Vignette on How Aunt Betty Was Always So Much Fun


Long ago, during the time when mothers were held as vessels containing all essential knowledge of the universe and youngest daughters expected to grasp more than had ever been said to them, it was determined that I would not be a writer. All notebooks and loose-leaf paper disappeared from the house and I ordered to play outside like an appropriate child: learn to catch softballs, experience climbing trees, and do all-around normal things, the way ten-year-olds do, as my older brothers did. I pled. I begged. I found myself shut out of the house more than once. It was a long summer. Poetry realized on brown paper grocery sacks. New fiction crept around the margins of stories already created. With Labor Day came school and the win: students require paper. The scars from those three months, however, visibly endure. Half a century later, visitors to my home remark on the excess reams of paper and legal pads and pens and pencils and creative tools I keep never farther than arm’s reach away.

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