Excerpt for Find the Hidden States! The Ippicino Family’s Sleepy, Busy Saturday by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Find the Hidden States!

The Ippicino Family’s
Sleepy, Busy Saturday

A Short Story

With Answer Key

Mark A. Gillespio

Illustration: Niki Garets

Copyright (c) 1999, 2018

All Rights Reserved. No part may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission.

The linguistic resemblances of the following 43 U.S. states are hidden throughout this fictional story. Find them using ordinary conversational lingo. Disregard word, sentence, and paragraph boundaries. Disregard syllable stress.

Example: “Mississippi” in “Mrs. Ippicino.”






























New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New York




Rhode Island








*Less exact pronunciation

**Reader favorite

The Scene

A midwestern country homestead

Late spring


Family Characters

Marco, 47

Linda, 42

Rorie, 16

Sharie, 16

Della, 13

Carol, 10

Kent, 7

Nettie, 4

Nessie, 4

Mary, family friend

“OH YAWN, IT’S 9 o’clock and I haven’t gotten the laundry started,” mumbled Linda Ippicino to herself as she groggily poked out from under the covers. Saturday morning found the family off to a late start on the day, and Linda looked over at her dozing husband. “Marco, up,” she nudged. Mr. and Mrs. Ippicino and their seven kids lived on a sprawling midwestern country homestead a few miles from town.

Marco got up and leafed through the newspaper comics while Linda began the weekend laundry washing. Tons of clothes, it seemed, had piled up during the week into scattered messes around the home.

Seven-year-old Kent curiously peeked over his father’s shoulder at the newspaper, where a blue boys’ bicycle called out from a bright color ad. “Oh look-ee... I wannit, wannit!” he exclaimed, springing up to the sofa.

“Hey son, ‘tain’t your birthday yet.”

The Ippicino family’s hardworking -- and hard-playing -- habits made certain that their clothes never made it to the hamper without a layer of dirt and grass stains, if then. Linda liked to sprinkle powdered Wisk on pieces of laundry that were extra-dirty. “Drat no!” she groused as the box slipped, splashing powder across the hardwood floor. Wispy clouds of detergent floated slowly to the living room.

Before long, Marco found himself wiping his eyes and sniffling and sneezing... and sneezing and sneezing. The bustling spring sounds of the outdoors retreated through the open-flung windows as the raucous morning cacophony began to amass “ah-aah-aachoo’s!” Sets of heirloom china in the curio cabinet rattled next to fragile, old-fashioned carnival glassware. The wavy glass lites in the grids of the bungalow's windowpanes tinkled in their sashes.

His thoughts huffy, Marco grabbed a hoe and trudged stridently to the garden, with Kent in sandals matching his tracks. Dad squinted at the potato bed. “Chuminny! Those weeds! If I’d a’ thunk it sooner, I’d a’ hoed ‘em down earlier!” Kent began whacking at the plants with a large twig. “Sonny! Go help Mommy.”

Kent meandered back to the laundry room where his mother was folding spotless bath towels used by recent guests. “Hey Kent, tuck each of these towels nicely in that drawer, please,” she asked.

"Meh, okay," he replied.

The oldest kids woke from their long overnight hibernation. Twin teenagers Rorie and Sharie sat down and began shoveling up a breakfast of Wheaties. Rorie noticed the tennis star on the box. “Betcha can’t beat me at tennis,” he teased his sister.

“Yeah right, betcha can, huh.”

After breakfast, they told their mom they were headed to the park. “Take a six-pack of pop along, and snacks too,” she suggested.


Soon the twins were sweating an energetic game of tennis on the court next to the park’s rolling gorge, but ended their efforts in a hopeless tie, collapsing onto the grassy terrain. Sharie extended her tongue before gulping down her fizzy strawberry cola with crunchy crackers. “Uh-huuuh, so you thought I couldn’t play tennis! See, I’m just as good as you are.”


Back at the house, 13-year-old Della woke up -- later, as usual -- and wondered where her older sister and brother were. “Aaach! Where’s Sharie and Rorie gone off to without me now? Again.” she grumbled.

“They went to play at the park,” explained Mom. “They’ll be back.”

“But! Aww! I really wanted to go too.” Della began lamenting her late, sleepy snooze-in, but a minute later a quiet knock sounded at the back door. She opened the door to find her friend Mary, surprising them both. “Mary... oh, hi!” Opening the door wider, Della exclaimed, “Happy you came over! Wanna go to the park?”

“Sure, sounds like fun,” Della's friend said, cheering her up.

“Well drat gummit,” Mom Linda deliberated to herself. “I just put all the play clothes in the wash... hmm... now what on earth could Della wear to the park right now?” She sprinted up the attic steps to look for summer clothes, and Kent scrambled along after her. After Mom finally dug a worn outfit out of a box, Della and Mary were off to the park, nabbing a few cinnamon rolls slathered in icing on their way out the door.

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