I told novelist Molly Duncan Campbell about one of my favorite books.
In 1953 photographer Roy DeCarava took amazing photos of the people of Harlem, but he couldn’t get them published. He gave some of the photos to Langston Hughes, without telling him anything about the people in his photographs. Hughes wrote a story to go with the photos, and got “The Sweet Flypaper of Life” published.
Inspired, Molly asked me to send her a photo, and tell her nothing about the person. Then she wrote the following:
My name is Juniper Mary May. I am called Junie. I am the only person in the world who gets called by my whole name all the time. Junie May. When I started kindergarten, they kept saying, “Junie May who?” Like I didn’t remember my last name. I am in First grade now, and Mrs. Hapner did it again! I felt like telling her what the hell ask Miss Franklin it took her all last year to figure this out. I have asked my mom why on earth she named me this. I would prefer to be named a normal thing, like Kathleen. Then everyone would know to stop after just the Kathleen part.
I got this hula hoop for my fifth birthday. I could only jump rope before. Here is what you do: you grab it hard and lift it over your head and lean it against your belly button, and then you wiggle like hell. My mom said I shouldn’t say that. So I wiggle like the devil is after me, which is what Nana says, and that isn’t swearing. I got the dress with the goofy swan on it from Nana. She lives in the past. Mom said it reminds her of a poodle skirt, which makes absolutely no sense, because who has ever heard of a poodle skirt?
I have gotten really good on the hula hooping. I can go for exactly one minute and seventeen seconds. That is my record. I can also roller skate, but you can’t do that inside. So I hula all the time in my room, and I made a playlist. I put Stevie Wonder on it. All the songs from Cars. Yellow Submarine. And my most favorite of all, but my mom says it’s an ear worm: Mahna Mahna by the Muppets.
You might think that I am a girly-girl. That is because we took this picture to send to Nana in Cleveland. We put it in the cloud so she could look at it on her phone. Usually I wear jeans and my favorite tee shirts. I have two favorites: one has Bill Nye, the Science Guy on it. The other one has a wolf. And guess what? I have a pussy hat!