I’ve been writing a memoir for a few years, and thought that it might be fun to share. My method of writing this book is to present each chapter as a short story or vignette, with a connecting thread.
The fun of a memoir is that it can begin at any point in your life, covering an expanse, or just one incident. Part one of my book, working title “Both Sides of the Glass,” starts at the beginning.
I think I’ll add a chapter every week or so and present it like a serial. Why not?
1948 New Rochelle New York
“Anne, what would you say to taking a drive?” Bob asked.
“All right.” She maneuvered her awkward belly into the scorching hot Studebaker. “Where are we going?”
“Cobblestone streets. Lets see if we can shake that baby loose.”
It worked. My name is Lee
“Teddy, I want to live in Diablo,” I said, sitting beside my friend on the swings. “With Annie Oakley. I could be her deputy.”
Teddy looked at me with surprise.
“Don’t tell anybody.” I lowered my voice and leaned closer. “Next week, when the show comes on, I’m going to kick through the television screen and crawl in.”
“That’s stupid.” He pushed off on the swing, laughing. When he gained some height he added, “If you kick in the TV it will blow up.”
“I was just joking.” A deep blush said otherwise.
Annie Oakley galloped across the TV screen. Stunned by her take charge attitude, bravery and shooting skills, passion struck my heart. I could be like her. She lived in the West. She rode horses. She caught bad guys. She didn’t have to be a ballerina.
“Lee, come here and show Mrs. Swanson how you can plie’.” My mother and her friend sipped coffee and puffed on their cigarettes. I wore tights and a pink leotard and assumed the third position. “Now squat.” Mom encouraged. “Squaaat.” She laughed as, with knees bending, I lowered toward the floor.
It’s a plie’, not a squat. I thought. Anger battled embarrassment for first position. They laughed at my cuteness. I thought they laughed at me.
An idea hit me when the little kid recital rolled around. Off stage, all the girls formed a line to make our entrance. I was first. Placing my hands on the floor, I shouted, “Follow me,” and frog -hopped out under the lights. The line of girls joined in, springing across the stage in a most un-lady-like manner. The audience howled.
“Perhaps your daughter isn’t cut out for ballet,” the teacher told my parents. I happily agreed.
Annie rode her horse flat out, hair flying. Sometimes she did trick riding, standing on the saddle and shooting at targets. I wanted that. Taking risks, even being reckless, would throw my soul into the forge. Someday I’d emerge strong as steel.
Devoted to play with the neighbourhood kids, I honed my cowgirl skills. I grew strong, ready to be Annie Oakley’s deputy; maybe even sheriff someday.