Writing 101: Size Matters

I am so far behind I’ll never catch up, but then this is normal for me.  Farmer’s Almanac says it’s a good day to mow to retard growth, quit smoking, start a diet to lose weight and kill plant pests, according to the phase and sign of the moon.  This means that it’s a good day to get rid of things you don’t want.  I don’t want procrastination in my life anymore.  I don’t want to live in an overcrowded room full of things I no longer need.  I don’t want to be afraid of using my voice.  I don’t want to be stuck.

I do much better when I phrase things in a positive manner, so allow me to redo my list:  I want to work on my posts (among other things) in a timely manner.  I want to be surrounded by things that mean something to me in the present.  I want to be able to say what’s on my mind in a clear and concise, yet interesting, manner.  I want to be free.  Yes, that’s much better!

The writing challenge for me today is to tell about my home when I was 12 years old, paying attention to the sentence length and making sure I use short medium and long sentences to keep the pace varied.

We moved around a lot.  Every year, it seemed.  Every now and then we would find a place we could stay for a few years, but that was rare.  It’s hard to remember them all, let alone figure out which “home” was the one we occupied 46 years ago.  I was in Junior High School,  Chelsea Junior High.  I was a minority in the school, most of the students and teachers were black.  Bad times, just before the race riots in Atlantic City.  1968.

There are two places I remember during the two years of Hell I went through in junior high.  Both were 2nd floor apartments with the outside stairs leading up to our front door from the alleyway.   Both were way too small for eight people.  One only had 3 bedrooms, one for my parents, one for the three boys and one for the three girls.  We had most of our stuff still in boxes in both places.  It was over-crowded.  It was messy.  It was also dirty.  Mom didn’t do much cleaning.  She did laundry.  I remember her doing laundry.  One place had a washer, in the other we had an apartment size washer, big enough to wash 3 pairs of pants but not much more.  There was a clothesline attached to pulleys on which we hung out our wet clothes to dry in one place.  It was attached to the post holding up the porch roof on the proximal side and to the neighbor’s building on the far end.  That was my job, or one of my jobs, to hang out the laundry and bring it in when Mom was too tired to do it.  In the other apartment, there was a line down in the back yard, propped up with a long stick to keep the clothes from touching the ground.  Sometimes mom would make one of the boys carry the laundry downstairs for her, but usually I did it.

It seems I remember little about the actual buildings and much more about all the work that went into being the oldest girl.  Or, maybe I just don’t want to remember the despair, the dirt, the cockroaches, the peeling wallpaper.  Nope, this one is no fun.


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