And down the mountain we drove. Around 85 miles down, same mileage back. We met Bette Stevens, of 4 Writers and Readers. She’s in the middle of a round of editing her next book, but she took the time to spend the afternoon with me and Garry. A great lunch and Ken’s Family Restaurant, a trip […]
Another “Ready, Set, Done“ free write morning with WordPress The sky is bright and blue and the last of the autumn leaves are clinging to the birch trees across the path in front of the cabin. There’s quite a breeze and the leaves are shimmering. I can’t catch that shimmer with my camera. That would […]
There are so many television shows and movies, not to mention sappy posts on Facebook and other social media sites about “the good old days” … kind of makes me a trifle queasy. As someone who grew up in those good old days, I can attest to their not being all that great. There were good things about them, but it was by no means all roses.
Good is a relative term, after all. If you were white, Christian and middle class … preferably male and not (for example) a woman with professional ambitions … the world was something resembling your oyster. A family could live on one salary. If you were “regular folk” and didn’t stand out in any particular way, life could be gentle and sweet.
The thing is, an awful lot of people aren’t and weren’t people who could blend in. If you were poor, anything but white or Christian, or a woman who wanted to be more than a mother and homemaker, the world was a far rougher place.
Pure Trash: The Story: Shawn Daniels in a Poor Boy’s Adventure: 1950s Rural New England is set in rural New England in the mid 1950s. It’s a sharp reminder how brutal our society could be to those deemed different or inferior. Not only was bullying common, it wasn’t considered wrong. I remember how badly the poor kids in my class were treated when I was going through elementary school. How the teachers took every opportunity to humiliate kids whose clothing was tattered and whose shoes were worn. I remember feeling awful for those little girls and boys. Not merely bullied by their classmates (who oddly, didn’t much notice the differences until the teachers pointed them out), but tormented by those who were supposed to care for and protect them. Bad enough for me and the handful of Jewish kids as Christmas rolled around. For them, it was the wrong time of year all year round.
In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels set off one Saturday in search of whatever they can find that they can turn into money. One man’s trash can be a poor child’s treasure. Bottles that people throw away could be collected and turned into ice cream and soda pop. Shawn is excited. It’s going to be a terrific day. Until the real world intrudes and Shawn is sharply and painfully reminded that he’s different … and not in a good way.
The story is about bullying, but more important, it’s about being different and being judged without compassion, without understanding or love.
It’s a very fast read. Only 21 pages, the story flies by. I was left wanting more. I want to know how the boys grow up. I want them to become CEOs of big corporations so they can thumb their noses at their whole miserable society. An excellent short story leaving plenty of room for thought.
Though set in 1955, the story is entirely relevant today. Despite much-touted progress, we still judge each other harshly based on appearance and assumptions. Everything changes … but maybe not so much.
- PURE TRASH, The Story by Bette A. Stevens (greenembers.wordpress.com)
- PURE TRASH and AMAZING MATILDA on Amazon’s TOP 100 LIST! (4writersandreaders.com)
First of all, thank you to Bette Stevens of 4WRITERSANDREADERS who has honored me with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
This means a lot to me. As I go about my daily life, paying bills, figuring out how we’re going to get through another month that contains more bills than money, as I watch my family struggle and grope toward solutions … and nobody is the interested in anything I might have to say on the matter … I ponder how the people who know us best are the most likely to ignore us.
Not like this is unusual or rare. It probably wasn’t a new concept when it found its way into the gospels.
Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown: John 4:44.
I guess it’s not especially surprising if we are taken more seriously by virtual strangers than we are at home, in the bosom of our family. Or at least in the bosom of mine.
It is the great gift of blogging that we can give our best to anyone willing to read our posts. In the semi-anonymity of our cyber lives, we offer everyone the things we love, the things that excite and fascinate us … as well as what we’ve learned, knowledge painfully learned … and hope someone will benefit. I’m sure I’m not the only one who began blogging as a way of sharing with a larger community. Maybe someone can benefit from our mistakes and avoid the missteps that have cost us dearly. Perhaps we’ll make someone laugh, open a window on something beautiful, inspire someone to read a book, take a picture, watch a movie or just think about something they’d otherwise never consider. A single idea, an unexpected image or concept can change a life and a changed life can change the world. We hope. And so, we share.
Inspiration is strange, unpredictable. A book I’m reading, a TV show, blogs, current events, sunlight filtering through leaves, watching snowflakes drift by my window, knowing my car is stuck at the bottom of the driveway until the snow melts. Being grateful we shopped yesterday and didn’t put it off another day. Glad I have a computer and a high-speed connection so I can remain part of the world when just a few decades ago, our age and my disabilities would have condemned me to isolation.
Being told that I’m an inspiration is an inspiration. It means someone hears me. I’m infinitely grateful. It’s a validation and a reward. We all need that, at least sometimes. It keeps us going when so often if feels like we are shouting into an empty space.
All of you in my blogging community inspire me. I read your stories. Your pictures make me think about new ways to capture my world. I marvel at the complex lives we’ve lives, the obstacles we overcome, the problems we deal with every day, how strong we are and how amazing it is that we find reasons to rejoice despite hard times and harder choices.
The rules of this award are:
- Display the award logo on your blog
- Link back to the person who nominated you.
- Tell us at least seven things about yourself that you would like to share.
- Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them. I am not going to set a specific number. I know how difficult it can be to keep coming up with dozens of new nominees and rather than burden you all with the requirement to find in a single batch quite so many bloggers to whom you have not already passed on a variety of awards, I will suggest that as you find worthy blogs that you would like to honor, that you pass the honor to them and allow them to also pass the honor along as they find honor worthy recipients.
- Notify your chosen bloggers of their nomination and the award’s requirements.
Seven things about myself are:
- I am a born researcher. If something catches my interest, I will keep digging at it until I feel I’ve learned everything I can about it, whether it’s breeds of dogs, building tepees, or medieval history.
- My hair started to turn gray when I was 20 and was almost completely great by the time I was 30.
- I’ve always had a lot of dogs, cats, ferrets, parrots and occasionally even stranger critters in my world, but love them though I do, I never got to own a horse.
- I have a “thing” for masked men and had a massive crush on Zorro when I was a teenage girl.
- When I gave up on Zorro, I fell even more passionately in love with Marlon Brando.
- My first car was a 1977 Ford Pinto in British Racing Green. I thought it was very hot.
- I used to be able to recite the entire family tree of the British Royal Family from Willy the Conqueror to Queen Liz II. I thought it was quite an achievement, but no one was impressed but me.
My nominees (the envelope please):
I know a couple of you are repeat awardees. It is not my fault that I like your stuff. If you would stop inspiring me, writing so well that I feel obliged to improve my work, making me think, laugh, and want to take better pictures, I’d stop giving you awards.
For my friends to whom I’ve already give several awards (you know who you are!) and who live in fear of getting another, well, you will be hearing from me. Don’t think I’ve forgotten you. Just because I skipped you this time doesn’t mean I’m not gonna getcha on the next wave! I’ve got a lot of awards to pass along, so you all know who you are. Start collecting nominees … you will need them!