz treasure that picture 🙂 x

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  7. This post gave me such a warm feeling and sense of kinship, Liz. Thank you. I’m so glad to know it’s not just me!

    Stored in our crawl space, I have a large box of my juvenile writing, some of which was shared publicly. And I haven’t kept it because anyone but me would ever care about any of it. I hang on to that box because those pieces, articles, and plays remind me of the world I grew up in, and my relationship to it. Every few years, I look through the box and feel a sense of connection to the girl I was, and that’s reason enough for it to continue to take up room in the crawl space.

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  8. Priceless memories. Just like you I often wonder if I should be attached to all the paraphernalia from my childhood. Why just mine, even my children’s. But the moment I sit down and browse, I know it’s worth the keep.

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  9. Liz, I love it that you’ve kept it. It’s such a struggle to decide what to keep or toss. I say, if it’s a ‘building’ block about you and how you zigzagged along the path of growing up, then keep it and let your followers decide what to do with it. There are lessons to be learned from those tidbits. I love seeing old pictures of my folks and me as a kid. I still have my Little League All-Star Team photo. No, I was Steve Bottcher alternate but the picture doesn’t label us so, for anyone who sees it ‘later’, I could have been the team hero… Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well Liz, I’m thinking about all of the interest these day, interest in people’s family trees, genealogy.
    I think saving some things/pics/letters is cool. Our post-relatives (as opposed to fore-fathers) might be overjoyed to find out certain things about their roots.
    I have been through my collections, and tossed out vicious repeats.
    As photography became more advanced, pictures in my collection grew to be a Tower of Photo Babel.

    I need to streamline more, but there is much I am proud to keep.
    Great post, Liz!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is absolutely delightful and priceless. Even if the actual newspaper clipping was not worth keeping, the words in the article will always trigger those memories. Otherwise, you might have forgotten that you learned square dancing and sent books to men in Vietnam. And you are reminded how much you were loved. The power of reading, right?

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  12. Very cool! This brings up a great question about preserving your writing as a child/teen. I worked for a newspaper when I was 17/18–part-time, as a reporter and stayed with it until I was about 20–and I look back on those stories with quite a streak of embarrassment, but I did force myself to keep a couple of those stories that I liked–and they’re not bad. So, I guess I do that thing where, if I love it, I hang onto it. If I don’t, I let it go.

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