Looking for answers to life's questions

Writing class started again after a months break. Class has taught me many valuable lessons. The primary lesson, I don’t know how to do fiction. I’m not good at making up stories. If I get a prompt that I have no way to relate to, I sit for days trying to make something up and it turns out awful. What I can do, is take those tiny bits of memories and embellish them to fit the prompt. So it is with this story. Most of it’s as true as I can remember but the ending was added to fit the prompt. Today, I’ll share what I’m best at, telling bits of my life.

Are We There Yet?

The house was empty. The furniture and all our belongings had been packed and taken to be shipped to our new home. Even the car was gone. Little Jimmy was getting a bath by the mother’s helper when I walked in to check how much longer it would take.

That’s when the plan started to crumble. How could Margaret not see that Jimmy had spots all over his body? Running into the living room, I announced to my parents, “Jimmy has the measles.” Mom’s face went white and dad rolled his eyes. “Are you sure” they asked? Heck, I was only 9 but I knew measles when I saw them. “Go see for yourself” I shot back.

All I heard was panic coming from the bathroom. Jimmy was whisked from the bathtub, dried and dressed. Mom said no one was to mention measles to anyone. Not one word was to come out of our mouths. They dressed him in a jacket and put a hat with ear flaps on his head. As we sat at the NCO club waiting for the bus to take us to the Frankfort airport, mom gave Jimmy orange juice and said if anyone noticed the rash, he appeared to be allergic to it. They had to make the trip because all our beds and belongings were already gone. No way was she staying behind with 4 kids alone.

Once we arrived in Frankfort, another delay. A problem with the plane seemed to be the next hold up. So we were confined to one hotel room until another flight could be arranged. Finally, we were all on the flight. Jimmy was again dressed in the unseasonably warm leather jacket and cap. Once we were airborne, we couldn’t be left behind. There was some relaxation in the parents. Until…

Ours was green

Ours was green

We waited in New York for our car to come off the boat. More confinement in a hotel room. Finally we were underway and managed to get as far as somewhere in Virginia. It has to happen. Just as Jimmy was starting to get better, the baby came down with the measles too and it made him sick enough to require a doctor. They found an emergency room and the next thing I know, blankets are tacked up all around the back-end of the station wagon. They had to keep the car dark. It also kept out any breath of air. It was late April but with no open windows we were melting in there.

Dad drove until he couldn’t. Mom had just learned to drive and there was no way dad was going to let her get us lost here. Sleep was done at roadside rest stops, then more driving down the entire length of the coast to Georgia. Meals came from a loaf of purchased bread and a package of bologna. Four kids, two of them ill, one hyperactive and one bored to tears was almost too much for anyone. Somewhere in South Carolina, mom started to cry. Her head in her hands, she wailed “aren’t we there yet?” No, we weren’t and it just kept getting hotter.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of Creative Non-fiction" (11)

  1. Most people can only write what they know, Marlene, I have no knack for “invented” fiction – which is why I write a fashion blog. I think your story is well told. The trick is not to invent stories, it’s to transform experiences into literature, and that’s what you did 😉



    • eyeclic said:

      “The trick is not to invent stories, it’s to transform experiences into literature,…” Very well said.


  2. What a story, Marlene! You tell it well, too. Thanks for sharing. I’m not a fiction writer either. As the saying goes, play to your strengths. Well done.


  3. I remember when I had the measles. I was supposed to be the bride in a Tom Thumb wedding…needless to say, it didn’t happen. Thanks for sharing. See you this afternoon in class.


  4. Great start, Marlene. I want more!


  5. Sounds like a real adventure. I’m sure you saw ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ with John Candy and Steve Martin? That’s what I was thinking of while I read your story. It was such a disaster it could have been funny except it happened for real. I think your parents were pretty brave to leave their country with all you kids and arrive in American and away you go. I think fiction writers have to do a lot of research before they even start, while your story clearly comes from your heart.


    • Yes, that was quite an adventure but I”m getting ready to write an even bigger one with more disasters. Who needs to make up stuff when life can be rich with material, My dad was from Kansas City and went where ever Uncle Sam sent him. Mom just followed with all of us in tow. When you look back, it was funny. We laugh about that stuff a lot now.


  6. Your direct style of storytelling is engaging. I enjoyed the turnabout on the “Are we there yet” refrain heard from children on long car-trips.

    Liked by 1 person


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