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The Diary of Anne Sophia Palk

Nicole Van Zyl

© Copyright 2018 by Nicole Van Zyl
Photo of Anne Palk.

Anne Sophia Helmore (known throughout her life as Annie), was born on 12 January 1844 in Lekhatlong, a mission station in Griqualand, west of Kimberly. Her father, Holloway Helmore, was there working as a missionary from the London Missionary Society. Anne was the second oldest of seven children from the marriage of Holloway Helmore and Ann Garden. . . .


Another Little Christmas Tale

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2018 by Doug Sherr

Photo of a skier.

The old mansion was quiet. I had pulled the weights off the chain that powered the grandfather’s clock in the hall to quiet the awful clack, clack, clack. I stormed and fidgeted around the dark house. My German Shepard, Sean, followed a few inches behind me as I stalked about peering out a window and abruptly moving to another window. Outside, the freezing wind sailed bits of garbage over the days-old dirty snow. A cat ran across the empty street and disappeared under a building looking for shelter and warmth. The night before when sleep wasn’t a possibility, Sean put his head on my pillow and stared at me, knowing that I was in trouble. I ordered him to leave, but he wouldn’t. Even a whack on the nose that made him blink couldn’t make him leave. I hugged him and said I was sorry. He kept his head on the pillow and it helped for a minute. . . .


Snow God

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2018 by Doug Sherr

Photo of a skier.

Passion is as addictive as drugs, but there are no twelve-step programs for passion. Some activities: surfing, rock climbing, and skiing are good candidates for the obsessed. Left behind is a life that is measured by clocks, quotas, and the whims of idiot bosses. People who live by those clocks often use the term bum to define people who follow their passion. Those people often fail to appreciate the incredible discipline these bums have to perfect their craft. I didn’t realize I was a ski-bum until it was too late. True ski bums switch hemispheres so that it is endless winter. The lesser ski-bum works the summer pounding nails or waiting tables or handling four-wheel drive tour vehicles up the mountain for tourists equipped with the latest boots and gear who would never think of hiking further than from the jeep to the picnic. . . .


Bringing Home the Turkey

June Calender

© Copyright 2017 by June Calender

Turkeys in a back yard in the snow.

The old Bronco coughed and started. Frank liked to get to the gym early and a holiday simply meant he’d mostly have the place to himself. Britt was sound asleep. They had no plans for the day, no family near-by, except Uncle Jake who hated holidays. Yesterday’s bright sun and the overnight temp drop meant fog. This morning’s fog was ghostly gauze drifting through the trees. The road was empty this early. Amazing how many people barrel along on these narrow roads that weren’t quite town and not quite country where scattered houses sat shyly among old trees. Frank was going over 40 himself. The road followed the course of Rocky Creek. . . .


Sweet Sixteen    

Kirby Wright


© Copyright 2018 by Kirby Wright 



Photo of Julia Wright.

Julia Wright strolled a shoreline boardwalk fringed with kiawe trees. The last of the Chinese ponds was still in operation and she could see a gathering of ducks on a muddy bank. Julia had just turned sixteen. She had on her black-and-white striped swimsuit, with black knickers and white lace-up boots. She preferred walking Waikiki not accompanied by her sisters—Sue and Kay were popular and could steal the attention of admirers. Sue, her big sister, was tall and wore tight-fitting dresses that showed off her curves. Kay, her kid sister, dressed more conservatively but nonetheless attracted the educated set.

Julia preferred Outrigger Canoe Club types, those outdoorsy boys with great tans and good senses of humor. But the malahini men who’d traveled vast distances by steamer to see Hawaii also intrigued her. Some of those malahinis had brought wives but she still saw them stealing glances at her. And why shouldn’t they? She was a brunette with the figure of a New York City model and the face of a playful angel. . . .


Night Sky: A Memoir

Tylyn K. Johnson

© Copyright 2018 byTylyn K. JohnsonE

This is the story of a scar on my face cutting through my eyebrow, from when I was but a small child. I had taken some time to reflect on the significance of that moment in my life and relationship with my younger brother, as if it were the scene of a narrative of another’s making. And while what “meaning” I have extracted from it may have been of little consequence, it does illuminate some bit of my existence for me, which I want to think is enough to merit sharing as more than a tale told to others at parties. . . .


My Mother's Story: My Mother's Legacy

Eileen W. Fisher

© Copyright 2018 by Eileen W. Fisher


Soldiers looting and beating Jews.

Just as every immigrant has their own story, so does every immigrant’s child.

No one’s voice remains to tell my mother's story other than mine – the story of an orphaned Jewish teenager from Russia who manages to escape to America in 1922, at age fifteen.

It was only from time to time that my mother was even willing to talk about her childhood — and, usually in response to some event or bit of news. But even then, she would only speak briefly. If I persisted, her face would tense up; she would purse her lips and ask me, “Eileen, why do you want to talk about such sad things? We’re living today. The past is gone.” And I loved her too much to upset her further. . . .


How Mary and Joseph Spent Christmas Eve

Carol Arvo 


© Copyright 2018 by Carol Arvo

Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far-away land without any snow, Joseph and his wife Mary traveled to the capitol of their country to be counted in the yearly census for their city. It was a long trip. Cars, trains and airplanes weren’t invented yet. Joseph and Mary didn’t have too much money in their budget for the trip, so they couldn’t rent a camel and had to settle for their dependable donkey as transportation.



Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of a C-47 port engine.

 I went AWOL to see my sweetie (and got away with it).

It was the winter of 1952 at Ethan Allen Air Force Base near Winooski Vermont.  I was a lonesome Airman who had been away from home and my sweetheart for way too long.  Constantly bored with the winter and mundane duties of working in the Crypto room, I was always looking for a way to get back home by hook or crook.  My sweetie lived in St. Louis some 1200 miles away and I didn't have "leave time" or money to get back there often.  But somewhere around December 1952 an opportunity presented itself. . . .


The Haircut

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a white man getting a shave from a black barber.

We can never forget the contributions that the “greatest generation” of American GI's made to our country. We think first of those who died and gave it their “all.” It is easy to forget the GI's who were mechanics, cooks, supply personnel, intelligence officers, or others who performed support services for the soldiers in the trenches.  This is a story about my Dad, who was a military policeman. His small, enduring contribution to race relations, is one of my fondest memories. . . .


Ballet Class

Reese Conners

© Copyright 2018 by Reese Conners

Photo of a line of ballet dancer's feet.

Releve,” tighten your core, squeeze your inner thighs, shoulders down, heels up, chin on a shelf, roll towards your big toe, lengthen the back of your legs, relax your face…

“There! Hold that.” I hear, as I attempt to morph myself into one of the simplest ballet positions. An overwhelming amount of corrections to concentrate on, pain simultaneously coursing through my calves threatening my foundation. Why am I putting myself through this? Day after day and week after week of my hair pulled so tight to my head that my face stretches upwards. Countless blisters and black toenails with bruises to accompany them. Yet, today is a good day. With only the tendinitis in my right ankle to bother me, adrenaline overcomes my pain with ease. . . .


Transitions - Chapter 1

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2018 by Doug Sherr

Photo of the RichardLindabury-10-13-2011.

This story is the first chapter of a memoir. It details the moment when I knew I needed a new life and what i did about it.

The Triumph fired on the first kick. It’s a little sad when an English motorcycle is one of the more reliable things in life. When the bike was warmed up I still didn’t take off. The next twenty minutes would be a delightful ride down Chicago’s waterfront, but waiting for me was a windowless office and laboratory. At age twenty-six, I felt like that little kid on a perfect day who wants to play hooky; who just wants to play. I turned off the bike and went in the house to call the boss and skip a day. When he answered, I blurted out that I wanted to quit. Frank Iwatsuki was a brilliant engineer and a fine man.

He said, “Oh, that’s good Douglas, because you’re a terrible engineer. You should be an artist or poet or something.”. . .


A Successful Woman

Luxhmee Jaypaul

© Copyright 2018 by Luxhmee Jaypaul

Photo of a monarch butterfly.

In a small town lived a girl called Roshni. She was the sole daughter and has two brothers. She had educated and ultra-cultured parents who love her a lot. Furthermore, she livedin an extended family. She has spent an amazing childhood with her brothers and cousins. She was a dream weaver and she cherished her dreams a lot. She loved simple living but high thinking. She always wanted a happy life. She had her own ideologies and she followed it by heart. . . .

The Speech Contest

Charleine Sell

© Copyright 2018 by Charleine Sell

Girl at microphone.

As a shy, skinny, too tall ninth grader, I was devastated to learn I had been selected to give a speech before the whole school

September in St. Petersburg, Florida is always hot and humid, but during my ninth grade year in 1961 at yet another new school, I had a frightening experience that made me shiver with fear. I had attended 7 different schools over the years. The more recent ones were all in the St. Petersburg area; seventh grade at Madeira Beach Junior High, eighth grade at Lealman Junior High, and now ninth grade at Southside Junior High. Needless to say, I was a shy girl, skinny and too tall, who spoke in a whisper in class if I was called upon, and never ever, ever volunteered an answer. . . .


Pickle Girl

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a bowl of pickles.

At the end of the Second World War, the country of Japan lay in ruins. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were piles of rubble from atomic bombs with badly wounded people wandering around glassy eyed in need of medical care. People were starving throughout the nation because farmers, fearing Allied attacks, had failed to plant their yearly crops of rice.

It fell to General Douglas MacArthur and his Allied Forces to to enter the devastated country, spend time there, and attempt to “fix” the problems the War had created. Their efforts proved so successful that within 10 years, the average Japanese citizen was four inches taller (diet changes), lived an average six years longer (medical care), and enjoyed growing business success (trade with Europe and US). . . .

Second Job

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a $20 bill on a printer.

A few years into her retirement, it became abundantly clear to the Old Lady that her Social Security Retirement check of $800 a month would support a very frugal lifestyle, but it would not extend sufficiently to cover extraordinary expenses or expensive repairs. At the age of 80, heart disease had reduced her days to resting in a recliner, and her nights to sleeping in the same chair. A long plastic tube emerging from an oxygenator, pumped oxygen into her system to assist her breathing. She was, in effect, a disabled shut-in. It was not clear, under these circumstances, how she could devise a plan to supplement her income.

The Old Lady pondered this problem for several months. When no solutions came to mind, the stress of unpaid bills frequently interrupted her sleep, driving her blood pressure dangerously high. Finally, in the middle of one very long night, she awoke abruptly and the answer, so awesome in its simplicity, had been right in front of her the entire time. She needed a job to make money, so she would MAKE MONEY! . . .

The Resurrection of Palley

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of marijauna growing in the woods.
. . .“What's that?”, asked the girl, pointing to a yellow swathe of color that was too large to be a bush or flower. The boy, who had little interest in flowers, but who could fix anything with moving parts, was driven by curiosity to see what lay partially hidden beneath the tangled weeds.

It's an old forklift”, said the boy, “rusted out, dirty, tangled with blackberry vines., paint faded until it nearly melded with the dead grasses.” “Useless!”, he repeated, but the challenge of fixing the impossible stirred within him. . . .



David Njuguna

© Copyright 2018 by David Njuguna

Photo of a mosuito.

Having long been plagued by the mosquitoes that reside in my backyard, I decided to write about the life of just a single one of them. I can’t be completely sure her name was Maya, but for the sake of the story, I assumed it was. Some bit and pieces might be a work of my imagination (the meeting with her suitor for example). . . .



Razel Suansing

© Copyright 2018 by Razel Suansing

Photo of a gesha.

Braids in my hair droop alongside my silky majestic gown. Dazzling chandeliers hover above me, crowning me with their enchanting illuminations. My father kisses me good night. I see him still wearing the bracelet I crafted for him when I was six. The tangled twigs tied along his wrist where his lifeline lies. . . .

Not Just Another History Lesson

Anne Organista

© Copyright 2018 by Anne Organista

Photo of name on 9/11 memorial plaque.

Every teacher has his or her moments of glory; those moments when students rise above their expectations or when lesson plans go awry only to be salvaged by a completely unexpected situation. I say this with much candor. In all my years of teaching, many little things made me happy, feel appreciated and loved. Nevertheless, it was this one event in 2001 back in the Philippines, when I felt especially proud. . . .



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