Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not Guilty

Lesson 262:
Finish the story. Start with: IT WAS A TIME OF INNOCENCE...

and a time of freedom for the little girl. The endless summer stretched out before her farther that her young heart could imagine. Hot sunny days were spent skipping down the gravel road between her house and her grandparents big brick home. The warm evenings were filled with the giggles of many cousins playing hide and seek in the dark while black bats swooped through the dark, warm air. The little ones were safe in the knowledge that the grown-ups were close by, gathered around the stone firepit where bursts of laughter erupted and low murmering voices could be heard.

Many long summers passed in just this fashion, each one bringing small changes within it's circle, until one June morning when the little girl woke up no longer little. No longer innocent. No longer free. She was now a young woman, her own baby daughter on her hip, the weight of choices made reflected in her wistful eyes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fresh Air

Lesson 261
Start with the word AIR and write a story or poem, using each letter as you get to it. (This one had each letter of the alphabet scattered on the page and you were supposed to use it in a word as you got to each one. Most of the alphabet were placed at the first of the lines, with just a few scattered randomly throughout. I will capitalize my letters.)

AIR that i breathe smells of fall;
Birds in that air heed the call.
a Crispness surrounds us
as they Drive south,
Each Flock a large family
with one goal in mind.
Geese start to gather
witH other birds
In lakes and on ponds,
Just gathering strength to journey on.
Knowing that the cold is coming soon,
they are Leaving their northern summer homes.
Moving in formation,
Noisely they fly
On and on across our blue skies.
Passing over wheat fields,
Quickly taking a break,
Returning to the air before it gets to late.
Southern air is warmer,
The winters nicer down there.
Undulating geese are talking in the air,
as Visions of fall
Wave before my eyes,
an eXplosion of colors and sounds.
Yellow leaves rustle in the wind
as geese Zip through the golden sky.

Disaster Averted

Lesson 260:
Use these four words: TICKLE TEAR RITE LOCKET
Start with: WHAT A DISASTER...
Maria exclaimed, crashing through the door of her best friend, Tasha's bedroom. "I'll never live this one down", she wailed, a TEAR rolling down her check. Tasha looked at her with concern before answering. "Maria, it's not a big deal. Everyone's shot a basket for the wrong team at some point. Look at it as your RITE of passage. Now that you've already done it, it'll never happen in high school." Maria wasn't convinced and thought that her world could quite possibly be coming to an end. Tasha leaned over as if to look at Maria's LOCKET, but faked her out with a big TICKLE instead in the hopes of cheering her up. "Not gonna work, Tasha. Let's try ice cream instead", grinned Maria.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Naming Names

Lesson 259 ~
Finish all four of these shorts. The starter will stay constant but your name will change.

YOUR NAME IS ASHLEY. START WITH: THE PLAID SHIRT...hung down to my knees and was much warmer than the tank top I hand on under it. My dad pulled it out from behind the seat of the truck when I started shivering. I love wearing my dad's shirts, makes me feel safe.

YOUR NAME IS FANNY. START WITH: THE PLAID SHIRT...was tucked in my Wranglers, my dusty boots pulled on and my old leather gloves hanging out of my back pocket. What a beautiful fall day for riding fence, I thought, as I looked up into the immense blue sky.

YOUR NAME IS TAB. START WITH: THE PLAID SHIRT...was not something I wanted to be caught dead wearing. Who do these people think I am? Some kind of dumb country boy? I can't believe my parents actually sent me to this boy's ranch in the middle of nowhere just for that little bit of trouble I got into.

YOUR NAME IS MAURICE. START WITH: THE PLAID SHIRT...that I had picked out for tonights rodeo helped me to blend in with all the other guys behing the chutes. I've been riding at the night show here for several months, but still don't quite fit in with this predominately white group of rowdy cowboys.

Dial A Dialogue

Lesson 258 ~
You are an actress who makes her living doing commercials. You are also the owner of a duplex, a home with two units, one on top of the other. You live on the bottom floor, and rent out the top floor to an undercover policeman. There's a little tension (actually, a BIG diagreement) between the two of you. Play it out through dialogue over the phone:

You: EVERY TIME YOU come home late at night, you wake me up. Must you always be so loud?

Cop: Gimme a break lady. It's been a long day.

You: Long day? Long day?! I'll tell you about a long day. I go to work at 5 in the morning.

Cop: Please! I'm sure it's real tough prancing around in front of a camera every day.

You: As a matter of fact, it is. Do not insult me.

Cop: Can we get to the point? My pizza's getting cold.

You: The point is, stop tromping around when you get home. Walk quieter, please.

Cop: I'm a big guy, not one of those twinkle toes you like to bring home.

You: Who I bring home is none of your business!

Cop: It IS my business since I can hear you through the floor.

You: I've had it. I want you out by the end of the month.

Cop: What?! I don't have any place to go. You can't do that!

(...and since you're the writer, YOU get the last word!)

You: Oh yes I can. Figure it out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Finish this short story:

I WAS FRAMED! Set up to take the fall by my own brother. I guess I don't blame him. Would I have done the same thing in his shoes? Maybe. I can't really say, but the wrath of the sister is far preferable to the wrath of the father anytime. We had been sent out after supper to finish fixing the pig pen fence that we had started earlier in the day. Just as Dad showed up to help, I picked up the hammer that Scott had left laying on a stump. The handle was in my hand, the hammerhead still laying on the stump. Hell hath no fury like a Dad whose tools are broken...

Monday, September 17, 2007


Lesson 256 - Sept 12th, 2007:
1)Write a religious trait/observation you associate with a parent or sibling:
Early morning prayer and Daily Guidepost reading
2)Write about a food a childhood friend ate and the funny way they ate it:
Bubble gum off the sidewalk
3)Write something a teacher always wore/wears that's unique to them:
A silk neck scarf
4)Write a saying someone you know always says:
Moving Right Along
5)Create a name using the initials S and P:
Sally Peterson
You've created a character with these four traits. Write from their point of view. Start with - I WISH I COULD STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT...

I WISH I COULD STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT my husband will be out of work by next week. Billy works as a carpenter, so when one job is almost finished up he's never quite sure when the next one will start. We have two little girls with another on the way. What I make as an Avon Lady is not even close to enough to pay the rent. With only three months left before the new baby comes it's really getting hard to tie on my SILK NECK SCARF everyday and head out on my route with my suitcase of samples. As I'm driving away from yet another farmhouse where I haven't made a sale, I just push on, saying the words "MOVING RIGHT ALONG" cheerfully to myself. "Surely Mrs. So-and-So will need something today!" Some days it's so hot and tiring that I just want to quit and stay home with my babies. Thank goodness that Mama watches them for me. I'm embarrassed just thinking about what I did yesterday. I was leaving the Larson's, the last house on my route, so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. I needed something to keep me awake for the drive home but didn't want to spend an extra dime in case Billy gets laid off on Friday. Well, there I am, walking back to my car when I spot a big wad of pink BUBBLE GUM STUCK TO THE SIDEWALK. I bent over, picked it up and popped tht already chewed gum right into my mouth. It did the trick. Kept me awake, but, ew-yuck, never again! During my MORNING PRAYERS I'm going to make sure and pray that Billy's job doesn't end again. I think it's okay to pray for ourselves in a situation like this. It's for the babies. In the faith section of my DAILY GUIDEPOSTS, I'll write "A Good Solid Job For Billy" in. Well, that's settled. I'm going to try and get some sleep now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rapid Recall

Lesson 254: September 11th, 2007
Write the first thing that comes to mind, even if it's not all true. Use the starters provided. Do all four at once. Don't stop to think. Write fast!

1)RECALLING THE PAST MAKES ME WANT TO revert back to an eight year old. I would come home from school to a nice warm house with my Mom in the kitchen whipping up some yummy treat. No worries, no cares.

2)I RECALL WINCING when the dentist poked my gums with the needle. I was so sure that this appointment was going to be the worst one yet. Twenty-eight years of very little professional dental care had taken it's toll on my teeth.

3)THAT'S NOT ALL HOW I RECALL WHAT HAPPENED that cold winter night. My sister remembers it all so differently than I do. I say the first cougar scream echoed through the night while we were chopping a hole in the frozen pond. Stacey thinks we heard it while we were still at the barn.

4)I REMBEMBER FACES BUT I NEVER RECALL THE NAMES THAT GO WITH THEM. FOR EXAMPLE tonight in my CPR class, a woman smiled and asked how I was. She looked so familiar yet I cannot recall how or why I know her.

If It Ain't Broke

Lesson 253: September 10th, 2007

Finish the story. Start with:

IT'S NOT LIKE IT HASN'T BEEN BROKEN BEFORE but why today of all days? I lean forward, squinching up my eyes to try to see out of the front window of my 1991 Ford Explorer as ice quickly forms on the frozen glass. This particular February morning had dawned cold and clear. I turned the weather channel on for a quick update as I tore through the house doing the frenzied morning dance. The "Local on the Eights" showed our airport reporting in at a crisp -2 F with a -30 F wind chill factor. Brrr! "Scarves, hats and mittens kids. Get it all on. Hurry up - Out the door!", I yelled, and away we all went. At 11:30 am, I stepped out into the frigid air to warm my car up for ten minutes before leaving the office to transfer my four year old from pre-school to his daycare. On my way back to the office I literally slid around a corner, not because of the icy roads, but because my steering had locked up when the engine died of causes unknown. So now here I am, sitting in a snowbank on the side of the road, peering out of the icy window. How far to go before I get to a busier street? Should I sti here waiting for help to come by or brave the cold and walk the five blocks to the main road? Lord only knows when someone may be by here. Times like this it sure would be nice to have a cell phone. I pull my wool hat down farther, make sure that my blue Columbia coat is zipped to the top and step out onto the frozen, snow covered street. Damn it's cold and I'm pissed! I slam the door hard. My anger carries me a full block before I feel the cold seeping in through my layers of winter clothing. Another block and my nostrils are frozen shut. Icicles have formed on my eyelashes. Block three and I can no longer feel my toes, yet I know that just two more blocks ahead is a real estate office where I can make a phone call to my boss.
"Mary, my car broke down and I'm at Cedar Realty. Can you come and get me? Oh, and before you do, will you please fire up that space heater under my desk?"
Just my luck that this would happen on the coldest day of the year. I've never before been so tickled to be back in my windowless closet-sized office. Thank heavens for the good people in my life who will come to my rescue when I call.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sounds Like...

Lesson 252: September 9th, 2007

Use all the above letters as initials, letters, or as the words and names they also sound like. Start with: We were in alphabetical order...

We were in alphabetical order as we climbed onto the bus for the field trip to the C (Sea). My name is Alicia so I knew that I would be stuck sitting next to B(Bea) for the three hour trip. Bea's alright, but a bit loud and I just wasn't in the mood this early in the morning. Christine and D(Dee) were in the seat behind us, already giggling and talking so there would be no sleeping this trip. I decided not to fight it and joined in the hilarity all the way to Seaside.

"R(are) we there yet?", my X(ex)-boyfriend, J(Jay), screamed from half way back in the bus. "I've really gotta P(pee)!"

Our busdriver, Mrs. Wolford, glanced up into the large rearview mirror with a scowl on her face. "G(gee), do U(you) think you drank enough T(tea), Jay?", she replied rather grumpily. At the next rest area, Mrs. Wolford pulled the big yellow bus over. We all watched as Jay flew out the door toward the outhouses, tripping over his shoe laces as he ran. My best friend, L(Elle), called up to me, "O(oh) Y(why), oh why did you ever date him, Alicia? Check with me first next time, 'K?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Idions Delight

Lesson 251: September 8th, 2007

Start with the idiom: I can't put my finger on it, but...

Use the idiomatic expression Head and shoulders above the rest in your conclusion.

I can't put my finger on it, but time and time again my mind goes over the events of September 8th, 1984. It marked the day that I started to break out of my self-protective shell and gain the confidence that I have today. I was a senior in high school, sitting in the bleachers silently watching while the pep club cheered the Huskies on to victory. It was the first home game of the season and spirits were high. Our boys took the field accompanied by the cheers and whistles of the hundred or so hometown supporters filling the stands. Groans, jeers and cat calls greeted our opponents, the Panthers, as they jogged to the center of the field. Like always, I didn't join in the revalry, to afraid that my voice would actually be heard and that I would no longer be lost in the crowd. I was the kid who didn't make the team freshman year, was always picked last for dodge ball in P.E. and seemed to be one clap off beat during all our pep rallies. I just wasn't cool. Some guys don't have a problem with that, but I did. I was painfully shy in those days, but badly wanted to fit in, always thinking that if they just gave me a chance, that I could be cool to. Not really believing it. I must just be a loser. My family was pretty poor then and if you didn't wear Levi's and Nike's in the early 80's, you were almost invisible.

Sevarl minutes before the end of this particular game, I scooted off the bleachers and headed out of the school grounds on my way home. I walked head down and shoulders hunched so as not to accidently catch the eye of any of the popular crowd. Our town is so small that I didn't have but a few blocks to go. Passing the elementary school, I decided to stop and swing for just a few minutes. I closed my eyes and for one instant I was an eight year old boy again, surrounded by all my third grade friends, in the days before the popularity games took over. Suddenly I heard the squeak of a second swing. My eyes snapped open. Becky Childers, student body secretary, sat smiling at me. "Hey Bobby. I saw you take off early from the game. How are you?"
"Okay," I replied, nervously scuffing up the gravel beneath my feet.
I glance up. Becky's still smiling. "Remember when we fell off your woodshed roof? I was in so much trouble for being up there", she says. "Walk me home?"

Thus began the school year that stands head and shoulders above the rest and began the acceptance of myself.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Circle Game

Lesson 250. September 7th, 2007.

Circle two words that appeal to you from each group: (I have capitalized my choices)

PEEP quest rotten SUNSHINE tarantula undulate

viola WEB xylophone zipper ASTRONAUT barracuda

calliope desert elegant finesse GERMAN HYSTERICAL

Use these six words in a story. Start with:

I WAS COMPLETELY CAPTIVATED, LIKE An ASTRONAUT on her first trip to the moon as I crouched down to peer into the nestbox. The little banty hen had been sitting on her eggs for what seemed like a lifetime to me, but just now, I thought I had heard a tiny PEEP coming from that direction. Reaching in, acutely aware that my hand was about to be pecked harshly at any given minute, I felt under the hen until my fingers touched the softness of chick down. How exciting this is, I thought. Our very first farm babies. I had began to think that this nest was a dud, but the warm SUNSHINE of the last few days must have helped the mother hen along.

I silently thanked my GERMAN-bred Grandmother for running me out of the house. Grandma was visiting us on our Kansas farm for the week. She had gone into the pantry to fetch some applesauce for the pork chops and had run right through a large sticky spiders WEB, the Daddy Long Legs still attached. I ran for the barnyard so as to get as far away from her HYSTERICAL rantings as possible. Thanks, Grandma, for getting into that nasy web. Like Mom always says, everything happens for a reason.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

And We'll Be Back After This Break...

I had to take a couple nights break from my writing workbook to watch our new little grandson, Noah, get born. You can read all about it right over here. I'll try to get caught up with the lessons over the next couple of days.

Here is lesson 249, which should have been dated September 6th.


The lesson is just to finish these short starters in one or two sentences. I have capitalized the provided starts:

1) SHE PUCKERED HER LIPS and planted a wet two-year old kiss on the stone bird that is attached to the birdbath in Grandma's yard. Little Sophie loves animals of any kind.

2)WATCHING HER APPLY LIPSTICK in the rearview mirror, Jason once again thanked the stars that Janelle was his wife. He patted his coat pocket to make sure that her anniversary gift was still safely tucked away.

3)HER POUTING LIPS did not work in the quest to make her Mama buy the skittles. Maybe if she could just squeeze out a tear or two.

4)HIS LIP CURLED WHENEVER Farmer John approached, in anticipation of the apple that Flash knew was his daily treat.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Corner Pocket

Lesson 248:
Finish this story-
Start with "He hustled everyone who came into Mort's Billards except..."

I had difficulty with this one today and don't really like how it turned out but here it is anyway ~

He hustled everyone who came into Mort's Billards except Chung Lou, the ancient Oriental herb peddlar who lived in his building. Leroy wasn't scared of much but the shadows he saw pass by Chungs windows and the eerie sounds that shook the walls on certain nights really frightened him. There was just something spooky and strange about that guy.

Leroy was standing at the bar, Michelob in hand, just waiting for the next sucker to walk through the door. Rent was due and he needed a quick game or two to set himself straight with his slumlord. As the dingy door of Mort's swung open, Leroy turned his head to see whose money he would be pocketing tonight. A smile spread slowly across his wide face as he sized up the newcomers. He had not seen them here before and they looked like just what he had ordered, a bit cocky, pumped up and full of their 22 year old selves. This would be an easy take.

"Hey guys. Welcome to Mort's. Getcha a beer?", Leroy grinned. "Either of you shoot pool? It's a bit slow around here tonight."

A chuckle passed between the boys as the dark haired kid answered. "Uh, yah." Reaching for a pool cue, he shouted to the bartender, "Get us a couple of Bud's."

The first twenty spot hit Leroy's hand with a satisfying smack. Seems it was going to be an early night, just as he had predicted. The second kid stepped up to shoot game number two, doubling the pot. In no time at all, Leroy has his rent money safely tucked away and was headed out the door into the swirling San Francisco mist.
Pea soup tonight, he thought to himself as he strained to see the sidewalk in front of him. In the fog he seemed to see shadows moving silently along, matching him step to step. Strange noises filled the air. A chill ran down Leroy's spine and he was frightened as he had not been in ages. He walked just a bit faster, telling himself it was all in his head. Nothing is out there.

A homeless woman stumbled over the body, screaming as she saw the look of terror in the dead Leroy's staring eyes. Up ahead, a tiny elderly Chinese man slipped quietly around the corner, this months rent tucked up his sleeve.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My Summer Vacation

Lesson 247:
When telling the stories of your life, there's a lot of freedom in writing about what you haven't done! Use this starting phrase:

This past summer I didn't...

I choose to write a short poem with todays lesson.

This past summer I didn't
paint my toenails red.
I didn't laze around in bed.
This summer I didn't
run a marathon.
I didn't even re-seed the lawn.
I failed to have coffee beside the Nile;
Not a soul in Peru saw my smile.
I didn't dance the tango beneath the stars,
Or mop the deck of a pirate ship flying to Mars.
If you were in England having tea
there is no possible way that you would have seen me.
I wasn't at the circus, the zoo or the fair;
I didn't have Elvis' barber cut my hair.
Summer is over ~
The fall winds are blowing;
I'm daydreaming about all the places I'm not going.

Monday, September 03, 2007

First Grade ***

Lesson 246
You are a first grader. Write from this perspective. Be inventive and playful! Give yourself a name with these initials, then fill in the blanks for the other items:
N__________ K___________ H____________
Natalie Kaye Hammerhead

A Nickname: __________________ (Nattie)
Eye color: __________________ (Brown)
Hair color: __________________ (Chestnut)
Siblings' ages/names: _________ (Jamie,9; Danny,3)
How you treat them: ____________ (I'm the buffer between them. They fight a lot.)
How they treat you: ____________ (I'm pulled between the two, wanting everybody to be happy)
Favorite food: ________________ (Bologna)
Thoughts on school: ___________ (I'm a little scared, but excited to go!)

Start with:

Here I am, the first day of first grade...
walking to school with my big sister, Jamie. I'm wearing a new dress that my Mama bought for me at Sears and my brand new shiny red shoes. I like to watch my pretty shoes and hear the clickety-clack sound they make when I trot along the sidewalk.
"Nattie. Hurry up," Jamie yells from up ahead. "I don't want to be late." She doesn't want to be seen with a first grade baby either. She's the one who made us late, I scowl to myself. Jamie's new first day of school dress was yellow with a really pretty silk sash around her middle. We were standing in the kitchen watching Mommy fill our lunch boxes with bologna sandwichs. Danny, our baby brother, had found my hidden color crayons and after coloring on the wall he colored on Jamie's sash. She was even wearing it when he did. I laughed right out loud. It was funny and Danny didn't mean to make Jamie cry. She's the one who acted like a baby, but I hurry to catch up, singing loudly as I go. "This is the song that never ends..."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Write Brain Workbook...

I have been wanting a creative writing workbook to get my writing juices flowing for, oh, probably a year now. Nothing like a little bit of procrastination now is there? I found this book on Amazon last week and impatiently waited it's arrival. It came yesterday and in true Paula fashion, I said, "I'll start it tomorrow." Today I decided to do both yesterday and today's excercises to catch up. The book is set up to actually start on January 1st, but not wanting to wait, I figured out which lesson was for September 1st so am starting in the last 3/4's of the book instead of the beginning and will work my way around to August 31st. I have decided to post my journey here for my own benefit. Please feel free to follow along and joing in whenever the fancy strikes you.

Lesson 244 ~ September 1st.: Making Headlines
You wake up one morning to the following newspaper story about you. Use this title and write the article:

Local author, Paula N., has recently signed a contract with Penguin Publications for a series of children's books. The four book series will be known as 'The Adventures of Boots'. Boots is a black and white cat with a great big personality who will take young readers from the banks of the Columbia River, through a Gypsy caravan, into the rodeo's of the wild west and finally to the gold rush days of California.

Ms. N. lives in Astoria with her husband and children. This will be her first published book. We met with the new author in her beautiful, secluded garden where the real Boots kept us company, watching the interview through aloof and knowing eyes.

The first book in this delightful series is scheduled to hit the shelves later this year. Beach Books in Astoria will be holding a Meet the Author and book signing event. Be sure to watch this column for further details.


Lesson 245 ~ September 2nd:SEPTember
Use these 7 words in your story. Start with the line: We took separate...
(I'm including the defintions from my old Websters dictionary)
1) SEPTic - to make putrid
2) SEPTuplet - a group of seven, usually of one kind
3) SEPTuagenarion - a person between the ages of 70 and 80
4) SEPTillion - amounting to one septillion in number; a number starting at 1 with twenty four zero's behind it
5) SEPTennial - a period of seven years; happening every seven years
6) SEPTilateral - having seven sides
7) SEPTum - enclosure, hedge

We took separate paths from the tent as we wound our way through the woods to the restrooms provided by the state park. It was pitch black in the trees. The rays of the moon could not penetrate the thick pine braches, yet the acrid smell of the SEPTIC tank helped me find my way to the row of SEPTUPLET forest service green structures. I hurried inside, taking care of business quickly, then sat down on a wooden bench across from the restrooms to wait for Riff so that we could walk back to camp together. As I waited, an older gentleman joined me. By his lined face and watery eyes, I judged him to be a SEPTUAGENARIAN. He pointed his gnarled finger to the heavens and asked me if I had seen his star. Gazing up, a SEPTILLION stars dazzled my eyes. They twinkled before me in a dance centuries old. The old man directed my eyes to a star that seemed to glow red among all the other golden sparkles. He told me that this particular star is SEPTILATERAL with one side being red. Scientists have yet to discover why this is. On this stars SEPTENNIAL the red side faces the earth, giving us this very short glimpse of it on this particular night, if you know where to look. The sight was breathtaking and magical. I thanked him profusely and as Riff and I entered the SEPTum that concealed our tent, I pointed out the sparkling red star to him. In another seven years, we will wait on our deck, eyes turned skyward, in the hopes of one more glimpse.

At the bottom of this lesson page is a small box that reads:
Separate six memories form the Septembers of your life and make a note of them. Use these to prompt further writings.
Following are my six September memories ~

1)My little brother was born and I was sent to stay with my Grandma Sannar. I was a mama's girl and hopping mad. I wanted my mom. Grandma and I were at my house for a quick visit after mom and the baby had come home. I remember sitting at the bottom of the stairs, wanting very badly to be left at home with my mom. I dumped out Grandma's purse onto the floor. She promptly picked up the contents of her life, spanked my butt and loaded me into the car, taking me back to her house on Roosevelt drive. I guess being naughty didn't get me my way.
~ 3 years old ~ Ketchikan, Alaska

2)I've started kindergarten at Mrs. Faulks house. Our classroom is in the upstairs of her little yellow house. I'm so excited! My friend, Melissa, is there every day and other kids who I'm just getting to know. We sit on each side of long tables with our coloring pages, crayons in a box in the middle of the table. My mom has an appointment today, so after class Mrs. Faulk takes me to her kitchen table where she makes me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It smells like lemonade in this bright yellow kitchen. Most days I get to walk home by myself, because we live in a tiny little town and home is only two blocks away. I feel so big when I walk home alone!
~4 years old ~ Elgin, Oregon

3)Sept. 1985. It is the first fall after my high school graduation. I have decided to take a year off before starting college. It feels so wierd to not be preparing for school and to be so far away from all of my friends. I catch glimpses of them on every street corner, sometimes even of people that I never much liked. I know that it is just my lonely and homesick mind playing tricks...
~17 years old ~ Redding, California

4)Sept. 1992. I look in the side mirrors of the U-Haul that I'm driving to make sure that the golden colored van is behind me and not flashing her lights to signal another stop. My sister Susan and I are moving with our kids to California from Wyoming. We are both recently divorced and wanting to be closer to our parents. School will already have started by the time we arrive. Brittany and KP will be starting kindergarten. I can hardly believe time has gone by so quickly. It feels so good to be going "home".
~24 years old ~ From the road somewhere between Cody, Wyoming and Redding, California

5)Sept. 1998. I can hardly think or breathe. My mom died suddenly a month ago and I feel as if she has taken my life force with her. The phone rings, I don't want to answer but know that I must. It is my little brother, Joshua, who is only 16. He wants to come and stay. He cannot stand coming home every day after school to that empty house. It is time for me to wake up and carry on. If this is so very hard for me, what is it doing to him?
~30 years old ~ Cody, Wyoming

6)Sept. 2005. Ah, Oregon in the fall. We've moved back to my home state after so many years away. The days are warm and golden, the nights crisp and clean. So many beautiful trees are showing their autumn colors. We walk the dogs down by the middle school and I crunch through the leaves that are lining the streets. Crackle crackle crunch! A big smile spreads across my face.
~37 years old ~ Astoria, Oregon

Tomorrows lesson: First Grade