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Thursday, February 22, 2018


I Told My Brother Stories

                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            when we were tucked in bed.
                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            I made up in my head.

                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            after we had said our prayers,
                                                            and our father kissed and left us
                                                            in the room we shared upstairs.

                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            when tell me a story I’d hear.                           
                                                            We should have been asleep but
                                                            he’d beg from his bed so near.
                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            Once upon a time, I’d say
                                                            or continue one I’d started
                                                            before sleep took us    

                                                            I told my brothers stories
                                                            in a voice so soft and low
                                                            so our parents couldn’t hear us
                                                            in the living room down below.
                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            when we were tucked in bed.
                                                            Now those stories are all gone
                                                            that I made up in my head.

This past week my handyman came to put in a railing on my back steps because of all the ice it was dangerous to go down without anything to grab onto. Usually, he has a helper, but this time he brought his wife to help him carry the boards he had brought and hold things for him. Off and on I looked out the window to see how he was coming. When they were close to be done, I opened the door and asked his wife if she liked to read. I thought of that because I had the first book in my series on the table near the back door waiting for me to take out to my car where I keep at least two copies of all the books I’ve written. She said, yes that she loved to read so I told her I’d give her a copy of the first book I’d written.

When they had finished the job they came in so I could pay him. I signed the book for her and asked her if she wanted to see my library. She told me her husband had told her a lot about me and my house and library. She said her whole family was readers. She was impressed by all my books and when I told her I was working on the tenth in my series she wanted to know when I started writing. All I told her is when I first started writing my series, but it caused me to think about when I did start writing, and realized it was when I was a teenager.

A few years ago I came across a Spiral Composition Book with five short stories written with a pencil and a little hard to read right now, and seven poems, plus something I wrote describing my nine best friends that I didn’t name so I had a hard time figuring out the other night who was who. I know who my nine best friends were, but not sure which description fits who since none of them live anywhere close now and several are no longer alive.

At one of our class reunions a few years ago, one of my fellow graduates had a paper I’d put in the school newspaper (I was the editor of it for a few years) in which I’d written a four line poem for each of our 57 class members. Well, I’m not sure there was one of me in that or not. I don’t have a copy of it.

However, once I graduated, got a job, and started dating the guy I would eventually marry, I didn’t do much writing, nor did I once we got married and eventually had four babies in less than five years. The only writing I did then there were letters to sisters in college or who lived away.
His senior prom with cane he decorated.

A year after my eighteen year old son died of cancer, as I’ve written about here before; I went to college for the first time. I was forty-two years old and I loved it. Unlike the students who were fresh out of high school and mostly sat in the back looking bored, I was that enthusiastic student who laughed at some of the jokes the occasional professor told while the others didn’t have a clue.

Most of all I loved the English, literature and poetry classes I took.  I loved writing essays and poetry and had several printed in the ICON, the college’s literary booklet that came out twice a year. After the first year, I took extra classes in literature and poetry. Because I was close in age to many of those professors, we became friends. I also took summer classes at the main campus in Kent, Ohio.

When I graduated I wasn’t writing much anymore. I was substituting until I got a third grade position at Hiram Elementary School in the small town of Hiram which has a university. In spite of what some people think, teachers have very little free time. Evenings and weekends were often spent grading papers or making up lesson plans.

We all have our own tents. This one is mine.

Summers weren’t much better. I had gardening to do, camping trips with my sisters, and I went to garage sales to find things for prizes when my students managed to accumulate ten funny monies that I’d made and laminated for something special they had done. Also, I bought children’s books and things for my classroom that would go along with whatever units I’d be teaching.

So when did I get back to writing? I went on to get my master’s degree in the evenings while I was teaching which included at least one poetry class so I wrote more essays and poetry then.

I retired in 2006 after teaching twenty years. I didn’t like the way I had to teach in the new school we had moved to and the principal who didn’t really like kids that much. I didn’t like having my students changing classes so I didn’t have them very much each day. Yes, I like teaching science, but not to three different classes. I had less than a half hour to teach English.
I did start substituting in several schools and pretty much enjoyed that except for teaching kindergarten. At that age, they still needed shoes tied and, they didn’t like it that I might be doing something their teacher didn’t do, or I couldn’t remember everyone’s name after I’d taken attendance, or that they had a hard time paying attention and not poking each other when we sat in a circle and I read to them.

Sometime in 2011, my sister Elaine who was teaching seventh and eighth grade social studies in a school close to her home, but fifty miles from me arranged for us to meet at our sister Suzanne’s house that is sort of half way between of us, and proposed that we start writing mysteries in a series so we had money for our retirement. (Laugh everybody) Well that night we came up with some ideas for the first book while Suzanne fixed us coffee and snacks and with the news channel on the TV. So we decided that Elaine and I would work together on writing that first book. It only worked for a few months. Elaine was still teaching and didn’t live close so I sent my chapters to her, and she wrote the next chapter. Sometimes we still got together at Suzanne’s house, but it usually ended up with their watching the news on TV.

It wasn’t long before I took over writing the book. We both have different voices and it was hard finding time to get together anyway. So the first book The Blue Rose came out in December 2012, and I continued writing the series as well as short stories for different contests and poetry, too, which I send to The Ohio Poetry contests each year for those who live in Ohio or did at one time.

After reading those stories and poems I wrote as a teenager, I’ve decided to type them up and save them so they’ll be easier to read, but I don’t intend to send them to contests even though they aren’t that bad.

When did you start writing?
What do you write?


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I enjoyed your writing story, Gloria. I finally had the time to write when the youngest went off to college. I completed a novel-writing class, joined Sisters and Crime, and got to it.

Anonymous said...

I wrote poems for homemade greeting cards for my family. I was very touched to find my father had kept one for years in his jewelry box. It had been a Father's Day card. My step-mother passed it along to me and it made me happy to know he had treasured it. -- Laura

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, I understand all too well how raising kids takes up your time. I did take up painting when my children were young and continued until they were grown and I had moved to my small farm with no place to paint. I've just started typing those short stories I wrote when I was fifteen and sixteen as well as the poems.

Laura, I love your poetry and I'm glad your father loved it, too. My parents never lived to see where my writing has gone now and I doubt that I shared what I wrote when I was a teenager either.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for your writer's story.

KM Rockwood said...

A charming poem! Thanks for sharing it.

Over the years, I've written a few things, but never really became semi-serious about it until I was planning for retirement.

Gloria Alden said...

I'm glad you liked it Warren.

Kathleen, that's pretty much when I started writing, too. I wrote the occasional
poem here and there, but not until I got close to retirement did I start to seriously

Shari Randall said...

What a wonderful poem!
I have never thought of myself as a writer. When I was young I'd write the odd poem or story. I am a big letter writer, though, and that's where I poured my words. When my kids were young and my husband traveled a lot for work, that's when I started writing short stories late at night when the house was quiet.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, I used to write a lot of letters, too, but not so much anymore since it's easier to send emails. Still, I love getting letters or cards in the mail and I do write letters to some who don't have a computer. I'm glad you liked that poem. He was closest in age to me and the only one of my siblings who is no longer with us. We shared memories that our younger siblings don't have.

Shari, being alone at home with the children in bed was a good time for you to start writing. Even though I didn't watch it much and still don't when I was still married the TV was always on evenings and I was teaching during the day so it wasn't until I was living alone only with some critters that I really started writing except for a year or two as a teenager in a room of my own.

Marilyn Levinson said...

This is scary!! I have the SAME spiral notebook filled with stories I'd written in the second or third grade!! I think I tried writing a novel after that, gave up, and didn't go back to writing until my sons were very young. I began to write short stories and poems, changed to novels, and haven't stopped since.

I hope you're going to Malice so we can chat.