For the Love of a Uniform! (Writing 101)

Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

A family heirloom, a flea market find, a childhood memento — all are fair game. What matters is that, through your writing, you breathe life into that object, moving your readers enough to understand its value.

Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.

I remember seeing it on my mother’s dresser and I would always ask about it.  The story remained the same but somehow it fascinated me plus I felt so proud.  He looked so young and of course handsome!  I don’t know why, but I liked that he was squatting and the way his fingers entwined within each other.  I adored it and him.

I loved to ask about the uniform, it was an army uniform and not just any army uniform but a paratrooper uniform!  Why are there patches on it, I would ask?  Because I was a paratrooper he explained, I did not understand what that meant.  He saw the confusion on my face, “I jumped out of planes”.  Wow you did?  Weren’t you afraid?  How old were you?  I would always rattle off these questions, I knew the answers but I loved to hear them again and again.  He was 18, so young.  He was not afraid, he loved the idea of being a paratrooper.  He was quite the thrill-seeker when he was young.  He was bold and courageous.

As it was explained to me, my Mom and Dad met at a roller-skating rink.  My Dad was like The Fonz of his day, leather jacket and all.  He would skate around the rink with one foot up on the railing that encircled the rink, to show off for the ladies.  He was quite the roller-skater.  Apparently he caught the eye of my mother, although I was told she played hard to get.  It seems she was attracted to the “bad” boy, which is a trait that has been passed down in the genes, I always found “bad” boys appealing too!  Today you would never know my father was like The Fonz, he’s somewhat quiet and reserved, but he still has that glint in his eye!  That glint was also passed down to me, there’s definitely a rebel in me!!   He was like James Dean, dreamy, a maverick, fearless, a risk-taker.

They were married at 19 years old, my Dad was still in the army and he shipped out to Germany two weeks after they married.  He was in Germany for fifteen months and then returned home, which was an adjustment for the two of them.  He returned to the States on December 1, 1953, was discharged on his 21st birthday in December and my sister was born 9 months later…it apparently was quite the celebration.  My brother followed in December of 1955, and then came yours truly….

The reason my Dad joined the army was because of his love of a uniform.  He had a friend Leo, one day Leo’s brother came home on leave from the army, he was a paratrooper.  He was wearing his paratrooper uniform and my Dad thought he looked sharp, like he had just stepped out of a magazine.  Dad told him, wow you look sharp, and Leo said ya we should do that so we can wear the uniform.  So they did.  They joined the army in December 1950 with dreams of wearing paratrooper uniforms. Being 18 years old, they never gave any consideration to the fact that they might actually end up in the middle of the Korean War, they liked the uniform and thought joining was an adventure.  Apparently they wanted to “be all they could be” and look good doing it.

Once enlisted, Dad thought what the hell am I doing here?  At other times, when he was involved in dress parades, playing soldier, firing guns and big tank guns he liked it and found it to be the adventure he had dreamed of.  Oh yes, and then there was this matter of wearing one said paratrooper uniform.

One day the Army presented him with two choices 1)to be deployed to Asia or 2)to Europe.  My Dad chose Europe, another escapade he thought.   After settling in he discovered that the dollar was worth $4 in Germany.  He soon became quite the connoisseur of German beer.  That love of beer trait flowed thru to my brother who is a big fan of IPA’s.  My father also learned to speak fluent German, well to be honest, he learned how to say one more beer please fluently!  noch ein Bier bitte!!

Unfortunately this was a serious trip not a vacation, so he was not allowed to visit towns, in fact there were four different sectors setup in Germany during that war era, American, British, French, and Russian.  He was not allowed to leave the American sector.

He trained for 20 weeks before jumping from a C46 plane for the first time.  Eight weeks of basic, 6 weeks advanced training, specializing in equipment, like machine guns and bazookas, then jump school for 3 weeks which they had to repeat for another 3 weeks.  Finally came the moment he was to jump out of the plane.  Heart pounding, blood racing, not knowing what to expect he jumped!  The second time was worse than the first, now he knew what to expect!  Steel helmets were worn in those days and when he jumped the steel buckles on the risers passed up the back of his helmet forcing it down the front of his nose and would scrape it…every time!  His commander would often ask him who he got into a scuffle with, he’d have to admit it was his helmet and that the helmet always won.  A C46 is a two-engine cargo plane, it would carry 32 soldiers up into the wild blue yonder and they would all leap from the plane within 8 seconds of starting.

Curtiss C46 Commando

Curtiss C46 Commando

Prior to takeoff, as the soldiers were sitting in the plane, the pilot would be going thru his pre-flight checklist one of which was revving up the engine.  This would cause every rivet inside the plane to rattle, leaving the men to wonder how in the world would they ever take off?  My Dad jumped sixteen times, 5 in school and 11 during army training.  He did night jumps, equipment bag jumps, carrying 60-80 lbs of supplies which he was trained to let go of right before hitting the ground.  He was taught that there were five landing points on your body, balls of your feet, calves, thighs, bum and shoulders.  He said he always landed on three, feet, bum and head.  There were pros and cons to jumping; one pro ~ he was paid $50 hazardous pay each month, con ~ there was always that apprehension he felt right before each jump.  Pro ~ he saved that $50 for six months at which time he then used the money to buy my mother’s engagement ring.  In those days, $300 would be equivalent to $5,000 today.  What a sweetie-pie!  My mom thought so too!!

That wonderful, glorious, long-anticipated day finally arrived when he could  put on his very own paratrooper uniform. Which of course was the whole reason for his excellent adventure, and boy did he feel ‘Proud as a Peacock’!!  There was also a pinning ceremony.  The captain would pin the top paratrooper, that top paratrooper then turned to the soldier next to him and pinned him and this continued down the line, each pinning the next one.  It was a very moving moment for my Dad.  He had accomplished his goal, wearing his very own paratrooper uniform, his pins and patches, well deserved Dad!

So there you have it, my most treasured possession is this photo of my Dad in his paratrooper uniform.  This picture was taken in June 1951, my Dad was wearing his Class A Summer Khaki Paratrooper Uniform, he was right, it was a sharp uniform and he did look handsome in it.  To think he joined the army all for the love of a uniform!

 My Dad the ParatrooperMy Dad the Paratrooper

 love you Dad! xo

 

 

 

 

654…my word count…cool! (Writing 101)

Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

I have decided to start posting daily three things that I am grateful for and ask you the reader to leave one thing in the comments section that you are grateful for.  I am hoping that it will inspire people to start each day with a happier, more positive attitude.  That if it could help your day to be a better one then I’ve accomplished my goal.

I started to think about this this morning and it has been rolling around in my mind all day.  Thinking of different ideas and attitudes to join the 3 items.  I would like to post inspirational posters along with the three grateful items.

I find that when I write down what I am grateful for it makes me feel better and I also feel that we should never run out of things to feel grateful for.  On the days when I’m feeling blue and perhaps even start a pity party for myself I find it to be especially helpful.  The more consecutive days that I write gratitudes the more the negativity leaves my mind and the positivity seeps in.  It’s amazing how negativity comes so easily and naturally and positivity is more work.  It should be the other way around and I guess that is what my goal is, to become a totally positive person and leave the negativity behind.

Here’s a random thought, I bought a frozen apple pie and while I was reading the directions I noticed on the box it read “Serving Suggestion: BAKE BEFORE SERVING”…seriously?  Ok who out there is eating the pie frozen, causing this company to decide it is necessary to put that on the box…fess up!!!   I have never eaten a frozen pie frozen before, now that they have put that thought into my head, I’m considering it!  Sure would save alot of time…maybe.

Ok so who is checking the word count at the bottom to see when you reach 400, and who is pausing while writing?  I’m not sensoring my thoughts I am typing what comes into my head next, pretty much.  I actually think this is fun to see where your mind goes and what it has to say.

This is the second to last writing lesson.  This was fun.  I believe I saw that there was a Writing 102 which I am considering signing up for, however I am also going to start doing my own posts as well.  I like having this as an inspiration for things to write about and of course I believe that’s the whole idea.  The best part was getting to make new friends and meet all of you and read your blogs too.  I must admit I have not had the time to read as many as I would like.  I try to catch up on the weekend but as I’m sure yours is, my life is so busy right now!  I love all the stories I’ve read, we are a bunch of very talented individuals and we’re all gonna go far in our writing careers..if that’s what we choose!

Just choose what dream you want to come true in your life and go after it.  If you focus your attention on why it will come true and not why it won’t come true and you truly believe it will come true…then it will!  Go for it!!!

Well I guess that’s my free-writing for tonight.  I was really starting to get on a roll but I think I might have been able to go on forever and ever…I’ll save it for some more blog stories!!

Thanks for reading… Believe in You!!!

 

It’s Not What It Seems (Writing 101)

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

I should be inside doing my homework but I want to practice my new cheerleading moves, only two more days til tryouts.  I’ve just got to make the team.  I hope my yelling doesn’t bother the neighbors, maybe I’ll practice my jumps instead.   Oh I know, I’ll sit here on the stoop and write some new cheers, that won’t bother anyone, ya that’s what I’ll do.

I remember when this neighborhood was so noisy with kids.  Especially across the street with all those boys.  They would always be playing some game in the yard.  Their mom and dad would be sitting on the porch, drinking lemonade and laughing at their sons’ charades.  It wasn’t just them either there were lots of kids and parents who would be out playing, visiting, doing yard work, keeping an eye on me as I was so little then.

Now that I’m almost an adult I miss those days and all those kids.  Everyone has grown up and moved away.  The new neighbors seem to keep to themselves and don’t have a lot of interest in making their homes look pretty.  Sad.  Since Mr. Pauley died a few months ago I haven’t seen Mrs. Pauley at all, even her home looks run down.  Well back to my writing…two, four, six, eight who do we appreciate…nah, that’s an old one…hey that police car is slowing down and stopping in front of Mrs. Pauley’s house.  Uh-oh.

I’ll pretend not to watch, hmm they don’t look happy I wonder what’s wrong.  Who is that man with them?  I hope Mrs. Pauley is okay, maybe I should get Mom.  Boy they’ve knocked on her door a couple of times and she hasn’t answered yet, oh wait, there she is and she’s letting them in.  Wow I wonder if she did something wrong, why else would the police be there?

Hey isn’t that Joshua pulling up with his wife and kids?  Mrs. Pauley will sure be surprised to see her son and grandchildren, they haven’t been here in forever!  Hey wait here comes, Andy, Bart, Michael, Larry and Carl, Carl was named after Mr. Pauley.  Wow!  All of her sons are here and look at how old they are.  A moving van?  Are they moving in or out?   MAAAAAAA come here…MAAAAAA…

Oh Mom.  Look!  A moving van and all of Mrs. Pauley’s sons are here plus the police, what’s going on?  Are you sure?  Joshua and his family have come to buy the house and live here with Mrs. Pauley?  Oh she’ll be so happy….and there will be kids again.  I can babysit them and maybe we can play in the yard.  I know, I’ll show them my cheers, oh won’t that be fun!!  I can’t wait!!!

Oh hey, there’s Mrs. Pauley, she looks so happy…I’ll wave to her…HI MRS. PAULEY WANNA SEE MY NEW CHEER???

“NEVERMORE” (Writing 101)

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

Today’s Twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

 

Darkness comes but every night

Along with it my daily fright.

My palms do sweat, my heart does pound

If only I could turn around.

 

There’s no escaping, though I try

It torments me, I wonder why?

When did it all turn into this?

I don’t recall that evil kiss.

 

Soon blackness, it engulfs me

Shapes and shadows all I see.

Oh how my grip becomes intense

My concentration is immense.

 

Anxiety’s now in control

And panic’s waiting to explode.

I cry, I pray to no avail

I’m all alone behind the wheel.

 

Matter’s not how near or far

Oh how I hate to drive my car.

Night blindness is my fright you see

It has it’s icy grip on me!

 

And though I’m saddened to the core,

To drive at night is “Nevermore”!!!

 

Nevermore

 

 

 

 

The Death of Aunt Flo Conclusion (Writing 101)

Today’s Prompt:  For inspiration, ponder the phrase “lost and found.”

So, today’s twist: If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of lost and found more generally in this post.

I knew Aunt Flo for 40 years.  She was with me in good times and bad, happy and sad, day and night, uninvited but always my friend.  She knew how to press my buttons, make me angry, sad, weepy, mad!  But as it is in life all things must end and when I lost Aunt Flo I was ecstatic.  I was looking forward to when she would be gone, it couldn’t happen soon enough.  The loss of Aunt Flo was liberating, I looked forward to a life without her.

And then, I found Cinderella.  That is what I have decided to name the next chapter in my life aka menopause.  I find Cinderella so much more appealing than menopause, who wouldn’t want to be Cinderella?

In some ways Cinderella is very much like Aunt Flo.  She can dictate my moods, take control of me, make me act like a crazed, mad woman and it’s not pretty!  She shows up unannounced, fires me up, makes me sweat the small stuff and sends me into a tizzy.

However, I have also found that Cinderella has awakened me.  My life was trudging along just fine, same ole, same ole.  I was content, getting by, making a living, pretty much fulfilling the American Dream…or was I?  I found out that not only could I dream about doing things I love, I could actually do them.  Like writing.  In high school I liked to write and I was in the drama club, but I never pursued either.  Ok, who out there knew what they wanted to do at 18?  Only a few lucky ones, I surmise.

It’s time to pursue my dreams, live them, make them realities.  It’s so exciting.  I have a quote by CS Lewis hanging on my mantle, it says “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream…”  Don’t you love that?  It inspired me to ask myself ‘what is your dream, your goal?  If you could do anything what would you do?’  Ask yourself that…then set out to do it!  YOU CAN!!

I welcome Cinderella with open arms, she’s quite a find.  She’s my new beginning, my new story, my new happiness, my true me.  Who knew, that out of sweat, tirades, and hot flashes would emerge a beautiful new life.  And this go round I will live it doing what I love, that’s what really thrills me.  I can’t wait to inspire you, help you through the rough patches, brighten your day, put a smile on that pretty or handsome little face of yours, make your life happier, those are my goals.

 

IF THE GLASS SLIPPER FITS…

     Cinderella

 

 

TRANSFER (Writing 101)

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration

Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

Dear Transfer,

Welcome!  We are beyond excited that you have decided to join us.  You can look forward to amazing journeys, days of sunshine, nights of magic, a land where hopes and dreams become realities.  It is no coincidence that your research has brought you to us.

We ask that you come with an open heart, open mind and an optimistic outlook.  We’ve included a checklist for your convenience.

  1. )  Say goodbye to the old you
  2. )  Throw away all negative thoughts and emotions
  3. )  Bring the biggest dream you want to come true, the bigger the better
  4. )  Plan on being happy daily
  5. )  Pack lots of desires, passions and gratitudes
  6. )  Bring your goals

We know that with the transfer will come an adjustment period, we are prepared for that.  You will find lots of love, support, kindness, encouragement, and patience during this process.  No question is silly, ask.  No curiosity is rejected.  No exploration is out of bounds.  We expect nothing less from you.

This is the best decision you have ever made.  You have taken control of your life, your abundance and prosperity are limitless.

With our unconditional love,

Me, Myself and I

            Always

Always

Lillian Rose Lee (Writing 101)

Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.

I found myself.

For the past couple of years, I have been on a self-exploration journey.  Since the onset of menopause I am definitely going thru changes.   To call it “The Change” is truly an understatement for me.  It’s more of a metamorphosis, a new beginning, a new me.  I have certainly transformed into a different person than who I was.  I like who I am becoming.

I have been listening on YouTube to Tony Robbins, Joel Osteen, Louise Hay, Abraham (Esther Hicks), Oprah interviews with Jill Bolte Taylor, Eckhart Tolle, it seems every few days I discover someone new.  I search for people with positive outlooks on life, inspiring me to become a better me.  A more grateful me, an appreciative me, a more thankful for my blessings me.  I start each day by saying “Today is Going to be a Great Day” and not just saying it but believing it.

I have experienced such a shift in my life.  These inspirational people gave me the confidence to create my own blog and to start writing.  I love it!  I have decided to start writing a book, a few pages each day and it excites me so just to consider it.  A dear friend told me to enjoy the journey, that although getting there is the goal, don’t miss out on all the experiences along the way.

However in all honesty, I have been working alot since last Fall and the past few months have been overwhelming.  My assistant has been out on medical leave so I have been doing both our jobs in addition to working part-time for a CPA during tax season.  I’m exhausted.  The exhaustion and this brutal winter have led to my feeling sorry for myself at times and losing sight of feeling grateful for all that I have and to be so thankful always, until tonight.

I watched Giuliana Rancic interview Michelle Knight.  Michelle had been kidnapped at the age of 21 and held captive for more than 10 years.  The horrendous moments she had to suffer through day in and day out slapped me in the face and shook me out of my funk.  Seriously, so I’m a little tired and overworked, how grateful I am that I am not beaten daily and fed once a week.  Wow was that a wake up call.

I am back on track, so grateful for all that I have, so thankful for my job, so lucky to be able to write.  So tonight I found me again!  Michelle changed her name to Lillian Rose Lee as a new beginning for her new life.  Thank you Lillian Rose Lee you are such an inspiration, I am so blessed!!

  Lillian Rose Lee

Lillian Rose Lee