My journey as a writer began before my first memories.
Born into a family where mother read me stories before I understood letters and father challenged me with Reader’s Digest “Word Power” and crossword puzzles I was surrounded by words from the day of my birth. “It’s a girl!” the doctor declared as he tapped the ashes from his cigar. To some that declaration would have been good news to my family it was a miracle.
It seems highly unfair that you have no control over the ultimate beginning of your life. Sometimes the situation is not ideal, such was my case. My parents were married less than three months before I appeared in the wee hours of a cold December’s morning. None the less, I was welcomed with smiles from all around, or so I was told. Both my parents had previous families with older children, all boys. Thus said, I was spoiled from day one being my aunts’ only niece and grandmother’s only granddaughter. (They were readers also.) In fact one grandmother had been a school teacher and the other a librarian. I was destined to be surrounded by the world of words. Words that protected the shy little girl when no one wanted to play, the lonely teenager with a hundred broken hearts and the wife and mother that needed to escape from reality, words were my defenders, the real hero’s of my life.
You might rightly believe that reading brought me to writing and in part that is true. However, it was the invisible pen that started my journey. I will explain…
I learned to make coffee in an old fashioned percolator. Carefully I measured the dark brown coffee into the little silver basket, placed it on the stem, then into pot already filled with just the right amount of water and added the lid. It was a little heavy so mother put it on the stove and turned on the burner. I sat, somewhat impatiently, on the old red step stool chair waiting and watching for the water to boil and for the perking to begin. The little explosions in the glass top lid were at first light brown and turned darker and darker with each small blast. The aroma filled our bright little kitchen and I knew it was done. Mother poured the rich brown liquid into a white glass cup. I lifted the lid of our cherry red tomato shaped sugar bowl and added three heaping spoons of the white granules into the cup and stirred. Mother put a saucer beneath then slowly and carefully I lifted them together. My mission, deliver the coffee to daddy without spilling. Rarely did I succeed as I maneuvered out of the kitchen, around our huge red brick fireplace, through the living room, down the hall and into daddy’s room.
“Thank you!” he always said. “That smells delicious. Did you make it yourself?”
“I sure did, but I spilled a little,”my usual answer.
“Come and sit on the bed” he invited. “It is too hot to drink.”
Mother would bring her own cup as we shared the mornings together. The best was yet to come.
“Can we tell a story while it cools down?” I would ask.
“Okay.” Daddy says. “Whose turn is it to start, how about mommy?”
Mother smiled and a faraway look grew bright in her eyes. “Once upon a time…”
They were wonderful, unique stories, created on the spot, limited only by our imagination.
Mother’s “chapter” was drawing to a close. The characters were in an awful state, destine to perish at any moment.
It was my turn. I bounced up and down for the hundredth time excited to have my chance. “Then into the woods came a….”
Thus it went, round after round until the coffee was gone, the characters victorious, and time for breakfast. It was a tradition we carried on for many years, until the lure of the outside world became irresistible.
I sit here at my computer, tears slide down my cheeks, the last story left untold.