Alyssa is an avid reader, writer, and coffee enthusiast. She loves sharing thoughts, ideas, and creative writings with the world.
Once again, Bill has graciously given us a writing prompt to inspire our muses and strengthen our writing skills. This time around, the challenge focuses on a memory from childhood. Fiction, but the catch? It has to be true. Surprisingly, this one came easy to me once I narrowed my focus. There are elements of fiction mixed in to an autobiographical account of a standard childhood weekend. It was fun to reminisce about my grandparents.
Let's pull back the curtain, just slightly. I hope you enjoy my attempt at this challenge.
As soon as the bus stopped, I was up out of my seat. I ran down the aisle and with a hurried, "Have a good weekend! See you Monday morning!" to my cordial bus driver, I grand jetéd over the steps straight onto the stone driveway. I hightailed it to the door of my house in record time, making it to my room in less than 60 seconds. It was Friday, the best day of the week. In exactly one hour my grandpa would pick me up for another adventurous weekend. I quickly made my rounds: feeding the dogs, putting the dishes away, cleaning out my backpack, and tidying my room. I already had my bag packed and ready to go. Sitting on my bright pink inflatable chair, I settled in with my latest novel while I waited. I felt grown up with yet another John Grisham masterpiece in my hands, losing myself in the depths of the Amazon Rain Forest.
The sound of stones crunching under tires pulled me back to reality. Closing my book, I grabbed my bag, and headed out. "Bye," I called as I opened the back door.
I skipped over to the old brown station wagon and hopped in. "Hey grandpa!"
"Hi kiddo," he smiled. "How was school?"
I proceeded to explain all the interesting things I was learning that week as we drove the short distance to his house. Gram and Gramps lived in a beautiful, three-story house near the edge of town. Built in the late 1800's, it was a masterpiece to behold with its enclosed porch, grand pane-glass windows, and warm, golden siding. Trailing all along the perimeter of the house was an entrancing garden, the pride of my grandparents. No matter the season, there were vibrant flowers and massive bushes staking their claim. Out back, in the center of the yard, was a large rectangular vegetable garden, housed inside a small wire fence to keep out the Peter Rabbit wannabes.
We pulled into the stone driveway, crab apples crunching under the tires. As soon as gramps put the station wagon in park, I was out of the car and running up the wide concrete steps. I opened the screen door and saw gram sitting on her favorite porch chair, an old cherry wood lounger, reading the latest Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I paused to say hello, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and headed into the house.
Walking into my grandparents' house always felt magical. To the right was the foyer, and every time I said 'foyay' I felt like miss fancy pants. There was a large desk set up against the outer wall where gram kept her sewing machine and supplies. On the opposite side, up against the back of the stairs, was a large desk holding all sorts of treasures, including an old radio that could play records, 8-tracks, and cassette tapes. In the corner was a tall bookshelf, filled with books, papers, and other knick knacks.
To the left was the living room, with its cozy couches and chairs, 60's style flowered curtains, and inviting pale-yellow walls. I walked the few feet straight ahead, past the foyer, and turned right to dash up the old, creaky wooden stairs. After climbing the two flights, I went straight to my room to drop my stuff. Turning on my heel, I headed back down to the kitchen for a treat.
After dinner and dishes, we all gathered around the dining room table. Set up in neat stacks were small newspapers, advertisements, and bags. While watching the evening news, we stuffed each bag in preparation for the morning delivery. By 8 pm, all the bags were stuffed and ready to go. There was time for a small snack, a half-hour of listening to gramps read from the Bible, and then the nightly news. By 11:15 pm, we all headed up the stairs to bed.
Saturday morning, I was up and at 'em before the birds started singing. Quietly sneaking down the stairs, I headed into the living room to settle on the couch and watch cartoons until my grandparents got up.
After breakfast, we kissed gram goodbye and headed out to the station wagon. By 8 am, we were parked on a street in the middle of town, the dividing line between two counties. Grabbing my knapsack, I headed across the street to start delivering our bags. Gramps took one half of town and I was responsible for the other. I'd proudly strut down the sidewalk, walking up to each house. Rolling a bag tightly, I would carefully place it in the handle of each screen door, or set it carefully flat on the stoop. I had my route strategically planned so that I ended up at the library.
The town library was one of my favorite places. It was an old brick building, reminiscent of a church with its towering steeple and stain glass windows. The two librarians knew me by name. I would stop and chat for a few minutes and then lose myself in the shelves of books. A while later, gramps would join me, chatting with the librarians until I had made my selections. Before heading back to the house, we'd stop at the little grocery store, where he'd hand me two $1 bills. Putting one in my pocket for later, I'd stop in the candy aisle and painstakingly peruse the shelves, deciding what I wanted.
Saturday afternoon was gram and me time. She'd braid my long hair while I told her all about my week. If it was sunny, we'd sit on the porch and read, she with her magazines and me with books. Every once in a while, I'd dash into the kitchen to whip up a snack, oftentimes chopping up apples and bananas, sprinkling them with cinnamon, and throwing them in the oven. I loved to combine different juices and sodas, creating adventurous concoctions that my sweet, brave gram would always try. Some days I'd pull out her sewing kit and we'd work on our embroidery or she'd teach me a new skill. If it was warm, we'd take a short walk up the street, stopping to rest on a bench under the neighbor's tall Oak tree. In the summer, I'd pull out her wheelchair and we'd tool around town. Gram would be all dolled up, holding her pocket-book in her lap as we roamed around.
"Would you like an iced tea?" She'd ask me, her code for letting me know she wanted one. So, we'd stop at the little ice cream shop and get her a drink. Then, we'd cross the street to the corner store and I'd get a handful of Tootsie Rolls for a penny each or Splashers gum for a quarter.
The cooler months were also filled with exciting escapades. Gram and I would watch old movies: black and white ones starring Elizabeth Taylor; her favorite, The African Queen; or mine, Road to Bali. Each time I got a movie ready, she would ask if I wanted a cup of hot tea or a cookie. As I headed into the kitchen, she would call out, "Make sure you grab two. One for each hand."
I loved to practice my choreography for show choir or dance class. I'd put on shows for gram, the living room as my stage. I'd dance all across the dark hardwood floor, singing my heart out. Sometimes she would join me in a song or teach me a new one.
Other times I'd leave gram to relax, as I explored the house. There was always something new to discover. The dining room, with its two, floor-to-ceiling glass-cased bookshelves and three-paned window seat, was a host of treasures. There were antique books begging to be read, blank notepads to draw on, cool pens to test, and old newspapers and magazines to browse through. Upstairs, the extra bedroom was stacked full of old books and trinkets. Down the hall, behind a thick wooden door, was a small, tight staircase that led up to another world, the attic. It was there I would find a hand-painted town interwoven with railroad tracks. Two or three electric trains could race around at a time, winding through dark green cotton trees and circling beautiful ceramic buildings.
Saturday evenings at my grandparents house were the best! At 7 pm, we'd watch Lawrence Welk, gram's favorite show. There was an entire line up of British comedy shows after, but I would read my book until my favorite came on, Keeping Up Appearances. At precisely 10 pm, the first notes of the theme song would play and I'd set my book aside to give Hyacinth Bucket my full, undivided attention.
Hyacinth's Super Snobbish Moments | Keeping Up Appearances
Sundays were bittersweet. We'd rise early to get ready for church. Afterward, we'd stop at Hardeez for lunch, roast beef sandwiches, fries, and a small vanilla cone. The early afternoon hours were spent relaxing, either watching a movie or sitting on the porch. At 4 pm, it was another round of Lawrence Welk, a repeat of the previous evening's program. A few hours later it was time for me to go home. I would slowly trudge up the stairs to grab my bag. Giving gram a kiss and hug goodbye, she would encourage me to take a cookie before I left.
"Make sure to grab two," she'd say, "One for each hand."
"Good Night, Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehen" - from the Lawrence Welk stars
© 2020 Alyssa
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on November 24, 2020:
Thank you so much Pamela!
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on November 24, 2020:
Thank you so much Lora!
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on November 24, 2020:
Thank you Brenda!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 24, 2020:
Your story was such a joy to read. I think you more than met the challenge. I love any time I have spent with my grandchildren. I also have good memories of my grandparents, but they lived in a different state. I didn't get to see them that often. You are a very good writer of fiction, Alyssa.
Lora Hollings on November 23, 2020:
Your story is enchanting, Alyssa. I always wanted to spend time with my grandparents. But sadly, my grandparents on both my mother and father’s side were already deceased before I was old enough to even remember them. You did such a good job with your descriptions of the house and your grandparents that I could easily imagine your story happening as I read it. You did a great job with Bill’s prompt. I really enjoyed it!
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 23, 2020:
You did a wonderful job penning this challenge.
I love the gamma said to always take two, one for each hand.
The story is so believable with elements of grandpa and grandma.
So glad you could mix real parts of your life in with this story.
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on November 23, 2020:
When I first started reading your comment, I got a little anxious, waiting for the but. haha! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, Bill! I appreciate your feedback and you have inspired me to stretch my writing muscles. Creative writing doesn't come easy to me.. it forces me to slow down and dig deep. As I've completed each of your challenges, I've flipped my perspective and started to compare the process to my passion and knowledge of fitness. --The more I practice, the better I'll get. If it doesn't challenge me, it won't change me.-- Thank you for these writing exercises. They have pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and moved me closer to a goal I set for myself years ago. I'm incredibly grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving! :)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 23, 2020:
So, here's the thing about your fiction writing: you are very good. You set the stage very well. Your dialogue is quite believable. It is authentic writing, and you have a way of capturing the reader. All of those are not easy to do, and yet you have done them with each short story. I sure hope you write more.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. Well done!