Thursday, October 11, 2012

Writing Challenge BLG10.11.2012


A Risk I Took to Save Myself

Write about a time when you embarked upon something new and challenging, frightening, or even dangerous—as a way to find an answer, to rediscover something essential about yourself. Tell us about what you did—the adventure, the journey, the risks you took—what drove you there, and who you were when you emerged afterwards.

  1. Nancy Qualls-Collins
    Grade school through my junior year of high school was spent riding bikes and horses in the desert and mountains of west Texas and New Mexico. And of all my classmates and friends diving and having swimming races at Crystal Pool, the cool clear round pool that was large enough for a couple hundred bathers. That summer before my senior year my father’s job, as a retail window display designer, was transferred to Arizona. It was hot, dirty and most unfriendly. The high school kids were distant and the majority of them on drugs.

    That August we attended a family wedding in Indiana. My blonde, bubbly cousin, Connie (who is my age), set me up on a double blind date with my first love. My parents allowed me to remain in Indiana with my Aunt, Uncle, five cousins and fields of pigs and dairy cows. My parents and younger sister returned to the desert with plans to move up at the end of the school year.
    I had a new family, new school, new friends and a lot of animals.

    Some of the natives were not so friendly. A prospective girlfriend for my new boyfriend, and her friends, were not so welcoming and it took me time to determine who was friend or foe. I was made fun of for my Texas drawl and people stared at me. It was a small town and everyone knew I had arrived. If it were not for all my cousins, and having a well respected boyfriend, I fear I would have melted in the ice and snow. I learned about dealing with jealousy and benevolence to others feelings. My aunts and grandmother talked to me a lot and made it easy to reveal that which confused and frustrated me. It was impossible not to be happy around Connie.

    It was an adjustment to have so many ‘siblings’ with one bathroom and one car. There were cheer leading, choir and band practice, football and basketball games and family dinners interspersed with house and farm chores and dates. I shared a bed with Connie. My aunt and uncle were slightly more strict than my parents and required me get a Saturday part time job to help pay for my ancillary expenses. I never was forced to accept responsibility before. And Connie would do the grocery shopping while I worked developing films and sucking spittle in a dentists office.

    The whole experience was a true adventure, especially for one so young. I am thankful for learning responsibility for family, the animals and my life, and for communicating with my family both near and far. Most of all the massive, unconditional love and friendship of all my relatives after living in the desert with only my immediate family.

    • Ilana
      Nancy- What a beautiful story. I love how you showed us the range of relationships and emotions; the distance of the other students, the unfriendliness of those who laughed at your drawl and finally the support you got from you family and boyfriend. A sweet story and well written. IM
      Laura Davis
      Nancy, it sounds like a wonderful, growing time in your life despite the challenges. Thanks for sharing this moving story with us.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Facing Dead Ends

An essay about a time that was true in life when you faced a dead end-but you really didn't

Those of us known as baby boomers were raised in a transitional period. Shorty after mid-twentieth century a “COMMA” marks the delineation of the life of our grandparents and parents and the new life that we baby boomers would learn to live.

Our fathers went to work and stayed at the same job for their entire working career. Life was good, a man would come home to greet his family, have a nice dinner and have a relaxing evening watching television and/or reading the newspaper. The men expected to have higher education were doctors and lawyers. That was until mid-century when employers started requiring man have a degree…COMMA...

Our mothers raised us to be housewives, homemakers and mothers. We were children of the “white picket fence” era. A girl would marry her high school sweetheart, or the guy she ended that summer after graduation with. We had every reason to believe we would carry on as our Mothers, Aunts and Grandmothers, keeping the home and raising the children.   In the 50′s and early 60′s we did not expect we would ever have to go to college, or even work once we started a family... …COMMA…

Two things happened to women. One, women’s lib and the concept that we no longer needed to be obligated to our husband’s for our living. Previously the men earned, and usually handled the money. Women started working and we were suddenly given the freedom to think and live our own lives…COMMA…

Two, society evolved and it became necessary for women, as well as the men, to work in order to survive in a reasonably comfortable way. Those of us born in the early 1950′s were brought up thinking we would live a life like our mother’s, and in high school when the counselor asked us which path we planned to follow, the standard or the college curriculum, we chose the standard. Little did we know that within a few years we would need a college degree in order to be “successful”. Women hit “the brick wall” the hardest because we were forced to make the biggest changes, maintain our home and family plus sustain a career.  But we baby boomer ladies broke through “the brick wall” and, not only became mothers and homemakers, became successful career women.