In my first post I left readers hanging by the wheels of Electra, my little red plane, with a question … Why do I use a pen name? To answer that, please be my passengers as we travel back in time to 1956. Let’s visit my home at 2441 Fenwick Road in University Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.

We go inside and take a look around. Noise is coming from the basement of my old brick house. “Come on,” I suggest to my passengers, “Follow me downstairs, sounds like there’s a party going on.” That’s when it hit me, it was August 30th and everyone there was celebrating my 12th birthday. Mom is about to serve lunch to ten school friends. We eat hamburgers, potato chips, dill pickles and drink “bug juice,” (Kool Aid). Next is the dessert, vanilla ice-cream Dixi Cups and cake. Out comes the lopsided yellow birthday cake with Mom’s secret  chocolate frosting (which I still use – it’s fantastic, so let me know if you want the recipe since I don’t keep those kinds of secrets anymore). 

We play a few games like stare at a tray full of “stuff,” close our eyes for one minute, open them, and then write down all the things we remember being on that tray. Another game we play is musical chairs after which we sit in a circle and play hot potato. Now it’s time to open presents. The only ones I still remember are the poodle skirt from Grandma Rae, a pink sweater from a friend, a three speed English racing bike from Dad and what I thought was the best gift of all … my first diary from Mom. 

I recall, as if it were yesterday, sitting cross-legged on my bed and staring at the diary’s first page. There were lines on that page needing to be filled in with name, age and address. I held a sharpened #2 pencil poised to write Gail Kronheim, my real name, but hesitated at first. Then came a perplexing pause … what should I do? I don’t like my name! It’s not fancy, it’s not cute and nothing rhymes with Gail other than jail, pale, nail, whale, fail, etc. To top it off, I can’t think of a single song about anyone named Gail. So why not just use a similar, but more elegant name? Thus was born my first pen name, Abigail. . Many years later there would be another.

Stay tuned to learn more …