Sarah Selecky’s Little Bird and My 1963 Corvair

white 63 Corvair

Sarah Selecky is an accomplished author who amongst other things writes prompts for aspiring writers.  She also hosts Little Bird Writing Contest that you will find here.  I am as usual a day late – well almost a week late in starting – and a dollar short, a saying I seem to be using a lot of this time of year.  So I decided to give it a try.

Now the idea is to read a prompt and then take 10 minutes to write it in a notebook.  By the end of the month you can submit a story from the lot, or several stories to Sarah who then has a judge (this year it is Alix Ohlin) choose a winner.

We may not want to post what we write, but my first story in ten minutes is something that I want to share.  I wrote it in ten minutes and have not done any editing yet, which of course is the idea of the whole thing.

1963 Corvair

Prompt:

Write a scene using the name of your first car you remember. In 10 minutes.

My mother was on the phone talking to her family in Scotland.  I was thirteen at the time and we were excitedly waiting for my father to return with our very first brand new car.

I looked anxiously out of the large picture window to the front driveway waiting for my father, and the car.  Brand new.  What would it look like?  What would it smell like?  My parents had only told us this morning and we were more excited that a three year old waiting for Santa.

Mum, he’s here, pulling in the driveway.  Oh it’s beautiful, I didn’t know it was white.  Mum hurry, get off the phone, you are going to miss all the excitement.”

I figured we would never get this exact moment again and I so wanted her, needed her to get off the damn phone.  She knew how important this was to my father.  Get off the phone, I silently screamed at her.

Mum turned her back to me and spoke hurriedly and all quiet like into the old black dial phone.  What could be so important, I thought, and quickly came to the conclusion that nothing, nothing on  earth was more important that this event.  Why was she taking so long?

Dad was now getting out of the car, its big wide door swung open.  The four other younger children were running around, squealing, jumping and touching everything inside and outside the car.

Mum finally, after what seemed an eternity hung up and stared quietly and unmoving at the floor.  She took a deep breath and finally looked at me, finally acknowledging my presence that she seemed to try to ignore only moments ago.  She did not speak for a bit, just looked at me as I kept looking past her to the wonderful scene in the front drive.

Raising a family of five on a working man’s wages meant we didn’t get a lot of new things including clothes that were often hand-me-downs. This was an occasion.

Mom walked over to the window then turned to me and said, “Chris, this is your father’s day.  Don’t tell him about the phone call.  Let him enjoy this day.”

Confused I asked exactly what the phone call had been.

“My twin sister, Ellen, just died in Scotland.  I will  tell your dad later.”

Putting her shoulders back, and lifting her head, she pasted on a smile and stepped out unto the front porch embracing the happiness of the celebration.

I don’t think I have seen such an unselfish act since.

My cousin in Scotland mentioned the other day of March 3rd that my Mom has been gone for 30 years and her Mom the identical twin has been gone for 50 years.

Letters from the War: Part 2 of A Personal Post

Canadian Army

Canadian Army (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I posted a letter written by my uncle, who was fourteen at the time, to his brother, my father who was in the army.

My uncle was a pack rat and when he passed away his basement was crammed with all kinds of treasures, that my cousins had to sort through.  Amongst his belongings were three letters.

The other two letters I have are from my father to his mother, my grandma.

I have no idea where overseas he was when these were written.  The letters are on official Canadian Army stationary and are fully intact with the original envelopes.  The first letter was written April 16, 1943 and the second May 2, 1943.  Reading the lingo of the day they make me think of a scene from a black and white movie.  They also give me a perspective I wouldn’t otherwise have of this boy who would become my father.  They touch my heart as a mother, as a grandmother and as a woman.  I don’t see this boy as my father.  He is a young man who enlisted too young and went to a war that left permanent marks.

He loyally signed up with my someday to be my Uncle Harry who when he returned from the war would marry my Aunt Elaine.  My aunt is the last aged member of that generation and she tells me to this day how awful the war was for these teenagers.  She says they were different people when they came back and I can see she mourns the loss of who they once were.  When I lived in the USA I dated a man who had been in the Vietnam war and while he was a wonderful accomplished man he still carried memories that invaded his dreams.

I have felt for a long time now that the only casualties were not those who died.  Living victims.  I think it is wonderful that Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is recognized but I do not know if that recognition makes it any easier to deal on a day to day basis.

Whoa!  That was a surprise melancholy trip.  Now back to the letters that are not at all downers.  The second letter does show just how homesick this boy was.

Anyway:  April 16/43

Dear Mother

Hi Mom how are you doing?  Fine I hope.  Now here I am to make a request.  I need some more toilet soap and would be very greatful if you could get me some and send it to me.  The limey soap gives me a rash of something.

I found out where Bobby is so as soon as I can get a leave I am going to see him. O’ yes I haven’t had my leave as yet but am sure hoping.  I expect I will need it if I don’t go crazy waiting.  O’ yes haven’t received any cigs yet but am hoping for that too.  Well must go to bed now.

Tons of Love

Your son

Raymond

PS a X (hug) from me to you.

Love Raymond

********

May 2/43

Dear Mom

Hi Sweet Heart and how are you doing?  Fine I hope.  Say do you know something.  In 49 days Mrs. Gingerich’s dark haired warrior will be 19 and I have heard from some ot the fellows he is going to get drunk, really pie eyed for about 2 days.  Well mom I guess I didn’t need to remind you of that awful day.  But I guess you can remember it.

Well enough of that.  Well today is Sunday and like the good boy I am, I never wen t to church, and you know I was worried but I don’t know what happened I just didn’t get to church.  Well here I am beside a nice fire and having a swell time.  I was thinking what a swell time a fellow could have if he were home for awhile.  it would be swell.  I’d like to meet all the new friends we have now.  It would be swell.

Well Mom, I guess I will close for now.

Tons of Love Sweetheart

Love

Raymond

Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Meaningful Possessions

I am a little late to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge Being Saturday and all.  The subject matter is ‘ tell us about your most meaningful possession and since I have spent most of my life making sure that possessions were not meaningful, I honestly thought I had nothing to contribute.

Then last night outside under the stars I asked myself that same question and the answer came crystal clear.  I do have one possession that matters.  Would I fight to the death over it?  No, but while I have it with me I will savor the meaning and remember.

Dad's leather purse

Most Meaningful Possession

My Dad is not someone I write an awful lot about which always puzzles  me because he was the center of my existence.  While my mother tried to teach me how to darn socks (darned if I could understand why – being the diva I was I could not see myself ever darning anything), and knit and keep the house cool in  the summer by pulling down the blinds on the east side in the morning and on the west side in the afternoon, my Dad taught me other things.

Have you found it surprising, if you have ever had to clean out a home after someone dies, what seemed important to that person?  Have you ever held an object and wondered why it was stored in a tin box with other seemingly meaningless objects?

When it was time to do this for my father there were a number of treasure found.  His gold ring with his initials had been left to me but I decided it should go to the oldest son of the oldest son and gave it to my brother for his son.

There was one treasure I was not even aware of until about ten  years ago (and Dad died in 1981).  The gift came from my sister.  I wondered at it at first as it was a small suede leather bag measuring three and half inches at its base, two inches at its neck and five inches in length.  And leather tie to tighten it.  Engraved into the leather appears to be a Mayan calander or something zodiac like.  I truly do not know exactly what it is.  This bag and other ‘treasures’ were kept in an old tin box in his top drawer.  It was a pretty beat up tin box and I remember seeing it as a young child and wishing I could see inside.

Anyway I thought this was a strange gift but I was touched deeply and then my sister said, “open it”.

Inside were five pennies, each with the birth year of my brothers and sisters and me, and one nickle with my birth year.

Meaningful possessions

The feeling of holding something my dad felt was important enough to be a tin box treasure and understanding the depth and the heart of my sister was overwhelming.

There has never been another gift that has meant as much and each time I pull that leather string to close the bag I feel like I am ensuring my family is tucked in safely.

Die for it if I had to?  You know what?  Just maybe!

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