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The Story of a Magic Slate
This is one story I never told anyone before, not even my parents how I manage to get the Magic Slate that I really want my whole life to do its magic.
I was just eight years old then, the year was 1996 when this Magic Slate came into my little life. If you tell a kid who lived her whole life in a remote town far away from the city lights about magics, she will surely believe it.
A group of young adults selling these art materials and other school supplies came into our classroom. My other classmates started to giggle and chatter about what they want because they're pretty sure that their parents will definitely buy a thing or two.
These kind of things sometimes pressure other kids who were poor and can’t afford any additional expenses but wants to be "in" with a certain group. Kids, especially boys who don’t buy were shut away and bullied by others.
Then one of the guys introduced this square-shaped drawing cardboard box or what they called the "Magic Slate". He said it can do Magic and will be the envy of every kid in the neighborhood. A magic slate is a drawing device, a reusable one made with board and sheets of paper. You can draw and write on it then lift the page to erase as many times as you want.
He demonstrated how this shiny thing does the trick. He wrote and drew things and then when he lifted up the top sheet, his writings were gone or rather it was erased. He said you don't need an eraser anymore and a pen because this cardboard comes with a pointed stick too.
Imagine the eyes of the third graders piercing through the thin sheet of the slate. It was the first time we actually saw the slate and even witnessed how it works its magic. It was the most beautiful thing I have seen.
Those who are sure to buy, gave their name so one magic slate can be reserved on their name. I feel happy and this time, I would really ask my mom to buy one. I would really love to have one.
Honestly, it was my problem. I am afraid to ask for things. It's not because she would scold me but it’s because I don’t want to see my mom sacrifice an amount for something that I just "want". We were not poor actually; my mom was also working that time. And our life is just plain simple since we are living outside the city.
Maybe there's something wrong with me?
I prepared my speech on my way home. I am not a whiner but I have some technique that I used from time to time to get what I want without feeling guilty. So during dinner, I started to speak.
"Hey, mom? I remembered something. There was this new material sold at school today. It was called a Magic Slate and it’s very beautiful. You draw and write on the slate and when you lift the sheet; all your writings will disappear. I think all the kids at school will buy tomorrow."
My mom paused for awhile. "How much is that?"
"It's only twenty five pesos," I answered.
"Why do you need one?" she asked.
I did not see the question coming and I don’t have a prepared answer for this. She's right, do I really need to have a Magic Slate at this time? What are the advantages of having one? I can also write and draw on used bond papers.
"Besides it's expensive, these slates won’t last for some time, I've seen this thing," she continued. "I will just bring home a bunch of used bond papers for you to write tomorrow. I have so many bond papers in the office. And besides, I don’t have my salary until the end of month."
Well, I knew it. I thought to myself. I always get a NO as an answer. What language is that anyway?
Kinda guess I will have to say goodbye to the Magic Slate tomorrow. It's no use using my technique, she got a valid reason and a point.
I dreaded for tomorrow to come. I will be the only outcast.
But it turns out I'm not the only one whose parents said NO. My classmates started to scribble here and there on their new slate and all I could do was watch their eyes twinkle every time the point of the stick touches the soft slate.
Due to the determination to have one, I planned to create my own slate at home. I used a thin sheet of bond paper, a black and white crayon, a candle and a used thin sheet of plastic cover of my old notebooks. As many other inventions come to life, I had too, one failed result. But I did not give up.
After seeing the results, I come to conclusion that the white crayons must be etched first followed by the black one. You have to have a thick color for the slate to last. Then for the final coating, I gently wiped it with the white candle for a glossy finish and in order for the plastic cover not to stick on the paper.
I stapled it and used a twig to write and draw. And I am very happy to see the fruit of my labor. I lifted the plastic and voila! The entire drawing erases and disappeared.
I draw and write again to my heart's content. The slate I made was not as beautiful as the one my classmate bought but it will also give you the same magic. I only used it after school when I am done with my homework to scribble and enjoy the product of my hard work.
After some time, my mom asked me, "Do you still want a Magic slate? I could drop at the bookstore to buy you one".
But I just smiled. "No mom, it's okay."
You might be disappointed to know that the one I made did not literally do the magic I'm talking about on the first sentence of this story. In fact the magic I am talking doesn’t mean sparks and glitters.
This magic is about unleashing your creativity inside to make something new, to create something out of much simpler things to form one extraordinary result. I realized at that young age that if you have the determination and the goal towards something, you will definitely reach success.
So after that, I manage to just work on my own for the things I want like my hobbies. I created dolls with dresses to play with, a handgun made of wood with a bullet of small prickly cactus, a toy car made with small plywood and a round flip-flop as their tires, another gun-like toy made with small bamboo with bullet made with wet paper, a deck of cards (small square-type of cut papers) which has drawings, and other small things to play with.
I also made a children book with short stories I personally wrote based on my experiences, dreams and wishes or those I have heard and read. It was my ambition to become a writer then.
The story is not about having the material luxuries of life nor about how she got the no answer from her parent but this is about a tiny spark of dream that turns into a reality for an eight year old girl who changed the way she sees things. She did not see the no as a negative sign but she turns it into a motivation that fuels her passion to create something new.
I also realized that as you grow up, these things don’t fade within you. It's up to you on how you will react on things that doesn’t go on your way. If you can't change the way things were in your life, then change the way you see things in your life. Even small things can teach us a lesson that will help us understand the why’s and make even better choices in life, if not now, but later on.