Eighth Grade Movie

A Movie You Want to See This Weekend

Eighth Grade Movie

There is a movie you want to see this weekend about an eighth grade girl. It is aptly titled, Eighth Grade.

I’m thrilled!

Eighth grade is probably one of the toughest times in a person’s life, don’t you agree?

I’m guessing most of you reading my blog have survived eighth grade, too.

That’s why I wrote my middle grade book Bumbling Bea.

If you’d like more information about Bumbling Bea, check it out here: Bumbling Bea

Here’s a trailer from the film:

In my book, Bumbling Bea the main character, Beatrice is a lot like Elsie.   Both are the epitome of an eighth grade girl and I’m glad someone has finally shone a light on this awkward age.

Why is this such a difficult time in a young person’s life?

Think about it–everything is changing.



Hormones (or as a friend of mine says, “their whores are a moanin'”)

Image result for teen bullying

They aren’t little kids protected by their elementary teachers anymore.  They are only a few months away from high school which for them feels like adulthood is looming right around the corner.

And it is looming around the corner…

Society thrusts them into young adult hood too fast or we hold them back too much trying to shield them from the world.

Man, what a balancing act for all of us.

I’m excited to see how someone else addresses what it is like for eighth grade girls.

I wrote Bumbling Bea because I think eighth grade girls are forgotten.  If you haven’t read my book, here is a quick synopsis just to whet your appetite.

Beatrice thinks she has no acting talent but that doesn’t stop her from auditioning for the annual middle school play. Easy! Except Michiko, a new girl from Japan, shows up and ruins everything! So begins Beatrice’s diabolical plan to scare away Michiko. But Michiko has goals of her own with no plans to leave soon. Then there’s that “other” girl who is such a blabber mouth.  What’s a girl to do?  Plenty.

Bumbling Bea

This isn’t your ordinary middle school experience either.  My story is full of conflict from Beatrice and Michiko, to Beatrice’s parents impending divorce and Michiko’s problems with her demanding mother, to a first cruch, poison ivy, flag dinners, paper airplanes and crazy antics during the play performance.

I’m hoping to see “Eighth Grade” this weekend, but until then I’ll think about my experiences in eighth grade.

I know my life wasn’t as fraught with drama as Beatrice’s.

Times were different from now of course.

We didn’t have cell phones are sexting, but we did have note writing and lots of telephone talking. I remember cheerleading (the closest thing I could get to performing), piano practicing, pimples, my hair on sponge curlers, makeup and panty hose.  I had a boy friend for an entire year and I felt so special because of it. (There was LOTS of making out which I’m sure my mother was aghast by but never said anything.)

I was a Girl Scout, too so I was trying to walk the very slim line of being a good girl AND trying to be part of the crowd.  Even now I can feel the angst of that.

So remember, if you have time this weekend a movie to see is “Eighth Grade”.  Give yourself a little treat or take a childhood friend with you.  I’d love to hear from you after you see it.

Until then.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


Happy Mothers Day, the Sad and Happy Parts







Happy Mothers Day, the Sad and Happy Parts

May is Mother’s day month!

I wish I remembered this day.

I wish we could remember our lives from birth. It might help us understand some aspects  of ourselves we have overlooked.

My mother became ill and diagnosed with heart disease when I was ten years old. Although she lived a very long life, my brother shared she was never quite the same after her illness.

Here are a few things Mom taught me:

To delegate

To make caramels

To sew

To travel

To attend concerts and plays

To swim

To make a pie crust

To help people less fortunate

To love reading

To hostess a party

To love the out of doors

To appreciate the Arts

To welcome newcomers

To have manners

I have her green thumb and color sense. I can grow just about any plant with very little effort. I have a knack with color with practically a photographic memory of colors.

To some extent, I inherited my singing voice from Mom. When she was around eleven years old, she was asked to sing Japan’s national anthem for the Emperor of Japan for some public gathering. I guess she forgot the words.

She never forgot that or forgave herself.  What a pity.  At the time, no one knew that was too much pressure to place on a young person. Whenever I see a child singing the Star Spangled Banner at a sporting event, I think of Mom.

Mom wasn’t always the nicest person. She could be mean and spiteful. Then, no one knew about the benefits of anti-depressants or seeking counseling. Both were taboo.

If they had, I think a lot of Mom’s emotional and self esteem issues could have been helped. She had a tendency to pit her kids against one another which only pushed us to be more competitive with one another.

To this day, my brother and my sister and I are splintered with many deep seeded hurts. We can’t seem to get past them. Maybe she didn’t mean to do this to us, but it’s a common complain’t among us.

The good thing is I have broken that pattern with my own daughters and step son and they are all the best of friends with each other.

I hoped I’d  have a chance to speak to Mom about myself and what I’ve learned about life. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to do so.

I’m a very driven person who needs a constant creative challenge set before me. Mom didn’t understand that about me. In fact, I think it intimidated her. I know she compared her stay-at-home life with my sister and I and our working mother lives.  She appeared regretful about her decisions, but aren’t we all at times?

I’m sorry to say she could never teach me to knit. Lord, I’m terrible at it!








 Or sculpt! She was quite good. I inherited her hand sculpture which has no wire armature within it. It is perfectly balanced. We have moved twice in the last eight years and one of the first things I think of is Mom’s hand and whether it made through another move. It sits in my office and I love it.





I love fine china and art. I don’t especially like drinking hot tea, but I love to collect tea pots. That’s Mom’s influence. She prided herself on her English ancestry, drinking strong tea.

I don’t have enough walls for all of the art work I  inherited from her nor for my own collection. That’s her influence. “One can never have too much art,” and “Think of art as furniture” she’d say.

While on one our trips, one really funny thing Mom would do is collect rocks for her garden. I sat in the middle of the front seat of our red truck when we traveled.

Whenever we stopped for a break, Mom would go rock hunting. She’d put a newly discovered rock in the truck gleeful at her discovery. Whenever she wasn’t looking, Dad would have me sneak another “precious” one to him and he’d drop it out!

It was this crazy rock tennis match I still laugh about from time to time.

She never bought decent snacks for us, either. As a young girl, I would arrive home and hungrily search the kitchen for anything to eat. Usually, there was some old gross shrunken up apple in the fridge or maybe a piece of moldy cheese.

One time, I found the baking chocolate and took a hunk  thinking it was the sweetened kind. One bite and well, I’ve never recovered.

My mother was quite a character. She could be very kind and generous and on a good day, silly and funny.

I try to remember those times on Mothers Day. It only seems fair, respectful and appropriate. It’s the least I can do. You know?

Happy Mothers Day Mommas

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

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Where I am From

I’m a member of a writing group who suggested the subject of the beginnings of my life as a prompt, “Where I am from”

Where I am from


Where I am From


I am from sweet forsythia blooms

Strawberry Nestle Quick and cicadas sirening

From the three story house on Twelfth Street,

   Bricked, lacey ivy covered and hedged encircled

From window seats with clanking steam registers

     warming  frozen feet on February days.

I am from the towering maple tree who teased me to climb it

Who coveted its crimson and yellow leaves collected

     in the short Indian summer.

I’m from singing grace at supper and high cheek bones,

From the Britts, Scots, Irish and Welch.

I’m from  Me First and  My joke is better

From  Baby Sister and You’re so dramatic.

From a neighborhood church with clear windows

       encouraging me to see the natural beauty of God.

Deborah Baldwin

I’m from an old fashioned cow town reluctant to admit it

Salty potato salad and the sourest of lemon pie

    sporting bouffant-like meringue swirled high

From the missionary’s daughter raised in Japan

    speaking nasty slang learned from the maid.

From the red headed boy coddled by his anxious widowed mother

     saving the family farm becoming a doctor simultaneously.

I’m the queen and the orphan girl living under the ping pong table

     on the east porch

Who cried fake tears sitting on a street curb

     when the funeral processions rode by

I am who traded Lifesaver candies for safe passage

       by the alley boys

Who pushed one to the ground demanding apologies

     for her best and forever friend.


 I’m the girl whose life vision she couldn’t see

     until it was upon her.

It all makes sense now.

Though the reasons are mysterious, the outcome is grand.

Wrinkles, scars and stretch marks depict a life

I’m unwilling to lose.

They tattoo me wondrously.

Deborah Baldwin, author

 Where I am From….

Have you written any poems about your childhood?  I’d love to hear them.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

I have written some stories about a few of my childhood memories which you might enjoy.  You’ll find them here:  https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/04/14/five-happy-stories-of-childhood-national-tell-a-story-day/

Also, here is my post about my favorite Robert Frost poem.

Check it out here:  https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/05/26/my-pocket-poem-for-poem-in-your-pocket-day%ef%bb%bf/









Five Happy Stories of Childhood

Five Happy Stories of Childhood for National Tell a Story Day


I have five happy stories of childhood for National Tell a Story Day.

I’ve always been a story teller.  I think I come by it naturally.  Do you?

April 27 is National Tell a Story Day.  I didn’t know there was a day set aside for this prior to writing this post.  I’m glad the art of art of storytelling  is acknowledged.  It’s a day when people are encouraged to get together and tell stories to one another.

The origin of theatre can be traced back to the cave dwellers.  Caves in Africa, France and Spain demonstrate a close connection of storytelling with present day theatre.  If a cave dweller came home from a day of hunting, we know at some point someone drew pictures on the walls of the cave.  They appear to tell a story.

Don’t we all tell each other stories daily?  I know I do.

I’d prefer to tell a story to my husband when I’m explaining about something that occurred during my day.  Sometimes it’s a short one–“There was a huge line at the grocery store and only two cashiers” or “Did you hear what Senator So and So said today?”

The story gets the ball rolling, that’s for sure.

Do you have family members who can entertain your for hours with family stories?  I have heard the same stories so many times, I have them memorized and can chime in on the punch lines.  I’m never bored by them.  Sometimes the stories are all I have left of that person. The stories bring them back to life if only momentarily.

My father was quite a character– a doctor, smart and intense.  His intelligence outweighed his emotions, though.  He could get scary mad, but he also had a playful side which I adored.

Five Stories of Childhood

1.  Once in the coldest part of winter, my father drove my mother’s new car (a Nash) on an iced over river, so my brothers and sisters could play Crack the Whip with a rope tow behind the car.  Unfortunately, the ice broke beneath the car sinking it during the festivities pulling my siblings along with it.  I remember my mother and I  being called to rescue them in Dad’s old truck. Mom’s car was never the same. In the winter when you sat on the car seats, they crinkled with ice crystals within them.

five happy stories of childhood for national Tell a Story Day

2.  When I was in 8th grade, my father took me fishing at Bennett Springs, Missouri on opening day of spring fishing season.  He asked me to get his tackle box for him seconds before the horn sounded signaling fishing could commence. I was careless and didn’t put the tackle box back on the rocky enbankment as I was told to do. It slid down the rocks which threw out its contents bobbing along through everyone’s fishing line.  Oops.

3. Another time, my father thought it would be fun to fly (we had a small airplane) to an airport closeby and have lunch after church.  Dad was so excited by his idea, he failed to consider the huge rainstorm the evening before hand.  We landed on what was supposed to be a dirt airstrip. Instead we became terribly stuck in a quagmire of mud and two hours from home with no transportation or rain boots.  It was a long day.

five happy stories of childhood for national Tell a Story Day

4.  It was a scorching hot day.  I never do well with heat.  While camping, my dad ordered me to get out and scout ahead for a particular campsite where were planned to park our thirty-five foot Airstream.  Again, I was kinda attitude filled (ninth grade) and hadn’t wanted to walk ahead of the rig in the oppressive heat.  Indignantly, I radioed him everything was fine. I didn’t see the two parallel trees on either side of the narrow road.  Trusting my asssessment, my father drove forward  and wedged the rig between the trees putting us in everyone’s way for at least an hour. To make matters worse, it was a brand new Airstream with all the horns and whistles.

five happy stories of childhood for national Tell a Story day
Kites flying

5.  My dad and I were avid kite flyers.  Once, he surprised me with a special kite.  It was pretty cool at the time. (Although now I have my eye on a dragon kite.) It was a beauty. The shiny red, black, yellow, pink and orange silk could be seen from blocks away.

On a trip to S. Dakota to see our friends, we attempted to fly the kite from the bluff behind their home.  It flew  with such ease and grace.  Everything was going fantastic, until the kite string snapped. Our beautiful kite fell from the sky toppling over itself like a broken winged bird.  We frantically dashed down the bluff to the kite laying helpless about four blocks away from us. Luckily, we were able to rescue it from a farmer’s field right before he fertilized the row.

Now the kite hangs on my office wall safe and sound along with Dad’s University of Kansas school of medicine diploma.

Ah, those were the days…..

If Dad was alive today, I’d call him and ask him to tell me a story in honor of national Tell a Story Day.

He’d chuckle and gladly weave a tale.

Five happy stories of childhood for national Tell a Story Day











So there you have it:  my five stories of childhood for national Tell a Story day. I hope you enjoyed them.

Contact me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Deborah Baldwin.net