Thursday, March 9, 2017

Homer the Ghost and other Juvenalia

After we moved from Tonawanda I was lonely and created an imaginary friend, Homer the Ghost. Now, I was cognizant that Homer was a fiction of my imagination, in many ways a continuance of the make-believe play Nancy Ensminger and I enjoyed. I was still spinning tales. I was story telling.

I drew pictures of Homer and the ghostly gang and wrote stories.


Homer!
First you must know who Homer is. He is a ghost friend of mine. He's about 1,500 years old. Homer has three cousins, Greta, Herman, and Gertrude. His best friend is Irving.

Homer is nice but sometimes troublesome. Like the time he rode my bike without asking me. It was 4:40 pm when he rode it. How would you like to see a bike going by itself! Well, I'll tell you what Mr. White did.

Mr. White was very superstitious and read lots of science fiction books. He was reading Invaders from Pluto in his living room. He read out loud to himself; "Suddenly, the creature disappeared! He turned invisible, said Capt. Monroe." Mr. White looked up and out the window saw a bike going by itself! Of course, it was just Homer.

"Help! Police! Help!" yelled Mr. White. He ran into the next room and dialed the phone. "Police give me the operator! I mean, operator, give me the police!"

"Soon the police where on. "Yes," said Mr Blocker, the Captain.

"There's an invisible bike, er, man, I mean a creature from Pluto riding a bike!" said Mr. White.

"What?" said Capt. Blocker.

"An invisible creature from Pluto on a bike!"

"What? A creature on an invisible bike?"

"No! A thing from Pluto!"

"I can't understand you, calm down! Talk slower!"

"Details! This is of national concern! We've been invaded! I just sighted an alien creature in the street!"

Capt. Blocker made a face of exasperation at the phone, and to humor the man, replied, "I'll send a car over to investigate..."

This story ends there. I also wrote many more stories including A Martian Fairy Tale, "The Three Gooks," Adventures on Atom, To Mars! Sail On!, The Creature from Beyond, The Very Last Goodbye, and Eve of Destruction.

I have a letter written by classmate Mary W. that reads,

Dear Homer,
Hi! Do you remember me? I am Rudolph the Reindeer. I came down to see you on Xmas evening. You were asleep and I didn't want to wake you. Did you like what you got for your Xmas presents? Don't forget to write me back, OK? Give my letters to Mary W. I am 2 years old in Reindeer life, and 14 years old in human life. Are you human? Or what are you? Love, Rudolph. PS this isn't the way I really write [all caps print] by I want you to read it.

I found my Larry Peterson mystery story. It begins,

"I was walking in a wood, near a riding stable. It was a beautiful day, and would be perfect for horseback riding, but I didn't have any money. I was 16 and didn't have a job and I spent my allowance on a mystery book.

"Just that morning my mother had told me, "Larry Peterson, if you spend one more dollar on a mystery book, I'll swear you'll have 2,000."

I had quickly added, "I spent my allowance on a $3 mystery book today. Now I have 345 and a half."

"A half?"

"Me and JR put our allowances together to buy a mystery book so we each own it until I pay him for the other half."

I heard a noise behind me and turned to see a leopard frog sitting on a slab of limestone. As I watched it I saw something behind it--a garter snake? Yes, it was. He came closer and closer. He was just about to strike it when I heard the loud noise of a horse.

I turned around. There stood a sorrel horse with a white mane, tail, and socks. It was saddled, but no one was in sight. I remembered the frog and turned to see the snake with a big lump in him. "Frog legs, huh?"

The horse nuzzled me. "Where did you come from, boy? The stable? The horse pawed the ground and neighed.

"Well, seeing your rider left you, I'll return you. Come on."

I took the rein and led him in the direction of the stables. As we approached I saw a group of people talking with the owner.

"That's her horse!" said the woman.

"Where's Diana? What did you do with her? Where is she?" the man cried.

"These people say their daughter came here and took this horse to go riding, then she just disappeared."

And so started my mystery.

One of my first poems was named The Poem, perhaps written for school.

I stand here packing up and down
and walking all around
thinking, "What, oh what, should I put down?"

I'm no good at poems,
no ideas have I,
so I pace up and down
with an occasional sigh.

What should I write?
What should I say?
Should I write about a horse
or a girl named Kay?

Or what about a sunset,
a bird or a plane?
How about a teacher
who won a basketball game?

So after about three hours or so
at 10 o'clock and time for bed
it came to me --
just what I read.

Another early poem was written in 1967.

Black is Black.
White is White.
They will always be that way.
For nothing can change them,
They are what they are to stay.

Love is love.
Hate is hate.
It will always be that way.
With one for good, and one for bad,
They are what they are to stay.

I am I.
You are you.
It will always be that way.
I love you; you love me not.
It will always be this way
And I regret that I must say
We are what we are to stay.

I had told Nancy Ensminger when we were nine that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I had earlier wanted to be an art or music teacher, and for a few days a nun, but in the wisdom of age had decided that authors were the most powerful influences in the world. For they could make one cry or laugh, change their ideas, and reveal new visions.