The Gleefle That Sneefed – Lynn in First Grade

In my report card dated June 5, 1970, my teacher, Mrs. Marlene Larson, wrote: “Lynn is a good natured and friendly child who is most considerate when associating with her peers…She completes the majority of her assignments with a high degree of accuracy.” It was Mrs. Larson’s nice way of saying, “Lynn is a bit high strung and nervous. She hates conflict, hates to make mistakes, and seems to be growing a large stick out her ass.”

Ah, the good old days.

Academically, first grade was my favorite year ever. That’s when I learned how to write the alphabet, then words, then stories. I apparently was quite good at math, too, but it didn’t take long for my right brain to eat up most of my left brain, and in future years my math skills went in the toilet.

But I could write!

“In our creative writing program,” wrote Mrs. Larson, “Lynn can express her ideas through written communication. Her stories are indicative of advancement in the use of capitalization and punctuation technique.” Not exactly a rave review of the content of my stories, but it’s good to know my love of grammar was apparent from the beginning.

My parents kept a few of my stories, and dad was kind enough to put them in the envelope he gave me years ago that contained my report cards that I found last week. Here’s what I wrote, verbatim, however, in a few instances I put the real word in parenthesis so you don’t struggle trying to figure out what the heck that misspelled word is.

Jan. 28, 1970

My friend

I have a friend who lives in Omaha her name is Teela her est (used) to live here with me I love her very much her love me to

OK, so my grammar sucks in that one, but Teela is still my friend (although she doesn’t live in Omaha anymore), and look at the next one and how much my punctuation improved in just a few weeks.


March 6, 1970

If I want to go to the moon I wood see. Captain kangaroo and Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. And the Man in the moon. That’s how Mane (many). I liked it.

Some girls dreamed of being princesses. I dreamed of seeing Captain Kangaroo on the moon. Inspired, no doubt, by the moon landing seven months prior, I was apparently very excited about the possibility of space travel. I was no Phil Nowlan, but it’s fun for 44-year-old Lynn to see 6-year-old Lynn still had enthusiasm for fantasy.

This next story was no doubt inspired by my love for Dr. Seuss books. I wish I could remember what was going on in my head as I wrote this because it is incomplete. Either I wasn’t given enough time or enough space to explain what “sneefing” is. The Gleefle went to the zoo and I’m sure he meant to “sneef” while at the zoo, but he apparently didn’t get past the pig exhibit.

LynnH May 2, 1970

The Gleefle that Sneefed

Once upon a time there lived a. Gleefle and he was going to the zoo. He saw a big pig his is a big fat one to.

Sneefing could mean so many things. Maybe that’s what my husband was doing in 1970 when he and his friends got stoned at ZZ Top concerts on the beach in Galveston. Perhaps Nixon was sneefing in the White House.

This has potential as a creative writing assignment: finish the Gleefle story and define “sneef.” Care to post your ideas?

I’ve not known a time when I didn’t write. My grades in language and reading were always top notch, and I’ve kept a journal since fifth grade. I once thought about being a veterinarian, a marketing major, and a teacher, but always, always, I went back to writing. Yes, I am still sort of uptight and anxious, and that stick is still there much of the time, but writing has always been a release, a way for me to understand who I am. I appreciate it for the gift it is.

What were you passionate about as a kid? Did you recognize it then and does your career or educational path reflect that passion? As always, post a comment or send me an email. And don’t forget to make your best guess about “sneefing.”

3 thoughts on “The Gleefle That Sneefed – Lynn in First Grade

  1. Oh, good, I’m the first to comment. Of course, I think your “Geefle” is a giraffe and that “sneef”, well, that seems to be a sneeze. That’s perhaps the most boring explanation, but I’m not feeling very creative this morning.
    I wanted to be a meteorologist or an astronaut when I was younger. Did you hear that NASA was looking for their next astronaut a while back and that they actually opened the job listing to the general populace? I can’t say I wasn’t tempted!

  2. Oh and P.S., in case it isn’t completely obvious, being an art historian is the exact opposite of being an astronaut. I’m pretty sure that if you were to look up the word “astronaut” in a thesaurus, you’d see that words “art historian” are the antonym for it. So, no, my career path has had a completely different trajectory – at least that’s an astronaut-y word!

  3. Sneffing – If a former Clarion News intern (Josh) was to give you a definition of sneffing it would likely be closer to your explanation of the ZZ Top Concert.
    I personally think sneffing has something to do with sucking down the great treats at the zoo – like cotton candy and french fries or maybe it is the sound that Gleflee made.
    As for aspirations, I, too, wanted to meet Capt. Kangaroo. He was great!! In Kindergarten, I wanted to be Wonder Woman and then I also thought I would be a scientist until I realized I sucked at math and science kept getting harder. Of course, everyone knew I would end up a newspaper reporter. In grade school, I spearheaded the creation of – with only three other girls – the newspaper.
    I can’t exactly remember when I decided I was going to be a journalist but I remember my high school english teacher asking my class to decide on our career paths and write our senior term paper about it. She said we all should think hard about it but I didn’t have to think. I raised my hand and told her I was going to be a journalist. She laughed and said “I have a degree in journalism, guess where it’s at?” I said, “in a drawer.” “Your correct,” she retorted. “And that’s where your’s will end up.” Bitch look at me now!!!! I wish I could find her and tell her what I am doing. Sometimes I think she said it just to piss me off and get me motivated to stay in the business but then sometimes I think she was really just a bitch – maybe that’s why I liked her so much!

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