Throwback Thursday: Little Bitt’s Life

My mom was going through old things to take to a consignment sale when she came across one of my earliest-known journalistic works: a biography of my hamster. It’s a pretty short work: four pages of notebook paper stapled together. The first is a title page and the other three have short paragraphs of surprisingly legible handwriting.

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The title page to “Little Bitt’s Life.”

I don’t know exactly how old I was when I wrote it. The story says I got the hamster for Christmas 1992, so I would have been 8, but I don’t know when the hamster died or when I decided to give an account for his time on earth.  I was home schooled at the time and I’m pretty sure it was not a part of my school work.

I write about getting him and naming him, about my brother also getting a hamster, about going to my grandmother’s house to spend the night, and about my sister finding Little Bitt near death in his cage. “We still don’t know how he deid, but he did,” I wrote before summing it up quite succinctly with “the End.”

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Little Bitt the hamster

I do remember the hamster well. I loved that hamster. I used to put him on my shoulder and walk around the house with him. I remember begging my mom and dad for a hamster. I didn’t think they would get me one, but low and behold, on Christmas Day, here was this tiny baby hamster. I called him Little Bitt because of his size but I think it was also a reference to a popular cartoon of the time.

lb3

This is me (with pinkeye maybe?) holding one of my family’s hamsters, but not Little Bitt. I think this one belonged to my brother.

The story has pretty good spelling and grammar, considering a child wrote it. And it’s not much of a story, but it has a beginning, middle and and end. It’s fun to go through old personal artifacts like this and get a glimpse kid Lori. I like it that she was already writing even then.

**UPDATE: as requested, the following is the full text of Little Bitt’s Life.

   

   

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Things townies hear

It’s been almost two years since I moved back to the county where I grew up. I left the state, but not the region for a few years. I now live in the state capital, not the nearby smaller community where I lived as a child.

It’s good to be home. Still, it’s a little strange running into to people from my past all the time. And I do mean ALL THE TIME. They’re everywhere. It’s like they live here or something. They’re a constant reminder of the awkward, shy girl I was in high school and they always make for uncomfortable small talk.

Here are a couple awkward encounters I’ve had:

*The babysitter – I hadn’t had a sip all night. Actually, I was purposefully avoiding alcohol, even though a show at a bar put me in arm’s length of it all that night. I didn’t need the calories, for one thing. But when a cute friend suggested we take a shot together, I caved. (Did I mention he’s cute?). So it would be the exact moment he handed me the tiny glass filled with fruity liquor that a woman with long dark blond hair and a vaguely familiar face approached me.

“Are you Lori?” she said. I assumed we knew each other from my day job, which puts me in contact with lots of people. Or from the stage where I’ve been singing lately with a couple friends.

“Yes,” I said, smiling.

“I used to baby sit you at church,” she replied.

Yes, she did. I remembered then. She helped supervise in children’s church when I was a small thing. I remember her as the infinitely cool, but tyrannical teenager with long blond hair and an attitude.  I’m sure she remembered me as the home-schooled little girl with a homemade dress and a sparkly purple and yellow kids’ Bible.

Now, there we were, 20 years later and just 10 miles up the road from the teetotaling congregation where we grew up. My, how things change.

“Cheers,” I said, clinking my coconut rum shot glass against her Magic Hat bottle. At least she wasn’t drinking grape juice.

“Buy you another?” I should have said.

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*”Do you want to dance?” There’s a bar here in town where you can find me nearly every week. One Thursday evening I noticed a somewhat familiar face in the crowd. I couldn’t place him. Thought maybe I’d graduated with him but when he approached me I found out otherwise.

“You may remember me from Husson’s Pizza. I hung out there from 2000 to 2003,” he said. I did not, in fact, remember him. But his thick, rural Appalachian accent took me right back to my hometown. (Sounds a little like this guy).

“Oh, OK. Hi!” I said.

I later turned down the offer to smoke pot with him and his repeated, repeated requests that we dance to “Sweet Caroline,” which was blaring over the bar speakers. (No one else was dancing, I might add).

In that moment, in a way that’s difficult to explain, it was like my entire hometown was hitting on me.

hometown

A favorite scene from my hometown.