Season 2 finale: short stories
Episode #
Sunday, April 9, 2023

Season 2 finale: short stories

The Storyworth Podcast
Episode Description

We’re celebrating the end of our season with stories read by their authors– tales of childhood triumph, mischief, and adventure.

Robert Ravaioli - The Underwood Typewriter Caper

The year was 1958, late spring, just a week away from finishing my junior year at Haileyville, Oklahoma High School. I was a good student and was striving to be the class Valedictorian of my upcoming Senior Class. I was locked in a two person race, if you will, with classmate Iva Mae Wallace. We each had a 4.0 grade point through our junior year and a desire to achieve the top honor.

An incident occurred that last week of my junior year that was shocking to me that energized my push toward excellence. I was in the school library looking for a book and was behind a door out of view of the library window, when I overheard three teachers discussing the upcoming senior class. Overhearing their conversation raised my dander and made me realize the animosity held toward me that I found out later in life was due to 1, being Catholic, and 2 being the son of an Italian immigrant. You see, at that time in Oklahoma only two percent of the population was Catholic, and immigrants and off springs were looked down on.

What came out in the conversation of the teachers was as follows: “Well we won’t have to worry about Robert being the Valedictorian. He just registered in my typing class next year and there is no way any of the big athletes are nimble enough to excel in typing”. When they left the window area I came out from behind the door and said, “I’ll just see about that”.

Frank Van Meter - What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

There was this Mexican restaurant in Hanford that Dad and Mom really liked. They really liked Mexican Food. And they really liked that restaurant. And the people who worked there really liked them. When we went there, they always greeted Mom and Dad by name and had a little Chat.

So, when Relatives came calling, Dad liked to take them to that restaurant for the Real Deal.

One summer day, Uncle Arley and Aunt Norma drove all the way from Mesa to see us. I was so happy to see Steven! We’re the kind of cousins that after years pass and our paths cross, we just pick up where we left off like we were together yesterday. Mischief and Adventure. That’s Steve and Me.

At the Mexican Restaurant, the Grownups sat and talked long after dinner was over. You know, for two seven-year-old boys, a couple of minutes is a Long Time. We somehow managed to get away from the table and strike out on our own.

So many places to explore.

The kitchen was too scary. Lots of shouting Grownups rushing around and flaming stoves and boiling pots and slapping tortillas and chopping red meat and sweaty brown faces scowling at us.

The bathroom was too stinky. Do your business and get out of there.

The dining room was too crowded with Grownups.

Two sneaky little boys practiced their sneaking until they found themselves outside on the sidewalk.

I remember the Summer sky was that greenish blue of Dusk right after the Red goes to bed just before Get In The House Dark wakes up and spoils everything. The air was refreshing to breathe even though the sidewalk still radiated too much heat.

The street was soothingly quiet. Very little traffic, nobody walking around, just me and Steven looking for Adventure.

Diane Leah Poettgen - What are some fun stories about growing up as a twin?

One of the most common questions people would ask me as I was growing up was, “What’s it like being a twin?”

At first, when I was very young, I would look as them and just say, “Huh?” For I was truly perplexed. I mean, really, how could I know what it’s like being a twin if I had nothing to compare it to? After all, I’ve never NOT been a twin!

Therefore, as I grew older (and smarter), my standard reply became, “I don’t know, what’s it like not being a twin?”

My identical twin sister and I were born five minutes apart and weighed only one ounce different. Our mother used to write our names on our clothing in order to tell us apart. Yet, surprisingly, she dressed us in identical outfits. Hint: dressing us differently might have lessened the confusion, albeit removed some of the fun at attention from family, friends and general lookie-loos.

Thankfully, our parents did NOT give us rhyming names as is often common with twins. But, that didn’t stop our siblings and classmates from labeling us rhymy names of their own devices. Thus, Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Diane became known as Lizzie and Dizzie (among a host of other less flattering monikers).

We were lumped together so often, we felt as if we were a two-headed being. We pretty much shared everything: clothes, toys, books, birthday cakes. You name it, we share it! The birthday cake thing was a particular bone of contention with our mom. We couldn’t help that we were born on the same day and thought we were each deserving of our own personal birthday cake (and candles)!

Another common question we constantly were asked was, “Do you play tricks on people?” No, we did NOT. We didn’t have to. People were constantly mixing us up and confusing us to the point of embarrassment. I genuinely felt bad for these sincere numb nuts.

However, by high school, we had both had enough!

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