This week’s KGUA radio writing prompt comes from the repeated words in last week’s submissions. The words that kept coming up again and again were: trust, passion, peace, end, love, give, life, free, youth, kindness, nature, faith, walk, time, courage, ammunition, people, conviction, black, drown, and potential.
Mark Gross, the KGUA writing leader, asked us to time our free write for ten minutes, limiting us to 200 words. We were to edit just for spelling and grammar, and send in the draft.
His directions were similar to what I did with seventh and eighth graders in Kittery, Maine and while leading the Teaching of Writing courses at Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of New England. I would have a discussion, read a passage, or come up with a group activity. From those activities, I would have my students write for ten minutes to see if they found a topic to take through to a final draft in our writing workshop. Head down and trusting they’d write, I wrote along with my students.
Mark has given me a taste of my own medicine this week, and for that I thank him. I chose three words below to run with. The Walk draft aired on the KGUA Monday Morning Writer’s Hour on June 28, 2020 .
For the first time in six weeks, Hannah walked with me at the beach in Ogunquit, Maine. You see, six weeks ago to the day, Hannah had bunion surgery. First she was on crutches, then two weeks in a walking boot, and then wrapping her foot with surgical gauze twice a day in a hiking shoe.wa
Oh, she could move around the house, then our yard, but walking for more than twenty minutes…well she just didn’t want to risk screwing up the operation. It turns out she was walking on the side of her foot to protect her big toe. A no no.
But this morning, we woke at five, stretched, then a little after six drove to the wide sandy beach here on the Atlantic. Being low tide, we walked where the waves were rolling softly to the shore. She thought she’d go halfway, but then…distracted by the fog, stepping in and around the pools of salt water, we were thirty minutes down the beach before she knew it, nearly to Wells.
Pumped, she headed back into the wind full speed ahead. I’ve been listening to podcasts as I walk alone during Hannah’s rehab, but this was much better. Both the conversation and the silence.
Hannah and I are just back from Ithaca, New York where we met our granddaughters for the first time. Yes, granddaughters! Reese and Charlotte are our identical twins. In this crazy Time of Corona, we didn’t know if we’d even see them for six months or even a year! But when our son and his wife, a nurse no less, invited us to visit the girls three weeks after their births, we were all in to drive 400 miles to be with them.
When we arrived, mom and dad hugged us! Do you know how long it’s been since we hugged anyone else! Yeah, you do, it’s three months going on a year!
The girls mold together as they lie in their bassinet, just like they were in the womb. As I sat on the couch knees folded together, I held Reese as she lay sleeping. Yeah, they sleep a lot. Then they cry, then mom feeds them, sometimes at the same time, and then the girls sleep some more.
But after three days, they were looking around more and more, checking out their new world. I look forward to being a part of their lives for a long time.
I have to admit I never really got the white privilege stuff. As a kid, I was just a kid. What did I know? We did live in Radburn, a privileged part of Fair Lawn I learned later as a young adult, a pretty much all white community in north Jersey. We did take two family car trips to the West Coast. I just figured lots of kids did that.
My goodness, I played tennis! Is that ever a white man’s sport, even though the Williams Sisters took charge of the women’s game for the last twenty years.
I was just going through life. Living frugally on a teacher’s salary while Hannah stayed home with the kids. But then we moved from multi-cultural Arizona to white bread Maine. As such, there were not many families of color here that I knew. Without a second thought, our kids went to college, had careers.
Of late, I am aware that my white comfort is compromising the lives of so many fellow Americans of color. Now is the time to have the courage to admit my privileged status and do my part to even the playing field.