Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Boys In Trouble..Part I

on September 7, 2006

I don’t write about my own childhood.

“Hurricanes” a short story in Summer Shorts published by Blooming Tree Press is the closest I’ve come to writing about my own childhood. “Hurricanes” is based on a true experience that happened when I was twelve, although the wisdom the character learns reflects the knowledge I know as an adult, not as a twelve year old.

But, usually I don’t write about my own childhood. Although if I did, there are three stories I would tell. Here is one:

Working at Six Flags Over Mid-America–Yes. I worked at Six Flags in the games department. One summer I wore a pin striped shirt and tiny blue shorts and handed balls and collected quarters from customers in Old Chicago. The next summer, I wore a red kilted skirt/shorts with a white shirt and worked as a Games Assistant in Old Britannia. I worked the night shift. 4-10 on the weeknights and 4-11 on weekends. And I loved it.

Every summer there were always kids fired for stealing money. It was easy to do. We handled a lot of change in our tills and there were always kids who figured out how to steal quite a bit before they were caught. The kid who was caught was taken up to the office and fired. We all dreaded being called into the park office.

One day, I got the call to the office. The supervisor walked me up–a supervisor who I remember as being very cute. They were usually college age, and we were Juniors and Seniors in High School. Most of us drooled over one of them at some point in the summer. I got into the office, and they set it up like I was going to be fired. I thought I might throw up. I knew I hadn’t stolen money, but they seemed to think I knew someone who had (This was likely. I always knew and was usually friends with the guys who ended up getting caught. They were usually the guys who were fun, good-looking, and very charming. A problem that still happens today! And this is a theme in my new YA! A girl who is in love with a boy who is trouble.)

So, there I was, shaking in my summer shorts. (And it was hot. We were always HOT in the humid St Louis summers. Our uniforms drenched before we walked out the door).

Finally, they told me I had earned employee of the week and got to wear a gold badge instead of my white plastic badge for the rest of the summer. Everyone had a good laugh over my expression when I realized I was being awarded.

I’ve never written that story. In fact, I forgot about it until now. But what I did realize is that I do play on a theme in that personal story. In my current novel, I have a very smart, good girl who is in love with a boy who is in trouble quite a bit. Perhaps, he doesn’t steal money from his till at an amusement park, but Shantel has the same feeling I had when I was sixteen and in love with those guys who lost their jobs after taking a few rolls of quarters.   

More in another blog about The Middle School Donut Store….another story where I knew the boys in trouble….

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One response to “Boys In Trouble..Part I

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for writing this. I bet those boy(s)had just as much fun and would laugh about it today. Be sure to include a paragraph about water fights with cups when it rained.

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