Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: SUMMER JOB

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 straws, studio, stuffed animal, summer job, tattoos, telephone, tennis court, test, theater.


My best summer job was as a babysitter for a family with four girls: Phoenix, Noel, Merry Lynn and Alaina. Actually, when I first started, Alaina wasn't yet born! My sister and I both babysat for them for several years, and I still hold them all in my heart. We read together and painted and played and
made snacks... I didn't know it, but I was totally practicing to be a mother. Because the girls lived within blocks of the library, one of our favorite things to do was walk down with the wagon, and come back loaded down with books! I wrote a poem that includes some of the details for the anthology THE POETRY OF US, edited by J. Patrick Lewis.

I Give Thanks for Trussville, Alabama

For the boxy blue house
on Lake Street

the low branch on the chinaberry tree,
perfect for spying

the rattle of the Red Flyer
as we pull it empty

across sidewalks cracked
and raised by the roots of ancient oaks.

For the library three blocks down
and one block over

where we build a soon-to-be
avalanche of books –

our wagon turned pumpkin
turned carriage turned train.

For the one stop light
blinking caution caution caution

for the noonday bus
wheezing its promise to carry us away –

but not until we're ready.

- Irene Latham


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  2. I may have read your poem before, Irene, but love it all over again, that 'promise to carry us away' is how one feels at about that age, isn't it? And you've shown it so beautifully in your poem. I never had a summer job, babysat occasionally with young cousins. It's nice to read about your memories.

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