On this page, you can read essays that people sent in that related to the August Challenge.
Suspenders in a Photograph:
A student in one of my classes brought in a photograph of her and her brother from when they were very young and living in the Netherlands. The family lived in an apartment building, on the second floor. In this photo, the student’s little brother is wearing trousers with suspenders. Looking at this photo, the student remembered that her mother used to fasten a rope to these suspenders and lower her brother to the yard from the second-floor window. This way the young boy wouldn’t have to navigate the dark and frightening hallways and stairway going down to the front door. The mother would sit by the window and watch the young boy. She didn’t attempt to bring him back up in this method. Rather, he would shout when he was ready to come back upstairs and she would meet him at the top of the stairway in the hall. Hey, this worked well for all involved! Everyone in the class got a chuckle out of this. And, they could see how a photo could elicit memories not thought of in years!
Judi Carr brought the photo below to our current Memoir Writing Class in Everett, Washington. She explained that her family ran a flower shop, including flower delivery. She has many memories of riding along in this special van. “I was sitting between the seats, during a delivery, when we all heard that Franklin Roosevelt had died,” she said. This is a perfect example of how a photograph can carry within it so many memories, both personal and historical. Judi is the beautiful young girl standing next to her father. Her brother is on the other side of the huge wreath.
The photo below is from Zin Matheny. This photo was taken of Zin when she was in her 20s and mastering the art of flying! She describes her terror at a “six bounce” landing and her pleasure at achieving what her instructor considered success: A THREE bounce landing. The fearless Zin, now in one of my memoir classes, has taken on many challenges in her life, including medical duty in Vietnam during the war. As she looks at this photo of the barefoot girl she used to be, she ponders from where came this confidence and courage, even in the face of fear.
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Awaiting your entries for the August Challenge!