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Calvin Clapp: Diary of A Young Boy

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February 21, 1941

I’m Calvin. I found you abandoned on the pavement next to the drain. I live in London, and that’s probably where you lived prior to today because I found you in London. My best friend is James Henry. He goes to school with me at Princeton Elementary boarding school. He sleeps in the bunker above me and we catch flies together by lining the window sills with sugar. Then I keep the flies in a jar and feed them more sugar, but my mom doesn’t know about our little “fly hoarding” situation because she isn’t at the school. My mom, Mrs. Clapp, met my dad when she moved to Oxford for college from Russia. She tells me stories about the beautiful lands and forested peaks at Russia that she used to call home. My mom, my dad, and I exchange letters every week. My dad works as a worker for a diesel company near Piccadilly Square. Once a year, he lets me visit his cubicle at work. His cubicle is amazing! The space in the little cubicle seems almost infinite, and there are all the essentials: computer, paper, pencil and utensils, and this gross brown liquid that my dad calls, “cough-ee”. Last year he told me, “When I was a kid your age, I couldn’t ride in one of those new fangled ‘automobiles’ to school, I had to do things the hard way; I had to walk through two miles of hills, even during the winters when snow chilled me to the bone”. And I believe him. All that exercise is probably why he’s so strong! But even though I get to communicate with my parents every week, I feel as if I don’t know them very well. And now I look upon my hands: on my right palm rests a small fly feeding on some sugar. Sometimes, it nibbles on one grain at a time, not wasting anything. And sometimes I use the entire windowsill, not wanting to waste any potential space. But at other times it gnaws at the sugar as if it was one of those large furry creatures my mom talks about that like in Russia. She said it roars like a beast. The fly gnaws like how I wolf down food when I become ravenous. I have a passion for food. It calms me down and comforts me. Different foods match different tasks. For example, salty potato chips are best with Super Man comics. I get my comics from the comic book store that borders the company my dad works for. Each comic is only about ten cents. I feel as if I can relate my relationship with my parents with Superman. I could only live with them before I left for boarding school, and I went to boarding school when I was only six years old. Superman only had months to see his parents. I’ve got to go. The school’s headmaster is coming. It’s already time for bed.
February 24, 1941
London
Last night, I had a horrible nightmare. I was in a racecar, 23, speeding around the track, feeling marvelous. The box narrator was shouting out times as the cars past the final flag. The last time he called was 23:48, my time. Then a group of people carried me out of my vehicle and hit me hard with a metal bludgeon. As I awakened from the blow, I gasped. All around lay the ruins of battered rock. I looked out into the sky and expected blue, but saw black. My eyes dared gaze down in my hand, only to see it trapped inside a suit. On my tired and aching palm rests a pile of dust, shattered and broken. I thought of myself as that dust, lost, alone, and broken; just a fragment of the landscape, a piece of the rubble. I was alone… in space.
I brought my senses together and sat down to reflect on this new shocking information.

-I’m alone

-in the darkness (I’m afraid of the dark)

-with no food

-and no water

-on an asteroid

-in space
Desperate to find civilization, I unflaggingly walked north. What seemed like years past, when I know now that it couldn’t have been any more than a half hour. Climbing across the monotonous hilly land, I grew very weak and tired. I felt as if my very being was ebbing away. But then, a vivid image contrasted against the ever-grey asteroid. I saw a flower; a reminder of Earth, of life, and of the time I spent walking in the rain of the local English gardens. Usually I wouldn’t bother to admire the beauty of a flower, but now I had suddenly found the time to idolize the bright colors and shapes that together make what I call a “flower”. An almost devilish smile burst out of my tiresome face as I dashed towards the plant. I was so excited to see life again. I had thought that I was lost, the only remnant of survival left. I plucked off one petal and kept walking, eager to find anything. Over the next hill, there was an automobile, a T Ford Model. I recognized it from an ad in the back of a comic book endorsing the miniature replica of it. Because there is a man made automobile here, that must mean that there are people here! I was astonished, but when I approached it, I felt my heart beat jump. A pile of clothes in a sprawled position was positioned behind the car. Small piles of dust accompanied the areas next to the shirt collar, the sleeves, and pants. I felt as if the dust was merely the remnants of one’s body. I tried to look away, so that I wouldn’t be frightened at the horrible image, but I had to look back; I was intrigued and truly shocked. I couldn’t move because I was scared stiff. I didn’t feel as if I could go any farther due to my aching legs and this new discovery. My hope of finding even a speck of surviving humanity plummeted like duck falling from the sky. I can recall seeing a ‘V’ formation, completely made of ducks flying, and then one of the ducks shot down to the ground. I had no idea what made the duck want to fall down. I sat down on one of the many sand dunes to rest because my legs were sore from walking for so long. But then I traced my name on the surface of the sandy mound; a reminder than Calvin was here. I regret doing that. As I wiped off a measure of sand, I felt the cold glass of a dome window. I coldness and obscurity of the glass alarmed me. Having been on this forever lukewarm asteroid, I had never felt something like glass in such a long time that the feeling made me jump as if a lizard had crawled down my spine. Rendered dead, lay a skeleton on the ground of the opposite side of the dome. Its hands stuck to the glass like suction cups, and the face seemed to reflect fear. The skeleton was completely barren expect for a tuft of hair of its tilted head. I screamed, but no sound escaped my throat. After I recovered from the fright that overcame me, I wiped off the rest of the sand smothering the dome. It was then that I realized that it was a space colony; a failed space colony. In there were large pistons and contraptions that escape even my wildest bursts of imaginations. I was so curious that I walked into the glass, stumbling off like a fly hurtling against a car, so that I could have a closer look at the ruins. I was level with the skeleton’s face now that I had fallen down. My legs finally felt relieved now that they were on the ground instead of walking. My face stared at the ground, inhaling deep breaths to ease my exhaustion. Then I looked forward. I knew the face’s real expression now: desperation. His face reminds me of a painting called ‘The Scream’. Scattered across the ground inside the dome were dozens of skeletons adorned with the white coats of scientists. Many questions popped in my mind at the sight of this:

What had happened here?

Why was this created?

What had come to destroy it?
February 25, 1941
London
I felt as if I was at the edge of reality; as if I couldn’t go any farther. I had no desire to continue on. I closed my eyes and waited. But then an image appeared in the inner depths of my mind. I saw deep pools of dark red blood dispersing itself amongst the tiles smothered across the floor. I was able to scarcely see my own reflection in the blood’s murky body. The idea of blood caused my spine to shudder and twist like a flapping fish on a dock. I saw utter chaos in the dome influence the people inside, causing some of them to scream and kill others in a display of frustration, others cowered in fear with their children, praying for it to end, often drizzled in their own tears. Most ran to unlock the doors to the outside in a selfish attempt to escape the horror. This of course, was in vain because they were immediately suffocated in space. My face scrunched together in pain at the visage of dozens of frantic white coated scientists, haggard and pale, as well as frightened and angry. Young children, some of them my age, dropped like many of the flies that befell my windowsill sugar trap. For some reason that escapes my mind, the children’s faces appeared to have large cracks that resembled the cracks on the kitchen ceiling, white and dry. Large circuit boards covered in icons and buttons stood against the walls. Once proud logo posters on the walls drooped half way down in shame of the crisis that they were forced to stare at. Outside one of the windows perched high above the ground, a lizard like beast peered in, almost snickering at the nonsense. The animal was almost 60 feet tall, and was huge in comparison to the people, like a person to an ant. The lizard has covered in black scales, each overlapping the next, creating an impermeable suit of armor. Its pupils were like a cat’s; long and vertical. The lizard’s tail flickered in satisfaction, causing more destruction as it swung like a pendulum. Its complexion seemed almost like an amalgamation of a dinosaur and a lizard.
My eyes burst open to see the face of the beast, staring straight down at my face. I felt like I was going to faint. My heartbeat seemed to stop. My face was left expressionless. But then I realized that the lizard face was in fact the face of my ceiling. And at my side was the loud racket of my alarm clock, vibrating across the surface of the counter. And after the blink of an eye, I prepared for school.
March 3, 1941
London
Today I am writing this on the way to school on the bus. When I was looking out the window, watching the seemingly endless stream of street lights pass, I was thinking about my first day of school this year. And now I feel as if it had passed so quickly like the streetlights in front of me. I vaguely recall the reoccurring drift of leaves rustling off of the yellow and red trees. I was shorter then so my eyes had to look vertical to see the summit of the tree. I was so excited that I was going to begin first grade that I smiled uncontrollably until I saw the headmaster at the door. He gazed upon the queue of children walk into the building like a hawk to a mouse. He possessed a mustache that I had never seen before. It was jet black except for a glistening Seville orange marmalade like coat on it. The mustache was almost an inch tall and was waxed to its full extent. It rested upon his upper lip like a prince, seemingly bellowing, “Fear me” to the many children who stared at it until the headmaster knocked them with his cane. The headmaster looked and acted healthy so he most likely doesn’t need a cane. Rumor has it that he got it entirely to punish children. I walked past him, only glancing at him only once, and then staring at the ground until I walked to my class.

I wasn’t surprised to find that the class room was colossal because last year the classroom was just as large. Students my size (about two stools tall) poured into the room. After the line into the room had dissipated, no one uttered a noise in fear that the headmaster would walk into the room and single them out whacking them with his cane. The clock ticked monotonously until the educator came in and lectured the class on fractions. I feel as if the information he gave us that day was slowly ebbing away because it became more and more difficult to reduce fractions. In fact, the last test I had on fractions, I ended up with a C+. After class, I opened my tuck box inside my room and ate some bread. A loud knocking at my door brought me back to class and I was again subject to the teacher’s incessant babbling upon the endless boundaries of fractions. My eyelids grew heavy as I imagined the clocks drooping down like a fried egg hanging on a stick. The once comprehensible lecture of the teacher turned into an incoherent series of grunts as my eyes slowly closed. The precise moment my eyes clamped together, the teacher slammed his cane of my shoulder to wake me. I just sat back up without reflex, like an oaf. Then he continued his lecture, this time louder. After that my eyes were as open as an alert cat. I left to my room the instant the bell rang, laughing as I ran.
BAM! My bus just came to a halt, as I now have to go to school; under the hawk eyes of the headmaster.
March 10, 1941
London
Ahhhhh! I feel cheated on. I can’t believe he punished me like that! I had an argument today with this kid named Shawn. I was walking to my class, when the disgusting beast towered over me like a tsunami and said, “Give me your lunch money”. I refused thinking that I could outrun him, but he quickly grabbed me by the collar and asked again. Knowing that being robbed was inevitable, I took out six pence and held it up to him. The headmaster then walked by, and by reflex, I slammed my arms to my sides, spilling the coins on the ground. The ping of coins clinking against the tile floor must’ve caught his attention, because he immediately swept up to Shawn and I. “You two…” the headmaster calmly spoke, “are coming with me to be punished”. I picked up my money, but I only recovered 5 pence. Puzzled, I turned my head towards the headmaster, where Shawn stood with a snicker. I should have guessed he would take at least some of my money. I walked with them to the headmaster’s office. He then led Shawn and I in and shut the door behind us, which worried me because I heard that he does that so that no one can hear the children scream inside. I saw canes hung across the walls aligned like a hunter would align his rifles. The headmaster stroked his mustache as he pondered on the subject of which cane he should use. He would pick them one at a time, study it, and then place it back. But at last he chose the top one and said that four strokes is the punishment of arguing in the hall. Before the words left his lips, the gulp I gulped down my throat broke the silence that Shawn and I had kept ever since the headmaster had closed the door behind us, thinking that maybe the headmaster would show mercy if we kept quiet. He pointed to Shawn and motioned him to bend over. He did so and his face was expressionless. I guessed that he had done this many times before. This was my first. I feel that this system is an outrage. I had done nothing wrong, yet I’m punished still. Why would the school hire someone like the headmaster? I couldn’t resist watching Shawn get hit, but after the first stroke, I was horrified because I knew that the same was to happen to me. The headmaster raised the cane like a golf club, and struck down holding no mercy. Shawn jumped up and grabbed his back side, screeching like an animal. I didn’t dare say a word, for I was next. The second stroke cracked like a rifle, as did the third and fourth. Every time the raised cane swung down I backed one step. After Shawn went out the door, the headmaster motioned me to come closer as if I was an animal he was luring towards him to trap. I came closer and braced. He cracked down the cane, and I emitted a scream like no other. My behind burned like no tomorrow! I grabbed my back side and ran across the room, as if running would make the pain stop. The headmaster seemed to get some kind of satisfaction because he smiled when he gave me the rest of my unnecessary punishment. After each stroke I tried to explain to him that I did nothing wrong, but he didn’t listen. He told us to leave and then started to write letters, probably to our parents. I really didn’t want my parents to think that I was misbehaving in school. After that painful experience, I always walked with everyone else, or silently against the wall so I couldn’t possibly get into more trouble, or could I?
March 13, 1941
I am accompanied by a present. It now sits next to me on my bed. It is contained in the confines of a solid wood box. Wrapped with newspaper and string, it is the size of no bigger than a cake. It is unopened.
I got it from my father for my birthday. I stared at the flies in my room, asking them if I should open it. I decided to open it after watching the flies buzz around again. I got it in the mail this morning and found a letter that my father wrote saying, “Happy Birthday, Son!” I didn’t have a birthday celebration like the ones other children tell me about, where there are pretty balloons floating up, tied to children’s chairs. Where the laughter of children echoes across the room and a large cake awaits the birthday child. My birthday celebration was merely the muttering of me telling fellow classmates that it was my birthday and then hearing them unenthusiastically replying with, “Happy birthday”. The only people who gave me gifts were my parents and my friend Reginald. The first time he saw me today he handed me a lemon drop from the sweets shop and said, “Happy Birthday”. He is such a good friend. James forgot to get me a present, but he did remember that it was my birthday.
I am opening my father’s gift and now I’m so confused. It was a mass of two red circular wheels attached to each other on an axis. A long string was coiled in between the wheels. The string looped at the end. I looked again at the back of the card on which instructions to use the contraption were written. How was I supposed to play with this? Here are the instructions I found.
YO-YO
1.
Insert finger into loop.
2.
Hold “YO-YO” in hand
3.
Release “YO-YO”
4.
Jerk hand skyward when string uncoils
5.
Catch “YO-YO”.

I followed the instructions and as it turns out playing with this yo-yo is pretty fun! I had doubted that a mass of wood of string would be fun to play with when I initially opened the box. I am going to put down this diary so I can toy around with my new yo-yo! Whoooo!
March 22, 1941
I could tell it was going to be a cold long night. It had already loomed above the school like a dark undying shadow before I looked out the window. I stared up to the sky, expecting to see rain pour from the clouds, drenching the gardens below, but instead saw the silhouette of a propeller plane lined against the clouds. The moon’s shining light gave a light glow that surrounded the black outline of the plane. I was stunned. Why would a plane like that come here? I looked at a different patch of sky, expecting to hear the roar of thunder or the stark silence of the night, but the whirring blast of an aircraft pounded assaulted my eardrums. The sound actually hurt. The droning sound grew louder and louder as time past and seemed to creep closer and closer to me. The whirring was so annoying that I had to clog my ears with tissues. But then, a deafening bell rung that interrupted my pondering and broke through my tissue barrier. I looked outside again in alarm to see what had made the commotion. Could relate to the presence of the plane? I heard the sound of many footsteps trampling upon the ground and the shrieks of fear from people. The repeated pounding of their feet resembled a stampede of frantic elephants! My eyes turned bloodshot with adrenaline and darted downwards to see a mob of children run, with the head master leading them. I could tell that it was the head master leading them by the glimmer of his facial hair. I ran outside almost by habit or reflex, wanting to escape from what the others were running away from. I could feel my heartbeat jump like a rubber ball, violently bashing against my head every time it fell back. I breathed heavily as I ran as fast so I could to catch up with the running crowd. I couldn’t think clearly or stop. I felt as if I had an instinct to follow everyone else, like an animal. I hustled a quick sprint to find Reginald so I could find out why we were running. My legs felt sore again but the pain in my legs was numb already.
He said that German bombers were overhead and going to kill us if we didn’t go to the King’s Cross Station and move to the country side to escape them. He said that I might not see my parents again. I thought about my father, working diligently in his cubicle, when suddenly the terror of the sky swoops down and drops the payload of hydrogen missiles. I shuddered while I walked. I even cried. Tears rolled down my cheeks. No one else knew because they would think that it’s rain. But I knew. I knew that I was frightened. I looked back up to see if the plane looked any more terrifying or menacing now that I knew that they had intentions to kill us. But my face froze in terror of the sight. I looked up to my doom.

The German bombers were grouped in three planes, forming a triangle. This was much more than I had expected. The front leader planes were firing rounds forward at another plane, probably an English fighter jet. The shrapnel shells impeded us onto the ground, clanging as they shattered. Some children bent down to collect the pieces as they shimmered in the rain, but were soon back on their feet, running. One shard shot into the eye of a second grader. The poor child first staggered back. I guessed he didn’t feel the pain yet because I hadn’t clamped down on my ears with my hands. After about 2 seconds or so, he screamed and shot his hands in the hair, looking up hopelessly. The boy looked as if he was expecting some sort of help from the sky. Then he fell and lay there, crying softly for help. The crowd trampled over him in panic, oblivious to his pain. The only one who stayed by him were the head master and I. I sat next to him until the headmaster picked him up and was on his way with the mob of children. I went with him because I had never seen him perform such a nice gesture. Maybe he wasn’t such a bad person.
At King’s Cross Station, we waited for the train. We had waited for about half an hour so that the other children could board the trains. We were still waiting patiently, when two sixth grade girls thought that they could hold on to a train from the front and escape the planes faster. They just ran onto the rails and toward the train. What happened after was a blur. Once the train passed, all I saw was the cracked bones and muscles on the rails. We all huddled on the ground, looking upwards for planes, listening for their propellers. Even the slightest pitter patter of rain alarmed us. After another suspenseful half an hour, we boarded the train. I felt like doomsday had come.
“What life lies ahead of me?” I thought.
December 31, 1999
It has been 58 years since my last entry. I am 65 years old now. I live in Nunthorpe now; alone. Everyone I ever loved has passed away. Time has whisked away their lives like wind sweeps up leaves. My parents were not able to survive the German bombers.
I have just found this diary under my bed. I pray for my parents in heaven every night. I am now sitting alone on my back porch, watching the sun set ever so slowly. Rain trickles down the gutters and onto my garden. The marigolds droop down like the sun. I still collect flies with sugar now as I did 58 years ago, but not for fun. I use fruit flies to conduct genetic experiments. As the flies breed rapidly, they quickly evolve, showing changes in their eyes and bodies. After a change is noted, I set a new jar for the new variation. I currently have two shelves full of jars, each containing a variation of fruit fly. I keep all my research and observations in my own notebook, but I’ll draw a diagram of some variations here.

Next to this diary I found a small box, with a yo-yo in it. I remember it was from my father. It is the only memento of him I have. I am holding it in my hand right now. It slides between the edges of my hand as I rock to and fro in my rocking chair.

This is my happiest memory. Looking out peacefully in the distance in my rocking chair, watching the sun set; watching the next century come as the sun goes. It is such a beautiful sight. I feel as if I didn’t have enough time to spend with my parents when they were alive, but I feel as if I can watch the sunset with my father, when I hold his yo-yo in my hand.



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