Earlier this year, I worked with several students at Ringgold's Heritage Middle School and encouraged them to write stories about their keepsakes. After my visit, Kimi Carter, a gifted student who attended one of the classes, drafted a story about a journal and sent it to me.
I love the action in her story and can see her bolting through her house trying to rouse all the sleepy heads in her family. Her words are filled with such joy.
Here's Kimi's keepsake story, "The Journal." Enjoy!
I woke up on the warm side of the bed—my face hot and my body sweating, but my feet, which weren’t under the covers, were freezing. I looked over and checked the time: 6:43 a.m.
"Am I too late?" I thought, "or am I too early?"
I got up anyways and darted up the stairs to my brother’s room.
“Jacob! Jacob! Wake up! It’s Christmas!” I exclaimed, all the excitement in my voice exposed.
“Kimi, go back to sleep,” he groaned into his pillow. “The presents will still be here when you wake back up.”
I got the same response every year, but each year I continued to wake him up enough that he couldn’t go back to sleep.
“I’ll be down in a second,” he finally gave in. I grinned and ran back down the stairs, bursting into my sister’s room.
“Katie, it’s Christmas!” I woke her up. I usually got a better, more exciting response from her.
She sat up and rubbed her eyes. She yawned and stretched, looking over at me. “Have you woken Mom and Dad up yet?” she asked.
I shook my head. “It’s your turn this year.”
She sighed and stood up. I ran into the living room and saw the stockings lined up in front of the tree, just as they are placed every year on Christmas morning.
“Santa came!” I grinned excitedly.
Mom and Dad stepped out of their bedroom and watched their 11-year old daughter jump for joy.
Christmas was always special to me. Everything felt like it was happier—more magical. I knew that one day that magic would fade as I grew older. But on this day, it was still there while we were digging through our stockings that the fat man brought us.
After my brother and sister opened their stockings, I didn’t expect much: socks, shampoo, undergarments, some candy maybe. I pulled out a few of those things, but I wasn’t disappointed at all. I dug through the socks and underwear and shampoo and found a very unexpected item.
“What is it?” I asked, flipping through the blank pages of a black, sparkly book.
“A journal, I suppose.” Mom smiled. “Or a songbook.”
“Maybe Santa noticed how much you talk about Taylor Swift and her writing and he got you a songbook,” dad suggested.
I examined it for a second, and then smiled. “I like it.”
Four years later, I sit on my bed flipping through the crowded pages of a beat up songbook. Every page is filled with rhymes about life and love and loss. It holds my thoughts, my emotions, and my secrets.
The Christmas present I received four years ago is now my best friend.
—Kimi Carter, Heritage Middle School
Thank you for sharing your keepsake story with me, Kimi, and most of all, keep writing and sharing your stories. You're a natural! I look forward to seeing you in the future—as you walk to the stage at the Grammy's to accept a songwriter's award. Keep storytelling alive!