By the time I was 12 I knew I wanted to be a writer — a writer of some sort. I hadn’t dug down far enough in my brain to come up with anything more specific. I’d read du Maurier’s Rebecca. At the point in the story when the reader learns about who Rebecca really was, I found I had to reread it several times. Had the author really done that? Had she led the reader down the primrose path just to drop them off a Cornwall cliff? Yes, yes she had. I loved it! I was hooked.
My mother read the women’s magazines, Family Circle and Woman’s Day; they were cheap. Since they were always around I would read them, too. I would read how to lose weight (not successful), how to bake the best meals for a husband (I was 12), and how to look lovely when he came home from work (yeah, right).
But, unlike today, those magazines had short stories. I read several of the stories and they must not have impressed me because I can’t remember anything about them. Nothing, except for the idea that I could write one.
I knew I could write one.
The previous Christmas my parents have given me a portal Royal typewriter, probably thinking it would encourage me toward a secretarial career. Wrong on several levels.
I took the typewriter down to our basement where there were stored cans and Mason jars of food (well, it was 1959 and the Cold War was freezing), an old stand from Pop’s previous barbershop (filled with fishing stuff and Playboy magazines — yeah, I read those, too), a long table, and a couple of rickety chairs. A perfect office for a 12 year old.
So I got some typing paper and started on a story. Do I remember the story after almost 60 years? Nope. Do I have a copy? Nope. Most of my writings along with my 1960s Beatles memorabilia were trashed when my parents moved after my sister was married and I was married with a baby. Really why would I want any of that stuff, anyway?
But I did submit my typed (probably not in the correct format) short story to Family Circle. I was convinced (like most preteens) that I was great, the story was great, and I was on my way to fame and fortune. I waited for the acceptance letter. And I waited and I waited.
Eventually I got an envelope in the mail from Family Circle’s Publishing Company. I was thrilled…