After 32 years of teaching high school English, I've started writing again and loving every minute of it. I enjoy bringing ideas to life and the concept of leaving behind a legacy.
Fat to Fit: Chps 1-4
Chapter 1: Humble Beginnings Such a humble beginning. One would think that my destiny included being ultra-thin since my birth weight was 5.2 lbs, and I was under 5 lbs when we came home from the hospital. Such a tiny thing I was - I mean, hey - this was the decade of Twiggy after all. There’s a simple reason for my low birth weight: back in the mid-60s, smoking during pregnancy wasn’t deemed unhealthy. In fact, many mothers smoked in hopes of having a smaller baby and a less painful delivery. Luckily my mom didn’t have nausea and take thalidomide or else I’d be typing this with my flippers. On the other hand, having flippers might have prevented me from stuffing so much food into my piehole.
Rainy Days and Mondays
“Shit!” I stuffed my notebook and laptop into my bag, nervously checking the radar app on my phone. “There’s no way he didn’t hear that thunder.” The angry red blotch of rain with the yellow halo was heading our way, and there wasn’t much dry time left. I packed up the last of the Oreos and pretzels and panic started to creep into my head.
The Past Returns
At 23, I moved out of my parents’ old house, finally on my own, free. Even though I was moving into a tiny apartment, the euphoria of getting out of that ancient house was liberating. The strange experiences my sister and I had painfully endured as children in that house faded into the distant past, and even after her funeral, I never fully comprehended what had happened. All I knew is that I never wanted to go through that again; the best I could do was suppress those memories until they were pushed further into the deepest recesses of my mind.
Dreams Under the Ice
Winter, and once again alone on the ice. This was where she came to forget about her troubles. This was where she felt strongest. Guiding power into her legs, Mara glided across the frozen river, leaving little white lines and circle arcs on the surface. The sound of splitting ice spitting snow and carved designs thrilled her in the chilled air. Arms outstretched, bitter wind on her face, she breathed in energy and breathed out art. She shifted her weight, and started flying backwards over the light dusting of snow on the ice. The banks, trees, all brilliant white, deadly silent.
The Worst Day of Testing, Ever
After so many years teaching, some memories remain sharp even after the sandpaper of time wears them down. One of the rewarding things about teaching is having interns; it’s a chance to see the latest and freshest ideas coming out of the colleges. It’s easy to get in a rut when it comes to teaching, so I welcome these newbies to the profession with open arms. I’ve had good ones, I have bad ones, and I’ve had ones that just had the worst luck. One year, I thought he was going to melt down.
I had a choice to make in college: teach music or teach English. Both content areas resonated deep in my soul, made obvious by the elective classes I was taking at the time. My family has a musical background, from my grandmother who sang in a Latin band in Tampa named Conjunto Alegre in the 1940s. As a nurse’s aide, she also sang for her patients because she felt music would improve spirit as well as their health. My father played a Lowrey organ that accompanied his singing, and my mother listened to records as I was growing up. Both my brothers play guitar and sing in bands as well. I have played flute since 6th grade and still do; I discovered I can sing as well and play handbells. Music transcends cultures and time, and I enjoy music in different languages, genres, and time periods. My playlists vary widely depending on what I want to do – continue a sad streak, bring me out of one, build energy to accomplish a physical task, or just simply to relax. This includes Gregorian chants, jazz, country, urban pop, industrial, rock, liturgies in Latin, and neoclassical that show up on my lists. Music from the Mideast, Greece, Mexico, Cuba, Germany, Africa, Sweden – it’s an eclectic mix.
Prequel to The Awakening
“Good-by, because I love you.” She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up for an instant, then sank again. Edna heard her father’s voice and her sister Margaret’s. She heard the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree. The spurs of the cavalry officer clanged as he walked across the porch. There was the hum of bees, and the musky odor of pinks filled the air.”
Faces of the Future
The screens flashed at midnight as they sat in the dimmed room. “Happy New Year!” The girls of Iota Delta Iota Omicron Tau raised their glasses of sparkling cider as they celebrated the arrival of 2070. Banti77, 4Donna4, and Kar3n stayed in a room at their sacred sorority house on the campus of The University of Mid Southwest Coastal Florida. As part of this sisterhood, they shared holidays and many conversations about the past and the future.