Wow! I have not done a Word of the Day story on here in months.
To you the reader, if you are not familiar with my Word of the Day posts, I take the word of the day entries from dictionary.com, Learners Dictionary or Merriam Webster (I may use all or just one or two) and create a story for children which have to include the words I post below. I give myself one hour to write and edit the story before posting it. The reason behind only the one hour is to give writers the incentive to just write, as the hardest part of writing is getting started. My story will never be perfect when it is finished in this time frame, but it is not supposed to be and in this case, I went over by nine minutes to finish editing. Feel free to leave comments at the end. I hope you share this story with your child and spark a conversation or a writing project. Enjoy!
scapegrace – noun
kudos – noun
This story can be summed up with it’s end…
“Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”
But if you always read the end first, you miss the fun and excitement of the beginning and the middle and end up wondering what happened. Like, why would Rex be in a boxing ring? This is how it all started…
“We are finished for the day. Thank you for coming in to help us set up the fundraiser. That scapegrace, Pinche, has a fight on her hands,” said Mr. Torres, owner of the Olympus Theater which was in danger of being condemned and torn down by the city.
Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I packed up our flyers, loaded our backpacks and met outside.
“We did good today,” I said.
“We did well,” Lottie corrected.
“We done did good,” Arnold snickered.
“Yup,” was all Rob said.
“Hey Rex, we need to divide up the town between us to hand out the flyers. Which section do you want?” Arnold asked.
“Makes the most sense to cover the areas around each of our schools, right? Grab as many people as you can to help distribute them.”
Lottie, Arnold, and Rob nodded in agreement.
“If you need more flyers, Mr. Torres said he would be at the Olympus tomorrow evening.”
Again, everyone nodded.
Rob hopped on his bike, Arnold took off walking and Lottie and I waited for our rides.
“See you all on Saturday,” I said.
Lottie waited until Rob and Arnold were out of sight.
“What happens if Mrs. Pinche gets her way?”
“We need to make sure that doesn’t happen,” I told her.
Our rides pulled up next to the curb.
“That scapegrace has no chance against us!” I said fist in the air.
“You and your big words Rex,” Lottie said rolling her eyes, playfully.
“Rebecca, your dinner is in the oven,” my Mom said the minute I walked in the door. She’s the only person I know who won’t use my nickname. Even my grandparents call me Rex.
“Thanks Mom. I have homework to do so I’ll eat it in my room,” I told her as she followed me into the kitchen.
“Good try Rebecca, you can eat at the counter or at the table but not in your room. What kind of homework?”
I fumbled with the hot pad and the plate of food in the oven.
“I have to write a one page paper about a local historical landmark or a place that should be saved and considered as one. I chose the Olympus Theatre.”
“That should be easy since you’ve been volunteering there for months now.”
“Hope so,” I said, mouth full of food.
Upstairs in my room, I gathered my resources. In my notebook, I wrote notes and points of interest. Next, I wrote my paper. I read it over twice, crossed out words and added words like my teacher told us to do and rewrote it neatly. Something was missing. My older brother Mike, is in ninth grade and in his paper for English, he had to write a closing statement. That’s what my paper was missing. I raced to his room.
“Hey Mike, what’s a closing statement for a paper?” I asked him.
He stared at me like I was an alien. “Since when do fifth grade papers need closing statements?”
I rolled my eyes, but not playfully. “Since right now,” I shot back.
Mike raised his eyebrows but told me anyway.
At school, I was the first to read my paper in class.
“In closing, the Olympus Theater has been a part of Pepper Grove for over a hundred years. Letting the Olympus get torn down is like letting your grandparents home get torn down with them in it. It is a historical landmark and needs your help. You can help me by handing out these fliers today after school.” I waved a handful of flyers around.
“Nicely done Rex. A little dramatic but nice,” Mr. Buckley said.
A hand shot up in the back of the class. Stephanie Pinche. Bully extraordinaire and only child of Mrs. Pinche.
“Go ahead Stephanie,” Mr. Buckley said.
“Who cares about that smelly old place. My mom says it’s a dump and unsafe and theater is dead. Everybody watches Netflix now or rents movies. Tear it down, a gas station will be a gold mine there.”
The room erupted in noise.
My face burned hot.
“Stephanie, Rex made a nice case for the Olympus and why it should be a historical landmark. You can read your paper next.” Mr. Buckley said.
I walked down the opposite row of Stephanie to avoid her.
After school five kids met up with me and we walked the neighborhood around school and handed out all flyers that I had. They agreed to tell their parents about how important the Olympus is and I promised them cookies if they brought their parents to the fundraiser on Saturday.
I stopped by the Olympus on my way home and picked up more.
“Yours are gone already Rex?” Mr. Torrres asked when he saw me.
“Yup. I need more. I recruited friends from school to help me hand them out.” I told him a big smile on my face.
“Well done. You are an activist already,” he said, his toothy grin hidden partially by his mustache.
The next day after school Stephanie chased me to my house.
“T-Rex, would you stop running so I can tell you something?” she hollered behind me.
I stopped and turned around. “What do you want?”
Out of breath, she huffed, “I can hand out some of your flyers if you need help.”
My eyes popped right out of my head. (not really)
When I popped them back in, I narrowed them at her. “I thought you said the Olympus should be torn down.”
“My mom wants to share them at the Historical Society committee meeting tomorrow night. She said it would be good to know more about it since you researched it and all.”
I didn’t quite buy her story but I gave her a few flyers.
“Thanks,” she said and left.
Thursday, Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I met Mr. Torres at the Olympus and helped him clean the lobby. We scrubbed the counters, swept the floors, scrubbed the floors, cleaned the glass and shined up the staircase until the entire lobby sparkled. When we finished, we took the last of the flyers and headed home.
Friday morning, Stephanie grabbed my arm. “My mom loved the flyers. Said they helped her make her point at the meeting so you can have them back.” She handed them to and sneered. “Good luck saving that dump.”
When I opened a flyer, everything looked good.
On Saturday, people from all over Pepper Grove turned out at the Olympus Theater. Mr. Torres was strutting around, handing out cookies and coffee to the adults, while Rob, Arnold, Lottie, and me handed out cookies to the kids. The five kids from school were there along with their parents so I gave them extra cookies as I promised.
Mr. Torres walked onto the platform to give his speech. He glanced around then smiled and started. He answered questions and when no one had any more to ask, he held up his hand and shouted, “Can the Olympus be saved?”
The crowd replied, “Yes!” and waved their flyers.
Mrs. Pinche and Stephanie shouted, “NO! TEAR IT DOWN! IT’S UNSAFE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THIS COMMUNITY.”
Mr. Torres dropped his hand.
Mrs. Pinche rushed onto the platform. She held up a flyer.
“Mr. Torres stated in the flyer, ‘Olympus Theater has served its community and in its current state of disrepair, I recommend it be torn down and the lot sold. To remember it in its glory days, I will donate photos and memorabilia of the Olympus to the library for all to enjoy.’”
People held up their flyers.
Mr. Torres grabbed the flyer from Mrs. Pinche’s hand. He scanned it and his face turned beet red.
The crowd started booing.
Lottie nudged me. “Do something Rex!”
Without thinking I ran up to the platform and shoved Mrs. Pinche away.
“The Olympus Theatre was home to the first performance…” I read from the flyer in my hand.
The crowd quieted. I read some more.
“We already heard this speech by Torres,” came a snotty voice from the front.
Stephanie sneered up at me. She started chanting, “Tear it down. Tear it down.”
Some older kids in the front joined her.
I watched Mr. Torres slump his shoulders forward.
Now adults joined in the chant.
“HEY! NO SCAPEGRACE IS GOING TO TEAR DOWN THIS HISTORICAL LANDMARK!” I shouted into the microphone, creating an ear-splitting ring.
The crowd covered their ears but stopped.
I recited my paper and ended with this, “Olympus Theater is a historical landmark and needs your help. Pepper Grove will lose its fame if the Olympus gets torn down. Instead, help us bring it back to its former glory. How many of your grandparents came to shows here when stars of their day took to the stage? How many of you performed here when you were in school? Does Pepper Grove need a gas station right in the heart of downtown?”
A buzz started in the crowd. People looked at each other.
“Open your flyers.”
People opened them.
“Does your flyer have a quote from Mr. Torres on the bottom of it?”
People checked and rechecked the flyers in their hands.
“That’s because you have the original flyers, not the ones Mrs. Pinche copied and remade with her added fake quote.” I went on to explain about her and her gas station idea.
Finally, Mr. Torres, Mike, my parents, Rob, Lottie, and Arnold flooded the platform next to me. We held hands and raised them.
“Are we going to save the Olympus?” I asked fist pumping in the air.
A few people mumbled yes.
“ARE WE GOING TO SAVE THE OLYMPUS?” we shouted together.
“Is Mrs. Pinche going to build a gas station here instead?” I shouted.
“No!” the crowd replied.
“Save the Olympus, save the Olympus!” I chanted.
Soon everyone was chanting it.
Mr. Torres grabbed the donation box and held it over the side of the platform. People lined up and dropped money and checks into the box. Our town mayor pushed through the crowd, held up a fistful of fifty dollar bills and dropped them in.
The crowd cheered.
When the event was over, Rob, Lottie, Arnold, and I along with our families, sat in the lobby while Mr. Torres and his staff counted the money.
“We have enough money to start renovations.”
“Yay!” we cheered.
“And this was in the bottom of the donation box.” Mr. Torres held up a sealed envelope. He tore it open, read it and sucked in his breath.
He read it out loud,
‘Dear Mr. Torres,
Your request for consideration of the Olympus Theater to be a recognized Pepper Grove historical landmark has been approved. Attached is the documentation form for you to fill out and to mail to the state Historical Society. You will receive official paperwork from the state upon receipt of the completed form.
To help ensure the Olympus is ready for a public announcement of its inclusion into the Historical Society, we have set aside money to help offset restoration costs.
Pepper Grove Historical Society’
We cheered and whooped and hollered.
Mr. Torres gave each of us kids a big hug, and thanked us for our help.
Lottie whispered in my ear, “big words.” Then she held up my hand like a champion and said, “Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”