Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved Halloween. I love the creative nature of the holiday. You have a day to be whatever you want. When I was in school I would start working on my costume during the summer. So you can imagine how excited I was when in third grade, we were given the assignment to write a poem about Halloween. I remember working really hard on it because I so loved Halloween. I wanted it to be the best poem ever.
I turned my assignment in with much happiness and pride, kind of like when Ralphie turns in his “theme” in the movie A Christmas Story. Anyway, a few days later, my teacher asked me to stay in while the other kids went out to recess. She pulled my poem out of a folder. I bubbled with excitement, but she quickly burst it.
She accused me of cheating. She said that either my Mom must have written it or I copied it from somewhere. Besides the tears that were welling in my eyes, I was frozen. I didn’t know how to defend myself, not that she was giving me a chance to do that. I hated the third grade from that point on. I also didn’t like writing poetry or any kind of creative writing after that.
Jump three years later. I’m in sixth grade. I’m cranky because our homework is to write a holiday poem. I hate this assignment. I calm down a bit and all of the sudden my third grade Halloween poem comes racing into my head. I wrote the words as I remembered them and submitted it. My sixth grade teacher liked my poem so much that it was published in our school newspaper.
I wonder sometimes if teachers realize the power they wield. Even though I got some positive recognition for my poem three years later, that incident in third grade made me very insecure about my writing for a long time. Was that time wasted? I don’t know. I do know that it didn’t effect how much I love Halloween.
I wish you all a Happy Halloween. Here is my poem as it appeared in the sixth grade newspaper.