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Meet the creators of Jimmy Gimmy and Gimmy Gum!

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Team EEK! (l-r) is Emmett, Ethan, Keith and Janet Eldred

Click here to see events already scheduled.
Click here for printable handouts.

Call 814-695-7631 or email to organize an event where...

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current list
Upcoming Team EEK! events:

YOUR EVENT could be next!
Call 814-695-7631 or email us

 

Past Team EEK! events:

August 10, 2004
Hollidaysburg Area Public Library
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This was the first Team EEK! event since the Altoona Mirror announced the serial. And Team EEK! is still getting used to speaking to the public about the book. So what do you call their early audiences? Gimmy Pigs, of course!

Jimmy Gimmy gets frustrated with the things he can't change about himself. One boy mentioned that he sometimes gets frustrated with having diabetes. Sometimes other kids don't understand why he has to snack to keep his blood sugar up, and sometimes he feels weak or faint. But this was the same boy who wants to do something special in sports one day!

August 28, 2004
Lakemont Park
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Team EEK! makes its first appearance in Team EEK! shirts:

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October 1, 2004
Lewis M. Myers Elementary School
Bellwood, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The debut of the GIMMY CHEER:

Gimme a G
Gimme an I
Gimme an MMY
Gimme Gimmy
Gimme Gimmy
Gimme Gimmy Gum

Keith was assisted by six young ladies in their own cheerleader outfits
(it being a football Friday, after all).

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October 22, 2004
Grocers Fight Cancer Days
Giant Eagle
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Also appearing in the store was a successful author who lives around the corner from Team EEK! Mr. Dennis McIlnay signed our copy of his entertaining and informative book "Juniata: River of Sorrows." Read about it at www.sevenoakspress.com. He commented that our area is becoming a regular Greenwich Village.

October 24, 2004
Halloween Fest
Canoe Creek State Park
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: We were scheduled to give tips on creating a jack-o-lantern face, but due to cold, wet weather (see picture of Janet below), the carving started early, so instead we presented drawings of the "Jimmy Gimmy" characters AS jack-o-lanterns! Kids came up and helped color in the drawings.

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October 31, 2004
Open House
Hollidaysburg Area Public Library

HIGHLIGHTS: We met Hollidaysburg's mayor, Mr. James Shoemaker.

January 21, 2005
Foot of Ten Elementary School
Duncansville, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: It was the first school visit with all of Team EEK! present. Our host was Mrs. Diane Vella, the wife of New Pig Corporation president Nino Vella, the basis for the "Jimmy Gimmy" character MeMo. We had to improvise when our laptop wouldn't work with the school projector. Principal Bob Gildea (our neighbor from around the corner and up the block) let us borrow his laptop.

April 22, 2005
Day of the Arts
Charles W. Longer Elementary School
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This was our second appearance at the Longer Elementary Day of the Arts, but the first as published authors. We were able to pass around an actual printed copy that was delivered to us just the evening before at the Meadows Frozen Custard Stand.

May 14, 2005
Boy Scout Camporee
Grange Fairgrounds
Centre Hall, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The beach balls are a hit! This was our first event using beach balls of various colors and patterns to represent the characters (see below). Also, this was our first time judging a bubble blowing contest. Keith tried to "jimmygimmy" (improvise on the spot) a set of calipers using coat hangers, but Janet suggested a much simpler solution: having two contestants blow bubbles at once, while Team EEK! judged whose was bigger. A scout named Toby received the book as a prize.

CHARACTER BALL COLOR BALL PATTERN BECAUSE...
Jimmy Blue Swirl Boy with swirling mind
Trizza Pink Soccer ball Ultimate tomboy
Tim White Baseball Big League All-Star
Maria Clear Heart shapes inside Calm and caring
Grimpa Black & red Flames Can be a hothead
Whim Silver Solid Elderly scientist
Murk Black Solid Mean bully
Big Stick Black Solid, very large ball Dark and dominating
Skateboarder Black & white Eight ball Mysterious
Spyro Purple Babble face Babbler with purple car
Lulu Yellow Smiley face Laughs a lot
Ssassi Black Solid, very small ball Felonious feline

May 18, 2005
First Book - Blair County Board Meeting
YWCA Building
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Sharing an idea to provide books for this valuable program serving children in program such as Head Start, which benefited Keith as a child. Also, Emmett liked the free cheese!

May 26, 2005
New Pig Corporation
Tipton, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: It was an honor to be able to use a room at New Pig for our first book signing, due to the books many New Pig connections. We held our first Bubble Blowing Contest, served Ritchey's Bubble Gum Ice Cream and raised $40 for the American Cancer Society.

May 27, 2005
Hollidaysburg YMCA
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The first public installment of the Bubble Blowing Contest, with the first contestant in the Kids category, Mary Kathryn Modico of Altoona (age 5, 2" bubble). We briefly tried moving the signing outdoors, but the sign blew over!

May 28, 2005
The Bookstore
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Our first bookstore signing! Emmett's second-grade teacher, Cathy Rodgers, was our first bookstore customer, buying a book for Rhonda King, the former librarian at the boys' school, Charles W. Longer Elementary. Joanna "Jo Jo"  Fliss took the lead in the Kids Category with a 7" bubble.

May 29, 2005
Logan Valley Mall
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: A dry run for the first bubble contest in the Mall the following Saturday.

June 4, 2005
Logan Valley Mall
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: One lady had a bubble of about nine inches, but she blew it while Keith was busy measuring another bubble. All she got for her effort was gum in her hair. But she was a good sport.

June 7, 2005
Hollidaysburg Rotary
Calvin House
Duncansville, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Janet mentioned the Jimmy Gimmy book while updating the Rotary on happenings at the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library.

June 16, 2005
Altoona Area Public Library
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This was the debut of the full "Follow that Crazy Dream!" show, featuring the Bad Pantomime (this night featuring a subsitute Emmett and substitute Janet, because the real articles were at a rescheduled ball game of Emmett's)... Beach Ball Theater... Balloon Brigage... Bedtime Story... Bubble Blowing Contest (one contestant, a mom, balanced a baby on her lap while also fending off her six-year-old daughter from popping her bubble)... and a Bonus Bedtime Story.

June 18, 2005

The Bookstore
Huntingdon

HIGHLIGHTS: Twin teenage girls blew twin bubbles of 7-1/16".

June 25, 2005
The Bookstore
Bedford, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This was a HOT day, so Ethan and Emmett took turns ducking into The Bookstore for the air conditioning. Leslie Costlenock of Greensburg took over the lead in the Grandmothers Only category with a bubble of 7-3/8" and then 8". Her sister, Darlene Laliberte of Mount Pleasant, also entered, but ran out of wind at about 4".

June 29, 2005
Bellwood-Antis Public Library
Bellwood, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The highest attendance yet at an event outside of a school. 

July 2, 2005
Logan Valley Mall
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The contest gained new leaders in four categories: Moms Only (Susan Rocci, 9.5625"), Dads Only (John Green, Jr., 7.675"), Kids Only (Alexis Mirenda, 8.125") and Open (Steve Planisky, 8.125").

July 9, 2005
Claysburg Area Public Library
Claysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Finally! A grandfather enters! Jay Medasie came in with granddaughter Samantha to help her get a library card--and ended up being the first contestant in this category.

July 15, 2005
Hollidaysburg Church of the Brethren
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Another spirited competition that produced a new leader for both the Grandmothers (Karen Brown, 8.75") and Dads (Bronze O'Neal, 9.5625"). With multiple bubblers blowing at once, Keith had to fly around the fellowship hall trying to catch bubbles before they burst. He often couldn't make it in time!

July 16, 2005
Williamsburg Public Library
Williamsburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Team EEK! learned an important lesson about the importance of CONFIRMING an event date. In other words, the Library didn't know for sure that we were coming. However, this turned out to be one of the most fun of all the sessions. Several children came on short notice, thanks to a call made by Director Lugene Shelly, and three of them blew large bubbles and became serious contest contenders.

July 23, 2005
Hollidaysburg Area Public Library
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Adam Baughman of Hollidaysburg blew three bubbles over 4" but lost another to a poke from little brother Thad. Two other bubblers blew their way into the top three of the kids' category--Austin Schobel, Hollidaysburg (8.25") and Justin Harpster (7.5625"). We know where Austin gets some of those good bubbling genes; Pam Schobel puffed into second place in the Moms Only category (9.5").

July 23, 2005
Baird Reunion
Canoe Creek State Park
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: We finally have a top three in the Grandfather's category, meaning three contestants overall. George "Buddy" Baird took the lead (5.375"), then Ted Baird blew him away (7.5"). Frankie Pandolfino took the overall lead in the open category (9.125").

July 27, 2005
Hollidaysburg Area YMCA Book Club

HIGHLIGHTS: Our first time speaking to a book club.

July 30, 2005
The Mercantile
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This outlet for local and heritage goods would be a perfect location to offer the old-fashioned chicle-based (natural rubber-based) gum that we're experimenting with manufacturing. It's the same stuff that old-time railroaders would have chewed!

July 30, 2005
Logan Valley Mall
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The afternoon produced four new records in the Bubble-Blowing Contest, including the first bubble over a foot across! Blowing  into the lead were: Karen Avramides, Altoona (9.125", Grandmothers Only), Joey Myers, Altoona (11.25", Dads Only), Wendi Walsh, Homer City (10.125", Kids Only), and overall leader Laura Hughes, Cresson (12.5," Open).

August 13, 2005
Belvidere Old Home Day
Belvidere, Vermont
(Unofficial Bubble Blowing Contest)

HIGHLIGHTS: The day went from gray (weather) to great (weather and lots more). Curt Koonz and Emmett M. Eldred (who both have cameos in the book) helped Keith set up a shady canopy area for the contest. There were over 30 entries, with the largest bubble of the day by Susan Wells (8.25"). Actually, there was an unofficial bubble of 9.875"; Kid's category winner Brandon Davis had already used his three tries.
     Team EEK! marched in the morning parade. Keith carried the Contest sign as a banner, and the breeze often caught it, sometimes pulling him forward and sometimes pushing him back. We had to avoid horse droppings, too. Toward the turnaround point, we all had to move aside for the ambulance in the parade to move up and get a marcher (an Army reserve soldier) who went down with heat stroke. One of the entries were Angelina's Restaurant (a man and a boy each throwing rubber practice dough--watch for that to appear in a story as a Gimmy Gum Lab accident. There were also two clowns killing flies with giant swatters as a Swat Team. And this was cute--a lawn tractor pulling a trailer with small kids and a sign saying "My Mommy Sells Tupperware." Ethan threw gum samples on the parade route going up town, and Emmett threw them on the way back. Near Beverly Eldred's house, the bucket of gum slipped from Emmett's hand, and we had to pause to pick up all the gum; it created a gap of about 100 yards in front of us.
     During the day, Janet entered the Frying Pan Throwing Contest (she undoubtedly would have done better with a left-handed frying pan). Ethan and Emmett played a lot of bingo. Leona Eldred (half the name source for Leah Valley) won in the Grandmothers category with a bubble of 1.5" and donated her book to the auction, where Cheryl Spaulding won it for $15.00--more than the cover price. Also at the auction, we got a good deal on a pizza gift certificate and used it that evening before returning to the dance, where we had a great time talking with Michael Eldred (another cameo guy).

August 27, 2005
Logan Valley Mall
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The Mall was as busy as we've seen it, and we had a steady flow of contestants. These included five young ladies under age twelve from Bellefonte (not all sisters), and two friends from Northern Cambria both named Kayla. James Knepp of Mifflin surged into the lead in the Dads category with a bubble of 12.125."

August 27, 2005
Altoona Mirror Day
Lakemont Park
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: In a way, this was the first annniversary of Team EEK! It was one year earlier at this event that we first wore our team shirts. Emmett's is now getting tight and has undergone some darning in the front (a replacement is on order). This was a rainy day, but we had a steady flow of contenstants.

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September 10, 2005
Logan Valley Mall
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: We particularly enjoyed a visit from three happy young ladies from Keith Junior High, as well as meeting Luke Beaver and mom Rhonda from Huntingdon, who bought a book.

September 27, 2005
21st Century Program
Foot of Ten Elementary School
Duncansville, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: A few mixups on this one! Janet was away at the state library conference. Keith and Emmett arrived barely on time, and Ethan came late; he was at the Hollidaysburg Area Library doing homework when one of Janet's staff reminded him about the event, which was coordinated by children's librarian Melanie Ramsay. The helpful staffer, Crystal, gave Ethan a ride over. By the time he appeared, we had completed the Team EEK! Can't-omime with Danielle, a *female* stand-in for Ethan! A first!

October 1, 2005
Logan Valley Mall
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Our final contest appearance at the Mall was one of the most fun. Janine Henehan (a professional E-Bayer along with her husband) blew 12" (only the third bubble of 12" or more that we've seen). Grandmother Leigh Bowser of Altoona roared into first in her category with a bubble of 10.75"; she was a few stores away from the food court with a huge bubble, so her daughter called to Keith ("Bubble Man! Bubble Man!") to come in a hurry and measure it; Leigh also told us a story about a time that she blew a bubble so big in the family car that her husband pulled over so everyone could watch. We also had a return visit from three contestants who had received the invitations to the finals that we had mailed; Stephanie Brooks was even carrying her letter with her!

October 10, 2005
Bellwood-Antis Public Library
Bellwood, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This was a very pleasant one-stop-shopping event organized by the Bellwood-Antis Community Trust, including Keith's fellow New Pigger, Tammy Johns. Team EK (Emmett and Keith; Ethan and Janet had to be elsewhere) especially enjoyed meeting Sue Port Simon, who was selling jewelry, and learning about her CD project involving child adoption. Emmett was very helpful setting up, tearing down and delivering snacks to Dad.

October 15, 2005
Olde Tyme Faire
Canal Basin Park
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: What a great day! We set up under the huge yellow tent in front of the Reiser House, next to the Friends of the Library; Janet hopped back and forth between both stands. When we were at the Library picking up tables and chairs for the Friends' booth, a Hollidaysburg teacher happened to come in looking for us, to request a future appearance!
     The weather was glorious all day, except for wind that kept kicking up; we had to figure out how to tie everything down and had to jump up regularly to hang onto things. Still it knocked over a framed picture that we had and broke the glass (no one hurt!). And it frequently lifted posts at the edge of the tent, so that someone had to shift them back into place (including County Commissioner Donna Gority during one episode).
     Ethan and Emmett spent much of the day playing chess with super-size pieces:

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     And of course, we had the finals for the Bubble Blowing Contest! Great fun ranging from a half-inch bubble taking the Grandfathers category (there was only one contestant present!) to the biggest bubble we've ever seen--13.125" from Janine Henahan. For full results, click here.
     One more thing: Later in the day, we discovered that we are being honored at the supermarket! (sort of...)

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October 18, 2005
21st Century Leadership Program
Foot of Ten Elementary School
Duncansville, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Keith got three adults to volunteer to enter a demonstration bubble-blowing contest along with Emmett--teachers Mr. Green and Mr. Mike, and Hollidaysburg Area Public Library children's librarian Melanie "Miss Melanie" Ramsey--and then got the kids to choose a contestant to win. About 18 kids guessed Mr. Green, a tall and young teacher, while Mr. Mike got about 6 percent of the crowd, Emmett got 3, and Miss Melanie had only 1 backer. But the sleeper winner was ... Miss Melanie! With a fine bubble of 8.125"!

October 29, 2005
Fall Fun Fest
Hollidaysburg Area Public Library

Halloween Parade
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This was a full day, with the Library holding an all-day Fun Fest where Team EEK! appeared, followed by the huge annual Halloween parade, in which Team EEK! marched and threw gum and coupons. On top of all that, we were helping dedicate the handicapped access ramp at our church with 24 hours of prayer, including a 4-hour shift by Keith starting at midnight. At the Fun Fest, Margaret Rhodes (part owner of the company that prints the Team EEK! shirts) blew an 11.25" bubble! At the parade, we chilled out (literally; it was cold!) for about an hour until the parade got moving. After that, it was a frenzy of throwing candy and passing out coupons. We ended up falling behind the parade entry that was originally behind us. It was great fun to pass out the coupons and hear many people say "Jimmy Gimmy!" with recognition.

November 10, 2005
Tyrone Elementary School
Tyrone, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: They made us banners! Signed by everyone in two enthusiastic classes reading "Tornado Maker." Here they are:

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These kids and their teachers, Barb Elder and Jim Kohler, are really into the story! When they read each new installment, they even have an older student come into the class and chart out the details, like so:

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November 17, 2005
Blair County Reading Council
Charles W. Longer Elementary School
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: The debut of Gimmy Gum! That very day, McIntyre's Candies packed the collectible Gimmy Gum boxes for the first time, and this audience got to be the first to take some home.
     For this event, Ethan walked across town in the cold. It was about fifteen degress with the wind chill that evening. Janet was out of town at a librarian's conference. Emmett was at a reading competition (his team took a third-place ribbon). Ethan had an SAT practice, then stopped at the Hollidaysburg Library to do his homework. After I (Keith) left Emmett's competition (Emmett would get a ride home with his grandmother), I called Ethan at the Library to ask if he could make the Team EEK! appearance. "Too much homework," he said. I wished him luck and went on to Longer myself. But a few minutes into my talk, Ethan appeared, red from the walk across town. He'd come after all. It wasn't a climb of Everest, but it still meant a lot to me.

January 12, 2006
Wright Elementary School
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Emmett and Keith (Team EK?) presented two assemblies to the entire school. It was the debut of our original skit in rhyme—Claude, Clyde, Clowns and Claude.

April 14, 2006
Waterville Elementary School
Waterville, VT

HIGHLIGHTS: This was an unplanned visit! This school is the successor to the old three-classroom Waterville Central School that Keith attended. We'd been planning for a while to arrange a visit. Since we were in town for Easter, Tina (Keith's) sister came up with the idea of simply dropping in and seeing what happened! What happened was two fun presentations in the school's nifty little amphitheater within their equally nifty library and computer center! Here we are in the amphitheater, in EEK! order but not in team shirts, because we hadn't packed them!

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April 21, 2006
Longer Elementary School
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Our third appearance at Day of the Arts. Observant students asked why our display included three "E" shirts when there are only two members with the initial "E." The answer: One of the shirts was Emmett's first team shirts, which he outgrew.

May 12, 2006
Jackson Miller Elementary School
McAlevy's Fort, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: What fun this was! We appeared at the invitation of Janet's cousin, Dee Shope, who teaches at this school with 65 kids in grades one through six. The entire school has been hearing the original Jimmy Gimmy story at lunch time. They were up to Chapter 33, so we had to be careful not to give away the ending. Keith enjoyed showing his slide of himself in the second grade, when there were only three other second-graders--half the number of the Jackson Miller second grade.

July 16, 2006
Begin With Us Pre-School
Summer Scorch Program
Altoona, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: Ethan and Emmett were away at camp, and we had THREE cousins act as substitutes in the "E" shirts. How is that possible? Kenny wore Emmett's original shirt that he outgrew, Jonathan wore his new shirt, and Jared wore Ethan's shirt. Two name sources watched the show: Janet's mother and sister, Leah and Linda.

September 30, 2006
Heritage Fair
Camp Blue Diamond
Alexandria, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: This was the first time that Ethan sketched portraits alongside me. Special. Made me very proud. We raised $95 for the camp.

October 14, 2006
Olde Tyme Faire
Canal Basin Park
Hollidaysburg, PA

HIGHLIGHTS: It was fun to sell Gimmy Gum at this Civil War-era event. Emmett hiked back and forth between our stand at this event, and the corresponding event on Allegheny Street in town, where the Library had a stand selling many items, including the first test batch of Staxie, the private-label candy that we helped develop.

December 7, 2006
"I Challenge Charlie"
Hollidaysburg Area Public Library
Hollidaysburg, PA

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