Tom Scoops Papa’s Newspaper
Over at The Great Brain Reading Group Facebook page, we just finished my all time favorite chapter. Ever since I first heard it as a kid it spoke to me. I am still tugged by T.D.’s desire to be seen as a grown up. The enthusiasm of proving his value. Not to mention the work to achieve the dream. And of course the multiple impending results.
Laying on my couch, reading it again, I was transported back to my childhood. My own mini-publishing moment.
A Kids Inspiration
In the chapter, Tom gets to use Papa’s old Ramage Printing Press to practice printing like Papa does at the “Adenville Advocate”. Tom more than practiced. He published. Using his great brain, his hurt heart, and his zeal to win, he created a single run paper which solved a crime and impacted the town.
Days Gone By
No one in my family had a printing press. If they had I would have loved to work with it. My grandma had an old upright typewriter that I would plunk on for hours when I visited her. The sound of clunking keys and whirring carriage return can’t be beat. My first publication, though, was not on that gorgeous machine. Instead, I hand wrote it on brown lined school paper. Complete with hand colored illustrations. Sadly no one kept the master piece but it was my moment of being like T.D. Fitzgerald.
On a cold, foggy day, as my brother and I arrived home from school. Mom said she would make us hot cocoa. Hot Ovaltine to be exact. We trudged off to free ourselves from soggy socks and jeans. Mom moved to the kitchen. From our rooms the sounds of cupboards opening, pans set on stoves, even the burner click happening warmed our hearts. Before we had finished changing Mom screamed. We bolted to the kitchen. In the pan, on the stove, surrounded by climbing flames, sat a melting milk carton. The acrid aroma of wax everywhere.
Distractedly, Mom had swapped the measured milk in the glass measuring cup with the milk carton from the fridge. Unaware of the error, she turned on the burner. Turned her attention elsewhere. And fire ensued.
My brother and I raced around opening windows and doors for fresh air. We dumped the molten mess. Doused it in the sink. Abandoned the hot cocoa plan. Standing in the hazy kitchen, I realized my dad had missed the event. An announcement was in order.
Digging through my desk drawers I grabbed my publishing tools. Paper, pencil, crayons or colored pencils – I can’t remember now which I used. I retold the events. Complete with a hand illustrated burning milk carton on the front page. The rest of the afternoon, I created a couple more pages to make my newspaper complete. I interviewed my dog about her life. I gave a weather report on the grey day outside. When it was all finished I stapled it together and left on my dad’s chair when he came home for dinner. I swore everyone to secrecy about “the little incident” so that my Tattler could scoop the story.
Thanks, T.D. and J.D. – Books really are an inspiration.