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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: Too Much, Too Soon
By Lucile McKenzie


Too Much, Too Soon

“Mom, Mom, we have to go to the store,” Annette raced into the kitchen where her mother, Sarah, sat at the table snapping beans. “For our last Home Ec project we have to make a dress, so I have to get a pattern and some material.”

Sarah smiled at her daughter. “O.k.” We’ll go right away before the store closes.”

In the store Annette looked carefully through all the patterns. Finally she said, “I want this one.”

Sarah frowned. “That’s a little advanced for a first-year home ec project. “ She said. “See all these ruffles that are sewn into the skirt. I think you should choose a simpler pattern.”

“No,” insisted Annette, “I can make this. The others are too boring. I’ll make it with this pretty material.” She picked up a bolt of material with red roses on a white background. Sarah spread some of the material out on the table.

“Are you sure you don’t want a softer color?”

“Oh, no, Mom. These roses are so pretty.” Sarah was doubtful, but this
needed to be Annette’s choice. Reluctantly, she paid for the pattern and material.

Every day after school Annette worked on the dress. Ripping out yet another section, she grimaced. Mom was right--it was a hard dress to make. The ruffles were especially difficult. Still, she kept on, ripping sections out and doing them over.

Finally the day before the dresses were due, it was finished and she tried it on. It didn’t fit very well. She tugged at it here and there trying to make it quit puckering at the waist. The ruffles were a bit uneven too. Well, it was so pretty maybe no one would notice.

In Home Ec class the girls all put on their newly-made dresses to model, and so Mrs. Agnes could see how they fit.

Happily, Annette slipped her dress on, tugging at the waist, Then she looked at the other girls and her heart sank. They had all made simple, straight-lined dresses in soft, pastel solid colors or dainty prints.

Annette looked at her dress, with it’s crooked ruffles, its too busy pattern. It looked frumpy and cheap. Her cheeks flamed as she got in line.

That night she sobbed in Sarah’s arms. “It was so awful, Mom. All the other girls were whispering behind their hands and laughing at me.”

“I’m sorry, baby,” Sarah said, “It’s o.k. You’ll do better next year.”
Holding her sobbing daughter in her arms, Sarah sighed. Some lessons must be learned the hard way.

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This article has been read 436 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld01/24/08
Nice handling of the topic. Embarrassment gets our attention like little else.
Jan Ackerson 01/24/08
Oh, poor kid. Teenaged embarrassments are the worst.

Be careful of "it's"--which always means "it is" or "it has". When you want the possessive, you want "its" (without the apostrophe)--just like "his" and "hers" with no apostrophe, either.

Districts around here don't teach home ec any more--it's too bad, because it's a valuable skill.
Nancy Quinn01/25/08
This brings back memories from my Home Ec classes. Great lesson for parents to step back and allow children to make choices so they can grow. Story flowed great and really held my attention! Nan
Karen Wilber01/26/08
Oh, I feel so sad for her, but your last sentence is right on target. Glad she has a mom who'll let her try and catch her when she falls.
c clemons01/28/08
Good story, good job.
Sara Harricharan 01/31/08
Awww, I could really feel for her! The embarassment and trying so hard to get it to work well. A story and lesson well told-great writing. Congrats on your highly commended! ^_^