Jim's Slide Show This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When I was very young (three or four), I spent my days at a little nursery school that sat in a little valley with swings and grass and children all around. Each day we chattered into the building, the morning sun just waking up to warm the red brick and wash through the windows. Sounds of light footfalls and laughs bounced among smells of fingerpaints and clay. For a day, we laughed climbed, fell, cried, and imagined. Then our mommies picked us up.

My mommy, besides doing all the wonderful things a mommy does, often showed slides . Her slide projector clicked and whirred delightfully and blew hot air on my cheek. When the shades darkened her study, the slide projector made pictures on the wall, pictures my shadow could walk into.

One day I curled my soft, small hands around some cardboard boxes and tubes, glue, and crayons. I glued and scribbled until I held a slide projector of my own. I was not at all surprised to find that it worked beautifully: clicked, whirred, and blew hot air.

I thought my friends might like to see some slides of the time when my family and I went to make rubbings of tombstones. So I carried my slide projector in to nursery school. We all sat down on the rug under the dimmed lights. The wall lit up with my family pressing paper against tombstones and rubbing the paper with big crayons until the design of the stone showed on the paper. Old stones with nothing beneath them and blue sky above them flashed past on the wall.

Here we were, a bunch of children, watching what should have been a blank wall while I pressed the buttons on what should have been a useless cardboard contraption. But we could all see slides of a grassy hill with a smiling family bending down to touch the tombstones casting shadows on the hill. Some hopped shadow bunnies on the screen with their fingers. Some spoke: "I like that one. Who's that in the middle?"

At the end of the day, I said good-bye to my creative friends. I put the grassy hill and the tombstones away in my pocket. My cardboard box and tube slide projector under my arm, I walked toward Mommy's car. I felt sorry that Mommy's slide projector, although it clicked and whirred and blew hot air on my cheek delightfully, didn't quite project with the clarity that mine did. Mommy and I drove out of the little valley, past the swings and children. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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