An older Gen X-er, my childhood was surrounded by theatre people. My adulthood has been surrounded by children, first my students, then my own, and now more students! You can also find me on Medium here: https://medium.com/@becklesjm
You Know You've Outgrown Trick or Treating
My ninth grade year was the last year I went trick or treating for Halloween with my school friends. I didn’t realize it would be my last until I was walking home through the rain, hours later, candy and apples rolling around in puddles on the street.
Trick or Treating by Car
My mother wasn’t great with holidays when my sister and I were children. That was my dad’s department. He’s the one who got the Christmas tree, cooked the Christmas dinner, boiled the eggs and supervised dying them for Easter, carved the Halloween pumpkin and took us out trick or treating.
- Second Place in Extraterrestrial Challenge
Two College Students Escort Me Out of My First Grade Classroom
When I was in the first grade (or perhaps the second grade) sometime between 1973 and 1974, I attended a large public elementary school in the American Midwest. Located next door to an extension campus of a state university, we young students had unique access to the world of higher learning. By this I mean we could see hippie college students sitting on the grass playing guitars as we walked home from school.
Kicked Out of Our Rental House
On December 30, 2021, (what my family calls “New Year’s Eve Eve"), my husband got a text from our landlords. He probably thought, when he saw it was from this kind older couple, that it was to wish our family a Happy New Year. We had been good tenants for three and a half years, always paying our rent on time, keeping up the yard and making minor repairs inside and outside the house. But the text said they wanted their house back as soon as possible.
Learning About Word Choice at Age Six or Seven
I titled my book, "The Magic Christmas Violin." I don't know what inspired it. I just remember that, one afternoon, alone in my bedroom, sitting at my blue and green cardboard table in my blue and green cardboard chair, I decided to make my own picture book.
- Runner-Up in Next Great [American] Novel Challenge
Before the BadRunner-Up in Next Great [American] Novel Challenge
"All I know is that the car is blue," Mel thought, looking up the gray street, brushing away hair the cold wind kept blowing in her face. How did she get here, alone on Thanksgiving Day, waiting for a car she'd never seen driven by people she'd never met to take her to a house she'd never set foot in to have a turkey dinner?
Close Encounters of the Spielberg Kind
By the time I was eleven years old, in 1978, I, like most people who had been watching TV and movies since they could remember, was very familiar with the language of film. I didn’t know it was called “the language of film” until I took Film Studies courses in college, but I was already fluent in it by then.
- Top Story - August 2023
Henry and GretaTop Story - August 2023
Once, about five years ago, there lived two children, a brother and sister named Henry and Greta. They lived in a mountain cabin with their father, a woodcut print artist, and their mother, a photographer and fan of old black-and-white movies, particularly those starring Henry Fonda and Greta Garbo, which is how her children got their names.
- Runner-Up in Pitch Your Pilot Challenge
Little Rental House in JerseyRunner-Up in Pitch Your Pilot Challenge
Title: Little Rental House in Jersey Elevator Pitch: A century after the events in TV's Little House on the Prairie, it is 1977, and the Wingate family, like the Ingalls' of "Little House", is leaving their Wisconsin home, not for the American frontier in a covered wagon, but for the (fictional) New Jersey town of Lindendale in a station wagon, so Dad can follow his Broadway dream as the rest of the family cope with tough, fast-talking Jersey.
Singing With My Jump Rope Microphone
My parents have an amazing record album collection, dating back to the mid-1960s. Their favorite was, and still is, folk music, with some Broadway showtunes and country mixed in. A child of the 1970s, I heard all of it come out of their stereo, as my sister and I would dance and run circles around our dining room table. But as I got a bit older, some of these songs gave me my first career ambition: I WANT TO BE A SINGER!