Good Plain Fun

Today, April 11, 2010, is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  As my contribution, I am sharing an essay I wrote last year.  I originally wrote this essay in response to a Literary Mama prompt.  I never heard back from them, but I loved writing this piece and fantasizing about it actually happening.  I re-read (via audiobook) “The Diary of A Young Girl” prior to writing this essay and discovered that a) Anne Frank’s name was probably pronounced like “Donna” as opposed to “Dan” and b) reading this book now that I am the parent of a teenager was a completely different experience than it had been when I was a young girl myself. 

The prompt essentially instructed us to write, in 500 words or less, how we would interact with our favorite author.  How would we conduct the interaction, and what would we ask?

Good Plain Fun With My Favorite Author

Anne Frank’s diary could have been penned by my own 13 year old. When I listened to the audiobook version today, this is the line that most resonated with my current “parent a teenager” mode: “I sometimes wonder if anyone will ever …… merely see me as a teenager badly in need of some good plain fun.”

I would not want to have a serious conversation with Anne. She had enough “serious” in her time in hiding than anyone should have in a lifetime, much less fifteen years. Rather than a deep conversation, I would want to have little snippets of overheard online conversation like I have with my daughter, who is usually too busy having fun to converse at length with me.

(I am waiving “real time” in order to invite Anne into our home as an exchange student. )


Our family lives in Tallahassee, Florida. I am Paula, and my husband is Wayne. Our daughter, Tenley, is 13. Our son, Wayne, is 10. We also have a cat, Alice Cooper. Tenley is a cheerleader, and our son Wayne likes cars and video games.

From Anne:

I am a little apprehensive about leaving my family behind but the adventures ahead will be all worth it! I am 13 (like your daughter!!) and have a sister who is three years older than me. I have had several cats, but I haven’t ever had a younger brother.

I am only 13 but I am positive I want to be a journalist someday. My diary will make the trip with me. I enjoy reading and French, but my family would probably say my favorite pastime is talking. Thank goodness for Skype!

Once our family learns we’ll be having an exchange student, Facebook attests:

TENLEY’S STATUS: Exchange student coming!!!!!!!!!!

FRIEND’S COMMENT: What’s her name?


FRIEND’S COMMENT: Where’s she from?

DAUGHTER: Holland.

FRIEND’S COMMENT: She’ll LOVE the dress code at school.

OTHER FRIEND’S COMMENT: I hope they have belts in Holland.


Fast forward to December, about a third of the way through the school year.

More Facebook:

HER STATUS: Soccer game against Deer Lake tonight with Tenley!


MY STATUS: Go Raa Rams!

ANOTHER FRIEND’S STATUS: My mom is so lame; I’m grounded.


MY STATUS: Hey, back off the mom hating!!

HER STATUS: Tomorrow I start my first Hanukkah in the US! Missing my family (even my mom).



The letter I send home with Anne when she goes back to Holland talks about how we enjoyed having another teenager around (even if it did double the drama factor), and tells her to always remember the crazy funny things she did with her US girlfriends – the dress code, the “sleepless” sleepovers, the shaving cream fights ….. to always know that the Kiger house is where she can lay her head and dream her journalist’s dreams, after days and nights of good plain fun.

2 thoughts on “Good Plain Fun

  1. It would have been wonderful for Anne to have experienced something like this! I think I'll add the book to my ever-growing reading list. It deserves a re-read now that I am an adult.

    xo Susie

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.