Monday, February 9, 2009


by jamie hill
I like Valentine’s Day. Having said that, I’ll tell you that I’ve been married since—oops, if I’m truthful you’ll never again believe that I’m twenty-three, so I won’t say an actual number. We’ll just say I’ve been married a good many years. I don’t need a special day to tell my husband I love him. He almost died last year, so we say that to each other all the time. But I do take advantage of the Valentine’s Day holiday. I get chocolates, I don’t have to cook- what’s not to love about that?

In thinking about this post, I tried to recall an especially memorable V-Day and the first one that came to mind happened when I was nine. A classmate of mine…male and African American…gave me eleven cents tucked in the envelope with a little store-bought heart. He liked me. I was pretty thrilled.

I remember showing my mom when she came to pick me up from school, and she was horrified. She made me march back into that school, find the boy and return the moo-lah. (I think I got to keep the heart.) In hindsight, I wonder if she was more concerned that the money came from a boy (I was nine, after all) or an African American boy. I’ll never know. But he grew up to be a decent man, so I could have done worse.

In high school I was given the assignment to write a poem about one of my early years in elementary school. I choose that fourth-grade year, and wrote a poem in the style of ee cummings- lower case without punctuation. This year I ran across that poem (my scrapbook survived a tornado!) So, without further adieu, and with names changed to protect the nuns and the innocent, I present:

i feel much older now

it was always so funny when sister carla
would have to adjust her wig
in the cloakroom but none of us really liked her

we all laughed when goober-breath betty
cried in the building at recess
all by herself because no one liked her
but i was just following the crowd
i really did like her and she let me read
all her nancy drew books and we were best friends
in private

ann and kate thought they were our leaders
and we always followed them because we were scared not to
sometimes I hated them but really I was green with envy
of their popularity

i feel much older now

there was a time when we were playing a spelling game
with first initials on the blackboard
and ann got one then steve got two
and it spelled a bad word and sister carla called us playboys
when we laughed but none of us liked her

or when sister put her arm around ann
and ann jerked away
my was sisters face red then I tell you

our class was just getting its infamous reputation
like when we were warned against sliding on the ice ponds
on the playground but we did anyway
i fell down and had to go home with a wet, sore bottom
i learned
boy oh boy did i learn

i feel much older now

one time we let a dog in the classroom
for the whole morning without sister knowing
we thought she sure was stupid and none of us liked her

or the time we buried roger in the sand on the playground
and he stayed there from recess to lunch

or our valentine’s party when we played with a nerf ball
and someone threw it at sister and knocked her wig off
we laughed because none of us liked her

I wonder if we ever gave her a chance

I feel much older now
and fourth grade is just a pleasant and faraway memory…

Hmmm…ee cummings, I’m not. But I do like to write poetry. And stories. Steamy stories. Check out my latest here . It released today from Total E-Bound Publishing. It's a m/m hottie called Secret Rendezvous!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


  1. That is quite an insightful poem for a high school kid.

    When I was in high school, all I wrote was love poems. Or maybe they were lust poems. I couldn't tell the difference, really, with all the hormones and such.

    Happy V-day!


  2. Thanks Lisabet,

    I wrote screenplays for my favorite TV shows. I was always the love interest, of course. Oh, the situations I got Starsky and Hutch into!

    I guess I was ahead of my time- I wrote fan fiction before it was ever called that! LOL

    Thanks for popping in.


  3. That poem is really rather touching. I would imagine most of us can identify with some of those verses, especially about not liking someone in public, but being their friend in private. The little tale about the Africn American is quite poignant I think most kids go through that sort of thing, I certainly did - from both sides of the fence.

    Like one of our mutual friends, Jamie, it looks like you were born to write, you probably can't help it, much as others breath, you write.

  4. Thanks Verb. You're an ego booster. So glad our mutual friend introduced us!



  5. Jamie,
    Your poem showed that you truly were older (more mature) in your thoughts about what your mother meant about the money and in your realization that you didn't give sister a chance.

    The statement about the African American made me think about the TV movie I watched last night, "Gifted Hands" about Dr. Ben Carson, the world's best pediatric neurosurgeon. At eighth grade graduation a boy who started his early years getting D's and F's got the award for the highest academic achievement in the class.

    One of the teachers got up and told the whole class that a student of color beat them all and they should be ashamed. They were all lazy. That was when it was still believed by many that only whites could be intelligent.

    Thank you for a very thoughtful blog.


  6. And here I was writing about mermaids and sailors. *G*

    A lovely, thought provoking post, Jamie. I didn't write poetry until my eighth grade, and in some ways I wish I still had it. But, if I'd kept all my scribbles I'd need a much bigger house. LOL

    I do remember my first heart throb, I was five and he was six. His name was Ronny, blond little boy with big blue eyes and glasses. The class nerd. We'd catch bumble bees together after school and hang out together. LOL I don't remember how it ended, but I'm sure I was crushed.

    Congratulations on your new release lady. Here's to many sales!!


  7. Ray,

    Thanks for stopping by. I saw the ad for that movie and promptly forgot about it. (Normal for me.)

    Some of my early poetry was interesting. Some was pure crap. LOL

    Take care!


  8. I really like this poem, especially the part about goober breath betty. I think we all knew a goober breath betty or someone like them. I started out in elementary school as that kid, but thing got better fro me later.

    Stephen King said his character "Carrie" was actually based on two girls he knew just like that, tormented by classmates to insanity. School is cruel place for some kids, I wonder if they ever get over it.

    Nice poem, I liked it. I need to practice writing poetry.


  9. Hey Jude,

    I like mermaids and sailors...can't wait to read it!

    This boy wasn't exactly a heart throb, but there was one later who kissed me in the library behind a tall counter of books... and that was it. We were moony-eyed for weeks until that kiss, then nothing. I'm sure it was him, not me. *eye roll*

    Hey, not one person has commented on my school picture! This was long before I got my hair permed into a curly afro-style 'do', thank heavens. LOL



  10. Thanks Garce,

    I cringe when I see kids being cruel these days, and if anyone treated MY kids that way, watch out! But things were different from my perspective back then, I guess.

    Carrie was a great book, and a fair movie. Most of King's stuff doesn't translate well to film. I did like the movie Thinner, though. "White man from town is gonna getcha!" heh heh heh

    Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Great post Jamie.

    The poem was sweet. I think schools the same everywhere. Kids can't be cruel little buggers when they're left to their own devices.

    Secret Rendezvous looks great :)

  12. Thanks Kim,

    You're so right. Oh, and I wanted to write Secret Service, but somebody beat me to it. *G* Yours looks great, too.


  13. Hi Jamie,
    It sounds like you were a very smart and mature high school girl.


  14. Thanks Rhonda. My mom would probably tell you otherwise, but we won't go there. *G*



  15. Hi Jamie,

    Your microcosm of fourth grade is so true. Your picture brings back memories of my school days. And your poem is quite eloquent.

    I'm looking forward to Peter and Aaron's story.


  16. It seems like you might have been talking about some of my own memories of those elementary years. I too was friends the girl no one else liked. I couldn't stand to see her left out. I'm a teacher now, and I can imagine the word in the faculty room about your class. Warnings must have been posted.

  17. I used to write poetry in high school, too. I don't know why I stopped!

  18. Hi Donna,

    Thanks for stopping by. I thought about cropping my picture with photoshop but the yellowed edge adds something to it, doesn't it? LOL

    I hope you enjoy Peter and Aaron's story as much as I enjoyed writing it!



  19. Susan,

    You're a teacher! Then let me say, I'm so sorry. I can't apologize enough for how stupid I acted as a kid. *G* I don't think Sister Carla is still around so I'll use you to represent all those teachers my class tormented.

    My oldest son is student teaching this semester and will graduate college in May. I still can't believe he's going to be a teacher. Maybe I should apologize to him, too. No, wait! I just put him through college! Never mind.

    Thanks for commenting!


  20. Hi LuAnn,

    As I mentioned earlier, most of my poetry sucked. *G* I used to think they all had to rhyme. That was some good stuff, I tell you.

    Thanks for stopping in.


  21. Hey Jamie, who's the kid?


  22. Having been "goober breath betty," you'll excuse me if I cringe as I say your poem was right on target. Painfully so, in fact. But it is pretty dang good!

    And I love your picture, but I'd really like to see one of you with the permed 'fro LOL!