September 16, 1964
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Thank goodness, I managed to stay out of trouble at school this week so that I could write this report. Did you like Dad filling in for me last week? He wouldn’t let me read it. Said that was part of my punishment for getting in trouble with Mrs. Jackson.
I can’t believe that of all the English teachers in the world, I had to get Mrs. Jackson. You won’t believe what she did this week. She told us we could write a story about whatever we wanted. She said we had to make carbon copies. That it would be good practice. I hate making carbon copies. I put two pieces of paper together with the carbon paper in the middle and immediately I mess up. It’s guaranteed. Then you’re supposed to somehow correct it and that makes a bigger mess. Then you’ve got black on your fingers and you touch the top page and well, you get the idea.
And Aunt Love says paper doesn’t grow on trees, but she’s meaning money, not paper. Paper actually does grow on trees, doesn’t it? Anyway, I’m no good at carbon copies. Zella can type three copies at once and never make mistake one. She and Mrs. Jackson must be best friends. Maybe that’s it. Maybe Zella has asked Mrs. Jackson to make my life miserable.
Anyway, I wrote the story, made the carbon copy, turned it in. She said my story was too unbelievable. She also said I needed to learn to spell occasional/ocassional. Who can ever remember if it’s two c’s or two s’s? Neither one of them look right. Then she wrote in red on my paper that just because a writer knows a word with four syllables doesn’t mean she has to use that word instead of one with one syllable. She was just being too picky on that one. I only used inordinately once. Well, maybe twice. Indiscriminately.
So what was this story about that I was supposed to be able to write about whatever I wanted? Wes, of course. I just wrote some of his Jupiter truths, like if you tell lies on Jupiter you break out in purple spots or how Mr. Jupiter gives all the space travelers up there three buttons to press if they get in trouble on other planets. And how my dog, Zeb, might really be Harlan from Jupiter if Wes can be believed. Zeb didn’t mind me writing that, but Mrs. Jackson did. She said it was time I wrote something somebody could believe. You believe me, don’t you? So see, I already have. Written something somebody believes. Thank you very much!
Wes says Mr. Jupiter sends people like Mrs. Jackson to one
of the Jupiter moons to raise Jupiter melons. He says folks on Jupiter love Jupiter melons. That they’re like our watermelons only blue instead of red and without seeds. Real tasty, he says. I can go for the blue, but whoever heard of watermelons without seeds? Now if I’d written about that, Mrs. Jackson might have been right to say it was unbelievable.
So now I’ve got to write something else. By tomorrow. Something boring. Something Mrs. Jackson can believe. Maybe I’ll write about Mr. Whitlow and how the man can’t be trusted. Of course, I’ll have to change his name and pretend he’s in Chicago or somewhere. Anywhere except Jupiter. Mrs. Jackson has a problem with anything Jupiter.
If you could write a story about anything, what would you write about? And did you ever have to make carbon copies of what you wrote? How did you keep the paper from shifting and making shadowy letters?