Archive for the ‘What Pegman Saw’ Category

cape disappointment

February 9, 1883

Dearest Mother,
     Although you warned me against wedding James Anderson, suggesting the hardships of a light keeper’s wife not worthy of our family, I find I quite enjoy living 250-feet above the high water mark of ocean waves.
    Yes, howling winds and the clang of the fog bell (imagine 1600 pounds of metal striking nine consecutive times every minute after fog rolls in) drive me mad, but, the songs of sea birds and the trill of thrushes counter-balance all discomfort.
     Between the times I cook, do the washing, take care of our darling Marie, all of 4 months now, I find solace in cleaning the Fresnel lenses knowing, wishing, hoping that if those 1,000 glass prisms are clean enough to direct lamplight to the central reflector, many sailors will survive the tumultuous waters churned up by the meeting of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.
     I believe I  chose well.
     Henrietta

 

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Today Pegman took us to London. Thanks, Karen and Josh for another wonderful place to spark our imaginations to create a 150-word story.

“Jordy, it’s true. As a child, I used that very box to phone your mum.”

“That’s dry, Grandpa. No one in their right mind would shut himself inside a greenhouse to chat someone up.”

“Look here, smart mouth, we all did. Nothing else for it. No cell phone, no wiffy.”

“Wi-Fi, old fool, Wi-Fi.” 

“It says Telephone right above the door.”

“Hype.” The young man’s cell phone bleeps. His attention refocuses.

“Maybe, maybe not.” The old man checks the clock tower. 4:20 p.m. He refocuses on the green tentacles behind the phone booth. “Jordy, give it a go. Step inside.”

“Not happening.”

“Please.”

“Reh-teh-teh.”

The young man jerks open the door. Steps inside. Tentacles wrap, wrap, wrap around the booth; squeeze. An enormous squeal of metal pierces the air. Glass shatters. The phone booth disappears in a puff of reddish-green smoke.

Smiling, the old man turns on a heel.

  • * * *

Dry– dull, boring, unfunny. A bad joke might be described as “dry”.

Hype – Over the top

Reh teh teh – Etc, etc

 

 

 

 

Before and Now

Posted: May 25, 2019 in What Pegman Saw
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Today Pegman took us to beautiful Varanasi, India. Typical of me, I found the most depressing picture in a collection of beauties and wrote a down-hearted 151-word story. (Sorry I went over my 150-word limit.)

Before the wars. Before the waters rose. Before the children and elders died. Before. Before. Before.
Before now, our city was full of laughter, the scent of herbs and exotic spices, music and life’s noisy clatter.

Our buildings were colorful. Deep pinks, brilliant oranges, gentle greens.
Women wore dresses sewn from gossamer silk and finely woven cotton. And smelled of Jasmine tea.
Wisemen grew long white beards and dispensed knowledge collected throughout the ages.
For three-hundred-years, there was no turmoil.

Then the storms came. Storms filled with lightning, thunder and too much rain. Storms between husbands, wives, and children.
Storms of unwanted people arriving from all over the world to flood our city with discontent for it is built on the last piece of land remaining above water.

There is nowhere to put them. They take what they want, especially our happiness, and give nothing in return.
So, this is now.

The Aunties

Posted: May 11, 2019 in What Pegman Saw
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Oh, how my aunties scared me when I stepped out of line.
Screeching and preaching they descended en masse.
Hair all askew, arms waving. Each looking the same as the other in muumuus sewn from one, maybe two, bolts of glittering silver cloth.
After all, they were extremely large aunties.
At five I listened. At twelve I wished they would leave me alone. At sixteen I dreamed them all dead.
Now, at thirty, I want to conjure every piece of advise they passed down, doing their best to soften the tricky road to womanhood.

Be strong
Be gentle
Smile only when you mean it
Laugh loudly
Cry when needed
Open your heart when you can
But never, ever leave it susceptible to pain
Some men are kind
Some are cads
Make sure you can tell one from another
Have children
or not – you decide
We will always love you

Violins
pink roses and red wine smoother than velvet
Kisses down my neck
across my shoulders
over the rise of my breasts

You seduced me with promises
Whispering
Come, cross the bridge
from a dull
ordinary life to
one filled with excitement
and laughter
A life only I can provide

I
Love
You

My head spun
at the sound of your voice
My knees shook
when you slipped
a thin silver ring
on my finger

And, then
there it was
A new life full of
hard work
successes and failures
tears and tantrums
lost jobs

And found friends
Beautiful children
Pets who adopted us
and pets who allowed us to adopt them

Excursions
to the store, jobs
And finally
across the sea
to Paris Madrid Africa

Now it is I who
kiss your shoulder
and warm your wizened breast
with a time-wrinkled palm
And a whispered

I
Love
You
More

Guardian Angel

Posted: April 27, 2019 in What Pegman Saw
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The first time Tadita caught my eye, she was strolling barefoot across the cobblestones on her way to the olive press, long auburn hair swinging in time with each step. Oh, how her hips swayed, jaunty and proud. Her eyes, the color of a blue jay’s wing, dared me to speak or stay quiet, I don’t think she cared.

Twenty years later I spied Tadita again, still barefoot, still slim. Was it possible her eyes were even bluer, her hair the same length and color? So many years had passed, the olive press was crumbling, as was I but not my Tadita.

And the last time? Tadita sat at the edge of my bed, eyes filled with kindness and love. She hadn’t aged a day, while I lay broken and dying. I swear, just as I let age finally take me, delicate blue wings sprouted from Tadita’s back.

 

I did archeology at Fort Vancouver, just across the river from Portland, OR so my story is located a little south of where Pegman took us today but I couldn’t help writing 150-words about something so familiar and dear to my heart.

We Indians and Kanakas took our leave of Fort Vancouver long ago.
Archaeologists study what we left behind believing that mapping areas of shattered dish fragments will show what our lives were like while working as servants for soldiers and their wives.
They deceive themselves for decorated fragments of transfer-printed pitchers and shards of salt-ware jars have no stories to tell. They define where we lived, in quarters sectioned off from the Hudson’s Bay men, but the “fancy” names we were given such as Ban-yan, Foretop, and Ropeyarn are not recorded on these fragments. Heartache and loneliness cannot be written on a sliver of porcelain. Nor the joyful birth of a child.
We wish the archaeologists well.
And perhaps it’s for the best no one remembers our true names or what we did or how much we loved. Those memories are for us to keep.