Authors often take scenes or situations from real life and put them into their stories. So this week I asked my fellow bloggers, “Have you ever observed a gathering of family or friends and thought an incident would make a good scene in a book?”
I’ve used my own experiences in several of my stories, like putting on a Christmas pageant at church, quilting, and teaching. Many of my characters have children and grandchildren who have mannerisms similar to my own family. But I have yet to incorporate a scene from my life, because I have a difficult time remembering entire conversations. What I can recall are one-line gems, all delivered by children. Here are a few that I’ve always thought might be humorous and toyed with putting them in books – but have yet to do so.
I spent twenty-eight years teaching in a rural school district west of Grand Rapids, MI. I was the only Asian staff member, and the half dozen Asian students there had all been adopted into Caucasian families. I met one of the students’ parents after the Christmas program.
The mother took me aside and told me, “I’m so glad you’re here. Matthew came home all excited about his music teacher.”
I told her I understood his excitement, since I grew up looking different from all my school friends.
She laughed, telling me, “But if you were to describe how you looked different, what feature would you start with?”
“My eyes,” I told her.
“Exactly,” she said. “When I asked Matthew what he liked about you, he said, “She has a nose just like mine!”
When hubby and I decided to get married, we broke the news to his three school aged children during a lunchtime visit. I was charmed by their reactions.
The six-year-old girl, having recently attended a family wedding, asked if she would be allowed to go, and when we told her she would be the flower girl, she got excited about getting a new dress to wear.
The ten-year-old boy jumped up and raised his arms in a fist-pump. “I knew it!” he cried. “I knew you guys were gonna get married.”
The twelve-year-old boy sat quietly, his brows drawn together. Finally, he looked at his father and asked, “Does this mean we’re going to be part Japanese now?”
When my daughters were young, they loved to host sleepovers. I remember one occasion when I happened to overhear a conversation about what characteristics they wanted in a future spouse. Since these girls were barely into their teens, I thought I’d keep myself hidden and listen. Most of the answers were predictable: a guy with good looks, wealth, someone with good manners who was generous, someone who could make them laugh, etc. But the best one came from my own daughter, who said, “When I get married, I want to find someone who can handle it when I stink up the bathroom.”
That, my friends, is true love. Fortunately, she found Prince Charming, and he puts up with a lot more than stinky bathrooms.
What child-generated gems have you overheard?