Returning to Memory Monday format only because I finished another writing assignment for my online course and thought I might share it with you.
This was my assignment: Write a 500-word scene from your life where place had a special significance to the story. Use descriptive language to show this place and how it makes you feel.
And here is what I wrote. My children helped me with the details.
Hurricane season, 1981.
The M/V Doulos sails toward Coatzacoalcos in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ten-year-old son, Stephan, and friend, Jochi, stand on deck looking out at the horizon, it’s the same old everyday landscape, the undulating blue-green water sprinkled with a few white caps.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to see a storm?” says one. “We could pray,” suggests the other. Two days later, they are out on the deck at 6 a.m. The wind has picked up and the waves are 20 feet higher than usual, splashing over the deck. “This is fun!” the boys say.
Later, four adventurous crew members sit on a 6 foot wooden sand-filled box enjoying the view, taking pictures.
“Help!” they scream as the huge wave washes them 100 feet aft.
“My camera’s gone”
“I lost a shoe!”
Over the intercom the captain booms : “Everyone inside. Secure everything that moves.”
Thankfully the book exhibit, the largest floating bookstore in the world, had been stowed upon leaving the port of Veracruz.
Overheard: “This storm is nothing, only a strong gale.” However, all night long the 300 passenger ship bobs mercilessly about like a cork on the heaving sea under strict orders not to enter the harbor. The next day, still unable to dock, we continue our circles in the open sea. Nearly everyone is experiencing some degree of seasickness. School children have the day off, a 'storm day'. The shrill bell rings on schedule to announce mealtimes, but few make their way to the dining room. Those who do enjoy an over abundance of food while they hold onto sliding dishes and cutlery.
Those who can rouse themselves out of their bunks and are not needed to run the ship make their way up to the main lounge. Most chairs are stacked and secured to the side walls. The members of the missionary community, young and old, lay around trying to enjoy the classic movies playing constantly to entertain and distract.
Stephan, six-year-old Leah and their school age friends enjoy the freedom of unsupervised play while two- year-old Sam goes down for a nap. What can I do? My stomach is stronger than most, I rarely experience even a touch of seasickness. I cannot imagine sitting in my little bathroom-cum-study-cubicle with books falling around me from the shelves built into the former shower stall. Perhaps I could sit on the floor in the children's room and reinforce the spines of the Ladybird books. I've been wanting to do that for a long time. That's it! Despite the entire series of small children's books sliding all around me, I carefully hang onto one at a time, cut a strip of tape and slowly place it on the binding.
No lives were lost, and in my case, no time wasted either. To this day, the sight of a Ladybird book conjures up that stormy day at sea.
[Please feel free to critique.]