All my life I had been guarded and protected by a strict father and three brothers, whose intentions seemed to align with the work of wardens. Most important decisions had been made for me by my parents, so on my first day of college, I was like a felon ready to bolt from her cell. When they were satisfied that I had my campus bearings and was properly settled in my dorm room, my parents said tearful goodbyes to their sixteen-year-old baby girl whose heart and soul were chanting, “Free at last!” As my mother turned toward the parking lot, her shoulders shook as she sobbed into Daddy’s handkerchief. I couldn’t wait until the big green Chevy, like a tank in God’s army, rolled out of sight. I was ready to be independent of their conservative Southern Baptist constraints. Continue reading “Vicki Collins: GPA”
When we are young we look forward, our eyes always on the future, it seems. The present is illusory; “now” disappears into our past the instant our mind forms the concept and then the word. And for the young that past is often ignored, blotted out, refigured into a history that gives reason and comfort to their lives as they relentlessly focus on what is coming next.
But if you have the fortune to live with relatively good health and a somewhat sound mind until you are, like me, closer to eighty than to seventy, dwelling on what future still looms ahead often seems futile and without purpose.
So what am I, or anyone my age, to do but look back, relive my life’s history, once again going over those things from the past that have left their marks, a search for self-acceptance and self-understanding. Continue reading “Donley Watt: Circling”
I liked to hang with Willis, this older guy who lived on a small farm just north of Glen Lennox housing development, where my parents rented an apartment. Willis was my lord-on-high god, for he was in high school, while I, mere I, was ten, a fourth grader, an outcast Yankee who got beat up walking home from school, and who got told, whether beaten or not, to save his confederate money, for the South would rise again. Continue reading “Chuck Taylor: Gang or No Gang”
It is March, 1990. Lynn and I are stuck in Comitan, Mexico, but not for long. We are waiting in a frame house, set back from the Pan American Highway, which runs through the heart of this small city and on down to the border with Guatemala only eighty kilometers to the south.
“Yesterday’s gone on down the river and you can’t get it back.” ~Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove
When I was born, my parents brought me from the hospital to my grandparents’ house. Of course I don’t remember that happening, but maybe that day has something to do with the peace I still feel when I step through the threshold of that old house—which, by the way, my husband and I own and lease. I think if I could sit alone in the house for a few hours, the memories of my childhood might slip under my skin and settle in for a while. I’d love to relive every moment I ever spent with my grandparents.
Continue reading “Michelle Lansdale: “Sassafras Jack and Louise””
Why do I sit here, sit in this room with its heavy drapes blocking the sun, my feet on the thick and dusty carpet, the sagging ornate lamps flickering? It’s a big yet claustrophobic room, and I am listening to a young man I barely know sing wretched out of tune songs, and recite self-absorbed, crappy poems.
Continue reading “Chuck Taylor: “Kiss My Feet””