Writing Off the Page in 1965

The topic for this contest is: "Writing Off the Page."

The author Natalie Goldberg once wrote that if you begin with a great line it helps because you start right off from a lofty place...

With that in mind, I invite you to "write off the page" from the following letter I stumbled upon when I moved into my current home. The previous (elderly) owners left behind a book titled the "Calvert Party Encyclopedia."

Inside the book was a typed letter, dated spring, 1965. Here is what it said:

Title: "Why and How the Window Came to be Decorated"

"In the spring of 1965, I purchased a camper addition to my pickup truck with the idea that it would make my weekends and vacation time more enjoyable. During that first summer, it served me very well as a travel convenience and I was well satisfied with the investment. However, with the coming of winter, its usefulness seems to have ended and it was now just a big box I would have to haul around until spring.

Then early in December, when everything was beginning to glow with lights and tinsel, I looked at the big six-foot long window in the front of the camper and decided something in the way of the Christmas Spirit had to be displayed there.

With the help of two good friend, Mrs. Williams (Margie), who designed the scene and Lee Thompson (who worked out the lighting system to emphasize it), the scene (as pictured) was planned.

While Margie was forming the hills and cave in a box six-feet long, one-foot high, and four inches deep, I was shopping for the small figures and other trimmings for the project.

The basic landscape was formed of ordinary brown wrapping paper. Mary and Joseph are approximately 3 inches high and all other items in the scene are to this scale, the trees and shrubs are of fireproof plastic. The lights are all 12-volt and operate on the truck's electrical system. A heavy-duy flasher was added to make the stars appear to twinkle and the Christmas Story in miniature was ready for its 1965 premiere showing.

For the 1966 Yuletide season, Lee modified a small tape recorder to play through two outside speakers and the sound of music was added to the display.

I have received a full measure of satisfaction from the effort put forth on the project and am using the Christmas card idea as a means of expressing my thanks to all who have commented on it.

I hope it also proves a way of saying thanks to Margie and Lee for their part in it, and that the story told in the window will continue to be the real reason for Christmas for all who see it or similar displays in years to come."

Signed (EDDIE)

This letter has intrigued me for years, because the picture mentioned was not inside the book... I challenge you to take yourself back to Christmas, 1965 and use some aspect of this letter to create an interesting holiday story.

Creative approaches are welcomed.

Minimum length 700 words. Maximum Length 7,000 words. Recommended length 2,000 - 3,500 words.

The contest winner will win half of the prize pool which is based on the number of entries. The second and third place winners will each share the remaining prize pool. The prize pool is currently 20.00 member dollars. There are 11 spots still open. If all open spots are used the prize pool will be 64.00 member dollars. In this contest at least 2 submissions must be made for the vote to begin.

Deadline: Contest is closed. Deadline was Friday, December 24, 2010.

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