The Things We Treasure

Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

It’s the final day of the challenge already?! Let’s make sure we end it with a bang — or, in our case, with some furious collective tapping on our keyboards. For this final assignment, lead us through the history of an object that bears a special meaning to you.

A family heirloom, a flea market find, a childhood memento — all are fair game. What matters is that, through your writing, you breathe life into that object, moving your readers enough to understand its value.

Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.

As a little girl, I was afraid of my bad dreams as we all are at one point in our lives.  I remember  my mother giving me this bear, and I remember being really excited about it.

She told me when she gave it to me that it was her bear when she was a little girl and that it was passed down to all her sisters and her from their mother, and so on back to my mothers grandmother, or My great-grandmother.

My mother was the last one to have it because even though she wasn’t the youngest, she was the last one to have children.  She told me that the bear had special powers that would take away all of my bad dreams, and only let me have good dreams.   She told me that it was called Guard Bear, and he would keep me safe at night while I was asleep.

20150502_084503The moment I got him I knew he was special.  He helped all of my aunts and uncle and my grandmothers and my mother.  How cool is that?  He is white and made by hand.  It wasn’t until many years later that I found out that my great-great-grandmother made him for my great-grandmother because she was having terrible night terrors, although at that time they didn’t really know that was the case.  He is beautiful.  He has chocolate stain on his arm from my mother when she was a child.

He is filled with tears and hugs from the best of children.  He is beautiful.  I am expected to pass him on, and as much as I don’t want to, I know that is was is expected of me.

When I was a little girl and my mother would tuck me into bed, she would hand him to me so we could pray together.  The prayer?

“Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; God bless this bed that I lay on.

Amen, Thank you Jesus.”

20150502_084518I would hug him with my fingers interlocked in prayer and she would hug me.  When we were done and all tucked into bed she would place him in the corner next to my head.  And there he stayed, until morning light watching over me when I slept.  I love this bear.  When I got a little older, he needed some repairs, his arm had come off.  And mom told me that he got injured fighting off the bad dreams and needed to go to Guard Bear Hospital to get fixed up.  It didn’t last though.  After a couple of years other limbs started falling off and needed to be put back on.

He is and will always remain my guardian angel while I sleep, yes he still stays in the corner of the bed at night, just to make sure that nothing can harm me while I sleep.  I think he will always remain there, until I have a little one to pass it along to.  My brother never needed him, so I got to keep him.  He hold’s a special place in my heart, right next to my mother.  And that is where he will remain, next to the woman who cared for me, just like he did while she was sleeping too.  During the day now he rests on my piano so my dog can’t get to him.  I would be horrified if she did.  When I was younger, before I would leave for school, I would tuck him into bed and tell him that now it was his turn to sleep.  He was real to me then, and is real to me know.

My Guard Bear, my sleeping Guardian Angel.

This class has been so eye-opening.  I have discovered an all new side to my writing.  I have really enjoyed this class.  Challenging?  Yes, but worth it!  Thank you for being apart of this journey with me….until next time!


Hone your point of view

Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

I am sitting on my bike in my driveway when three cop cars pull up.  They pulled around Mrs. Pauley’s house.  This is frightening.  I watch as they walk up and surround her house.  The landlord goes to the front door with two of them, and pound on her door.  Why do they need so many cops?

Mrs. Pauley is the nicest lady I have ever met.  I cut her grass because she can’t and she pays me in cookies and hugs.  I really like her, most of the kids in the neighborhood like her.  My dad grew up on this street with her children.  She hasn’t really been the same since Mr. Pauley died though.  Maybe she did something bad?

He was also really nice.  Dad says he used to take him and his friends to the movies every Saturday in the summer.  Dad was really upset when he passed….

Mrs. Pauley answered the door.  She is so small compared to the officers.  They hand her a sheet of paper, and she shakes her head.  My dad comes out to see what all the commotion is all about.  When he sees what is going on he calls his best friend, who is one of her sons and tells them what is going on.

Dad rushes over to Mrs. Pauley to find out more about what is happening.  When the officer tells him what has happened dad gets really upset.  He starts yelling at the officers explaining about Mr. Pauley.  The officers look at the landlord.  He hasn’t told them the whole story apparently.

The officers apologize to Mrs. Pauley and tell her that she actually has a grace period of 1 year, that was apart of the contract.  The officers turn to the landlord and arrest him.  They told him that he broke the contract when he contacted the police and he violated a restraining order.

Dad tells the officer about how the landlord has been harassing her for the last year about making sure she made her payments after her husband dies.  Mr. Pauley got so tired of the constant bothering and harassing, that he took out a restraining order against the landlord.

The best news?  She had been paying rent for the last 40 years.  Her contract was null and void, but because of the amount she paid over the last four decades more than paid the mortgage.  Which when the mortgage was up, they were supposed to stop paying the landlord.  He got so greedy that he didn’t tell them to stop making payments.

Mrs. Pauley was so relieved that she almost fell over.  She would have if wasn’t for my father.  I am so glad that she gets to stay here!  More cookies and hugs for me!

Your Personality on the Page

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

Most people will tell you they are afraid of the dark, or spiders and snakes.  Where I’m from….that’s not even a possibility.  What am I afraid of?

I am afraid of not living life to the fullest.  I am afraid I will never live up to my mother.  I am anxious about making the right choices and not understanding the wrong ones.  I am afraid that I won’t go anywhere or do anything with my life.  I am afraid that I will never be enough.  That I will never find that one person who loves me for me (other than my dog).

Sorry I have been on a hiatus.  I have been really busy here over the past several days and I have been dealing with some pretty terrible migraines.

To Whom it May Concern

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there.

I chose the word book or page.  I cannot remember what book it is from, but If I remember I will be sure to include it later

My Dearest,

What you carry within is precious.  The vastness of your imagination gets me every time.  I can never contain myself as I dive into your many adventures contained within your walls.  You are the one constant in my life.  I am never without you.

As we become more technologically dependent, I worry about you.  About what that does to something like you.  The more advanced we become the less of you I see.

You have always brought me piece of mind and a place to escape to when things got rough.  There isn’t a day I go without looking at you.

The adventures you contain are vast in their content and capture me every time.  It only takes one line.

I cannot wait for our next encounter.

Yours Truly,


Serially Found

Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.

Over the past six months, something in me has changed.  Not for the bad, but for the better.  If you know me personally, you know that I am not a very open person, which is why I decided to start blogging.  To give myself a space to just vent and be me.

I started working at the membership desk at another Y in September of 2014 and it has been great.  I love it.  But I was a little uncomfortable at first because I had to step out of my box.  I was forced to talk to complete strangers and be okay with it.  This was a challenge for me.  I am a not a very social person.  I just not, there I said it, and now the whole world knows.

This job has really changed me.  I am more comfortable with being around people.  I talk to just about everyone…my father complains that I just don’t shut it anymore.  I have become much more outgoing.  And I love it.  I am not that awkward girl anymore.  People don’t wonder as much about the strange girl in the corner.

I have found my confidence and my social side of me.  The person I think I was always meant to be, and not the weird shy girl the people I went to high school with know.  I have found a new me, and I really like her.  I am not afraid anymore.

Dark skies on the Virtual Horizon

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

As I was lifeguarding last night I had to keep telling this kid to “stop running on the pool deck”.  Same child had to be told about eight times in an hour and a half.  We have summer warm up going right now for summer swim teams.  This child has to be told every day not to run.  So when he did it on the nineth time I called him over to talk to him about it.  And I asked him what he continues to run even though he knows that I will call him out on it.  His response?  Because I forget that you can’t run.  Even though there are signs all over the room and building that state “no running on the pool deck”?  So I tell him that if he does it again I will have to sit him out for a few minutes as a consequence of running.  I have let this go on too long at this point.

So as I am making my point very clear as to why people aren’t allowed to run ( slipping and falling is never fun, let alone on a slippery pool deck, you could get seriously injured right?) So as soon as I am done with my little speech on running I tell this kid just to hit it home, ” make sure you run, don’t walk.”

Yep you read that right I completely screwed up and totally didn’t realize it until the kid gave me the funniest look of confusion.  I was so sure of what I was saying to him that I didn’t realize what I said until the swim coach came over and corrected my statement.

But that got me thinking.  We all lead extremely busy lives.  So much that we practically run though them.  We leave no time for “me time.”  Which is probably why my headaches are getting worse and I need to work on that.

I guess what I am saying is that while we may run though our lives with our busy schedule and events and plans, we also need to remember to slow down and walk.  Because you never really know what you will miss if you don’t stop.

So the moral of the day: “don’t run, walk.”

Size Matters

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old?Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

Twelve years old…Now that’s a memory.  I am 12, and living in the same house I do now.  I have always lived in the St. Louis Metro or city region.  I have been living in this house forever.  I am in the 6th Grade, in Mr. B’s class.  It’s the year 2001.

I grew up in this neighborhood in this little town that is surrounded by much larger cities.  Our small population of 7000 is nothing compared to the cities surrounding us in any direction.  In fact the farming town east of us has more people living in it than we do.  My neighborhood, it isn’t a neighborhood, its a mile long road really.  A safe place where kids can ride their bikes and run around the streets without a care.  I always thought it was pretty cool that we had age groups in my neighborhood.  I had, and still have, a group of people my age to play with, my brother had his and then there were the teens and young adults of course.

I ran around with a group of boys and another girl.  We were all within nine months of each other in age.  We loved every minute of it!  I was the oldest, but the shortest. We were out at 6 am playing, went to each others house for lunch and were back at it until the street lights came on.  We were inseparable, even at school.  We would play hockey, or climb in the woods together.  We had a blast.  We were like family.  We stuck up for each other at school, at home, and everywhere in between.  When the teens would bully us we would stand tall and together and nothing could touch us.  Our neighborhood was pretty well hidden, so playing in the streets were a must.  We only had to dodge a few cars every now and then.  The boys always wanted to play chicken.  When the fall hit we would work together at each others houses and rake leaves into a big pile and jump on them.  Our parent’s really loved that.  We would choose a different bus stop every day to get on and off together.  When the snow came every one came down to my house because I had this giant hill where the road ends and we would go sledding and build snowmen at my house.  After we shoveled the driveways of course.  My favorite were the snowball fights and mom bringing out hot chocolate when we were all really tired and cold.  Spring was a little harder, my yard would always flood because we are at the bottom of a hill and the neighborhood drains into our yard.  We didn’t really do much until the weather would calm down.  I usually went to the Johnson’s house to play with Mary in the spring.  It was really the only time we would do girlie things.

We had a blast.  When we were at school, we were in separate classes but always found each other at recess.  And we would always continue our adventures.  We added in a few people here and there as the neighborhood grew and expanded and people moved away.  But for the most part we stayed a tight knit group throughout our childhood and early adult years.

I loved every second of it.  At times, we remind our selves when we see each other.  Most of us still keep in touch.  Some of us still live at home and see each other on a weekly basis.  We still stick up for each other if we notice something is amiss.  My hope is that it will remain like this for as long as we live.

I apologize for not completing this.  Those of you that have been following me for a while, know that I suffer from some pretty severe headaches, and yesterday was no exception.  I had most of this written, I just couldn’t finish it.

Happy _____________________

Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Feel free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

When I think about today’s prompt, there is one really vivid memory that pops up.

When I was a little girl, we would have my family homemade nights.  Not for any particular reason, just because.  Sometimes it would be because it was a Friday night, or because someone did something note worthy, other times it was just because.  We would always make homemade pizza.  The whole family would get involved.

My mother would make and bake the crust just enough so it wasn’t soggy on the bottom before we put on the ingredients.  My mom would lay down the sauce and dad would lay down the hamburger and cheese.  My brother being the olive lover that he is would always demand to be the only one to put them on…mainly so he could eat some in the process.  We would all work together on putting on the pepperoni and I would get to put on the mushrooms.  We would finish it off with a dash of pepper and more cheese.  And my brother and I would place it in the oven together.  I remember once that I sat on the floor in front of the oven because I was so hungry.

The smell of homemade pizza still resonates in my nose today.  We would take it out and it would be golden brown, and mom would slice it up as the rest of us worked on putting salads in bowls and setting the rest of the table.  We would let it cool down a bit while we all wolfed down our salads.  After we ate the first we would do it all over again with the second, usually in the same order followed with arguing about who would get to put on the olives the second time around.

The only difference is that this time we would take it downstairs and have family game/movie night.  If it was game night, we had a blast.  Mom always got that devilish grin on her face when things were going her way.  My brother always trying to figure out a way to cheat without getting caught, but that never really worked.  My father with his look of total concentration on his face every time.  And since it was usually Fridays that we did this on (no homework!) we would stay up later than usual.  My father and I would always end up having a word war with scrabble©.

We always had a blast on these nights.  As we got older and busier they were fewer and far between.  But I will always remember and cherish these memories.

Happy Friday Everyone!  What is your fondest memory?

Point of View

Today’s Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Although they lost their son 10 years ago during the war, it is still fresh in his mind.  He wakes in the morning wishing to call him and wish him well on his travels, to talk about what is going on in his life.  The man yearns to see his son again.  His sons child, his grandson growing up without his father by his side to guide him in life as he did with his son.  Seeing the woman knit a small red sweater brought back the memory of his son as a baby and all of the love he has for his son.

His wife, although holding his hand as they walk together, notices a shift in his posture, looks up at him.  She sees him crying and wraps her arms around him for support.  She knew.  He was thinking about their son, but why she wasn’t sure.  Not until she looked at the lady on the bench and realized why.  She had made and dressed him in a red sweater during his first year.  Bringing back those memories of happy times made her smile.

As the woman on the bench worked and worked at the little red sweater she looks up and sees an older couple walking in hand in hand.  The sweater is for her first grandchild.  A baby boy her daughter and son-in-law are expecting next month.  She is so excited that as a welcoming gift she is making him an array of sweaters and socks for him.  Hand made with love printed on the inside of them all.  And as she looks closer at the passing couple she notices the man is crying and wonders why?  She realizes why as soon as she sees them.  She recognizes them from her past, they all grew up together and stayed close in touch until about ten years ago…the year that their son died a hero. Saving a man from a terrible fate in a war they were fighting.  Their son was due back state side the week after he died.  He was to be a father.

Their son a war hero, gave his life to save another.  Gave his life for his country.  A hero.

Death to Adverbs

Today’s Prompt: Go to a local café, park, or public place and write a piece inspired by something you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

As I walk into the front door it hits me.  This is where I belong.  I am greeted with a warm and smiling face every time.  “Nice to see you again Alexus, How are you doing today?”  To which I respond “Very Well thank you, and your self?”

To my right there are men and women enjoying their morning conversations and their morning coffee with the other members of the coffee club.  It is heart warming to see all of the smiling and laughing and getting passionate about their talks.  The greet me as I walk past and ask my opinion on the current matter at hand, where they should go for breakfast.

I walk to the left to the cave as it has been dubbed and put my bags down and log into my computer to check my email, schedule and tasks for the day.  I flip the switch and walk back around the lobby to offer a bathroom break to the lifeguard and the woman working the membership desk.  By the time I am done with giving breaks it is time to go to work.  This is my favorite shift all day.  I unlock the cabinets and set out the morning activities and await my first customer.

My first family comes in and we are off and playing before mom can leave the room.  The two kids are just the most amazing kids.  The four year old, let call him, John, and his sister, Jane are always the first faces I see in the morning.  They are so fun.  John loves playing and dinosaurs and pretending that one eats the others tail because it looks like a leaf.  Suddenly we are in the jungle and we are dinosaurs playing in the mud.  Then we whisk off to play with the legos and build a train of different colors before we make the biggest meal together for everyone in the room to enjoy.  As others begin to join us the whole room gets involved.  There are people everywhere having fun and smiling.  Two children are making a meal, one child is chasing the other around the room, two more are reading books, some are coloring, some are playing a game.  Before long the room is buzzing with happy little people and smiling with joy and happiness.

John now wants to play tickle tag, his favorite game to play with me.  Another one wants me read her the tea pot book (can’t remember the title).  Suddenly I am torn, I want to do both but I have to choose.  If I don’t play tickle tag John with cry, but if I don’t read the book, the other one (Mary) will cry too.  What do I do?

I compromise.  I tell John that we need to take a break and read a book together.  And he agrees, but that when the book is over we will continue our game.  Mary, John and I all sit down in the Library and read/sing the tea pot book, and before long all the others in the room are now sitting around me and singing along.  It is the coolest feeling in to world to know that I can get everyone to stop their activity and listen to a book that I am reading.

We finish our book and continue our game of tickle tag, except this time everyone wants to play.  Before long I look up at the clock and notice that it’s time to go home.  Parent’s are arriving to pick up their little ones and some of them are crying because they don’t want to go home.  I know I have done my job when they want to stay and play all day.  After that, everyone leaves, we pick up the mess in the room and return everything to its rightful place.  I turn off the lights, grab my bag and head out the door for another adventure in the world.  As I leave I say good bye to everyone I see and tell them I will see them again tomorrow.  As I walk out the door, I turn around.  I am leaving my home, my place of being once again, with the promise to return.  I am burdened by that thought.  Its not like I won’t be returning.

My home is my YMCA.  Where everyone of every walk of life is accepted without question.  It is my home and my passion.  I get the opportunity to impact people and mold the minds of children.  I love my YMCA!  I am home.