When I was in seventh grade, I entered a short story contest and wrote a children’s story called “The Night the Bubble Machine Went Wild.”
It was a story about three kids who are very excited to find out about a bubble machine that made all shapes of bubbles—even square and triangular bubbles! (Hey, I didn’t say it was a realistic story.) Anyway, even though they’ve been warned not to touch the machine without adult supervision, the kids sneak into the bubble machine “laboratory” late at night and start playing with the contraption. A short time later, the machine—as you might expect—goes wild!—and starts producing mass amounts of bubbles. Luckily, the kids get rescued before they drown in bubbles…and so, of course, they learn a valuable lesson about listening to their parents and about not touching powerful machines without adult supervision.
Hmm, as I write about it here, it seems pretty silly.
But what the hell, I still won the contest! And I was sooo excited. I had a local newspaper reporter come to interview me, and he wrote a story about me…I even got my picture in the paper! (This was a huge deal to a very nerdy, awkward teenage girl in the little bitty town of Hilbert, Wisconsin.)
So are you wondering if I actually won anything—money or some other kind of prize? I think I won a trophy of some sort, but that’s about it.
However, that’s when my 7th grade Social Studies teacher (who made up nicknames for every person in my class) started calling me “Million Dollar Carla” (pronounced like “Million Dollah Cahlah”)…and I was thrilled to be given the extra attention. He declared in front of the whole class that someday I would make a million dollars…oh, if only!!
Anyway, so the other day, Iwanski and I were walking on Clark Street on Chicago’s north side, and suddenly, right in front of us, I saw it! A real bubble machine!
Iwanski took out his camera to take a picture of the bubbles, and I jumped right in front to get my picture taken with it. I just couldn’t resist.
It seemed to me that the bubble machine was going wild, and I wanted to hang out right next to it. And totally without any adult supervision.