When I Was 10

I belong to a group at work called Bagelmasters (our version of Toastmasters). We are practicing public speaking. For the last meeting, I volunteered to give a speech on when I was 10. The time limit was three minutes. I can’t say anything in three minutes! I had whittled my speech down to the following, and then I had to add a sentence. I went over the time limit but nearly finished.

When I was 10 years old, the highlight of that year was getting glasses. Suddenly I could see buds, twigs, and branches on the trees for the first time. Before that, the whole world had looked like an Impressionist painting to me.

My favorite pastime was (no surprise) reading. I was really into the Misty of Chincoteague novels by Marguerite Henry. I was a member of her fan club and received her newsletter. Marguerite Henry wrote personal notes on my newsletter because of course I had written letters to her. Thus began my lifelong infatuation with authors.

The book that made the biggest impression on me that year was Anne of Green Gables. I identified with the sassy, cheerful character. I loved the way Anne of Green Gables spelled her name: Ann with an e. It just looked so much better than my plain A-N-N. So I latched on to that spelling and I persisted, even though my given name was Anna.

I was a shy kid, the tallest in my class, and I was fat. I went to the same elementary school where my mother taught, and I felt like no one liked me because she was a strict teacher. So I had a few friends and mostly just watched the popular girls. I remember talking with them about the pop song “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells.

I was in my third year of taking piano lessons. My teacher kept bugging me to practice at least 45 minutes a day. My mom, a wise woman, gave me a choice of practicing piano or washing the dishes. I chose to practice piano. I was the pianist at our little country church where about 15-20 people attended.

I belonged to Girl Scouts. I loved going to the meetings and working on merit badges. Girl Scouts was where I learned to sing in harmony. It was also where I developed a love for the outdoors.

In the wider world, there was a lot of turmoil. 1968 was the year that Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy got assassinated. It was also a time of many protests against the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon was president.*

When I was 10 my favorite subject was Social Studies. I liked school and went to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday nights. I was an only child and didn’t have any kids in my neighborhood to play with, so I was thrilled whenever my cousins came over. I had a pet dog named Wilhelmina…she was a stray. I’m sure I probably had a cat at the time, but I don’t remember. I do remember being 10 as a fun, rather carefree, daydreamy time.


* Richard Nixon was not president. See how inaccurate the memory can be? Nixon was elected president in 1968. Lyndon Johnson was president until January 1969.

I may come back and add pictures to this post, sometime when I have time to fool with my computer and actually want to. So it may not happen.