Authors and writers often change or add to real stories for effect, all of which is part of “poetic license”.
The Little Honey stories are no different. All the stories are based on true events about little vignettes from our childhood. Originally, the stories were only told at bedtime in a last ditch effort to get my young children to fall asleep, but early in the writing process, I added conversations to the stories. These conversations are not the exact words spoken at the time but definitely very near to the exact thoughts.
Also, another early decision was made to include my brother, Drew as Baby Tru, in all the stories although in real life, he is 7 years younger than me. Likewise, while all the stories take place in the same setting on Digby Road in Baltimore and Little Honey and Angel remain the same ages of 4 and 5 years old, some of the stories occurred elsewhere and when we were older.
The Back Story, The Rock Story, The Watermelon Story, and The Fish Story are all very nearly exactly as the events unfolded in real time over 60 years ago; however, two of the Stories, The Baseball Story and The Peanut Story occurred a bit later in time chronologically.
The Baseball Story occurred over two summers in 1964-65 when I was 8 and 9 years old and by then, my family had moved to Piccadilly Road in Towson. But what occurred really did happen almost exactly as in the story and I really did hit that home run and many other home runs, too.
The Peanut Story occurred a year later in 1966. At the time, our family lived in England but everything else about the story is true. Years later when I told my children the story, the Peanut Story became a story inside a story. A literary device sometimes called a “Metadrama” is used in several of William Shakespeare’s plays including A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour’s Lost.
BUT the real secrets lie in two popular stories: The Icing Story and The Beach Story.
In The Beach Story, after trying to keep up with the big kids and play tricks, Little Honey locks one of the outside shower doors but she ends up locking the shower door of her own Mommy! In the story, Little Honey confesses to Mommy right away that she was the one who locked Mommy in the shower. But in fact, that’s not what happened. Mommy never knew who locked her in the shower until she read the Beach Story 40 years later and learned that it was Little Honey - aka me - who locked her in the shower. By then, Mommy thoroughly enjoyed the Beach story and laughed at the quandary of her own daughter.
And then there’s The Icing story when Little Honey licks the icing off Angel’s birthday cake not once but TWICE. In the story, Little Honey confesses to Mommy quickly that it was she who licked off the icing. But the truth? I did not admit licking the icing until I was much older-20 years older. I did not admit it even after all the years of playful insinuations and even after all the birthdays when my father would amusingly say to me: “You know someone has already licked the icing on the cake so you can do it too, now.” Instead, I finally decided to come clean before the birth of my first child. In my defense, the icing on Angel’s birthday cake really was the most delicious chocolate icing in the whole entire world and for the record, licking icing has become a requirement in our household and a folk legend in our family.
What is your favorite “Icing” or “Beach” story from your childhood? Have you told your parents? Have you told your children or grandchildren?