(Note: at a recent writing workshop, I was challenged to quickly bring to life on paper ten memories, incorporating as much colorful description as possible—we had 20-30 minutes, I think. I’m sharing the results here to challenge you to try this exercise yourself. The lightning speed of the assignment created energy-filled pictures in my mind and the result gave me a bunch of ideas for more in-depth stories from the past to pass along to my family.)
Two rain-drenched brother-twins sidestepping puddles in the brick-red dirt road, holding two-year-old me tight under a single umbrella hurrying to the paved road in hopes of hailing a midnight rider for an emergency run to the hospital
Mother clutching her pink bathrobe over white and blue print pajamas as she stormed out the kitchen door, across our yard, and over a barbed wire fence into the landlord-neighbor’s pasture to turn off the water filling the cow trough so it would instead run into into our kitchen faucet and she could make Daddy’s morning coffee
The small, yellow, frame house in a grass-starved yard where shoes filled with sand from our play on the unpaved road and our clothes were stained with the red clay from our play deep in the catty corner excavation site
The dank underbelly of the brick-pillared house where Daddy and I twirled clotheshanger-thin sticks into holes surrounded by sandy funnels chanting, “Doodlebug, doodlebug, come out of your hole. Your house is on fire and your children will burn”
Six silly seven-year-olds hiding in the blackened airlock-style entry to the girls’ bathroom shushing each other over our giggles as we lay in wait for the next unsuspecting victim to walk through the door to our screams of “Boo,” except that person turned out to be our teacher
Waking under blue, yellow, and red handmade quilts in my grandparents’ still-sleepy house as fog drifted through the opened windows urging me to slip outside into the dew-kissed grass in my bare feet to nibble on a green apple and daydream among the enveloping branches of their ancient weeping willow tree
The home-made cotton-candy-pink shirtwaist dress with rose-embroidered edge stitching I was wearing the day my family of five and suitcases with all my clothes were crammed into our two-tone brown Ford Fairlane at the moment I saw the sign pointing the way to my soon-to-be college home and the butterflies in my stomach turned into cannonballs
The sunshiny July day we arrived on our mountain to a sea of wild daisies, their white and yellow faces bobbing in the gentle breeze to welcome us to our forever home
My throbbing heart the first time I saw valley fog from above with the tops of purple-green mountains peeking through the massive cloud like little volcanic islands rising above an ocean of white foam
The day I walked out of my just-at-that-moment former workplace with the white-hot sun beating down on my face, my shoulders now lighter than air, and stepped into my future
Enjoyed reading these!!
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Carole, there are not nearly enough words in the English language to tell you how I relish every one of your Living On the Diagonal offerings. Each of your ten memories is fascinating but your last description of your shedding the job you found so disagreeable is a fine example of how a few words can be tell us of your relief.
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What lovely things to say, Sylvia. Coming from someone with such linguistic gifts, that’s quite a compliment, indeed.