People Like Us

Archive for the tag “memoir”

The Power of Words

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People like us don’t go to college. At least that’s what Mama always told me.

Somewhere along the way, my parents became convinced of this lie. Neither of my parents wanted me to go to college, in fact, earning a high school diploma seemed optional in our home. Mama dropped out of high school in the eleventh-grade so that she could marry our father, who had dropped out of high school in the ninth-grade. Read more…

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Crooked Legs

        I tried to catch myself, but only managed to catapult down those steps like an awkward bouncy ball that rolled and bounced in a haphazard, unpredictable path for what seemed like an eternity. With every roll down those steps, I could hear the crowd gasp in a collective “ohhhhh” and could feel my dress ride higher up on my hips.

I was born with crooked legs. I am told I first learned to walk while wearing metal braces, very similar to those the main character wore in the beginning of the movie Forest Gump.  Mama used to tell me I was “knock-kneed, pigeon-toed and bow-legged, with one leg longer than the other”, though I see no signs of any of those conditions today. Mama was known for her inventive exaggerations, so I am inclined to believe my sisters’ accounts of my childhood maladies, which are less interesting but a bit more believable. Read more…

An Atari Kind of Christmas

        I just knew everyone could see straight through me… After a brief jackhammer like pounding, my pulse began to slow, and I could feel the fire leaving my face. My body was like rubber, and I felt like I had just walked a tightrope over a sea of piranhas.

 

 1479289_10202812808820528_576699923_neditThe holiday break was over. I could still hear the sound of the bell ringing in my ears when Ms. Hurto made the announcement that would cause my stomach to plummet to my feet.

“Everyone, put your chairs in a circle,” she began. “We are all going to take turns telling what we got for Christmas.”

The sounds of almost twenty, seventh-grade girls sliding metal chair legs across the pale green, industrial tile almost drowned out the sound of the roaring in my ears. With sweaty palms I gripped the back of the bright-green, hard, plastic chair. I was sweating. Read more…

Writing Call

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Writing is an endeavor that transports me to a place of limited return. Delving into childhood memories is therapeutic, but exhausting. The journey through time, that place I left behind long ago, demands my complete attention. I feel like Alice must have felt as she tumbled down the rabbit hole, lost in a world from which it is difficult to return. I am captured in the gravity that pulls me to that other place, and only reluctantly return to modern-day responsibilities that demand my attention. The act of sharing the things I put behind me, the things I tried to forget for so long, removes the power of shame and unleashes freedom found in raw truth. The page waits for me, it even calls me.

Life With Mickey D.

“The sight of Mickey D. pursuing them, red-faced, angry and with his blue flannel shirt flapping over the pistol in his belt was enough to instill fear in the teenagers …”

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Mickey D. wasn’t normally a man prone to vengeful acts. Perhaps it was the recent stress brought on by the “thugs” who had just moved into the neighborhood– those young punks whose thumping speakers boomed so loudly throughout the neighborhood they shook the family pictures on Mickey D.’s living room wall. The loud bass music truly angered Mickey D. He had even been seen running down the street after the lemon yellow jeep on a lifted frame, yelling “you better turn that crap down!” and punching in the number to the police department on his flip phone. The sight of Mickey D. pursuing them, red-faced, angry and with his blue flannel shirt flapping over the pistol in his belt was enough to instill fear in the teenagers in the yellow jeep; they had not been back by his house since then. Read more…

Accidental Target

20131112_112938The day my father shot the neighbor’s child was just like any other warm, September day in the South.

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