Childhood Mystery: The Fairview Treasure

Here’s another one of my childhood writing excerpts. I can barely decipher my handwriting on this 25-year-old fifth grade writing assignment as I wrote it in pencil. I remember writing this story, which I titled The Fairview Treasure. Back then, I was reading a lot of Phyllis A. Whitney books, as well as the Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, Bobbsey Twins, and Judy Bolton series.

Here’s an excerpt: One dark and gloomy night, as the coyotes that were hidden from the atmosphere of the Fairview Boarding School For Girls were howling loudly, two young girls of about twelve years old were walking nervously on the dirt trails that led down to Fairview Beach.

One child’s name was Linda. She was tall with long, thick curly black hair that hung down to her shoulders. She had wide hazel eyes and a creamy complexion. Her companion, Lucy, had beautiful long strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes.

“Linda,” Lucy asked suspiciously, “why have you suddenly decided that your great-great grandfather was murdered?”

“Well, when I asked you to come with me to his old mansion, I guess I forgot to fill you in on the details of the story. I’ll tell you the answer to the question you just asked me when I finish telling it.”

“Tell me when we get to the mansion, Linda,” Lucy pleaded. “The lights in our room at Fairview just turned on. I guess they just realized we were missing.”

“Already? Come on.”

“Linda, after you finally got me to promise I’d come with you, you mentioned something about not knowing where this mansion was.”

“Don’t worry. I have a map with me now. I forgot all about it until I found it in a secret compartment in my jewelry box. My mother put it there before she died and sent me to boarding school.”

“Why did she put it in a jewelry box?”

“It used to be hers. The map is very valuable and the secret compartment seemed to be a good place.”

***
Okay, I’ll admit this story was a bit heavy on the dialogue and didn’t have much description – well, other than the coyotes hanging around the boarding school. What kind of supervision did these students have, anyway???

I also didn’t know back then that authors should never have the names of two main characters start with the same letter – it’s rather hard for readers to distinguish between Linda and Lucy. It was a fun story to write, though. The girls found the Fairview treasure, but didn’t gather all of the answers they were seeking from decades past. I love the last two lines of the story: “It was best left an old mystery. But maybe someone can solve it. Can you?”

Hmm, do you think I could have gotten away with that ending in Twenty-Five Years Ago Today?

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Comments

  1. It looks like we had some of the same favorite authors as kids! I don’t think you could get away with that ending today but thanks for sharing a bit of your early work with us.

    • Hi Jessie, can’t wait to read Live Free or Die! Yeah, I guess I can’t get away with those open-ended conclusions anymore — I actually have to do it the hard way and tie up all the loose ends!

  2. Kaye George says

    I wish I had some of the things I wrote when I was a child. Well, maybe I do. There are a lot of unopened boxes in the shed and garage.

    I think that ending sounds like something used in stories back then–the direct address to the reader. I see it occasionally now, but not often. It’s not that bad!

  3. Thanks for visiting, Kaye. I can’t believe how many stories I have from when I was a kid — probably between 25 and 30 bound stories plus folders full of shorter class writing assignments. If you find any, let me know.

    I remember reading some older books with that kind of copout ending also – maybe that’s where I got the idea!

Stacy Juba