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JEAN SHEPHERD What the Kid Stories are all About

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WE INTERRUPT THE SOAKING PIT STORY

TO REMIND KID STORY READERS OF

WHAT THESE STORIES ARE ABOUT

TO REPEAT, plus more:

I’ve been posting my transcriptions of Shepherd’s kid stories for quite a while. I wonder how many realize (so long after I posted my manuscript’s introduction to this effect) that the stories are arranged in a chronology of his fictional life, including, in order: kindergarten, early grammar school, kid jobs, ham radio, high school, summer in steel mill–stories to come on dating (and will end with two stories of his college days). Thus, these stories are a logical sequence that will end with his understanding of the wider world beyond the Hammond of his childhood.

From my intro of the book manuscript:

Yet, just as his army stories can be arranged into a rather rough and ready sequence to present an almost continuous form, so his kid stories can be organized into groupings, a rough chronology according to phases of the life, not of “everyman,” but of “everykid.”  We find in the stories included here, a portrayal of Shepherd’s fictional alter ego advancing from early childhood toward adulthood, episodes which, through an ordered progression, compose a coming-of-age “novel” of sorts.  Jean Shepherd will go forth as an adult into the world beyond Hammond, Indiana after he recognizes his own wider possibilities.  Maybe this book is truly a novel?  A bildungsroman?

Manuscript Table of Contents Showing 9 of a Total 11 Parts in First 31 Chapters. NOTE THE CHRONOLOGY:

ELEMENTARY MATRICULATION

First Day Of Kindergarten

Left-handed Disability

Decayed Tooth, Balsa Wood, and Silly Putty

LEARNING WRIT LARGE

Welcome to the Library

Great Crashing Waves of Words

GIFTING

Erector Set and Tinker Toy

Atomizer—Ah-eeeek ah-eeeek!

Grab Bag Surprise

KID ENCOUNTERS

Selling Seeds, Door to Door to Door

Collecting Teeth

April Fooled

HAM RADIO

Dots and Dashes

The Light of My Life

Struck By Lightning

Forty Words Per Minute

MUSICALLY INCLINED

Lessons

Life as a Tuba Player

Halftime Sousaphone

EARLY TOIL

Paperboy Skirmishes

Worm King of Cleveland Street

Fireworks and Unguentine

CURIOUS HAPPENSTANCES

Disorganized Baseball

Crashing Picnics [KKK]

Pharmaceutical Adventure

Fixing the Old Man’s Car

Public Speaking—“Araya Yabaya Arayaa!”

STEEL MILL DAYS

Let Me Tell You About That First Day

Mailboy With Tornado

 The Soaking Pit

Rot-gut With Beer Chaser

Champion Rat Catcher

MORE STEEL MILL SOAKING PITS COMING

_______________________________________

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2 Comments

  1. Bettylou Steadman says:

    When this book is published, I will definitely buy it.  I can never get enough of Jean Shepherd.The years seem to go by so quickly.  I will be 85 years old in February, and I “discovered” Jean about 60 years ago when I lived in New Jersey.Bettylou Steadman

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