Creating a Story

Working in fourth grade and developing a story with a climax allowed me to bring back a memory from many years ago. I share my story as a slice today.

The Splinter

I’d been looking forward to this day for several years. Our family was flying out to meet other family members in Colorado for a mini-skiing vacation. The car was pack with skis, ski boots, ski bibs, warm gloves, and plenty of sweaters. We were leaving an hour before school was out, so everything had to be ready and in place for a quick escape to make it to the airport on time. Even though I was excited and feeling impatient to get going, I still had to get through the day of teaching. I was teaching a math lesson in my fourth grade class one cold day in January.

We were busy studying and practicing multiplication facts. I looked up when the door opened. Many thoughts and questions flew through my mind when I saw who was standing at my door. I wonder what she needs? Does someone have medicine to take? I soon found out what the school nurse needed when she whispered to me, “David is in my office with a splinter in his stomach. I think you need to see this.”

“A splinter? Why don’t you just pull it out?” I said to her. Thinking to myself, What’s the big deal?

“I think you’d better see this first. It’s not that simple,” she replied to me.

I gathered my class together for a restroom break, so I could see this splinter. This splinter that is not so simple. I couldn’t believe she was making such a fuss about a splinter. When I saw the splinter, which was more like a dagger of wood, my stomach dropped and I wondered how this day would go.

I was staring at a triangular chunk of wood sticking out of my son’s stomach. My heart was racing, I stopped breathing, my knees were about to give away.

“What were you doing?” I managed to get out in a whisper.

“I was sliding down the staircase on my stomach on our way to art. Everyone does it all the time,” David replied in an unconcerned voice.

“I don’t know how deep this is,” said the nurse. “So I think you need to take him to a hospital to get this taken out.”

My heart sank with those words. I wondered if our trip would be cancelled. I worried David would need surgery. Someone came to take my class for the rest of the day, while my husband, my son, and I hurried to the nearest emergency room.

As soon as we arrived at the emergency room, we explained our situation to the nurses. Fortunately they were not too busy. An x-ray revealed that the splinter was not embedded in any organs. The doctor arrived and quickly pulled the splinter out. David was bandaged up and we were on our way to the airport. Colorado here we come!

When I got up that morning, I thought the excitement of the day would be once we were on our trip. I’ve learned that sometimes your day doesn’t turn out like you thought it would.

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16 thoughts on “Creating a Story

  1. I could feel your anxiety and irritation when he said everybody does it. I was glad everything worked out. It would be interesting to read your son’s memory of that day also. Like two characters in a play. As I read I wanted it to be ok but I wanted more.

  2. Jaana says:

    Splinter in his stomach? You never really know the adventures that wait for you in the morning! Glad this one had a positive outcome!

  3. I feel the mountain in this one and that was the goal. Great storytelling. It was interesting how you referred to it as a “dagger” of wood. I was visualizing.

  4. Oh, my! I am glad everything worked out. Little splinter? Lucky you didn’t have the full details until you got to her office. Your son sounds like a typical boy – not phased by anything.

  5. That must have been some splinter to require an emergency room visit. I remember sliding on a wooden bench in my grandpa’s barber shop. Mine was on the other end though and my dad had to get it out! Great story, as always!

  6. Judy C. says:

    Well written story with a happy climax. It had to be very frightening when you saw that splinter, but all was good and the vacation went on as planned.

  7. Kids! My son had a series of near miss accidents the day of every major trip we took. But sliding down the staircase on his stomache was not one of them…thank goodness!

  8. Tam says:

    Well told and a great example for you students. I bet they were excited to create their own climactic stories. Scary, too.

  9. Oh, I can feel the terrible anxiety when you saw that splinter. Just like it is said, “life happens when you’re planning something else!” Well told, Elsie!

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