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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Confession: Crying for history

I have a confession to make... I once brought my high school history teacher to tears with a paper I wrote and it was a complete fabrication.

The assignment: Find and interview someone who lived through WWII. Write a paper about their experience.

The actuality: I interviewed a really sweet lady that was basically untouched by the war. Nobody she knew was in the military. She lived on a self-sufficient farm out in the boonies so did not struggle any more than usual to get by. I sat down to write the paper and it was so boring I couldn't stand it. Especially hearing some of my classmates talk about their interviews.

So, I did what any good creative-type would do. I wrote a new paper. A completely fictional paper. I told the fascinating story of my grandfather and his sister. He was sick and turned away when he tried to enlist. His sister, however, went off to war as a nurse, leaving him behind. Everyone in town mocked him for sitting at home while his sister went on to be a hero. Unfortunately, his sister was killed by enemy fire just before she was to return home. My grandfather was never the same after that and my parents named me, the first grandchild, after his sister the nurse.

The day papers were returned, Mr. G didn't hand mine back. Instead, he told me to please see him during lunch. I spent the entire morning terrified that I was going to fail because he must've realized it was a work of fiction. When I entered his classroom, he asked me to wait while he read my paper one last time. As he finished, he wiped at his eyes and I swear he was crying.

"This," he said, "is such a beautiful story. I'm so glad I assigned this paper so you could preserve this bit of your family history. Absolutely wonderful."

He then handed back my A+ paper and I went on my way.

Lesson learned? Creative writing is preferable to the boring truth in situations where you won't be found out. It was a lesson I was happy to learn early in high school and it served me well throughout my college years. And sometimes beyond. Too bad that's not the lesson the Mr. G was trying to teach.

21 comments:

angi_b72 said...

lol..great story. I hated writing papers in school!

kimber p said...

do you still have the paper? You should turn it in a to publication as a short fiction story, make some $ off that awesome imagination of yours..lol

Lora said...

I had to write a paper on the French Revolution in 10th grade when we were reading Tale of Two Cities.

I picked torture methods used back then, and made up terrible terrible things to present to the entire 10th grade class. It was the knarliest thing in the world, and all the teachers absolutely loved the paper. I made up sources and everything.

One of the history teachers called me in to talk about it and I thought for sure I'd been busted. But no, he was fascinated. He asked me how I found so much info that he had never heard of, and I told him the internet. It was 1992 so no one knew too much about it. He told me that he didn't really understnad computers but I had inspired him to learn.

We are such jerks!!

Lyndsay said...

Ah, the joys of being one of the smart, creative kids in school. I wish I had such a legendary tale from one of my "fictional" papers ... but I guess taking away the lesson that will serve you well for years in the ultimate rewards, huh?

melanie @ don't expect much said...

ooooo... I am SO sending a link to your blog to Mr. G today... you are SO busted!!

lol Creativity = win everytime

Melissa said...

ewww... my least favorite thing to do in school was write! Still do. That's why I love to blog...lol

Great story.

blognut said...

Awesome... and a little naughty... but still awesome.

A. said...

Awesome confession. It is a great lesson, and with all the papers I write for school, I still use it...

Tiffany said...

That's great! The power of fiction.

Ryan Ashley Scott@Optimistic Cynicism said...

Oh! Next your going to tell us your cats don't actually converse!

beckiwithani said...

Wow, I agree with a previous commenter that that is a REALLY great confession. You should write a book about your "family history" and fool Oprah!

Yaya said...

Hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hula's Secret Blog said...

This is too funny!
How creative of you! Ha!

The Wife O Riley said...

Good for you! I have always believed a little creativity never hurt anyone.

ella said...

Add the topper: Now you can't really remember what your grandfather really did---only your fictionalized account of it!

andy said...

i think it's awesome that you do not have guilt...but instead have learned a great life lesson. give people what they want to get good grades...and also so they will sometimes think better of you;)

love it.

Call Me Cate said...

The problem with pre-blogging is that I forget to come back and respond to comments.

I *DO* still have the paper somewhere. I came across it in the last couple of years and just had to save it.

Lora - that's taking it to a whole 'nother level. Congrats!

Ryan - of COURSE my cats actually converse. Geesh.

Becki - I'm not scared of Oprah. Bring her on, I'm sure I could fool her.

Ella - Nope, I remember what Grampa did. But that would be awesome if I didn't.

Thanks so much to everyone that stopped by and commented. Comments make me happy. :)

♥ JaYmE ♥ said...

LMAO good to know i wasnt the only one. bwaahahahaa

Mommy2lilgems said...

wow! That is an awesome story!! Makes me feel better for all my fabrications! I'm here by way of SITs cause you're saucy!

Mommy2lilgems said...

sorry for all the exclamation marks in my previous comment. :)

Young said...

Wow! You are very interesting. I wish I could be a creative writer like you. You're really smart. ^_^