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Dreams of Youth/Journey to Blueberry Island

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Edit: I originally posted this a few hours ago. I should be in bed, but I was going over in my mind what I wanted to do with this and I couldn't sleep until I did. I considered having it deleted but I decided to try something different. I don't know how well this will go over. I'm going out on a limb here so hopefully, you'll bear with me. So here it is:


This contains two stories, a short story which I wrote when I was ten, which is over 15 years ago, and is entitled "Journey to Blueberry Island," So it's short and alittle cheesy, I'm kinda of embarassed to post it to tell the truth. But I thought it would be amusing to dust it off and let it see the light of day again. Before this, the only people who have read it are some of my family members.

The backstory of the story which is alitle more personal and is autobiographical. The backstory does explain how this story came about but also touches on other aspects of my life. It's about a canoe trip I took when I was ten and the different things that came from. I have it divided into three parts, that I will post once I get it all worked out. So here it goes:




I went on a canoe trip with my parents, brothers, and grandfather to northern Minnesota when I was 10. My grandfather has been an enthusiastic canoist all his life and had worked as a guide in the area back in the 40s (my dad also worked at the same place in the 70s). While we were on the trip, we stopped on a small island which was completely covered with blueberries...I went nuts...I think I ate half of the berries that I picked right there. Wild blueberries are so much better than the ones you get in the store.


Despite me eating half of the berries, we still had enough for my grandfather to make two blueberry pies that night by the campfire. They were so good and they were so much better because my grandfather made them. I was inspired by the blueberry picking and my grandfather's pies to write this story. My dad was also reading the Wizard of Oz books to me at the time, so that influence is apparent as well. I have more to say about the influence that this canoe trip has had on my life and my grandfather but I'll save that for later and get on to the story.



Chapter One: Blueberry Island

Mike and Sandy lived in a small town in Minnesota. The town was so small that it didn't have a name. They lived on a blueberry farm. They had had a very dry summer.


One day they found a map in a bottle; they showed it to their mom and dad. Their parents said a kid must have made it and put it there for someone to find it.


That weekend Mike, Sandy, and their dog Spotty got out their wood canoe, that they had made from an old tree. The tree had fallen down during a storm two years ago. They got out three paddles and lifejackets for each of them; and made lunch for themselves to eat on the way. They took the map with them to see if they could follow it.


When they were out in the middle of nowhere, a storm came and blew them to shore. When they woke up, Mike, Sandy, and Spotty all smelled a blueberry scent. Upon getting up and looking around they saw miles and miles of blueberries and a huge waterfall. They walked a long time and stopped along the way to pick blueberries. The berries were larger and juicier than the berries back home.


Sandy and Mike looked at each other and asked, "Where are we?"


When they arrived at the river, they found that the river was very low. Some of the plants looked like they hadn't had water for a long time.


Then they saw a hill with the biggest and juiciest blueberries on the whole island. So they ran up the hill. Mike was reaching out to pick one of the biggest berries, but someone yelled out, "STOP!! The berries belong to the Queen of Blueberry Island."


Mike, Sandy, and Spotty looked around and saw no one, but on turning back around they saw a small bear with a pair of blue overalls and a red shirt on.



Chapter Two: Queen Berry


Sandy asked, "Who are you?"


"I am Baby Blue, the Guardian of the Queen's berries. Who are you and who is that little animal that has it's tongue sticking out?" he said.


Sandy answered, "I am Sandy and that's my little brother, Mike, and the animal is Spotty our dog."


"Why did you come here?" Blue asked.


Mike answered, "We found a map; and a storm brought us here. By the way, where are we?"


"You are at Blueberry Island, the place where blueberries grow. Can I see the map?" Blue asked.


"Sure, here it is," said Sandy, handing Blue the map. He looked at it in a very odd way, then Blue looked up and said "Come with me. We must see the Queen immediately at Blueberry City."


Before they could say any more, Baby Blue had started walking away. Mike and Sandy ran up to him, Spotty ran after them. The group walked for about fifteen minutes before coming into sight of an enormous blue castle with windows in the shape of blueberries. Blueberry plants were growing up the huge gates of the castle.


They came to the gates and knocked on the door. The gates opened and they walked inside. Everywhere Mike, Sandy, and Spotty looked there were gardens growing all kinds of things like blueberry muffins, blueberry pies, blueberry syrup, blueberry pancakes, blueberry tarts, blueberry jams, and etc. and etc..


Soon the small group came to the palace doors.


"Stay here, I'll be back," said Blue. Then he opened the big door and went in.


"Sandy, what do you think is going on?" asked Mike.


"I do not know. But I wish someone would tell us what is so

important about that map and us coming here," Sandy answered.


Then the door opened and Baby Blue said, "Come in. The Queen will see you now."


Mike and Sandy looked at him and said, "What!?"


"I said the Queen will see you now," answered Blue.


"We know, but we would like it if someone would tell us what is going on," said Mike.


"Follow me," Blue said.


Mike, Sandy, and Spotty followed Blue down a long and wide hallway. The floor had a dark blue carpet and the walls had the finest blue wallpaper. Then they came to two big doors. One of the guards said, "You may enter," as he opened the door for them.


In the middle of the big room sat the Queen.


Addressing the Queen, Blue said, "Your Highness, these are the two people I was telling you about. They found the map and came here."


Then Sandy yelled out, "What is going on here!"


"Baby Blue, why did you not tell them," added Queen Berry.


"You told me not to tell anyone because they might start worrying about it," answered Baby Blue.


"About what!?' Mike said, wanting to know right then and there.


Queen Berry then told them the whole story, "There's Old Bear who hates blueberries. She put a spell on us so that it cannot rain. I'm glad that you all came when you did. The berries cannot go on much longer without the rain."



Now I can go get some sleep.

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lol, I know what that is like, not being able to sleep until you get it all down.


I like what you have done so far with the general theme, but the story needs a little more flesh on it's bones. Character descriptions, colors, sounds, what things feel like when they happen.


I would like to see where the story is going:)

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I'm posting part of my PM response to Oracle since it helps define the short story and puts it in perspective as she said.


I already know that the story is very much just bare bones but I actually want to keep it that way. I know that it might not get much interest because of that but I'll admit I'm writing it more for myself than for others. I wrote the short story when I was 10, I'm currently 26 so its just a few years old ;). My main focus is actually on the backstory, about the canoe trip that influenced the story and the relationship that I have with my grandfather. That's why I changed the title. The short story ties in with it, at least in my mind.

The main reason I want to keep the story as is it is now is because it was inspired by my grandfather and when I finished it I dedicated it to him. He loves to tell stories but he's been diagnosed alzheimer's disease over year ago so his memory is not what it used to be and he might not be around for much longer. When he does remember me, his stories are always camping and canoing related because that's a common hobby we share.

It's more of an acknowledgement of the influence he has had in my life and this story is just one example. I'm by no means the storyteller than my grandfather was. I'm hoping that part becomes clearer as I continue with the back story.


I'll post the second part in the next day or two, once I have it all together.


Thanks for reading.

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Oh, this is great!

I'm speechless. This is one of the best stories on here. The writing itself is a 10-year-olds writing but the backstory, the reason why you did it and how special that island must've been to you is amazing.

This is definitely a good contribution to Hungry Boar Tavern.

(Ok...maybe I'm not so speechless :P)

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@Addicted_Emma, Thanks for reading my story. I told Oracle early that I was actually thinking of having it deleted but I changed my mind. I'm not much on creative writing and this will be very emotional for me. I know it's not the best story in the world (I wrote it when I was 10) but it has alot of sentimental value to me. I wasn't sure if others would appreciate that.

With your comment and Oracle's I'm actually very excited about posting the rest of it. It might take awhile even though the short story is completed, I'm having trouble not crying while I'm wring the story.

*needs to go find a tissue now*

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Edit: Oops, sorry about the double post, at least I didn't post it in the wrong topic as I almost did...I think I need to get some more sleep tonight...


Here's the second part.

This part of the backstory is alittle longer than the first. So here it goes:




After getting home from the canoe trip, I set two goals for myself: 1) to write the story ‘Journey to Blueberry Island and 2) to go back to northern Minnesota and work as a canoe guide like my grandfather did (40s) as well as my father (early 70s). I grew up hearing stories about the place and after seeing the area for myself, I was hooked. The first goal I started on right away; the second, I was going to have to wait until I was old enough, I was only ten at the time. I should mention that my grandfather was the first guide to take a crew out of the canoe base on the land that it is now operates from. The organization began operating canoe trips in the 20s but did not have any buildings to work out of. He beat the other guide by half an hour because the other one was the director and he had to lock the one building up.


It took me a few months to write ‘Journey to Blueberry Island.’ Both my parents helped me out with it. Since we didn’t have a home computer at the time (imagine that now days), my dad took me to his work and helped me type it up and print out a copy. We then took it to Staples to make copies and to bind them. My mom helped me make little bookmarks to include with the copies. She found tiny wooden bears that she handpainted to look like Baby Blue in story, complete with the blue overalls and red shirt, and then super glued it to a red ribbon. I think I still have one somewhere. I was so proud of the finished product and I gave it to my family members as a Christmas present. With goal one finished, I focused on goal two.


Canoeing had always been a part of my family life, my parents often took my brothers and I to the local lake to canoe while we were younger. My brothers and I were very good at a very young age at swamping a canoe in the middle of the lake, getting it upright with a little less water, climbing back in, and then paddling it back to shore. And whenever we went to visit the grandparents, my grandfather would take us to nearest river to go canoeing or rafting. Once my brothers and I hit our teen years, we rarely went canoeing as a family since we were busy with other things. Despite that, I still remembered my goal to work as a canoe guide; I wanted to see the places that my grandfather had always told me about.


Once I was old enough, I applied for the summer and got the job. If I remember correctly, my dad actually got the application for me before I did. My grandfather was thrilled when he found out; it meant he had someone to share his stories with (even though I heard most of them before but I didn’t mind) and he would be able to hear about my experiences.


After every trip or two, I often called my grandfather to tell him about where I’ve been and where my next trip will take me. He often told me stories of his adventures on those same lakes and rivers. I found many of the places that my grandfather talked about in his stories and after a lot of looking I even found an old canoe paddle that he used and that had his nickname on it still stored at the base.


After working for a while and getting to know the area better, I pulled out the old map that had the original canoe trip (that trip was in ’92) all marked out. I had to laugh when I saw it; the trip took us five days to do. I could easily do it in two days now, or one day if I really push myself, but what do you expect when there’s a 6 year old, a 10 year old and a 13 year old on the trip (my two brothers and myself). I made a mental note of the camps sites, and luckily, the place where we picked the blueberries was marked as well.


I never did stay at the campsites that we had stayed at when I was ten, I was usually well past them and onto the next lake or two by the time it was to set up camp. But I did find it amusing to go over the same portages that I did when I was ten. If you don’t know what a portage is, it’s a trail from one lake to another or around rapids that aren’t runable, even easy ones can be too much of a risk. Often the only way quick way in or out is by float plane and even that can take awhile and you really don’t want to lose a week’s worth of food or a canoe or a person down the rapids. Unfortunately, I knew of too many cases like that. I was lucky and only lost one canoe during my time there. On the portage, you have to take everything out of the canoe and carry it across. When I was ten, I thought that those portages were long and hard. When I was older, I was thankful that those same portages were so short and easy. I’ve since seen my fair share of portages and there are some that I never want to see again, the longest one I’ve ever done was alittle over a mile (I’d much rather be in a canoe than carrying one) and other portages were just plain evil. I’ve got lots of story from those experiences, maybe I’ll post those another time.


It didn’t take long for me to find the island that we picked all those blueberries for my grandfathers’ pie. It was not far from the canoe base. Though, I realized that it wasn’t so much an island as a small piece of land connected to very narrow peninsula. In high water, it could easily become an island. There were still lots of blueberry plants on that island/peninsula. On several of my trips, it was a good place to stop for a quick break or for lunch and I often made a point to pick a few berries just to snack once the berries were ripe.


I eventually spent six summers working as a canoe guide (’99-’04). The canoe country we both worked in included Minnesota and Ontario. I spent one of those summers working in Manitoba.


Well, I think that’s enough of the backstory for now...now back to the story...



Chapter Three: Reagle the Eagle


"So that's what is going on here," said Sandy.


"You see the blueberries here need water to live, that's what makes them so big and juicy. If you want to, you can do it or we can find someone else," said Queen Berry.


"Do what?" asked Sandy.


"Get the Old Bear’s spell book. Without it, she cannot do spells and we will be able break this spell," Queen Berry answered.


"But, your Highness, they do not know where Old Bear lives and she is many miles away from here," Baby Blue added.


"You are going with them and you will ride on the fastest animal on Blueberry Island, Reagle the Eagle," said Queen Berry. At this, Blue's mouth dropped open.


"Get some sleep," the Queen added.


The next day Mike, Sandy, Baby Blue, and Spotty got ready for the long trip ahead of them. After everything was packed, they ate breakfast. The Queen gave them a map and told them, "It is a two day trip to get to where you are going, but be careful at Danger Point."


After the Queen told them what to do, it was time to go. Mike, Sandy, Baby Blue, and Spotty climbed on top of Reagle the Eagle and he took off.


At first, it was quiet but then Reagle spoke up, "So are you just going to sit there and not let me know who you are? I hope you know I HATE having people ride on my back not knowing who they are."


"You talk!?" Mike said surprised.


"Of course I do. What do you think I do, bark like a dog?" he answered crossly.


"WOOF! WOOF!" Spotty barked back.


Mike and Sandy knew Spotty was not too happy about what Reagle had said.


Then Baby Blue said, "Reagle! Be a little nicer to them. They are the ones that are going to help us break the spell."


"I only wanted to know who these people are and who this scruffy mutt is," answered Reagle in an innocent voice.


"Spotty is not a scruffy mutt!" Mike yelled out.


"What am I suppose to call him, a flea bag?" Reagle answered.


"He is not a flea bag!" Mike replied.


"Will you two knock it off!!" yelled Sandy.


"All I want to know is your names," Reagle said again in his innocent voice.


"O.K., I am Sandy, this is my little brother, Mike, and that is Spotty, my dog. Are you happy now?" answered Sandy.


"Hmm, I guess, but I cannot tell the difference between your brother and your dog," replied Reagle.


Then Blue yelled, "This is no time to argue, we're close to the beginning of Danger Point, then it's Old Bear's house."



Chapter Four: Danger Point


"Danger Point!! How close are we to it?" Reagle asked.


"About 3/4 of a mile. Why?" Blue said.


"I grew up very close to Danger Point. When I was small I was flying through it and I was hit by a huge rock on my right wing." answered Reagle.


"What is on that sign ahead of us?" asked Mike.


"What sign?" asked Reagle looking around.


"That sign over to our right," Mike said pointing to it.


"Oh, I see it, but I cannot read it. Can you Mike?" said Reagle.


"I think so. 'WELCOME TO DANGER POINT'" Mike read.


"Well, we only have to go through half of it," said Blue who was looking at the map. "Then we follow Berry River out of here, then down Scary River into Scary Pond. Old Bear lives across the pond."


"How close are we to Berry River?" Reagle asked, looking worried.


"We're about a half a mile or less away," answered Blue.


"Good," Reagle said with a sigh of relief.


Soon they got to Berry River and followed it to scary River, but when they reached Scary River, it was getting dark.


"I think we'll stop here for the night, Reagle," Blue said.


"O.K., let me find a place to land," Reagle replied.


"Reagle, land over there," Blue added.


"Oh, right," Reagle answered.


As soon as they landed, they set up camp and then it was time for dinner. They ate blueberry steak, blueberry mashed potatoes with blueberry gravy, blueberries, and blueberry juice. After they had finished they were ready for the blueberry pies.


"Where did I put the pies?" Blue said to himself looking through the bag.


Mike came over and said, "Blue, I think I know where the pies are." Pointing over to Reagle who had a blueberry stained beak.


"Reagle, how many are left?" Blue asked.


"Two," Reagle answered.


"Two!?!? Reagle, there were ten. Why did you have to eat eight pies?" Blue questioned.


"I was hungry," Reagle said in his innocent voice.


"You're hungry all the time," remarked Blue.


"I have a big stomach," Reagle said.


"I know, but it doesn't mean you have to eat eight pies," Blue said.


"I don't know about you, but I'm sleepy," Reagle said yawning.


Then Blue turned to Mike, Sandy, and Spotty who had been watching the scene like it was a T.V. show.


"I guess we better eat the two pies that are left before Reagle eats them for a bedtime snack," Blue said.


"But what are we going to have tomorrow night?" asked Mike.


"We still have some blueberry cobbler," Blue answered.


Soon they went to bed.


In the morning, they had blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup. After breakfast, they packed up and were on their way to where the Old Bear lives.



Well that's it for this time. I'll try to post the last part sometime on the weekend.


*crosses one thing off my evergrowing 'to do' list.*

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I agree with Oracle but I also know what it's like to have a story that you wrote when you were younger and the backstory reminds you of someone that is no longer on this Earth. It's just you don't want to change it but the same time you want to rewrite little sections of it to make it sound better. In other words, I don't mind that it's only 3 parts but wish there was more.

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@Oracle and Samboni: LOL, sorry I only have three parts.


Here's the last one. This part of the backstory is alittle sad but I really like how the end of the backstory and the short story tie together.




I mentioned earlier that my grandfather was an enthusiastic canoeist which isn’t entirely true. He was enthusiastic about anything that allowed him to be on the water and required a paddle in hand, whether it was a canoe, kayak, or raft.


When he retired and moved to Arizona (which was a few years before I was born), he took up white water rafting. He has been on many of the rivers there, at least a dozen times (maybe more) on the part of the Colorado River which goes through the Grand Canyon. I have to smile at the thought of him in a raft going down a set of rapids. Even after two heart attacks and several different surgeries, two of which replaced both of his knees, he was back on the river as soon as he recovered. I think the fact that he would rather be on the river than at home speed up some of his recoveries.


A few years ago, when he was 80, the doctor told him that he needed to have open-heart surgery. In addition, the doctor told him, as well as my grandmother just to be safe, that he could no longer go rafting or canoeing anymore. It just wasn’t safe anymore for him with his heart problems. That must have been difficult for him. My grandmother told me that it took him longer to recovery from this surgery, he didn’t seem to have the motivation to do the exercises that he needed to do.


During all of this, I would call to see how he was doing before and after the surgery. However, this time instead of talking on the phone like he usually did, he would ask a few questions about how I am and what I’m doing, then pass the phone to my Grandmother. After a while, I decided it would be a good idea to go for a visit to see him in person. It had been awhile since I was there for a visit and my grandfather wasn’t talking on the phone like he normally would.


A few months later, I managed to go down for Christmas time (I was more than thrilled to visit Arizona in the winter. Winter had shown up in early October where I lived and it was already around -40 by December) . My grandmother picked me up at the airport, my grandfather didn’t drive much anymore and he hated to sit in the passenger seat. On the way home, my grandmother told me that he had wanted to take me to one of the rivers to go canoeing but she was strongly advising against it. Given the circumstance, I agreed with her. My grandfather did mention it once while I was there but said that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea if the water was low. I could tell he was disappointed that he couldn’t take me.


On one of the evenings, I thought that he might appreciate seeing some of the pictures I had from canoes. I had a few on my laptop so I pulled it out and showed them to him. He looked at them and smiled but didn’t say much. After I finished showing him the pictures, he got up and left the room. He came back a shortly after with a few pictures in hand. One of them was a group picture from an aquatic school in Kansas that he attended prior to working at the canoe base. He loves to show the picture to anyone that he can and to see if they can pick out which one is him. The aquatic school was where he first met the director of the canoe base. He was looking for a staff member for the next summer and asked one of my grandfather’s friends. His friend was able to go so he quickly volunteered to go. That was the first time he went canoeing in northern Minnesota and Ontario and fell in love with the area.


He worked there for a total of four years with a few years in-between as a pilot in WWII. Afterwards, he would periodically return for a trip and would take anyone that he could. This eventually led to the family trip in 1992 (hopefully, you see where I’m going with this).


He told me the story of meeting the canoe director as well as several of his adventures while he was there. After a few stories, he asked me if he ever told me how he got the job...that was the first story that he had told me. I was surprised by his question because I didn’t realize how bad his short term memory was getting. He would occasionally ask me a question and then an hour or two ask me again but nothing like this. My grandmother had mentioned that she noticed that while his long-term memory seemed fine, he was having trouble with his short-term memory. As a side note, he was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.


The next morning, when I got up my grandfather was already out of the house doing his morning routine. He usually got back about an hour before lunch. I went to the kitchen to get something for breakfast. While I was pouring myself some cereal, my grandmother pulled out a package from the fridge. She said my grandfather had made a trip to the store to get it. He thought I might like it with my breakfast. It was a package of blueberries...




Chapter 5: Old Bear



At Old Bear's house, Reagle landed at the bank of Scary Pond. The pond had murky water with dark tall trees standing in the water.


"I wonder why it is called Scary Pond?" Mike asked sarcastically.


"There is the house," Blue said pointing to it. The house was tall and eery. Weeds grew all over the yard.


"I wonder how much money you could get for cleaning that house?" Sandy said.


"What's money?" Reagle asked because he had never heard about money before.


"It's nothing. We use it back home to buy things," Sandy answered.


"How do we get the book from Old Bear?" Mike asked.


"Very carefully," Blue answered.


"But what if she stops us?" Mike replied.


"Queen Berry said that if that happens, to throw blueberries at her because she blows up like a ballon when she gets blueberries on her. Oh, Reagle stay here, O.K.," said Blue.


"Fine with me, I don't want to go there." Reagle answered.


So Mike, Sandy, Spotty, and Blue opened the door to Old Bear's house. Inside there were cobwebs everywhere and dust on everything.


"Man she needs a housemaid," Mike said.


"Shhh! She might hear us," Blue said in a quiet voice.


Soon they were at a big door and Spotty was smelling it.


"Why don't we open it?" Mike asked.


"Go ahead," Blue replied.


So Mike open the door. Right in the middle of the room was the book. Old Bear jumped right out in front of them. Old Bear was a very old crooked bear.


She said in a crooked voice, "So you think you can take my book. Well, think again."


Without thinking, Mike grabbed his slingshot and a blueberry and shot it right into the bear's face. Old Bear blew up like a balloon and floated out the window.


While this was happening, Spotty ran over and got the book and brought it back to Blue.


"We have the book! Now we can go back to the castle," Blue said.




Chapter Six: Back Home


They left the Old Bear’s house and ran back to where Reagle was waiting for them. When they reached him, Reagle was fast asleep.


“Reagle!! Wake up!!” Blue yelled.


Reagle woke with a start. “What…no, I didn’t eat the pies…Oh, it’s you.”


“We have the book and we’re ready to go back to the castle.” Sandy said.


“Good, I was starting to get bored waiting here and I know a short cut home.” Reagle said.


“A short cut?! Why didn’t we use it get here!” Blue exclaimed.


“You never asked.” Reagle replied.


It only took half a day to get back to the castle using Reagle’s short cut.


When they got to the castle the sun was starting to setting. Reagle landed right in the garden. Queen Berry was sitting in the garden. They all jumped off Reagle's back.


"We have the book," Blue said, waving the book in the air.


"That didn't take too long," Queen Berry said looking at them.


"What do we do with it?" Mike asked.


"Burn it!" Queen Berry answered.


"Why?" Blue asked.


"It's the only way to break the spell," Queen Berry answered.


"What are we waiting for?" Reagle asked.


After burning the book, they had a dinner in honor of Sandy, Mike, Baby Blue, Reagle, and Spotty. At the dinner, there was a blueberry roast, blueberry biscuits with blueberry butter, blueberries, blueberry pies, and a great deal more.


After the food was gone, everyone went to bed.


When Sandy woke up in the morning, she was not in the castle; she was in her own bed. When she got out of bed she stepped on Spotty's tail like she does every morning. Sandy ran into Mike's room with Spotty close behind her. She woke up Mike

and dragged him downstairs. Their Mother and Father were eating breakfast.


When Mother saw them, she said, "Go get dressed, kids."


"We finally had some rain last night. We have to pick the blueberries now." Father added.


"But we were on Blueberry Island last night, but... we're back home, now," Mike and Sandy said at the same time.


"Stop fooling around and get dressed. You were never on any island, you were here last night. So just forget about it," Mother said.


But Mike, Sandy, and Spotty never forgot about their adventures with Queen Berry, Baby Blue, and Reagle the Eagle on Blueberry Island.






'Journey to Blueberry Island' was written in 1992. It was dedicated to Papa John (my grandfather) and inspired by his blueberry pies.


Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed it.

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Yea, he's still alive but his memory has gotten alot worse and it's starting to affect his day-to-day routine. My grandmother says that he was trouble remembering what he has to do for the day and has to keep asking. Also, he doesn't talk on the phone anymore.

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