Going through my famous beat-up, blue Trapper Keeper you've heard so much about, I discovered a real treat for you all today. My very first article. Published in the weekday "Kidsday" column of Newsday, Long Island's favorite paper. Back in the '80s Newsday was also available in New York City so my little article was read by city folk too.
I blogged about my love of the Monkees in so many different blog entries, but the gist can be found here. I had no idea that all 14 of my Kidsday articles were mixed in with my celebrity autographed cards, letters and photos. I was such a nerd. While other girls were meeting boys at the mall, I was writing to celebrities and penning articles about a group old enough to be my dads. Duh!
You'll notice in this particular article, the byline includes my town and age. Because of a super gross experience I encountered, Newsday omitted that info after 1987. Sickos would often call the house as my parents were listed in the phone book. Boy do I wish call ID existed in the '80s! Typically these freaks would yell that this band or that show I wrote about, sucked, then they'd hang up.
One caller, however, was intensely scary. Posing as a writer for NYC's Village Voice, he said if I answered a few questions for an article he was doing, he would send me a $50 Gap or Record World gift card. His questions were sick and perverted. For example, "Do you wear tight jeans? How does that make you feel?" I told him I was fat and wore whatever fit me. Hey, I spoke the truth. Anyway, thanks to viewing plenty of cautionary after school specials I knew enough to quickly inform my folks. They contacted my editor at Newsday and from that day on, kids' personal details were no longer included. So it's weird to see half of my articles with just my name in the byline.
I continued writing throughout high school. I was on the lit mag and school paper staff. Did I study journalism in college? No. I feared and loathed competition. One of my biggest regrets, was not vying for a college scholarship. Our school paper adviser insisted I apply for a journalism scholarship senior year. I told her my grades weren't strong enough. She reminded me that I was the only one in my grade who was on the paper that year and the only student who qualified. She added that I truly deserved it. I was just too embarrassed to try.
Afraid to compete with the smarter kids, I studied basic communications and just assumed I'd get a job in some sort of mass media or ad agency environment. I had a blast interning at CBS, though it didn't lead to much or help get my foot in the door at Late Show With David Letterman or anything. Our internship coordinator warned me that because I had trouble patching incoming phone calls from the office to Geraldo Rivera's cell phone, that I would probably not be hired. She was correct. Reception is key. No matter that I had excellent talk show story ideas. If I had just mastered the art of transferring calls, I'd be a big time TV producer by now. Oh well. Here I sit unemployed and blogging instead.
So there you have it. One of the many articles written by a thirteen-year-old hopeful. I had always wanted to be a kid on TV like Punky Brewster or Jennifer Keaton. When I gave up that impossible dream, I took to writing. If you're a parent and you're not already doing this, foster your kid's dreams. Whatever they may be. I have to say, my parents always encouraged me and it was my dad who told me to submit my Monkees article to the newspaper. It was the first article I ever sent them. Funny how as an adult, it seems nearly impossible to pitch and sell an article or book. Maybe I should disguise myself as a seventh grader instead.
Thanks for reading.
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I love the Monkees too!
That phone call thing? Creepy!
You wrote that when you were 13?
That is sooooo cool!!! I love Peter Tork!!!!!!!
That is so great! (Well, not the creepy guys calling you, but the fact you were published at 13!) Unemployment won't last forever, just keep writing.
My mom used to call me Punky :) Great article by the way!
Thanks everyone! Your comments are always so encouraging :)
You did very well writing those articles at such a young age. Your high school teacher was correct and you should have gone for that scholarship!
Oh man. Not only do I love the name of your blog, but you also were published in Newsday at 13??? And you wrote about the Monkees?!!!
I love you.
Punky Brewster was such a good show, it taught kids a lesson in most of the episodes (unlike a lot of shows that are on today). I bought all 4 seasons of Punky Brewster and I am watching it with my son. He absolutely loves watching all the 80's classics!
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