In Erika's Dreams

A funny thing happens when a mother’s nest empties; after the tears subside, and the loneliness fades, the cleansing period begins and those newly-free mothers box up years of their children’s beautiful memories and dump it on our doorsteps for us to store in our much-too-small homes.

For some reason, I was under the impression that my mom was keeping my old dance costumes, cheerleading jacket, report cards, and finger paintings for her benefit…you know, to reminisce over once I was gone.

Apparently not.

A few weeks ago, I was on the receiving end of one of these purges. Normally, the tower of boxes would’ve been met with annoyance since I’ve run out of space and have taken to storing things in my guest bathtub, but this time there was a treasure among the dusty relics that was so magnificent it made me forget about my lack of space. There, among all of my old stuff, was the first book I ever wrote, when I was five years old.

So today I’d like to share with you the book that came before Empty Arms, before my unpublished novel, The Ardent One, and before the dozens of abandoned stories I’ve accumulated over the years. This is the book that started it all, the book that reminds me that I was born to write, and confirms that I’ve always been and always will be a sucker for a good love story.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you: The Boy and Girl Got Married





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  • Jim

    Haha, that’s cute. I totally don’t know what my first book I made was about. My guess would be Superman, snakes, bears, or some other kind of animal. I know I’m a total boy. Haha.

    • Erika

      Hopefully one day you’ll stumble across your first book like I did. I’d forgotten that I ever wrote this book, but now, over two decades later, it makes perfect sense that I was writing little love stories.

  • Nils

    This struck a chord with me.

    A few years ago, after my father passed away, I found so many things he kept for decades that showed me how proud of me he was. He wasn’t a very demonstrative man but in the last five years of his life we had truly become friends. He wasn’t so much ‘Dad’ anymore as a guy I trusted to tell me the truth when I asked him about things. Some days I find myself wishing I could ask more questions.

    My first fishing pole. The first bow and arrow he got me when I was nine. Drawings I’d made. And..stories. Things I’d written in school and on summer break. Reading them showed me how much (and how little) I’d changed. Still the dreamer of dreams and lover of stories, in songs or prose.

    I’m still writing down ‘lessons from my father’. It’s getting pretty long. I suppose he’s still teaching me with memories. He was a guy just like me…doing the best we can.

    I’m glad I told him he did really well. And I meant it.

    • Erika

      What a beautiful story, Nils. Thanks for sharing! I love that you’re writing down all of the lessons your father taught you and continues to teach you…it sounds like a great book idea 🙂

      I’m also intrigued by how “authentic” we are as children. Glad to hear that you’re still the dreamer of dreams and lover of stories.

      • Nils

        Thanks. Parents, I suppose, forget sometimes that kids, while being unique, are reflections of those who raise them. When I’m faced with unruly, inattentive little dreamer kids in my life (like I was), I find myself thinking ‘what would Dad do to me right now’?

        It astounds me how well that works yet today. I had a great example. (I told him that too). It’s good to craft fond memories so as to not stockpile regrets.

        If the ‘lessons story’ takes decent shape I’ll send it over.

  • Brianna

    That’s so cute. I actually have two such books, written in second & fifth grades respectively. I’m actually debating doing some work on them and trying to publish them.

    • Erika

      You totally should, Brianna. I’d love to read them and I’m sure others would too!

  • Wanderlust

    You are a born writer:) I find there seems to be more authenticity in material I wrote when I was younger compared to now when I am older and wiser(?). Go figure.

    • Erika

      Thank you 🙂 And I know exactly what you mean…our creativity (at least mine) was much more uninhibited back then. I guess we have to figure out how to get back there…

  • Linda Visman

    What a delightful book for a 5-year-old to have written. I am not surprised that the writer came out in you again later.
    I wish I had pretty much anything from my childhood. But we were a struggling family of seven (5 kids) in a small house, and keeping mementoes didn’t ever seem that important to my parents.
    I don’t have any of the books I treasured as a child, none of my writing, nothing I actually wrote on at all. The only original things I do have are a few report cards from secondary school, and my three major school certificates. The only writing I have of mine consists of one article in the second edition of our high school magazine in 1963.
    When I went back home for a visit after I was married, there was nothing of mine left in the house. Funny, but I never asked where they’d gone to.
    Funny thing too, when my Catholic primary school (only three teachers when I was there) celebrated their centenary in the 1980s, they produced a book. It contains quite a few class photos. Both my sisters and both my brothers are in there, but not me.
    As a result of the loss of my ‘history’ I suppose, I didn’t throw anything out that belonged to my children. I don’t know what they have saved of it (all 5 being boys, and movers about the country, I suppose they haven’t bothered), and I only have a few of their things myself now.
    However, over the last thirty-five years, since I began putting together the family history and writing a book on it, I have become a bit of a hoarder of my own memorabilia. As the ‘family historian’, I am also the holder of some of my parents’ stuff.
    I think it is also a part of the same reason, that my novel is based on my childhood experiences and an adaptation the area in which I lived. My other stories are often set in places where I have lived also.
    It is interesting that your entry, your little book, has stirred so much within me. I have written enough to make a blog entry of my own!
    Perhaps I never got over the loss of what was basically a part of my childhood identity.
    Thanks very much for sharing that delightful book of yourd Erika!

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  • […] writing books since I was five years old. In fact, I recently came across one of my first books, The Boy and Girl Got Married. When I was little, I would show my books to my Nana and I remember her saying, “You’re […]

  • […] girl. My first book was written in crayon when I was five or six years old. It’s called The Boy and Girl Got Married. Throughout my childhood I was always writing books, so it seems only natural that it finally […]

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