I wrote my first story, “The Yeti,” when I was in third grade. It was about an abominable snowman in a Canadian lumber camp and starred “Bill Conway,” a character I would revisit for years. “Yeti” was certainly a clone of tales I’d seen on Strange Tales of Science Fiction, Thriller, Chiller, or one of the other Creature Feature shows I loved.
But that was the first, and it was followed by others. At this time, I thought I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up, and I remember my sixth grade teacher Mrs. Turner catching me misspelling the word “Science” and making me write it a hundred times on the blackboard.
That was cool.
I attended a summer camp for the first time, “Camp Round Meadow.” I had the time of my eight-year old life swimming, horseback riding, and learning about secret badges and ceremonies inside the YMCA.
The idea of belonging to a secret club of guys . . . that was just too cool for words. If I had enough brothers, maybe it would compensate for not having a dad. Maybe.
When I graduated to junior high school, somehow things slipped sideways. Maybe it was the fact that we were all maturing, entering puberty. But the hierarchical nature of kid politics became more pronounced, and I was at the bottom of the pile. (more…)