Tucker McBride

Return to a time when a boy could be a boy; when life was more clear from the top branch of a tree; when a kid could trade anger and disappointment for action and adventure; when the whole neighborhood was his playground; and the sloppy kiss from a dog could make everything right.

Monday, October 26, 2020

A Penny Here, A Penny There

 Have you ever seen someone ride one of these bicycles? 

These bikes were first popular in the 1870s and 1880s. In Tucker McBride's Many Lives, Tucker's friend Freddie rode up to the big white house on the corner on his father's penny-farthing, or high-wheeler bicycle. The penny-farthing was the first contraption to be called a bicycle.

The 52, 54, or 56-inch front-wheel bike made the ride smoother. You were also able to cover a lot of roads in a short time. But if you hit a stone or other object, you'd fly head-over-shoelaces forward. The boneshaker was a challenge to get on. How do you think you would get to the seat on the penny-farthing? 

Imagine you were riding your high-wheeler around your neighborhood. What could you see from up there? What would friends and neighbors say about your bicycle? What would be the most fun about riding a penny-farthing? What if you had to pick up a loaf of bread for Mom; how would you carry it? How would you get off the bicycle? 

If you were a girl in 1870, you would wear a long skirt. If a boy, you would have on knickers. 

 You wouldn't get your pant legs caught in the wooden spokes of the large wheel. What could a girl do to protect her clothes and keep her from falling?

Brainstorm about it. When you brainstorm, you list as many possibilities as you can dream up. There are no wrong ideas. Jot down your answers. Write a short story about them. Or, draw a picture to illustrate your great thoughts. Most of all, have fun.

Doris Gaines Rapp

Copyright 2020 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Cozy Spot

In my novels, Tucker McBride and Tucker McBride's Many Lives, Grandpop sat in his Morris chair everyday, to read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or do his crossword puzzles. Since it could recline, it was perfect for his morning nap. No one in the family raced to see if they could beat him to it. That simply wasn't done. It was Grandpop's chair.

Last week we went to Shipshewana, Indiana. I found this great Mission style chair, like Grandpop's Morris chair, in the Blue Gate Restaurant. 

When I was a child, my cousin's grandfather also had a Morris chair. When I would spend the day with Judi, we would go in the TV room and say "Hi" to Mr. Kress. Although I never sat in one, the old chair, with the vertical slates down the side has several meanings for me.

What kind of furniture reminds you of family or fond memories from the past? Maybe it's a piano, a kitchen table, or a studio couch. Draw a picture of it and write a story that explains why it is special to you. See it in your mind, then simply copy that picture onto paper, and describe a time when the chair had a special use.

Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Copyright 2020 Doris Gaines Rapp

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

What Would You Put In It ?


Gramma put cookies in a crock like these. She'd cover the cookies with waxed paper before putting on the lid. Also, she had lard stored in one. Lard is fat rendered, or cooked down, from a pig. She used the lard like you would use vegetable oil, butter, or Crisco.

The crocks are called stoneware which is a durable ceramic or pottery fired to a high degree and is water-tight. Grandpop made tops for the crocks out of wood he stored in the upper, "attic" of his workshop. If the crock had an indented ridge, he made the lid to fit inside. If it didn't, he designed the lid to fit over the top and grab the outside edge.

If you had a crock with a lid, what would you store in it? It can be anything, except lard or cookies. Think about something that would fit in the crock that would measure about a ten inches high and about eight inches in diameter (across). It doesn't have to be food. The crock is yours to fill with whatever you want.

Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Copyright 2020 Doris Gaines Rapp

Tucker McBride and the Christmas Present

  It's December 1, and the stores are draped in red and green. It is the Holidays, the Christmas Holidays. The Christ Child came to brin...