Julie Tarp

Julie Tarp
Born and bred in Texas. I'm a Screenwriter with a script currently in Development in La-La Land. Met and fell in love with my husband who is an actual cowboy. We have a 140 head cow/calf operation. He does the hard work, I just write about it.


FEBRUARY 25, 2010 4:45PM

The Evolution of a Brat

Rate: 40 Flag

 My parents say it started at the exact moment I learned to speak.  I was what you would call precocious.  I wanted to find things out, to learn, but most of all I wanted to talk.  Talk and talk and talk.  I blame my mother actually; I think she passed down a gene or something.  Dad and I would be completely finished with dinner and she would have barely taken a bite of anything because she talked so much.  I’m also sure that this has some correlation to my attention span, which is that of a gnat.  I get bored.  Quickly.  So, following in her footsteps, of course she encouraged me to wonder, to basically go with whatever I was feeling at the time. 

Talking Started Early

See?  She started it.  Who gives a two year old a phone?

By the time I was cogent enough to start putting things together, I was a handful.  She tells a story of us visiting a friend at a public pool near her house.  I was gone for a bit and my mom finally found me just chatting up some guy.  Startled, she brought me back to her seat and explained to me that I couldn’t talk to strangers like that.  She didn’t scare me or yell, even though now I can imagine her fear.  I took in the information and let it marinate.  A few moments later and long before Forrest Gump, I marched right back over to him and introduced myself and picked the conversation up where it no doubtedly had so rudely been interrupted.  As you can imagine, she was alarmed to find me back there.  She apologized to the man before she basically said he could be a kidnapper and reiterated that I was not to talk to strangers.  My response left both of them howling, “This is Jack.  He’s not a stranger.”  You see, we’d introduced ourselves - my first successful circumvention of the issue at hand.  Plus, I got a laugh.  Bonus.

He later told my mom that he didn’t want to be rude to me.  That I was just firing questions at him left and right and as soon as he thought I would be on my way, I’d just come back with another one.  Poor guy just wanted to work on his tan.


  The reports of my continued talking started as soon as I was off to school.  My very first report card in kindergarten suggested that I was a very good student, but talked too much.  I would finish my work early and assume everyone around me had as well.  That meant it was time to play, right?  Seems completely logical to me.

My parents assured every teacher they would speak to me about it.  And they would.  They tried to help me understand that just because I was finished, didn’t mean everyone else was.  That just because I was done learning whatever the teacher was saying—whether that was because the lesson was complete or I was just ready to move on—I wasn’t in charge of the direction the class should go in.  Whatever.

They tried, really they did.  But, when you’re a kid and your parents encourage you to become who you’re going to be, sometimes the balance is tough to figure out.  I mean, we had a costume closet!  Yet year after year, it was always the same thing.  “Julie is a good student, but talks too much.”  Looking back, it was clear that I was bored. 

In second grade, the day of our fabulous Halloween Carnival no less, I came home with a note from my teacher.  Not a good one.

page one page two

When my mom asked me about it, I said I got bored and didn’t feel like taking the spelling test anymore.  I obviously knew how to spell already and didn’t want to be troubled with having to prove it.  Plus, come on, it was Herbie!  He’s going bananas!

So, my mom took a look at the accompanying test. 

spelling test

That’s right, I was apparently so tired of taking the test, I stopped midway through a word.  She made me pull out the book so she could look at it.  There was some speculation that I was cheating.  The word was “drop”.  She scanned the entire book and it wasn’t in there once.  “See?  I just wanted to read Herbie!”  Then she read the next page that came with the note.  Stupid Mrs. Miller made me write the “5 Reasons For Not Reading a Book During a Spelling Test”.


Yeah, she obviously didn’t like my answers.  A seven year old basically told her she was insane and didn't give her what she wanted.  Plus, if I was getting a “zoro”, I wanted the horse that came with it.  While my mom tried to control her laughter, she explained to me, once again, why I can’t just move on to something else when the first task hasn’t been completed.  Of course, she threw in the bit about me not talking to everyone around me when I do finish what I’m supposed to.  I just didn’t understand why they weren’t done too.  The faster we get done, the faster we can move on to something fun, right?  Hurry up!

It became a running joke in our house.  With each report card that came, bets were taken, bribes bandied about.  I lost every time.  Stupid teachers.  Who can’t keep their mouths shut now?  I didn’t get bad grades, so they couldn’t really harp on me too much about school but I was disruptive to those around me.  I tested each and every teacher I had.  Mind you, I didn’t do it on purpose.  I just wanted to be social.

By fifth grade, the parentals were sick of hearing about it.  They had the same spiel for every teacher conference – “We know, we know.”  I really feel sorry for them having to endure that over and over and over again.  Finally, my dad had the brilliant idea of a contract.  I’ll agree to their terms – or else.  I had to sign it and everything.


I especially like the fact that I am clearly being dictated what to write, but they don’t bother to tell me how to spell “whipping”. 

I guess I should have finished that spelling test after all.  But, as you can see, Herbie clearly was going bananas - he's fighting a bull!












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Surly - Why not? It didn't get my parents anywhere though.

She blogs - thanks!

Dorian - Thank you, that's very kind. I totally agree about my teacher. Looking back at that now, it's really quite something.
I always pictured you as a brat; that is part of your charm. Endearing post, well written, rated.
1. I LOVED Herbie Goes Bananas. It far outshines any spelling test so I see your logic.

2. I wish you could have sat next to my son because he also suffered from the "what's taking everybody so long?" syndrome. In second grade his teacher told me he had finished his work early and gotten into trouble for entertaining the class by pretending to be a "flightless chicken". By the end of the year they had figured out how to keep up with him -sorry Mrs. Miller didn't get it.

3. I LOVE who you are.
Priceless!!! Just hilarious! But it does go to show the idiocy of one size fits all teaching.

When I was a kid I threw rocks at my brothers' friends and set fields on fire. Still do...
I call dibs after Surly.
Well did you get whipped? Just curious...Love that you still have the notes and spelling test. That is rather cool!
I think you were a brilliant precoious child who didn't need a wipping...you were a great kid who needed more chanllenges in her life.
Post was fun to read...especially the supporting documents.
Great r.
ta ta - Could that face have been up to something sneaky?

Thoth - I like to call it spunk.

Melissa - 1. Right?

2. I'm so glad they figured it out! Flightless chicken - awesome!

3. Awww, thanks.

Harry - And I still stick my tongue out at people. Sometimes the good stuff just shouldn't fade away.

Aric - Perfect. A line is forming. I could probably use a good spanking though.

LL - My mom just sent them to me the other day out of the blue. Really funny stuff in there. The poor thing had her hands full. And yes, I imagine I broke my contract. Repeatedly.
Steve - Luckily the parents felt so as well. Although I got wipped a few times for completely unrelated things. Thanks for stopping by.
I want the pink phone pleeessee, I also love to talk, the more you tell me to be quiet, the more your pressing the talk button. If the teacher would have said "miss so and so would you like to speak to the class, please come up front". I might have been afronted rather than reprimanded. I love your story, and you were adorable.
I like that #1 and #3 are basically the same thing. You were a smart one. My parents always had to sit through the "he could do well if he would just apply himself" teacher meetings.
no, no, your teachers were lunatics! You are adorable! OK, you remind me a lot of me so maybe that's why I think you were a terrific kid.
I always treasured my 1st grade report card because my teacher called me a "precious one." It wasn't until a few years ago i found the report card again. I was shocked to see the teacher had written "precocious one." Huh.
Anyway, you were one terrific kid!_r
oh my word you were cute!
Mrs. Miller clearly needs a Valium.

You? Precocious? I never would have guessed. I swear our mother's knew the same photographer.
What a cute brat! Of course I'm inclined to be sympathetic because I'm also a natural born chatterbox. I actually said my first words at 5 months and, according to the standard family joke, "Haven't shut up ever since."
I bet your parents seretly looked forward to the report cards for comic relief.
This is absolutely wonderful. You were the most gorgeous little girl. Do you still have that hair? My mom never saved any of our childhood writings, but I have boxes of my daughters' writings. They would never forgive me if I borrowed them.
I have a spelling test in which I got bored writing the same word over and over again, so I started rearranging the letters. They were all there, just not always in the same order.
I enjoyed the John Hancocky-ness of your signature on the list.
Wow, this brought back memories! Those fake play phones (actually lots of little girls got those - not me, though, and boy was I jealous), teachers taking something like this so seriously (it seems quaint now, doesn't it?) My 3rd grade teacher called me her "walkie talkie doll" because I preferred to walk around and talk to people instead of doing whatever I was supposed to be doing. Sadly, I got sick just before 4th grade and was on some meds that year made me dopey and disengaged. Quite a change, and not for the better.

Of course, today they'd diagnose you with ADHD and drug you up. You're lucky you just got scolded.
This is sooo cute! I'm amazed that you have those school papers from your childhood. I wonder what Mrs. Miller is doing these days? Maybe you should look her up.
Adorable and very funny! Attention deficit?...oh! look at that chicken!
I absolutely loved this, thank you, after a crap day, it was just like bein' at the ranch....throwing back a cold one and laughing my ass off.
What everyone else said.
And that red hair!!!
No wonder.
I love how at the ripe old age of seven you completely got Mrs. Miller's knickers in a knot, and you've been enjoying it ever since! Keep up the good work!!!
A+ for Conduct
You remind me of my best childhood friend. Coincidentally, her name is Julie! Except she had brown hair styled in one of those short pixie haircuts that were so popular with a certain type of 1960's mom. She was smarter than the rest and it drove adults crazy because she saw through their bullshit and let them know it! Boy, did we have fun! Great post!
Hi Julie ... I just read this so sorry to be a bit behind the state of play. I enjoyed it tremendously. I'm so glad you survived having a teacher with such terrible penmanship and communication skills! BTW, I was a little freckle-faced redhead too!
I want to know more about the poor guy you cornered during his tanning gig.
Nice penmanship!

What a clueless teacher! I think that early primary education attracts some wonderful and atrocious characters, and few in the middle. My own first grade teacher would get red faced and yell at me because I was distracted from my work by her conducting a different reading group's session two feet from my desk. She also threatened to make me repeat first grade if I didn't learn to skip rope 100 times. (I wrote about her a few months ago.)

A teacher told my mom once that my sister couldn't be all that smart because "she was so quiet."

It should have been obvious that you were bored. Who are these people who don't understand kids or think that all kids operate the same who want to go into teaching?
With that red hair, what did they expect?!

So when you think back on "who was the crummiest teacher you had in grade school" was it Mrs. Miller? Just curious, mine were Miss Vanecek (bitter old maid) and Sr. Mildred (self-admitted child hater) in the 3rd and 4th grades respectively.

Oh yeah, I used to get "C" in conduct all of the time - I don't think they even give out grades for conduct any more!
Now if not for chance, I would have missed this entirely. Did you miss the memo on all posts after 4 requiring a pm to me? Dammit.

Two things - 1- you were cute as hell 2- spelling is overrated. Next time you need a contract like that, contact me, I am certified in student advocacy - we will make them pay for violating your rights as a free spirit.

;) Love this!
A few years back, I came across a note from my kindergarten teacher that said, "I had to punish T in class today for snorting like a pig. That's right. SNORTING - like a pig!" All I could think was, (while laughing) was what in the world possessed this woman to become a teacher of 5 year olds?

(and I used to read during my spelling tests, too, so I totally believe you that Herbie was way better than "dr--")
Hilarious and adorable. I absolutely love the photos. You were so cute!!!
Bonnie - Then I could have blamed everything on you!

Mom - See, I totally would have said okay and just walked right up there.

Ocular - My brother got those talks too. Stupid teachers.

Joan - It's the joy of looking back with grown-up eyes. Some of this stuff is hysterical. I bet you're still precious though.

WAH - Ha! Indeed it's lucky. Just look at that pic, it look like I've just done something and am trying to turn it on. Like, "who me? With this face?"

Amanda - Believe me, it's faded.

Sparky - She totally needed a Vallium - or a shot of something. Or to not be teaching children! Some of the pictures I have to wonder who thought those props were a good idea?

Eva - That's why we can get away with it.

Blondie - You know it. Hours of entertainment.

RSG - I do, it's a bit more auburnish now, except in the summer, then it's strawberry blonde. Weird. My dad used to throw water on my head when I was a kid and then say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought your head was on fire." And they wonder where I get it from.

Em - You were way smarter than me! And you still are. And now I'm pulling your imaginary pigtail.

John of Village of Whitefish Bay - It has a nice flair, no?

Silky - But look at you now, baby! Fabulous as can be.

Barky - If I'd known all I had to do was flash my guns to get ratings I would've done it a long time ago! And yeah, I think once I figured out that people said red-head's were fiery, I used that excuse a lot. "It's not me! It's the hair! I can't...control...it..."

McGrew - I'll work on one immediately.

Bell - My mom must have saved everything. She just keeps sending me things at random. Really funny to look back.

Mac - Thanks! Wait, I forgot what you said already...

Sheila - That's what we do at ours everyday, glad I could help!

Nick - Now that the secret's out, maybe they'll cut me some slack. It has a mind of it's own, ya know?

G - I love it. It's pretty weird that I haven't changed a whole lot - personality wise - in twenty years.

Nelly - Your friend sounds like the best ever! Plus, when you're a kid and can see through bullshit, they can't react like a wold banshee when you call them on it.

Kate - Yay! We should form a posse or something.

Wooly - You would.

D - I have no idea! It's like she was totally surprised at a child's childish behavior. Bizarre. I think I remember that post, but I'll go back and take a look just to be sure.

blue - If you can imagine, I bet it was my third grade teacher, Miss Shannon. She was a little round ball of a thing and just didn't seem to like kids all that much - wait, I think she's literally a combination of your two. (Of course, that's not counting many, many a professor.)

Ann - Damn, I needed you back in the day. I bet the have a drawer full of contracts - all unfulfilled, of course. Thanks!

Ta ta - See? I knew I was totally normal. Back then. Now?...

Aw, Gwen, thanks!
oh the hand slaps i received in class for poor spelling!
Heeheehee. I was the complete opposite--rarely talked to anyone, even on the playground. Kept getting annoyed when the teachers would make kids come over and try to play with me. I have my 2nd grade religion book, which was supposed to prepare us for First Communion. There's a question in there about what you should do if you see a kid playing all be himself on the playground. I wrote "Leave him alone" and got that marked wrong.

I also had to fill in the blank "I am thankful to God for the sound of____." I wrote "the bell on Friday." Yeah, that went over well.

I have quite the collection of report cards. I will have to have them scanned in at some point.

I spelled OK, but had straight Cs and Ds in handwriting through 3rd grade (they stopped grading it after that). Could not, for the life of me, get the letters and words spaced right or lined up properly on the page. Got plenty of "she's obviously a bright girl...if she'd just try harder I know she could do it." GAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

I still have horrible handwriting.
I love "Julies Five Reasons For Not Reading a Book During Spelling Test." It's wonderful your mother saved that for you! R.
marc - At least it was your hand!

Donna - So true. She had it easy.

Leeandra - I love that! If you wanted to be alone, then they should leave you alone, right? Although I probably would have been that kid that tried to make you talk to me.

Thankfully we have keyboards now!

Aw, thanks Stellaa.

Patty - I'm sure there's a ton of much more embarrassing things she saved as well. Thanks for dropping by.