I’m confused.

I know I’m in love, but I don’t know what Stella Pien expects of me. I don’t even know if she knows that I love her, or even cares.
She must know… word travels fast in Kawawa…

Donna Einish mentioned that Stella would accept being my escort, but as friends.

Ah. Of course.

But what are opposite-sex friends supposed to do? I barely know what same-sex friends do; which is to sufficiently say I have very little friends at all.

1999, Kawawachikamach, QC, Jimmy Sandy Memoria...
The three of us. The last of about 30 kids that made it to graduation… 1999, Kawawachikamach, QC, Jimmy Sandy Memorial School Gymnasium, High School Graduation, Johanne Chemaganish, Benjamin Jancewicz and Donna Einish (Photo credit: benjancewicz)

Donna is my friend, she confides in me and I in her. This friendship was started because we are in the same class and she often needs my help with some of her assignments. This friendship is occasionally jostled because of the untidiness of my desk and my occasional recklessness and curiosity.

Joanne Chemaganish is my friend; she confides in me and I in her. She appears to enjoy my company, and I hers. She’s much more lenient to my faults than Donna is…

And now back to Stella. We do not confide in each other, merely exchange occasional shy smiles in the hallway. So how to start up a conversation? Especially with 50 dozen ears roaming up and down the school? And what to talk about?

1999, Kawawachikamach, QC, Jimmy Sandy Memoria...
1999, Kawawachikamach, QC, Jimmy Sandy Memorial School Gymnasium, High School Graduation, Benjamin and Stella Pien (Photo credit: benjancewicz)

We’ve had a total of 2 “conversations”.
One was a shy embarrassed and blurted request on if she would go to the graduation ceremony with me as my escort, and if she would mind the colour navy blue as a dress.

The other was during a Bingo that we were both working at. We were alone, I was on guard duty to keep brats out of the school gymnasium, and she was taking a break from work.

There was a big soft office chair in the mudroom, and so I got up and offered it to her when she came in. We got to sharing complaints about how hard the work was, and she asked me about my friends.

I said I had a pretty lonely life.

“It might seem that way at first…” she began, but then someone crashed through the door and told her to get back to work.

The night creeps on, and I’m growing weary. I’ll continue at a later date.

October 7, 1997

Patrick Nattawappio hit me because he wanted to use my gloves.

Hi Miss!

I don’t know what to write. For my oral presentation, I mean. Just write about the place? Or write about the story I’m going to write?

I already started on the story, it’s going to be about a fishing boy named Pablo Trinidadé Da Costa, who lives in the middle of the Sulu Sea in the Philippines. Time setting is in the future, and the Philippines are now officially a state of the USA, which is now having trouble with it’s name, since 2 of it’s states, Hawaii and the Philippines, are not part of the American Continent. I haven’t decided what is going to happen to him though, maybe another World War, or threat from Germany, or perhaps another Ice Age.

This sounds very interesting Ben. I hope it’s clear about the oral presentation now.

Yes, documenting the incidents is a good idea. You might want to include the place and context.

Ahh yes– the Review Sheet– Ahem. I’ve written that on my to do list.

I’m afraid this is a short response. I’ve got a ka-zillion things to do! Ugh!


October 1, 1997

Richard Sandy hit me in the side.

Hi Miss!

My mom (Norma Jean Jancewicz) gave me the idea that I should write down in my journal every time somebody hit me in red, so at the end of each month I can see if it’s going up or down.

Did you finish the forms for book reviews yet?

September 26, 1997

Hi Miss!

When are we going to get book review forms? I got a lot of books to fill in.

I wish we could do some of journal work in class. It’s hard to find time elsewhere.

I’m having a hard time at school. Everybody seems to hate me and I don’t know why. Almost everywhere I turn I am put down. I’m tired of trying to stay up. I don’t want to fight anymore. I need help.



I will not do down. I will not be put down. If I go down and be sucked into believing I am worthless, no one will remember who I was. I am a rock and no one will move me. No one will shatter me. I am a fort and no one will enter me. I refuse to surrender!

No one has gone through this school, but I will go through. Like a battering ram through a sheet of paper (or at least plastic). BUT I WILL get through!


It’s hard to be different. When I was in Grades 8, 9, and 10, I went to a French school. I got called all sorts of names in Grafe 8 and 9. I think by Grade 10 thye’d grown out of it. I guess though I was luckier. My school was huge– about 1,000 students. I could disappear during recess and lunch if I wanted to. Also, because there were more people, I was able to find my own group of friends to hang out with.

You’re right though– you have to be a rock– on the outside. Don’t react to the comments. Don’t respond to them, not with words or facial expressions. That way these people who tease you can’t get any satisfaction. Isn’t this class better than Sec III? It seems you get along better with some students. Can you follow the positives?

I don’t know what to suggest. I don’t know if there is any solution.

Feel free to vent in your journal. You have to release your anger and frustration toward the turkeys who are too immature to accept you because you are different from them.

Take care, Ben.


September 18, 1997

I’m trying to get a copy of “Leonardo Kirkmeister”. I think I might get a better response from the class if they didn’t know it was written by a classmate. If you do this, use the name Chetter Hummin (Chet-ter Hum’in).

You’re right, I think I do have a tendency to give up before I start. But, I think, from re-reading Slash, that TOM would have reacted the same way.

I think you’re right about people not knowing enough about history. I just read a 432 page book titled Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov (who is, or was the best Sci-Fi writer in North America) which is a story about the Universe that is so old and so populated that people think that humanity starting on one world is an absurd legend. People had totally forgotten what once was and where they came from.

Miss, do I get more points if I read more books? Some teachers have told me yes, and some no, so I want to know how you are.

As for the stories, it’s a deal.

Which month are we going to write stories? What’s the outline for this year? (I think you have us a paper that told us what we were going to be doing that year this time last year.)

Here’s a scene from “Leonardo Kirkmeister”:

I think each of my characters has a little bit of me in it, my latest story has a pretty big chunk of me in it. I think it’s going to be a long story, so it might be a while before you read it. When you read it, try to find the connection between me and the story.

O.K. looking forward to it!


Sept. 17, 1997


OK Ben,

Here it is… I shall return this to you, two days after receipt… AS PROMISED!

Just a note, yes you can skip lines, but with that you should be writing on more pages!! You can do it!!!

Do you get more points for reading more books. Here’s a plan. I’ll open this option to the whole class. If you read a book on your own time and provide me with a critique (review) of the book, I’ll add that to your marking scheme.

Regarding the outline, I included a breakdown of the marking scheme in the Term Handouts. I must give Secondary IV’s individual copies. Next week, we will have to start researching our topics for the oral presentation and the stories. So by the beginning of October, stories should be started.

Take care– G.S.

September 17, 1997

Hi Miss!

What’s wrong with Joanne Chemaganish? She always seems so sad and depressed. Even though she’s shy, she used to talk a lot more. I wish I could help her cheer up.

Regarding Chetter Hummin. Tell me when you want a revised copy of it and I’ll try to get it printed out with Chetter Hummin’s name on it.

I checked a couple other authors and the guy who made “Alice in Wonderland” changed his name too (though I never found why).

So how do you like your new house?

I don’t know what else to write.


September 8, 1997

Not much happened this weekend.

There was a rummage sale on Saturday in the Kawawa church basement. I bought a small electric piano for a dollar, and a winter coat worth 2$ for three dollars, and a pair of mittens for two dollars.

I wish I had known about the rummage sale!

I helped paint the sides of our stairway on Saturday (we’re going to put a stairway carpet down).

What did you think of the party? I thought it was pretty boring. I had to be “babysitter” to about 20 screaming kids.

I got there as everybody else was leaving. We spent a pleasant hour or so hanging out and chatting.

There was an accident on the way to school, a small trick tipped off the road before John Lake.

I saw that.


Hi Ben–

Ahhh– I have a lot to respond to here! I was going to stop and read your story once and for all– Well, by now you know, I’ve misplaced it. It’s probably at school. Blah! Regarding having the class do a response–That’s a possibility. I don’t think you should hide your authorship. However, George Eliot did it, as have a number of authors… Let me finish reading it. I’ll see where we can fit it in.

Hmm– your desire for the extraordinary and unordinary helps me understand your aversion to Slash. Ben, I often find (maybe I’m wrong!! There’s always a slight chance!) that you resist things tried in English class without giving them a second chance. No, Slash is not about a sole non-Native, American-born guy attending a Native School. However, as with any other character (unless, perhaps, it’s from sci-fi) Tom K. is a human being, fictitious yes, but created by a real live human Jeanette Armstrong, who created Tom K. out of her own experience and the experiences of those around her. The same is true for your characters– there’s a little of you in each one. (Take that a step further – The biggest Creator – God – left quite a bit of Himself in each of His characters!)

Don’t look at the surface of everything. Meaning can be found at so many levels. You want your readers to consider the possibility that Leonardo Da Vinci was extra-terrestrial. Armstrong wants people to consider the possibility of Tom K. being a real person. Take some time to do this. I’m sure, even though your specific experiences are not the same, you will find commonalities between Tom K. and the great author, Ben J. Also, the book will teach all the students a little about fairly recent Canadian politics and history which may otherwise go unaddressed. People are not politically aware enough these days– That’s a generality and not true for all. I just want to shake people’s thinking in Sec IV-V.

Hey, to be honest, I’m not keen on sci-fi. I’ll give you a chance and read your work if you give me a chance and read my selection.

Well– as Forest Gump would say– “That’s all I got to say about tha-at.” (at least for now)


August 29th, 1997

Hi Miss!

Miss, what did you guys do while I was in the hospital? I hope they liked West Side Story. Did you act out anything?

Looks like I might be writing a lot of stories this year (I hope). Mr. Leach in MRE suggested I do a story in my MRE journal. I’m going to do a story titled the “Imagineers”.

I can’t write that small. The story is going to be about aliens coming down who are trans-morphable and telepathic. Whoever saw them would see what they thought aliens would look like to them.

Gabrielle Stanton’s Response:

Ben – a question (oops, it was more than one)… What makes you so interested in “outer space” and aliens? I’ve never known someone so keen on the topic– (at least I don’t think I have!).

Do you write your stories for fun or do you want people to learn something from them? What kind of audience do you hope to attract? Is there any other genre (non-science fiction) that you write in?

–While you were away, we worked on the exam. I’m not too sure how kids liked “West Side Story”. I think most find the singing a bit much. They seemed to enjoy the general story line. It was good for the girls who went to Quebec City for Drama Fest because they knew the basic story line and recognized some of the music. I’m glad I got to see it.

Ciao for now– G.S.


I guess I like science fiction…

Cheez-Whiz you ask good questions! I guess I like reading about situations completely out of the ordinary. Ordinary lifestyles bore me to bits.

Most of the time I write stories just for fun, but I’ve just started to write stories that make people think. “Leonardo Kirkmeister” = for instance, forces one to think about the possibility of Leonardo Da Vinci being extra-terrestrial.

My range of audience I guess is pretty general. I would like to hear reader’s responce to the story: what they thought of it, what they would change, etc.

Hmm! I just had an idea. I wonder, would it be possible to put a different author’s name and give the class a copy of “Leonardo Kirkmeister” and have them do a response. It might be interesting.

Although Sci-Fi is my favourite “genre”, I can write in other genres, but nothing ordinary. I tried once, but got so bored, the story got abandoned and thrown away. I just couldn’t help putting something totally weird right smack-dab in the middle of it.

I think the music (in West Side Story) is a bit much too. Maybe they could update it to modern city streets.

Zerflin, Farg, ᐱᓐᒋᐱᓐ

Hi Miss!

I guess I should tell you about myself. I’m 13 years old, I’m an America, um, I’m an inventor, uh, cartoonist, what else… uh… missionary, um, bookwriter (sci-fi, mostly), computer expert (IBM, mostly), bookworm, and musician.

I like History, English, Gym, Home-Ec, ITT, I hate Math, and I’m not sure about Biology & Geography. Oh yes, I like Computers.

My favourite food is macaroni, and I cook it my own way. Such as, um, say adding processed cheese to it, or adding a cheese packet to it, or, after it is cooked, adding milk to it, or Parmesan cheese, or just eating it plain, but NEVER putting sauce on it. I HATE tomatoes. The only time I eat them is either at the cafeteria or on pizza.

My house has a huge video and book library, if you want to borrow any.

So Miss, what do you like to do?

I have a dog named Sam and a cat named Katy.

I am going to be moving soon to another part of town. There we will have a fenced in yard to protect the pets (we have had a number of pets, mostly cats that died, Katy’s kittens) and that house will be ours (we are renting now). You will have no trouble finding our new house, because it will be the only house in town with 3 dormers, an add-on on the back, a connected garage, and a LARGE greenhouse. The dormers are already built, they were done this summer.

I have a crush on Shannon Uniam, across the hall in Secondary 1. She’s not in Secondary 3 because her birthday is October 29, and I skipped a grade.

Whew! Now I’ll let you write.

Dear Ben,

(Do you prefer Ben or Benjamin?) Well! This has been a very detailed description of yourself. Hmmm… It’s great to have a dish that you know how to cook just so. I like the way I make scrambled eggs. I add vegetables, herbs, and a bit of spice. I also make a pretty good spaghetti sauce—I guess you wouldn’t like it, though. Another specialty I used to have was chocolate chip cookies. My room-mate’s Dad loved them!

Pets… My parents have a very cute dog, Milo. I love them visiting them ad having her to walk and hang out with. They also have a cat. It’s O.K.—Fluffy—but I’m not usually a big cat freak. My sister’s cat, Ed, has lots of personality so my aversion to cats is put aside with her. Yes, the cat is female and yes, it’s named Ed. I want to get a puppy. I need to finish fixing up my “pad”. I should be ready to receive a pup in a couple of weeks. Your new house sounds great! Moving into a new place can be really hectic but a lot of fun too, especially when the new place has character!

As for crushes… I don’t have one on anybody right now. I imagine I’m too busy getting set up. Also, I haven’t met anybody I’d really want to have a crush on! Oh well, life goes on.

Write again—G