It was an absolute honor to be working with the senior citizens in Lafayette, CA from February until May 2014. I had the opportunity to not just impart the little knowledge I had in memoir writing, but also to learn about life itself from reading and listening to the stories that the participants shared.
Here’s an anecdote from the class.
I had prepared two readings, they were both experimental collage essays. One was “Considering the Lilies” by Rebecca McLanahan, and the other was Brenda Miller’s “Brief History of Sex”. Due to the essays’ similarities and time constraint, we had to choose one.
So I asked, “Which one would you guys like to read? Fashion or sex?”
And these senior citizens, without any hesitation whatsoever, said, “Sex!”
(Left to right: Nahide Craig, Joan Wahl Countryman, Yuska Lutfi Tuanakotta, Janet Clark, and Treva Perkins)
You’ve enjoyed short pieces by these writers on this blog, now you can read their longer work. Click here for the anthology.
By Janet Clark
When my daughter was three years old we joined a nursery school cooperative. Parents helped staff the facility on a rotating basis. Angela was blessed with big brown eyes, a mop of shiny curls, her father’s imagination and her mother’s smart mouth. She was a constant source of amusement for some of the more conservative parents. Typical of three year olds, she was usually her most entertaining on the days I did not remain at school with her.
One noontime, when I arrived to collect her, the parents on duty were waiting for me. They argued over who would get to tell me what had happened earlier that morning. It seems that during snack time, while the children were all seated around little tables, munching slices of fresh fruit and drinking chocolate milk, Angela’s neighbor accidently knocked over his paper cup. The contents spilled across the table soaking her napkin. “Oh, shit,” she declared.
Shocked, one of the mother’s stepped over to the table and shook her finger in Angela’s direction scolding, “No, no, Angela, we don’t talk like that here.”
Angela gave her an incredulous look and continued to mop up the spill with someone else’s napkin, then stopped. Shrugging her shoulders at the other children at the table she smiled big and announced proudly, “Well, we do at my house!”