Miss Stiff


I was trying to think back to when the first real spark for writing happened to me.  In my teens, I would write those, love-sick, heart-wrenching poems to that boy that would never read it.  I never wanted anyone to see what I was writing because it was my deepest, love-sick secrets.  I also dabbled at keeping a diary at different times as a child, but I never stuck with it for very long.

Then in 7th grade, Junior High, I met my English Teacher, Miss Stiff.

Continue reading “Miss Stiff”

#writephoto-Magic-Snow Day


** This is for a prompt on Sue Vincent’s blog.  If you would like to get in on her weekly prompt, you can find out all about the fun here.  Sue gave us the beautiful photo above and the word Magic.  So this is my humble little offering: Snow Day Magic 

I finally released her from my grip and she burst out the front door and into the cold December morning.  It was the most magical of all days; a Snow Day!

A Snow Day means not only do you get to play in the snow, but there is NO School that day!  This is a miracle to a child.

Continue reading “#writephoto-Magic-Snow Day”

A Trip to the Library


I’m sitting on the floor, deeply engrossed in a book on Witchcraft.  The city library will be closing in 20 minutes.  I need to hurry.

This book has me mesmerized.  Spells and incantations.  I must have it.  I add it to the stack.

I stand and look down at my stack of books.  There are 12 of them.  I pick the stack up with a little grunt.

On the 2nd floor of the library, way back in the back;  I discovered this isle I had not seen before!  I have been pouring over the books on the shelves.  Magic and witchcraft!  How titillating, how forbidden!  Some of these books are old and yellowed.  This is all the more exciting to me!  Words from the ancients!

Carefully looking around the large stack in my arms, I walk down the steps and toward the front counter.

I’m 10 years old and it’s summertime.  School is out and I have spent the last couple of hours on this beautiful summer day in the library.

I love the summer months.  This means that I can read as much as I want to without the interruption of school.  The 12 books I am loaded down with will probably not last me a week.

But not all of them are for reading.  Some of the books are just for browsing; like the one on witchcraft.  I also have a big picture book on travel in Italy.

The other books are for reading.  Real reading.  I have a variety.  One is a biography on Abraham Lincoln.  One is a fanciful fiction about a little girl by Beverly Cleary, a favorite author.  There are others too that will be devoured this week.  I average reading about a book a day in the summertime.

I set my books up on the counter and present my library card to the lady working behind it.  She smiles at me, a familiar face here.  Quickly, the books are checked out and I happily walk out into the sunshine.

I hurry home so I can once again study and pick over my selection and decide which one to devour first.

***

Mom grumbles at me and tells me to go play outside.  Remember “outside”?  I do spend a lot of time outside and my skin turns as brown as bread in the summer sun.  But I’m drawn to a quiet spot to lose my self between the pages of a book.

A new book, was a new adventure waiting to happen.  I would read the book cover, a tease of what waited within the pages.  Nothing was more exciting!

 

 

 

 

H- Home


houses

I know, I know.  It’s been a while.

When I hear the word home I always get a little wispy.  I’ve moved So Many Times.  I’ve started over So Many times.  So the word Home probably has a different meaning to me than it does to you.

I didn’t grow up with lifelong childhood friends.  I remember few people I went school with because they were not in my life very long.

I lot of people can drive through their “home town” and drive right to the house they grew up in and point at it.  They can tell you all kinds of childhood memories about that house.

I have no home town or house I “grew up” in.

I grew up mostly in the back of the station wagon, or in a tent.  A lot of my very early childhood memories are of berry fields and orchards.  I would play among the fruit as my parents worked to harvest it.

Sure I went to school, but many different schools.

After I left home at the tender age of 16, I was on the move again.  I was a young woman without a brain cell in her head, trying to figure it all out.  I went wherever the wind or my inclination at the time led me.

Before I was 20 years old, I had lived in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin and Tennessee.  There may be more locations mixed in there that I don’t remember.

As an adult, (am I REALLY an adult?) I’ve continued to move again and again.

Once in a while I am a bit envious of those that had a steady upbringing.  Those kids that came home from school to the same house every day.  Or met up with friends they had had since the 2nd grade.  But then again, I’ve met people that have never left the county they now live in!  I can’t imagine that!

My life, good, bad or otherwise is what has shaped me into the person I am today.   I’m pretty pleased with that person.  When I look on the mirror and that (mature) woman looks back at me, I like to think that she did pretty well for herself!

I’m pretty sure that the specific house I’m in right now will not be my last.  I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I have the feeling that I’m right where I should be.

 

Biscuit Sandwich


brown-paper-lunch-bag-5079804

Lunchtime was always a time of trepidation for me.  Where would I sit?  Would that mean girl Ellen be there today?  Could I possibly ignore the stares and snickers?

I walked to the door of the cafeteria with my little brown paper sack.  We could never afford to BUY our lunch.  My shoulders were hunched.  It’s like I was trying to disappear inside my own skin.  I didn’t see Ellen, so I walked in looking for Nancy, my best friend.  There she was at a table by herself in the far corner.

I got in line to get my little carton of milk.  We couldn’t afford to have hot lunches, but mom always made sure we had the 10 cents for milk.  I was behind a big kid.  I was in the 6th grade. I’m guessing this kid was held back a grade or two.  He was as big as a house.

I was pushed from behind by a couple of boys cutting up in line.  It was not meant intentionally, but it pushed me square into the back of the giant ahead of me.  His knees buckled during the push and he almost fell to the floor.

He quickly spun around and barked a loud “HEY!!” at me.  I cringed and muttered an apology.  It was Dan.  Dan was the biggest, ugliest and meanest kid at Ben Franklin Elementary.  Dan gave me a little shove and said “Well, just watch it!”

I was able to get through the line and get my milk with any further incidents.

I hurried to cross the busy room and sat across the table from Nancy.  She was just finishing her little box of milk with a slurping sound as I joined her.  Our lunch times over lapped by only about 15 minutes, so I didn’t get to spend much time with my friend.

“Hi Nancy” I said, quietly.  She said “Hi Penny. What’s wrong?”

“Did you see Dan push me?  I thought he was going to kill me!”

“No I didn’t!” Nancy exclaimed.  “What happened?”

So I recounted the story to her.  I may have embellished just a little bit for drama.

Nancy and I had met the year before.  We were both outcasts.  Nancy’s family wasn’t any better off financially than mine was.  We both wore hand-me-downs.  We were made fun of because of our clothes, or our brown paper bag lunches.  Nancy wasn’t the prettiest girl in the world.  She wasn’t ugly, just plain.  Me, I had a big chip out of one of my front teeth.  This resulted in name calling like, “Snaggle Tooth”.

So Nancy and I were kindred spirits.  We bonded together out of self-defense.  Best friends.

Nancy shook her head.  “When is someone going to cut him down to size?”

“That’s the problem!” I said.  “He’s just too darned big!”

I opened my paper bag and looked inside.  I pulled out something wrapped in wax paper.  Setting the waxed paper bundle on the table, I started unwrapping it.  I recognized what was inside before I even had it completely unwrapped and my heart sank.

There were times when there was no money for bread, so mom would make up a batch of biscuits and that’s what we had our sandwiches made on.  Biscuits.  Today was one of those days.  I looked back inside my lunch bag to see if there was anything else that might be a little more promising.  At the bottom of the bag was an apple.  I sighed.

Nancy looked over at me as I peered between the layers of biscuit.  Peanut butter.  Nancy knew how I felt.  She had been there one day when Ellen had started teasing me over my biscuit sandwich.  Several other kids joined in.  It was a pretty tough day.

I pulled out the apple and tossed the biscuit sandwich back in, looking around quickly to see if anyone had seen my pathetic lunch.  No one had.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

I started eating my apple.  Nancy handed me an oatmeal cookie she hadn’t eaten.  “Here, eat this.  I need to go; I’m going to be late for class.”  “Thanks Nancy.” I said.  And off she went.

I sat there trying to make myself invisible for the rest of my lunch period.