Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: STAIRS

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?

For links to the prompts I've written on so far this year, please click on The Butterfly Hours tab above.

This month's prompts are sister, shoes, slippers, snow, snowstorm, soccer, soup, stairs, stamp, stepmother.

The house on Burns Lane in Birmingham, AL had a staircase in the corner of the foyer that turned and became a small balcony that led to my younger brother's bedroom and one side and mine and my sister's bedrooms on the other side. One of my childhood gripes was how once we moved into that house, my father no longer came into our rooms to bid us goodnight. He was obese for much of my childhood, and climbing stairs was not something he could comfortably do. I'm not sure which I resented more – him (and his weight) or the stairs. I just thought if he loved us, he would climb the stairs anyway. And when he didn't, I felt unloved and forgotten.

Another (happier) memory from the same set of stairs was my first date with Paul. I was in college, living at home, and when he rang the doorbell to pick me up on our first (blind) date, I was still (strategically) in my room. My mom answered the door, and I made my grand entrance coming down those stairs as Paul watched, smiling, from the foyer. With what happy faces we greeted one another! I remember how his cheeks lifted, how round and rosy they were, like a little kid's. And how his hair flipped up above his ears. Adorable! Of course I had to marry him! :)

Currently we live on a mountainous lake which offers an amazing view, and to get to the water, there's a 150-step staircase. Getting down there is not a problem. It's the coming-back-up! Our son uses the staircase like bleachers and runs them as part of his exercise regime. We, too, use those stairs with joy and pep in our step – who needs a gym membership? It's all in how you frame it... and it all balances out, because our home is 100% one-level living. It's not for everyone, but we feel like we have the best of both... and our “Overlook” is one of our favorite parts of the place. It's a giant rock right on the edge near where the stair begin and where we've got a couple of Adirondack chairs for looking out over the water and up in the sky at the eagles, geese, herons, clouds... lovely!

FYI: My picture book collection of nonets, which are "grand staircase" poems, comes out June 9, 2020! You can find the first nonet I ever wrote here.

1 comment:

  1. You've made me want to write about stairs, too, Irene. I love hearing about your first date with Paul, and when we lived on a lake, we too had stairs down to the dock. Ah, memories are fun! I read your 'first' nonet, will look for your book, and I have The Yellow Birds on my shelf, yikes, still haven't read it! Maybe a nonet today?


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