Friday, April 5, 2013

Author Debbie Roppolo

My Very First Guest
I would like to welcome my first guest, Debbie Roppolo to my blog. Debbie is the talented children's author of The Amelia Frump Series.

 I'm Here To Catch You
By: Debbie Roppolo 

I shivered and jumped in place, trying to regain feeling in my feet. I’d only been in line ten minutes, and already the autumn night breeze had turned me into a living popsicle.

“Sweetheart, please.  It’s too chilly out here,” Mama said, taking my hand. “Let’s go back to your classroom.”

I jerked away, ignoring protests from the other children as I pushed back into line.  “It’s not my fault,” I pouted.  “You’re the one who wanted me to be a ballerina.  The costume I wanted was a lot warmer.”

My mother rubbed her temples.  “I’ve told you before, little girls don’t dress as Spiderman.  But that’s not the point.  It’s cold, and if you stay out here, you’re gonna get sick again.”

The previous year, in kindergarten, I’d been hospitalized with pneumonia.  Even though becoming a human pin cushion and a disposal for medication wasn’t among my favorite things, nothing would budge me from my place in line.

I frowned and shook my head.  “No.  I’m gonna do this,” I said, pointing at the pony ride.  “And there are just a few more people in front of me.”  We had ponies at home, but this ride was special.

Mama closed her eyes and exhaled. “Okay, ten more minutes, and that’s it.”

I didn’t understand what changed her mind.  Perhaps it’s because she knew the real reason for my stubbornness, or maybe she couldn’t resist an I-told-you-so lecture if I became ill.

I rocked from one foot to the other as the line inched forward.  I glanced over my shoulder, hoping that Mama, caught in a wave of maternal regret, didn’t yank me inside sooner than expected. 

Finally, I reached the front of the line.  The attendant, a distinguished, middle-aged man, smiled and winked at me.   “Well,” he drawled.   “What do we have here, an angel, or a fairy princess?”

I giggled and threw my arms around him, burying my nose in the collar of his duster, enjoying the intermingling scents of Stetson and horses.  “You know it’s me, Daddy.”

“So it is.” He frowned at the sight of my slipper-clad feet.  “Not exactly the right shoes for riding.  Mind that your feet don’t go all the way through the stirrups,” he said, helping me onto a bored sorrel pony.  “But I don’t need to tell you how to ride.”

As the ponies plodded in a circle, my saddle began sliding sideways. I leaned to the right, hoping my shifted weight would straighten it. The pony turned its head and stared at me, a malicious gleam in its eye.  Every few steps, it bounced its back feet off the ground, causing the saddle to slip further.  I gulped and grabbed onto the saddle horn; soon I would be tasting concrete.

The sound of Daddy yelling whoa rang in my ears as I felt strong hands grabbing my waist.  My father sat me on a nearby hay bale.  “Looks like you were  in a pickle.  No need to tell Mama what happened, she worries enough.” 

I threw myself into Daddy’s arms.  “I…I was so scared,” I wailed.  “I thought that mean pony was gonna smush me like a cupcake.” 

My father smiled and wiped away the tears.  “No need to worry,” he said.  “You should’ve known I would be there to catch you.” 

Throughout my childhood, Daddy not only caught me in the physical sense, but metaphorically as well.

The son of a farmer during the Depression, my father believed life was filled with adversity; but coupled with determination and faith, hardships could be overcome.  It was the philosophy he practiced every day, and it was this lesson that helped me cope with his untimely death, and years later, discovering my youngest son, Joseph, was autistic.

A few months after his sixth birthday, against my better judgment, I gave in to Joseph’s pleading when he chose the pony ride at a local Fall carnival. “Are you sure you wanna do this?” I whispered.  “This isn’t like riding the plastic horse at the grocery store.”

Joseph frowned and nodded his head.  “Watch this.” 

Puffing his chest out, he handed the pony attendant a ticket, then mounted the biggest horse in the circle. My child resembled a wad of forgotten bubble gum on the back of the leggy Welsh pony. 

Smiling, he squealed and flapped, a characteristic of autistic children.  My heart plunged, along with Joseph’s bravado as the sorrel pony whinnied, and crab-stepped nervously.  

Pulse racing, I flung the gate open and pushed past the attendant.  “I’m helping him,” I said, pointing at Joseph.  The distance between us seemed ever-widening as I made my way across the trampled sawdust to my child.

“It’s okay,” I soothed, patting Joseph’s knee.  “I’m here to catch you, always.”  And I will be, just as my father had for me.

Debbie Roppolo is an award-winning writer and the author of the Amelia Frump series (released by DWB Children's Line). She resides in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and two children.

For more info about Debbie, please visit:


  1. From the Texas Hill country? Nice place! We visit there often--north of San Antonio.

  2. It is so nice to learn about the author behind the book. Thanks for visiting my site, Debbie!

  3. Thanks for having me, Victoria!

    It is, Michele, and I love living here. :o)

  4. Hi Deb, nice to meet you. This sounds like a lovely series for the children. I wish you much success.

  5. Thanks, Lorrie and Cheryl! It's nice to meet you both as well. This isn't an excerpt out of my book, it's just an essay about my dad my relationship. :o)