Memoirs

All posts in the Memoirs category

HOMEWORK

Published January 20, 2018 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic, in the central Caribbean. Feel free to use the crazy capture I posted, or find your own photo sphere anywhere within the country’s borders.

Your assignment is to produce 150 words (or less) inspired by this week’s location. Will it be fiction? Essay? Poetry? The only limit is your imagination. After you’ve polished your piece, you can share it with other participants at the link up:

I’m back after being MIA last week and probably will be a few more times. However, when I saw Dominican Republic in my inbox I was hooked. 

Genre: Memoir

Word Count: 150

HOMEWORK

                There’s a special place in my heart for the Dominican Republic. However, not in the way one might think. I’ve never played on the sandy beaches of Santo Domingo nor lounged under its palm trees beside the Caribbean Sea.

            From 1964-65 I was in 6th grade. Our teacher, Mrs. Humo, assigned each student a country to study for the entire school year. This included keeping track of current events.

            Those lucky ducks given Laos and Vietnam, as you might imagine, had much to report and clipped tons of newspaper articles. Not so for the hapless girl assigned the República Dominicana.

            I diligently studied, drew detailed maps and combed the Kansas City Star for any news of my tiny tropical island. Nada.

            The following spring, after I’d moved on to the trials of junior high, revolution broke out. The Dominican Republic headlined the news. What? They couldn’t have revolted last year?

50 Happy Things 2018: Bloggers Unite to Flood the Internet With Gratitude

Published January 2, 2018 by rochellewisoff

Thanks to Dawn Landau for making Gratitude a New Year’s Tradition. I’m happy to be taking part once more. 

“For the fourth year in a row, this is an opportunity to hit pause and focus on all the good things that each of us has in our lives. The holiday season has a way of rushing in, every year, and making it hard to remember that throughout the year, there are blessings. There are so many things that bring joy, so many happy things; yet it’s easy to find to lose sight of this fact, as we manage busy lives.”

To take part, set your timer for ten minutes and write 50 things you are grateful for. Once I started it was hard to stop. 

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  1. My home – just celebrated our tenth year in our dream home. 
  2. My husband – 46 years of marriage. 
  3. My 3 sons who have all grown to be men I’m proud of. 
  4. My granddaughter Olive
  5. Her new sister Elsie born on my dad’s birthday, 12 November 2017
  6. Olive’s adorable dog, Poppy
  7. Friday Fictioneers – I’ve made so many friends through sharing stories, learning how similar we are in our hopes and dreams no matter where we’re from. 
  8. What Pegman Saw…I took part in it this past year. Nice to have a different prompt and 50 extra words to play with.
  9. My health
  10. A nearby place to swim
  11. The joy of swimming a mile, flip turning at each end of the pool
  12. Counting backwards in Hebrew and Spanish to keep track of my pool lengths
  13. My elliptical trainer for those times it’s too cold to get out of the house
  14. A good hot shower after a hearty workout
  15. A warm cozy room that serves as office and studio
  16. Strong, hot black coffee in the wee morning hours when it’s still dark outside
  17. My G-d who speaks in a still small voice during those quiet times
  18. Abundance of healthy foods
  19. A sense of humor, the ability to laugh at myself
  20. My friends and family who’ll laugh at me if I don’t.
  21. My synagogue
  22. My dancing friends on our synagogue dance team
  23. My rabbi, who knows the value of a good pun
  24. My blogging friends
  25. The internet and Skype friends around the globe
  26. The ability to make people happy with my writing and art – I say this with gratitude for the feedback from others
  27. My 6-speed Chevy Cruz that’s paid for
  28. No longer having to punch a clock and the privilege of doing what I dreamed of doing as a child, ie being a professional artist
  29. Some successful book signings and art fairs.
  30. A growing number of art commissions.
  31. Books to read and lose myself in
  32. Music, all kinds (I won’t deny it, I love classical…particularly Chopin).
  33. Being able to read and write Hebrew (more or less)
  34. Taking time to enjoy the quiet
  35. Good paintbrushes
  36. My computers: desktop and laptop
  37. Legs that still work
  38. Smelling fragrances and odors, it means my olfactories works
  39. The color PURPLE
  40. Other colors beside purple 😉
  41. The fresh smell after a rainstorm
  42. Flowers, Daffodils being my favorite
  43. My muse who tells me stories when I least expect it
  44. My spinning mind that decides to go into overdrive when I want to sleep.
  45. A good Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
  46. Gluten free pasta so I don’t feel deprived
  47. Ozarks Writers League – OWL
  48. All of my Wisoff cousins I never knew I had until we discovered each other online
  49. Friends I’ve known since early childhood. It’s a rare blessing to share pictures of grandchildren with the same ‘kids’ I used to play hopscotch with
  50. I can still turn a cartwheel.

SWIMMING LESSON

Published December 17, 2017 by rochellewisoff

A resounding HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Pegman. Can you believe it’s been a year already? Many happy returns to Karen and Josh. You’re doing a great job. 

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

This photo didn’t take me to Iowa, but to the back woods of Arkansas. The story is an edited snippet from a story in my short story anthology THIS, THAT AND SOMETIMES THE OTHER which is out of print (save copies still available from the author 😉 ) It’s still available on Kindle. The story is based on one of my husband’s memories of spending summers with his best friend Ray (Francis Ray Stills). We had fun working on the longer version together.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 150

SWIMMING LESSON

Granny Stillwell’s shack, built into the hills, was propped up on cinderblocks. Another rough-hewn cabin sat just the other side of a vegetable garden. A tire-less, 1940’s pick-up truck, also set on cinderblocks, had been pushed up against one wall “to keep it from a-leaning too much.”

After supper, his stomach full of catfish and rhubarb cobbler, Kenny Lord lazed on the porch and thought about the day.

“Hey, Lordy-Lordy, know how to swim?” 

“No.” 

“Time to learn.”  

He would never forget his terror when Boyce shoved him off the cliff to the Buffalo River 50 feet below. Boyce’s evil laughter filled his ears until water surged up his nose and his panic-stricken lungs blazed.

Kenny seethed. “Boyce better watch his back.”

“He was jest funnin’,’” said Frankie-Ray Stillwell.

Granny spat out a wad of chewing tobacco. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.”

Kenny smirked. “That’s me, Kenneth Donald Lord.”

THE SWIMMING LESSON

 

15 December 2017

Published December 13, 2017 by rochellewisoff

 

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

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Genre: Realistic Friction

Word Count: 100

HONESTLY

Today my muse has taken a break, leaving my brain to slosh about my skull. Ideas float in bubbles and pop into nothingness, with no beginning, middle or end.

So, I’ll share a bit of nonfiction.

April 12, 2012 I joined Friday Fictioneers. Straightaway I became addicted in 100 words or less. Months later, Madison, FF creator, appointed me to be her successor as leader of this global community.   

I enjoy our various cultures and would love to comment on each and every story. With life’s busy-ness, am I wrong or unreasonable to only do so with those who reciprocate?

DELLA

Published November 25, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. Take a tour of the area and see what inspires you. The only rule is that your submission be 150 words or less. You can capture your own picture of the area or use the one provided.

This week’s location was suggested by GeorgieMoon and and I know you’ll have fun here. Thanks for the suggestion Georgie!

As always, thanks to Karen Rawson and J Hardy Carroll for hosting this challenge. 

I’ve been MIA from Pegman the past couple of weeks as my coffee table book is taking shape and life has gotten a little hectic. My story has nothing to do with the Isle of Wight and I’m not sure it even has a beginning, middle and end but it’s what is on my mind this morning. You see, my friend passed away just last night. I don’t post this to garner your sympathy, but to tell you about one of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. She leaves in her wake others who can and, I’m sure, will echo my sentiments. 

Genre: Eulogy

Word Count: 150

DELLA

            The heart has a revolving door, doesn’t it? People come and go, some for longer periods than others. Then there are those who take up permanent residence. We may not see them every day or even call them to chat but they are always there.

            She and I had that kind of relationship. A year, even two, could go by, yet, when we met for an occasional coffee, we picked up where we left off.

            Her name meant bright or noble. No one else embodied those words in quite the same way. She was the pillar of faith, spirit of wisdom and voice of reason. I never saw her waiver or even slow down.

            82 years young? No! She was ageless.  

            To refer to her in the past tense is unfathomable. Her influence, as my second mother and friend, as long as I walk this earth, will be ever present.

Della on her 80th birthday

           

AUGUST 2017 IN REVIEW

Published September 17, 2017 by rochellewisoff

One of my favorite song quotes comes from the late John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy.” “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” August was a busy month, but September has followed suit, leaving little time blog. I suppose better late than never applies.

Traditionally for the Fields of Belton, Missouri, the first two weeks of August is when Jan goes to Sturgis, SD for the annual bike rally. It’s also the time when the missus, ie me, has time to relax and hang around the house. However, this year, I didn’t spend nearly as much time relaxing as I’d expected.  

Yours Truly with Diane Yates

The first weekend, I packed up the purple tent, books, and artwork. With my good friend Barbara I drove to Fayette, Missouri for the weekend to take part in the Fayette Arts Festival where we stayed with my co-author and friend Diane Yates. Although the weather was unseasonably cold and wet, we girls had a great time. We even sold a few books. 😉 With all of our husbands off and running, the three of us spent Saturday night watching a movie, sipping wine and gabbing into the wee hours.

One of the things I love about doing these signings is the people I meet. Drawn in by the artwork and my novels’ connection to my family, someone will tell me, often in great detail, about their own backgrounds. Great fun.

Wednesday, August 9th, my cousin Kent and I headed to midtown where I was scheduled to do an interview on ArtSpeak on local radio station KKFI, Kansas City’s answer to NPR. He took the picture below during the interview.

Here’s the podcast of that interview. Note: I wasn’t the only guest. You’ll find my slot at 27:39. Friday Fictioneers gets a nod as I read three flash fictions and told Maria how I stumbled into one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Following the interview, Kent and I spent the afternoon meandering around KC’s famous Country Club Plaza. We spent at least an hour in Barnes & Noble’s media room geeking out over DVD’s. We capped off the day by devouring our favorite barbecue at Snead’s BBQ, another Kansas City tradition.

Leawood Barnes & Noble book signing, August 12.

Truly, the crowning moments of the month happened in Branson at the Ozarks Writers League (OWL) conference which happens four times a year. I’ve been a part of and learned much from this generous group of writers for the past ten years. This year I had the opportunity to give back in leading a workshop entitled “Using Flash Fiction as a Writing Tool.” Two FFr’s, our own class clown, Russell Gayer and Cuzzin Kent Bonham served as my peanut gallery (for those who remember Howdy Doody).  

 

A month ahead I sent out the photo prompt and challenged the OWLs to write a 100 word story, giving them a taste of Friday Fictioneers, using the same prompt we used that week on the blog challenge. As always, it’s entertaining to hear the different takes on the same photo. OWL president, Diane Yates and her husband Ricky both took part which was fun since the photo is that of their converted closet shower that he built with his own two hands.

August is the month of the OWL Annual Art Contest with three categories: 2 dimensional art, 3 dimensional and photography. Best in Show (not to be confused with the famous dog show) is awarded by the entry the judges consider the best of the 3 first place winners. I was pleased to learn that I won first and second place for 2 dimensional and the trophy. 😀

Since my husband Jan, my favorite roadie, cheerleader and wind beneath my wings, took the photos he isn’t in any of them. 

HOW IS MY DRIVING?

Published July 19, 2017 by rochellewisoff

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Kent Bonham

Kent’s photo put me back on that tour bus with Zvi. Normally I eschew Friday Fictioneers sequels or double dipping. With red, although unapologetic, countenance I am doing both this week. 🙄

Genre: Memoir/Anecdote

Word Count: 100

HOW IS MY DRIVING?

            A rather shy man, our Israeli bus driver, Gabi had a welcoming smile for everyone. Every day we spoke, he in halting English and I in limited Hebrew.

            What a driver! He maneuvered that behemoth through narrow streets I wouldn’t dare attempt to navigate in my Saturn. I was reminded of cartoon car chases where vehicles curved around corners like Gumby.

            My seatmate grasped the armrest, her knuckles white. “He must ride a motorcycle.”   

            “Ahtah rokhev al ofanoah?” I asked him.

            His sunny expression gave way to horror. “Lo! Mesukahn! Mesukahn!” He flashed his pocket translator which read, “Dangerous! Perilous!”

****

Aych ahnee noheg? How is my driving?

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