Monday, January 7, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: BASKETBALL

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann. I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I intend to write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?
Here are January's prompts: apron, bar, basketball, bed, bicycle, birthday, boat, broom, button, cake, car.


I've never been much of a sportsperson, and in school I would do just about anything to avoid PE. Some years I got out of it by doing clean-up work for my teacher. In high school I helped my gym coach with his bus schedules (he was in charge of the school buses, and I was good at organizing...). I'm sure both of these things are wildly inappropriate and wouldn't happen today – but I was pretty happy about them when they happened to me! I don't remember playing basketball for fun, or attending a basketball game (and certainly not watching them on TV!). I don't think any of my siblings every played basketball, either. I have the faintest of faint recollections of being in a school (or church?) gym with my sister and throwing the basketball Granny style and even making a few (!).... and that brings to mind Grandma Dykes, whose physical build I completely inherited. Yet, she, apparently, was quite the athlete. She played basketball in school, long before it was popular for girls to play basketball. From what my father said, she was quite good. I wish I knew more.

Dear Basketball,

I've watched the way
in other people's hands
you dribble,
spin, and roll –
while in mine
you sleep like a troll.

Perhaps I should take
more time,
get to know your ways.
Maybe then
I might come to love
your bumpy, orange face.

 - Irene Latham
unsplash-logotommy bebo


  1. I understand about your grandmother. My mother played in high school, as did one of her sisters. And that was before WWII ended and all of a sudden girls could only play intramurally, which I did. It was fun, something athletic that I enjoyed. I didn't like pe either & am older so the silly & embarrassing gym suits are mostly my 'bad' memory. I love your final verse, Irene, fun to talk directly to that ball!



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