Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twelve and The Hobbit

This continues NaBloPoMo: a daily post of stories of my life - 33 years in 30 days. The tenth instalment is here.

The year I turned 12, I was in a split Grade 7 and 8 class.  Our class size had dwindled down over the years so there were only a few of us left: me, Candy, Andrea, Corrie, Brad *swoon*, Johnathon, Anna, David, Jamie, Caine and Shari.  That was all of us.  Eleven.  We were a fairly tight knit class of kids who had little in common but age and location of desks. 

That year we had a lovely teacher who was French.  She was a thin woman with long black hair curling well past her shoulders.  She had a long crooked nose and pigeon toes.  I liked her very much.  She spoke softly and wisely.  Also, she introduced us to The Hobbit, which made me love her all the more.

That year I was discovering my artistic side.  I had a sculpture that was chosen to be shown at the local School Board -- it was a clay running shoe (high top, white, L.A. Gear) with a puppy inside (Dalmatian).  It had a floppy tongue sticking out of the shoe where the puppy was leaning out with floppy ears and a waggedy tail.  It had shoelaces and stitching and it was awesome.  I believe they instantly threw it out after the showing, but what do I know?

I spent hours working with clay.  My parents bought me a box of clay that I kept in the cold storage room and from which I made all sorts of wondrous goodies.  I made a turtle for my Grade 3 teacher Mrs. B.  It's shell came off to show a place you could hide candy.  I made other things, but I don't remember them.  I just made things.  Things to keep me occupied and to engage my brain in detail.

When I wasn't using clay, I was using Plasticine.  I had a pile of it that I carried everywhere.  As I sat in class listening to the teacher, I would make copious interesting creatures of all sorts.  Once completed, I would squish them back into a ball and start over.  The teacher recognized that I listened and retained better when my mind was busy with artsy things, so she never complained or took it away.

When we started reading The Hobbit, I fell in love.  The characters jumped off the page and wandered through my mind.  I couldn't wait to make them.  Finally we got our class assignment: to make a board game about the book. 

I got to work.  I couldn't have worried about the board itself, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the game pieces.  Painstakingly, I made every single character from the book.  Out of plasticine.  I made intricate details of each character.  I molded and stretched.  I combined colours and little teeny pieces.  I used a toothpick to make details such as hair and clothing ripples.  Yes, even the clothing looked like it moved. 

I made Gandalf out of blue plasticine.  He had a huge hat and a walking stick.  He looked just like himself.  I made Bilbo.  I made the dragon with each scale separate.  I can't remember the names of the characters now, but I remember what they look like.  Finally, I made my masterpiece: Gollum.  He was awesome and creepy and slimy and PERFECT.  You know the Gollum from the movie version of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy?  Yeah, that Gollum was my idea.  Oh sure, they didn't consult me, but they READ. MY. MIND!!!

I kept the playing pieces in a box after the assignment was marked.  All lined up in a row.  Sometimes we would take them out and play the game, but most of the time I just looked at them and marvelled in their beauty.  Oh, and my talent.  Don't forget that.

Somehow, in the years, the box disappeared.  It was tossed or lost somewhere.  I would like to recreate them, but I know they would never be as perfect as when I was twelve.


  1. This is a cool story, but it's totally not fair that I can't see them.


  2. Man, I remember those things. I used to take them out of the box and look at them when you weren't around. Sorry they got lost. They were pretty damn cool.

  3. There is a picture of the shoe somewhere.

  4. The older I get the more I realize that nothing is quite as perfect as when I was 12.

    antispam word: chulase, sort of like shoelace which is kind of apropos.


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