Janet's Jargon

Fun lifestyles, charitable acts, great fiction, author support, Patrick and Grace Mysteries, Keith clan trilogy,

Friday, March 03, 2006

Just "Kidding" Around

Quite a few years ago, when I was in my thirties, I took a high school girl out to buy a prom dress for her. We were having a blast. All of a sudden, she got real serious and she asked me, "Do you think you will ever grow up?" I thought for a minute or two, then replied, "I sure hope not." I don't see any point in it. Let other people be adults.

A couple of days ago, when I was calling bookstores about my books, I called a small independent bookstore on the Iron Range in Minnesota. We got to chatting, and I told her I had taught Vacation Bible School in the late 50s in many of the Iron Range churches and small towns. I was working with the American Sunday School Union. She said that she had attended one of those VBS's in a Methodist Church in Nashwauk. She asked me if my name had been Janet Hallett, and I said that was indeed me. She was one of the kids in that VBS. As we talked, we both remembered the same thing that had happened. There was a little boy (I don't recall his name, which is probably just as well) who was the son of one of the deacons of the church.
Since it was the week of Father's Day, the kids were all supposed to find a smallish flat rock, write a Bible verse on it with a marker, then shellac it for a paper weight. Each child was to present the gift to their father at the final program on Friday evening and read the verse on it in front of the group.
Well, that little boy did as he was told. I could hardly contain my laughter when I looked at his rock and he had written on it, in big bold letters, "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
I was just a teenager myself, and I wasn't comfortable with explaining to him what the word "adultery" meant. I tried my best to convince him to choose a different verse, but he refused. Finally, I asked him why he chose that verse. He explained, in a very rational way to him, that his father always said he never wanted to grow up, so that was the perfect verse for him. "He will never commit adultery. He doesn't want to become an adult."
At the program, he proudly presented the gift to his father, and I asked him to explain why he had chosen that verse, which he did. I doubt that that church has ever had more laughter--before or since!

I love interacting with kids. I have a good friend, Joyce, and her 12-year-old son Shane has a page on her blog. You can find it at http://kaleidosouls.info/KaleidoKid.html. I have gotten acquainted with Shane, and he is a real charmer. I was delighted when one day he sent me a copy of his first experience airbrushing. Yes, that is the picture at the top of today's blog. I love colors, and geometric designs fascinate me, so thank you, Shane, for your wonderful gift to me. I am delighted to share it with the rest of you.

I have one young adult book out. It is My Dear Phebe. It is based on the real letters that were exchanged between 10-year-old Phebe Irvine and her uncle. Phebe lived in Sault Ste. Marie, MI during the Civil War. Her uncle lived near Gettysburg, PA. Many teachers have been using this book in their classes, not just to teach about the Civil War, but also to get kids to open up and share their feelings of frustration and fear over all the "junk" that is going on in today's world. Kids then were scared of the same thing the kids of today are scared of.
This is a very special book to me. Phebe Irvine was my great-grandfather William Henry Hallett's mother-in-law (by his second wife, who was not my great-grandmother). The actual content of the letters, misspellings and all, are at the back of the book.
I have done quite a few online chats with entire classes after they have read My Dear Phebe. If any of you are teachers or have kids in school and they read the book, I'm available. Just email me at janetelainesmith@yahoo.com

So, to all the kids who might stumble across my blog, my hat is off to you. And no matter what they tell you, don't be afraid to hang onto that childlike mind you have. Even Jesus recognized the value of that when He said "Blessed are the children," and "Let the children come onto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." If by the word "adultery" you mean "not becoming an adult," then by all means, go for it! If you look it up in the dictionary, just ignore it. Sometimes even Noah Webster made mistakes!


  • At 5:06 AM, Blogger Donna Sundblad said…

    Great story, Janet.

    So, did the bookstore agree to carry your book? It's sounds great. Where is it available?

    Losing Weight from a Writer's POV

  • At 8:37 AM, Blogger JanetElaineSmith said…

    Thanks, Donna. Yes, they said they will order several copies of the Patrick and Grace Mysteries.

    My books are available at hundreds of bookstores nationwide. If they don't have the one you want, they can order any of them. Or, you can get them at amazon.com and most of them are usually 32% off. If you buy a couple of them, you even save the postage!

    If you don't know which ones you want, just go to my website at www.janetelainesmith.com and click on the "My Books" page. You will find not just a description of each of my 14 books, but a link to where you can read the first chapter of each one.

    Have fun! I am!

  • At 8:40 AM, Blogger JanetElaineSmith said…

    I don't know if this will show up with my picture or not, but just in case, this is a disclaimer: The post was made by Kathy Solarzano, but her comments would not "take," so she asked me to post it for her. The picture is me, not Kathy. She's much cuter!

    Janet, I confess to committing adultery over and over
    again!! To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have it
    any other way! What a great story and what a great
    "take" on that word. I also enjoyed your story from
    Thursday,on Phebe, and I am going to share it with our
    English teachers at school.

    XXXXXX Kathy

  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger Sharmagne Leland-St. John said…

    What's that great story?

    Noah Webster's wife arrives home unexpectedly, and finds him in hte arms of another woman. She blurts out, "Noah, I'm surprised!" to which he retorts, "No my dear I am surprised. You are flabbergasted!"

    Enjoyed your blog very much. Are you the same Janet Elaine Smith who has a tuna recipe published at Quill and Parchment.com?

    If so I need a short bio from you for our archives.


    You may email me at ALittleHawk@aol.com

  • At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Kim said…

    Too funny.
    I don't think I'll ever view that commandment quite the same.

  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger Mary Emma Allen said…

    Hi Janet,
    Loved your story about the little boy in church school and his Bible verse rock. I'm a substitute Sunday school teacher so hear some interesting comments and questions.

    Have read your "Phebe" book and truly enjoyed it. I've been writing a Civil War era middle reader book based on Civil War letters in my family.

  • At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I enjoyed your story. You mentioned that you were a missionary for the American Sunday School Union...were you ever a teacher or camp counselor at Riverside Bible Conference in Amherst, Wisconsin?

  • At 8:09 PM, Blogger JanetElaineSmith said…

    No, all of the places I taught were in MN. I do remember at the summer camp at Blackduck, MN one year there was an evangelist by the name of Duane Morshack (sp?). He was from WI, but I'm not sure just where.
    By the way, I just moved from Grand Forks ND this week to Amberg, WI. Where from there is Amherst? Amberg is just 25 miles from Iron Mt. MI.

  • At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations on becoming a cheesehead! WI is very cold during those long winter months ...I'm thinking of retiring to NC.

    Amherst is about 50 miles or so SE of Wausau...or about 19 miles SE of Stevens Point...off of Hwy 10.

    I spent my summers as a kid at Riverside and remember some counselors from MN. Still have pics of our group but can't name anyone after all these years. I was just wondering if one of them was you.

  • At 11:52 PM, Blogger Gabby143 said…

    Dear Anonymous,

    When I was a teen I visited the Riverside Bible Camp several times, when counselors were going down there from Minneapolis.

    What years did you attend?



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