When I was five I wrote a poem about my dog Zipper, a feisty little dachshund who was nearly as good as a sibling. My mother thought the poem was so great that she entered it in a competition in a children’s magazine.
Zipper is a weener
he likes his deener
and he likes me too
I won the competition for the 5-7 group and my poem was printed in the magazine. Mom was ecstatic and she must have bought 50 copies of the magazine to give to everyone she knew. I was miffed because the magazine illustrated my poem with a photo of a brown dachshund, not a black one like Zipper. Fame mattered little to me; as an only child at the time, I had my fill of it at home.
The next year Mom entered me in a short story competition for children, using another of my “child-prodigy” efforts, this one about a cow who ran amok through a suburban neighborhood, upsetting garbage cans and trampling small dogs and cats. The cow was eventually caught and ground up into hamburger, a bloody ending but one which served the cause of justice. Unfortunately this offering didn’t even win an honorable mention, and Mom cancelled my subscription in disgust with the editor’s blindness.