Sunday, July 18, 2010

a real mystery in our living room & the secret of the junkyard shadow

The Secret Of The Junkyard Shadow (Cabin Creek Mysteries)One December night long ago, my little brother and I woke to a clunk and clanging. We lived at the beach and from our open bedroom window could hear the familiar sounds of the surf and foghorn, but this noise was new. Maybe Santa had come early! It was almost Christmas. Our parents were asleep, apparently not aware of the commotion. We crept out to the living room to investigate, leaving our sister safe in her crib.

Santa had been there! But instead of toys he had left behind a bunch of black boxes in various shapes. We opened the lids, astonished to find a shiny musical instrument in each box, nestled in blue velvet. There was a trumpet, a trombone, flute, clarinet, and a saxophone. We bumped into some brass cymbals, which finally roused the household.

I don't remember my parents' reaction except that they called the police. After all, a stranger had broken into our home!

This curious event from my childhood inspired The Secret of the Junkyard Shadow. In this Cabin Creek adventure, folks are perplexed about broken items showing up on their porches in good repair. It takes much sleuthing for the cousins to solve this mystery, but a lot of nice things happen along the way.

Back to our living room. It turned out that a musician from a beach club had volunteered to deliver all the instruments to a friend's home. It was late and dark and he was on the wrong street. So when he found the house with the porch light on and the front door unlocked, he figured he'd found the right place. 

p.s. I've been accused of stretching the truth to have fun with a story, but not here. Yesterday I verified this one with my mom while we were drinking coffee and playing Bananagrams. You can ask her :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

our 1st indepence day, philadelphia 1776

Five Smooth Stones: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary (My America)(Book One)On a hot and humid July 4th, 1776, a horseman brought worrisome news to Philadelphia: ships carrying 10,000 British soldiers had landed in New York. Redcoats were now camped on Staten Island, just one day's ride by horseback. Meanwhile, a printer named John Dunlap worked through the night making copies of the Americans' letter to King George III, their declaration of independence from England.

In Five Smooth Stones: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary,  nine-year-old Hope and her mother sit in their garden, in the shade of their tall brick house. They read this letter to each other, which calls King George cruel and unfit to be the ruler of a free people. "Our country has a new name," Hope writes in her diary, "the United States of America. No longer will we call ourselves an English colony."

It took days for this news to reach every farm and village, but soon patriots were ringing bells from all the church steeples. They were reading the Declaration of Independence to one another, from courthouse steps and from the saddles of express riders stopping along dirt roads. With the exception of Loyalists, Americans were jubilant. They blasted cannons and tore down the royal flags of England, setting them on fire, and destroyed statues of King George. Blacksmiths carted away the chunks of iron to melt down for bullets to use against the enemy: This war for independence would continue until 1781.

Hope memorizes the words treasured by so many of us: "We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men are created equal. Their Creator gives them certain rights. Among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."      Happy Independence Day, everyone!!