Monday, January 14, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: BIRTHDAY

First: Congratulations to Lisa Bowen, the winner of the "Elephant Book Pack" MEET MISS FANCY giveaway! It includes the following titles:

National Geographic Readers: Elephants by Avery Hurt
Meet Miss Fancy by Irene Latham
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
The Story of Babar by jean de Brunhoff
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Dear Wandering Wildebeest by Irene Latham
Chained by Lynne Kelley
Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Eavesdropping on Elephants by Patricia Newman
Don't Feed the Boy by Irene Latham
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

So many thanks to all who entered! I'll be sharing about Sunday's launch event tomorrow. :) And now for today's edition of The Butterfly Hours...

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 may 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.

Of all my childhood birthdays, the one that stands out most is the year I turned 6. We were living in Lakeland, Florida, at the time, and the tradition was that age 6 was the year we got our first visit to Disney World. I was a huge fan of Cinderella, so I couldn't wait to see the castle.

At my birthday party (which was attended by family and perhaps a few friends, though I cannot now remember), my mom presented me with a Cinderella birthday layer cake. She'd baked it in round pans and decorated it herself (as she did all our birthday cakes). It had white icing, and perched on top was a plastic horse-drawn carriage with a plastic Cinderella in her classic blue ballgown.

When I blew out my candles I wished for a doll that came in a mint green trunk about 2 feet long. When you opened the trunk the doll slept on a blanket on one side, and on the other side was a small wardrobe with hanging outfits and a drawer of accessories. I don't remember where I first saw the doll-in-trunk – perhaps TV? -- just that I wanted it so very badly! I was always a baby-doll kind of girl and never once played with Barbies. I was pretty much born a mother-in-training!

Everyone watched as I opened my gifts, and finally I came to the last one. I ripped off the paper, and there it was, the mint green trunk with doll safely nestled inside with all her gear. I was Cinderella that day. And even though Cinderella has lost popularity as a Disney princess, she's still my favorite. She worked hard. She talked to animals. Despite the cruelty she experienced, she still believed in miracles. When she had a chance for an adventure, for something different -- she took it. In so many ways she saved herself. And yes, at the end of the day there was a man with whom to share her life. That's pretty darn magical, if you ask me.


  1. I totally agree about Cinderella, and I was so relieved that your mint green trunk was there! xo

  2. I remember having a doll with some kind of wardrobe, long gone now, but it has stayed as a big thing, like your wonderful green trunk with the special doll & clothes inside. Fun to hear your own memories and a 'Cinderella' story, Irene.

  3. This memory makes me so happy to imagine wee Irene and her wish come true. I am remembering my Ginny dolls, hanging their tiny clothes on tiny hangers, those ice skates... 'Just ordered this book. Thank you. xx

  4. Such JOY for When You Were Six sweet & fun memory, Irene!
    (I always am quite fond of a F L O R I D A story, anyhow...)

    And appreciations for my intro to Patty Dann/ The Butterfly Hours. Since last Oct., when I got back to writing after surgery, I've been mining my memories for the pencil on the page. It's fun!



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