Guest Post by Author Jen Tucker

Please join me in welcoming the wonderfully sweet, ridiculously positive, and ever enthusiastic Jen Tucker. The thing I love most about Jen is that we're so different, and I tell her that all the time. I'm 'glass is half empty,' and she's 'glass is half full.' I'm a snarky smartass, and she is one of the most genuinely kind and generous gals I know. If you're ever feeling down, drop her a line. I'm so thrilled that she's here today on my blog! Mostly because it gets me out of having to write anything. Enjoy!
Thank you so much, Dina, for letting me hang out here while on blog tour for my new memoir, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt.  For those of you who do not know, not only are Dina and I friends, but we are also Purdue University alumni.  Dina is absolutely wonderful, extremely talented, and I adore her.  Believe it or not, I had something totally different in mind to write about for you today, when something interesting happened while spending time with my daughter.  Something that floored me.  Something that made me feel…old!  

Mommy, Did They Have Dinosaurs When You Were Little?
My daughter, Gracie, is obsessed with reading every single Junie B. Jones book that exists on the planet.  Although she is a wonderful reader at the ripe old age of six, spending time reading this series of chapter books, written by Barbara Park, is something we do together.  From time-to-time, I encourage Gracie to read them on her own.  I’m always met with resistance when I present this idea to her.  Gracie’s reasons are usually the following: 

     “Mommy, you do all the voices, of all the people in the story, and they do not sound the same in my head when I read it.”
     “But if I read it alone, then who will tell me when Junie B. does mischief that I should never do in real life?”
     The one that gets me every single time, is when Gracie pleads, “I love it when you read to me Mommy, so we can spend time together.  Just the two of us.  Please?!”
     How could I possibly say no to that?
We are fortunate enough to have the best library available within walking distance of our home.  It is not open to the public however, and their lending policies are quite generous.  I call it The Morgan Library, named after the little girl who lives next door.  Morgan has a wonderful acquisition of books, which could rival Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection.  Could we get any luckier?  Usually, we check out paperback books at The Morgan Library, but recently we went big time and received a hardcover.  Parks’ latest installment in her beloved series, called, Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff).  
     After reading the entire book, Gracie noticed a photo of Barbara Park, posed in her family room on the book’s dust jacket.  “Mommy, is that Barbara Park?” she asked, while running her pointer finger up and down the photo.
     “Yes Baby, that’s her!  She looks like she’s just chilling out in her comfy chair at her house, doesn’t she?”
     Gracie intently stared at the picture, and then asked, “What does she do with that?”  My youngest child was pointing to a typewriter that was resting on a table near the author.
     “You know Gracie, I’m not sure that Mrs. Park uses that typewriter to work on.  It looks like she has it on the table just for decoration.  Maybe she collects them.
     Gracie turned, scrunched up her face at me, and said, “No, Mommy!  What does she use that thing for?  What is it?!”
    Oh.  My.  Goodness. 
My daughter had no idea what a typewriter was!  Mortified does not even begin to describe how I felt about my parental faux pas.  I quickly went into recovery mode.  “Well, a typewriter is what people used to write with before computers were invented.”
     “Huh,” she said.  Gracie flooded me with curiosity. “So, where do you load the paper and the ink?  Where is the screen to see the words when you type them out and how can you play Lalaloopsy on the internet on that thing?”
     I briefly ran through the mechanics.  The most fascinating point for Gracie being that there was no “delete” key. 
     “Mommy; you’ve got to be kidding me right now.  No delete?  Well how did you erase your mistakes when you were little?”
     “You couldn’t erase, or delete mistakes, so you used something called White-Out.  It was this gloppy, white stuff you brushed on the paper with a teeny, tiny brush to cover letters or words you didn’t mean to type.  Then you’d let it dry and type again.”
     Gracie turned the corner of her top lip up at me and said, “Well Mommy, that sounds like a lot of work, and really messy too.  Who would want to use that old thing anyways?”  She closed the book, placed it on her dresser, and skipped out of her bedroom.  I was left alone, sitting amidst her pillows and Care Bears, trying to process what had just happened.
     Just as my children never knew what it was like to manually change a television channel, unfold a map to find your way on unfamiliar highways, or stretch the telephone cord under your bedroom door for a smidgeon of privacy, we can obviously add using a typewriter to this list too.  As technology moves ahead, many people put specific items in their lives out to pasture.  I’m curious as to what you remember as a child, even a young adult, that was part of everyday life and is now replaced by a 2.0 model.  What conversations have been sparked in your home over the old line, “Back when I was your age…?” 
     Since the tables have turned on me, I’ll start by confessing to you.  I was fascinated by the fact when I was Gracie’s age, that my mom never had a pet dinosaur when she was little.  She said dinosaurs lived a long time ago, and that she was a little girl a long time ago; I just put two-and-two together.  My mother cleared it up by saying, “Our cave in Kalamazoo, Michigan wasn’t big enough for a Triceratops, Jenny.  That’s why.”

Have a great day and BOILER UP!

Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like.  A former teacher and educator, she worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings for many years. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries.  Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, “The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out” which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children. 
You can purchase Jen’s latest book, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt, here.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog or on her website at Princess with a Pen. 



  1. Thank you Dina for letting me stop by and hang out with you today! XOXO

  2. Great post Jen and Dina! (My son was 12-years-old when he came running into the house one day and had no idea what I was doing . . . I was ironing a pair of stoopid linen pants.) He was fascinated. (And has never seen the like since!)

  3. Ha! Dee, that is hysterical! I'm kind of a freak who loves her iron. I know, I know... I can only say that I love freshly creased pants, and the smell of burning spray starch.

  4. OMG. That was fabulous!! I know what Gracie's survival skills will need to learn. Back to the Stone Age!! Thank you ... y'all made my day!!

  5. Well, now Gracie's made me feel old! :) Not only do I remember churning out my "stories" on a typewriter when I was in school. I remember having paper that you could erase typos from! That stuff was high-tech back in my day!

    Just think, Jen, when Gracie grows up and reads to her children, she'll probably tell them about old-fashioned books that had pages you could turn and her kids will be stunned that people ever read books on anything but an e-reader!

  6. Oh, what a great interview! I have to tell you I used to read Junie B Books to my 3rd grade class during snack time while the teacher would take a break! Do you remember the one where this Kid steals her lunch money and both are sent to the principal's office, and the boy was suspended or got in trouble? Well, I started laughing so hard, I couldn't finish the sentence, the part where Junie asked the principal for her dime back, but the principal played dumb. It took me about 5-10 minutes to recover and attempt to finish the line, the kids started laughing-but at me- finally I managed to say the sentence, and just envisioned the character so well, she could have been real.
    I made all the voices, too! The kids LOVED it! Oh, sorry I had to share that.
    As to the old thing, my grandma had this old cash register, the ones you had to press the keys in hard, and the numbers would pop up on top? and the drawer would open? I loved playing with that thing. I used it when we did garage sales. I was about 8.

  7. Fabulous post, I love your writing, Jen. And the typewriter episode... Classic!! Not too long ago, our telephone (wireless handset using charger base) broke and we had to resort to an old-fashion plug-in with twirly lead model. I found my 5yo in the lounge repeatedly lifting the handset and looking at it mystified. He had no idea it was a telephone!!

    On another occasion, we were at a playgroup and one of the dads brought a tape along. Remember tapes? The kids had no idea what that funny plastic case was, but they greatly enjoyed pulling the actual tape out. "This cellotape doesn't stick, it's rubbish" they were quick to pronounce. Weird, isn't it, how everything's changed so much and we don't often realise.

    Fabulous post, and apologies for dumping my own anecdotes in the mix, couldn't help myself!