Author Archives: Coco Ihle

About Coco Ihle

I am the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, a mystery about two long lost sisters who reunite and nearly lose their lives searching for an ancient treasure and a murderer in a castle in Scotland. I am a member of MWA, FWA, SinC, Alma,a family search organization, Clan Buchanan of Scotland, and Linkedin. My website is www.cocoihle.com

K-9 at the Courthouse

I’m a volunteer for the Pasco County, Florida Sheriff’s Office in the West Pasco Judicial Center along with partner, Bob Warms. We work at the Information Desk in the front of the building, just inside security and when Deputy Cheryl Hazelton and her canine (K-9) partner, Dobies, came in, we had a “front row” demonstration of how those two partners work together. What a treat.

Before the doors opened for the day, Deputy Hazelton introduced her partner to us and said Dobies is a “Meth Lab.” Of course, it was a play on words for a very real job they perform for Pasco County.

Deputy Hazelton told us eighteen-month-old, Dobies, a Black Labrador Retriever, was a Christmas present this year and she is in training. Both partners were full of energy and smiles. Dobies warmed up a bit by chasing and retrieving a ball thrown by her partner down the hallway several times before the doors opened and they got down to business.

A class from a local high school was coming to the courthouse for a tour and the drug sniffing dog was part of that experience. Another part was a visit to Judge Declan Mansfield’s courtroom. In fact, Judge Mansfield came down and watched as the kids filed in through security before being introduced to him.

I’ve been to several K-9 demonstrations at writer’s conventions that were put on by FDLE agents and I graduated from the Citizen’s Police Academy of Pasco County and have seen the various ways canines help officers of the law, but today’s experience had a little more of a personal touch, and especially because it was unexpected.

The Canine Unit is assigned to patrol sectors and assist uniform operations by responding to routine calls for service when they are not providing search assistance. Canines are trained for area searches, article searches, and evidence recovery, building searches, tracking criminal suspects, locating missing persons, narcotics and bomb detection. The Canine Unit is also involved in public education, performing demonstrations of canine ability and uses to Pasco citizens.

There are several myths and misconceptions about K-9s, says Jim Weiss. One is that K-9s are kept in kennels. Actually, they are kept in their handler’s homes, but trained in a Sheriff’s training class.

Another misconception is that K-9s can’t pick up scents from metal objects, concrete or water. Not true.

The bite sleeve isn’t being used as much as it used to. Now, full body bite suits have been found to be more natural, because the dogs learn they can bite anywhere.

Myth: K-9s are only good for five years. Pasco County generally gets seven to eight years’ work out of their dogs before they retire them.

Myth: K-9s are robots. Like people, dogs have good days and bad days. Unsuccessful searches can happen to both dog and handler.

Myth: K-9s are expensive. Actually many K-9 programs have a lot of community support that keeps the costs down. Area veterinarians often provide the dogs treatment at their own expense. Charity fundraisers help with costs, as do community leaders. Many people are supportive.

Most of the dogs in the Canine Unit are German shepherds, but there is a bloodhound also, along with Dobies. These dogs risk their lives every day, just like their human partners. I tip my hat to these officers, both human and canine. Their motto: “We serve as one.”

Below is a photo of Dobies at the security scanner.

Pasco Sheriff's K-9 Assoc. Post

 

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set primarily in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.

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In Search of Elusive Quiet

 

Although it’s cloudy today, the weather is a mid-seventies mild and there’s a light breeze, perfect for having my doors and windows open to the fresh air while I settle down to write this blog post. The problem is that there’s noise everywhere and it’s difficult to concentrate.

My neighbor behind me has decided today’s the day to repair his yard-separating fence, which requires cutting fence lengths and posts with an electric saw and his German Shepherd dogs are barking at nosy crows swooping from trees to lamp posts and cawing back. The house across the street is having new tile put in a bathroom, so the tile cutting motor is grinding its song to join in the cacophony. And somewhere high above there is the rumble of distant airliners approaching and departing Tampa International Airport.

I’ve been staring at my computer screen waiting for the usual easy to find idea for a blog subject and I can’t even hear myself think. Am I more sensitive today than usual? Or is it just that it’s one of those noisy days that happen now and then? And what can I do about it?

Classical music is something that usually helps me concentrate, so I am now basking in 18th Century music. There’s a little change, but not enough. As I sit here in my office looking around the room waiting for an idea to hit me, I’m remembering an article I read a while ago about a rather famous Florida author, whom I admire. In the article, there was a photograph of him in his writing space. He was wearing headphones. That intrigued me and I read on. The photograph showed a body of water and a boat through a window beyond the headphoned author.

We writers are often accused of having little voices bouncing around in our heads as we write and I can attest to that, so wouldn’t it make sense to be able to “hear” them? Hmmmm. I decided to test that theory and I made a trip to my local box store and found some noise-canceling headphones in the hunting department. I tried them on and Voilà: quiet! This was a eureka moment for me, an epiphany. I bought them and came home to test them out.

I think it actually turned out to be a cosmic experience or something. The moment I put on the headphones, everyone quit making noise. The birds flew away. The dogs quit barking. My neighbor stopped working and went inside and the tile guys packed up and went home for the day. No sign of airliners either. Removing the headphones didn’t make any difference. The silence was almost palpable. Now there’s a gentle drizzle falling, perceived only by light reflecting on the tiny drops against the dark trees.

Was it the coming precipitation that caused this lack of noise, or did the famous Florida writer have some sort of karmic secret? I don’t know, but I now have my blog post written and I’m happy and calm and ready to relax.

Do any of you have a way to acquire the quiet you need to write? Or do you even need quiet? Share your secrets, please.

 

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.

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She’s a Centenarian

How many people you know are 100 years old or more? I’ve known several in their eighties and nineties, but, for me, only one who turned 100—yesterday. Her name is Nellie and she is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She lives next door in a house she maintains herself. She does her own cleaning and laundry, cooking and washing dishes. She even still drives her car and is a safe driver. She can count backwards from one hundred just like I would count forward. I can’t do that!

Nellie is also stubbornly independent. She insists on getting her mail from across the street, often in the rain. I try to beat her to it, but she scolds me saying she needs the exercise. This past summer, she and I wanted to re-sod our lawns and, since she doesn’t have a computer, I did the research on sod sources and lawn maintenance companies and someone to check our existing sprinklers. Together we set up appointments to get estimates and made arrangements to get the work done. She already knew how to program her sprinkler and now we both have fabulous new lawns.

I asked, “If you could describe your life in one word, what would it be?” She immediately said, “Happy.” Then I asked her if she had highlights she could tell me about. She said her 61 year marriage to her husband, Johnny, and the birth of her daughter were tops, but she went on to tell me about many trips and adventures she shared with her family, and card parties and going to Busch Gardens every year. Without hesitation she said, “I have no regrets.”

I asked her if there was anything bad she remembered and she told me how she and her husband bought a house here in Florida and they kept up flood insurance payments for many years and when the insurance got too expensive and they’d had no problems, they dropped it. Of course, a few years afterwards, a storm completely flooded their house and they lost everything. She related how she saw a snake swimming through her home and screamed for her husband to get rid of it. He wasn’t very enthusiastic about this and she said, “Okay, I’ll get a bucket.” She scooped it up praying it wouldn’t jump out, and trying to wade as fast as she could through thigh-high water, she squealed all the way to the toilet where she tossed it in. “It’s funny now, but it wasn’t then!” she chuckled.

Her best friend is Lillian, a widow like her and also her sister-in-law, who lives on the next street. Lillian is like Nellie in that she also lives alone and drives, and she’s ninety. The two of them love to get together to play cards, sometimes until the wee hours and Nellie likes to sleep late. One advantage of being a bit hard-of-hearing is that she is not disturbed by the early morning sounds of yard men mowing and such, since she takes her hearing aids out when she sleeps.

When Dancing with the Stars was on she and I would talk the next day about which dances we liked and which stars we rooted for. She even took the time and trouble to vote! And even though we thought all the dancers in the finals were fabulous, we both were pleased when Derek Hough and the lovely and gracious Bindy Irwin won the Mirror Ball Trophy.

This Christmas season, as we celebrate the gift Our Father has given us in the birth of Our Savoir, I am thankful for the gift of Nellie in my life. She is such a gracious and happy person even though she suffers from some of the aches and pains of old age. I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Happy 100 Nellie!

 

Coco Ihle is the author of She Had to Know, an atmospheric, traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.

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DO YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF? by Coco Ihle

I do. I have a bedroom at one end of my house that serves as art, crafts, sewing, library, storage, and guest room and it is crammed full of stuff. I’ve tried several times to weed it out and get rid of things no longer needed and organize the things I want to keep. It’s actually been somewhat successful, but I still have too much stuff and it drives me crazy!

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I’m generally a fairly organized person and I like to be able to find things easily, but more often than not, what I hear myself saying is, “I spend half my life LOOKING for stuff!” My last move, here to Florida, is responsible for this chaos. I was in a hurry to keep up with the movers and never got this room really organized to start with. Over the years, it’s gotten worse, because I didn’t take that extra time.

One of my problems now is I get distracted. While sorting out a cabinet in my wall unit, I’ll see a photo or a letter sent to me, and before I know it, I’m sitting on the floor musing through an album as the sun sets in the west and nothing has been accomplished.

Another problem is that I get overwhelmed and discouraged by the enormous task of sorting through this “getting-bigger-by-the-moment” room. I’ve tried taking just one shelf and going through that, but when I realize I have five similar objects somewhere just like the one in my hand (spools of thread come to mind), I need to find them so they all can be placed together. So much for the one shelf!

I can’t take everything and put it all on the floor, sort, and then put it all back in an organized manner, because there isn’t room enough to do that. I wouldn’t be able to move around the room with the floor full. Phooey!

I did go through the closet and sold or gave away clothing, but I have a storage unit with pull-out shelves that contains fabrics, some craft supplies, holiday and special occasion wrapping paper and ribbon that takes up the middle floor and half-way-up section of the closet. The shelf above contains items I don’t use a lot or want to sell when I have time later, plus bedding supplies like pillows, and blanket. Meanwhile, I still have too much stuff!

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I’ve even tried a mantra while weeding. “Think ruthless! Think ruthless!” That worked only in a mediocre way, but it did help a little, so that counts, I guess. And a wise person suggested only keeping things that make you happy. Ummmm.

A large amount of space in that room contains family photo albums that eventually will go to my son. It’s not practical to give them to him now, because I still enjoy looking at them and because he often moves with his job and doesn’t have room for them now, so that’s out.

Anybody out there got any ideas? I could use all the help I can get!

***

Coco Ihle is the author of  SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mostly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.

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I Miss Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cool, crisp air, the glorious yellow, orange and red colors, and especially the tangy scent of wood smoke. I remember bobbing for apples, hunting for pumpkins to carve and decorating and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters for Halloween. I grew up in the northeast area of the U.S. and I guess it’s nostalgia that evokes these thoughts. I lived in a medium sized town, but my parents had a vacation cabin in the woods on a lake in northern New Jersey.

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Mom and Dad and I used to drive the family car up to the lake on weekends to rake leaves in October. I, of course, had to make my own huge pile, and then take a running leap into it. What a joy that was. When all the leaves were gathered, we burned them by the side of the road. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun. I miss the smell of those burning leaves. There’s nothing like it. Afterwards we’d sit by the fire in the cabin, drink fresh apple cider and reminisce.

My parents are gone now, the cabin’s been sold and I live in Florida, but those special memories live in my heart and always bring a smile to my face.

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Today, my sister, Joanie, who lives up in the Adirondacks, knowing my feelings about fall, sent me a few photos of the season from up there. Seeing them brought a whole host of happy thoughts of days gone by. Not only of my parents, but of happy times with her and her family. Thank you, Joanie!

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So after an unbelievably difficult week where just about everything that could have gone wrong, did, I’m sitting here in my office with a huge smile, grinning ear to ear, without a care.

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I hope some of you readers get the same lift I did by seeing these photos. Happy fall!!!!

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It’s Celebration Time – Again

                                  by Coco Ihle

In trying to decide what to write about this month, I moseyed over here to the Second Wind Blog site, scrolled down the right hand column to Categories and down to my name, clicked, and brought up the Archive of all my posts since my book, SHE HAD TO KNOW came out in April, 2011. I was astounded to learn that my blog post last month was my fiftieth for Second Wind Publishing! As I often say, Who’d a thunk it?!

For some, that’s not so many, but since I only blog once a month for my publisher, that means I’ve been here a while. I guest blog from time to time also, but this post is about my Second Wind blogs. Skimming through them brought topics as varied as writing hints and other ideas, discoveries, reminiscences of experiences, reports of travel, mourning losses, and just plain musings. In those monthly offerings I expressed joy and sorrow, surprise, wonderment, even fear and was so pleased when my readers contributed with comments, likes and e-mails.

It’s always nice when an author realizes that people actually enjoy reading their posts. I mean, we don’t get paid for doing it. It’s something like sharing our lives with other readers, for we are readers too. We exchange and connect with others even though we are sitting alone in front of a keyboard. It’s wonderful and I really enjoy it. And I’ve made a lot of friends along the way and have reconnected with people I haven’t seen in a long time. I’ve also become acquainted with new-to-me authors, whose work I now admire and enjoy.

Blogging keeps me learning things I might not have been exposed to otherwise, both in technology and in everyday living. I would like to thank all of you out there who read my blogs and especially those of you who have given me feedback. I appreciate you all so much! And happy fifty-first to me!

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How I Survived “__?__NADO”

by Coco Ihle

“What IS that?” I said out loud, as a flicker of movement outside my office window caught my eye. Something was moving in the middle of my backyard. The grass hadn’t been mowed for almost a week and it had grown a lot since torrential rains had been pummeling the neighborhood for most of that time.

My desk is against the window and I stood leaning over toward the glass, to get a closer look. I could see something black, but the grass was too high to make out what it was. Since I live in a nature preserve, I’ve learned to expect all sorts of wildlife during the years I’ve lived in this area of Florida, but this was a real puzzle. It wasn’t big enough or the right color to be an armadillo or possum or any of the larger animals I’ve seen. It moved again. Maybe it was an injured bird.

My vantage point was too low and the bottom half of the window was screened, which made visibility difficult, so I decided my step ladder might help. I set it up alongside my desk, got up on the third step with one foot, straddled the desk and placed my other foot over on the window sill so I could look down on whatever it was. I still couldn’t see well enough. I got down, went into my living room and grabbed my opera glasses, went back to my office and back up the ladder.

While I was trying to focus the binoculars, the phone rang. I glanced over my desk and my caller ID said it was my son, Rob. I climbed down and answered. Before he could say anything, I started telling him what I was doing, and he started chuckling. He said he was picturing me straddled over my desk looking out the window and it was just too funny. I was glad he couldn’t see a video of me then.

Anyway, I asked him what I should do. He suggested I go out and look. Duh. But, I didn’t know what it was! Maybe it was a snake or something equally creepy. I climbed back up the ladder to look some more, all the while answering Rob’s questions. “How big is it? What does it look like? Is it still moving?” I didn’t know. By the time I got my opera glasses focused again, whatever it was, wasn’t where it had been. Eeeek!

I finally spotted it closer to the house. What the heck was it? It was slithering through the grass. My heart was really pumping at this point. My son suggested I get a large container and capture it. Easy for him to say! He lives forty minutes from me and he was safe and sound in his house. But he had planted the seed. I had to find out. I told him I’d call him back.

Gathering my courage, I went into the kitchen, found a large plastic mixing bowl with a snap-on lid and went out the patio door, all the while telling myself I could do this. I tried to get a grip on my pounding heart and heavy breathing. I certainly didn’t want to pass out now and have that thing, whatever it was, crawl on me! Cautiously, I crept along, searching, and finally spotted it around the side of the house, deep in the wet grass. It still wasn’t recognizable. By this time, my imagination had me one hair short of terrified, but despite that, I crept closer.

When I got about a yard away, I leaned forward as far as I dared, without losing my balance, and teetered above it on one foot. I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was a catfish! A catfish in my yard? Seriously?! It was about a foot long. I could see its whiskers. I’m not a fisherperson, so I didn’t know if they bite or have poisonous barbs or something, so I decided to try scooping it up into the bowl and taking it to the pond at the end of the street, two houses away.

I’m glad there wasn’t any video of this endeavor, either! You see, I have this problem. All my life I’ve never been able to scream. When something scares me and I open my mouth, a weird guttural sound comes out. It’s nothing like a scream. It’s a low pitched, breathy “Auuuuunnh!” After a couple of those sounds sort of slipped out during a lot of writhing and slithering, I finally was able to get him in the bowl and snap on the lid. Shouting, “Eeeeuuuuww!” all the way, I ran down the street to the pond, tore open the lid and threw my arms in that direction. He flew up in the air, arced downward and splashed into the water. Then off he went, swimming as fast as he could.

Exhausted, I called Rob back and described my ordeal, which sent him into gales of laughter. He kept saying, “Stop, stop!” I could picture him grasping his side in laughter-pain. When he finally calmed down, he said he could just see me “screaming” and dancing around with arms flailing, trying to get the catfish into the bowl and then running like a maniac to get to the pond to release it.

By this time, my heartbeat was getting close to the normal range and I could almost breathe without panting. Through his chuckles, Rob said, “Just think, Mom, you saved a fish’s life! What an original fish story.”

With a weak smile, I answered in my defense, “Well, at least my story is true.”

***

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric, traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.
Join her here each 11th of the month.

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Pets in Mysteries

Mystery books are the genre I enjoy reading and writing the most. Lately, I’ve noticed my stack of cozy mysteries has grown, many of which involve pets in some way. Cats and dogs, specifically. In pondering why this has been a factor in my reading, I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve been seeking somewhat lighter fare. Books with a good puzzle to solve, but that are considered more “comfort” reads, with a good resolution and happy ending.

The pets in recent and current readings have such attributes as being affectionate, loyal, curious, obedient or not, cute and even humorous. Some have that instinctive sense of good and evil and/or use their scent abilities. Some even help describe their owners’ traits or personalities.

Sometimes, animals in books are more family members than pets and as such, are involved in the plot more like actual characters. They often set the scene with their own cute antics to which readers can endearingly relate. Pets with acute instincts or sense of smell are more to my personal liking when it comes to animals involved in the mystery’s solution. I’m not really fond of talking animals in stories, but that’s just my preference.

In my own book, SHE HAD TO KNOW, I introduce Pippi, a black cat who seems to think she is the mother of Scotti, a white West Highland Terrier. They are both family members who appear just a few times being the animals they are, chasing one another, sleeping together, or just being nosy. But, since they have such small roles, they are not featured on the cover.

There are authors who have animals based on their protagonist’s vocation, for instance, veterinarians or pet sitters, or protagonists who have more exotic animals, like birds, turtles or potbellied pigs. If a reader sees a book on a bookstore shelf with a domestic animal on the cover, I think they automatically are inclined to assume the book is not going to be hard boiled and quite possibly, cozy. I may be wrong, but it seems to me there has been an upsurgence of these kinds of books lately. Is it me? Could it be a reflection of readers’ desires to escape the challenges of today’s world? What do you think? Do you have any animals in your stories? If so, how did you use them? Or, if you are a reader and not a writer, are these among the kind of books you enjoy reading? I’d love to learn your viewpoint.

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Mose T’s Jick Jack Suzy to Tico Bird

I have a mini gallery in my breakfast room devoted to a special folk-artist friend from Alabama. His name was Mose Tolliver, or Mose T, as he was known, and although he’s no longer with us, his memory lives on, as “they” say. Mose was born on July forth somewhere between 1920 and 1925 (nobody really knows for sure), and he was one of twelve children. His schooling went as far as the third grade with dyslexia hampering his ability to read and write.

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In the 1940s, he married his childhood friend Willie Mae Thomas and they had 13 children, 11 of whom survived. He worked with plants and designed creative yard plans with an unusual flair and became a respected gardener.

He worked from time to time for McLendon Furniture Company (sweeping out the shipping and delivery area early each morning) and during the late 1960s he was severely injured when his legs were crushed by a load of shifting marble which fell from a forklift. The accident left him unable to walk without assistance. He was encouraged to try oil painting by his former employer, who offered to pay for lessons, but Mose decided to explore this idea on his own. Little did he know that his life was about to change, forever, again.

First, he painted birds, flowers and trees and later added people and animals, all the while developing his own unique style and sense of humor. Even the titles of his paintings were unique, as was his signature with a backward “s.” He used any surface he could find: wood scraps, metal trays, Masonite, furniture, cigar boxes, even a piano, and items that were given to him. He’d display his paintings in his yard and later on his front porch and in his living room and eventually they started selling.

Mitchell Kahan, a former curator at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, AL, admired Mose’s work and set up a one-man exhibition for him in 1981. After that, Mose shared an exhibition entitled, Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980, with another folk artist at the prestigious Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. First Lady Nancy Regan visited this exhibition and met Mose.

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A friend took me on my first visit to Mose’s home on Sayre Street back in the early 1980s. After that, I used to go often. I was fascinated listening to him tell stories and show me his current paintings on the walls and his “pure paint” in its cabinet at the foot of his bed, also there in the living room. I found out that “pure paint” was gallon cans of exterior house paint, first oil-based, then later, water-based latex, which dried faster. He was so prolific, he needed faster drying paint, and whatever colors were in the cabinet were the colors of his latest art pieces. He painted them while seated on his bed, his walker close at hand.

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As time passed, I started taking him pieces of wood left over from my neighborhood construction sites and he seemed pleased to have some unusual shapes to use. In the early 1990s, I redecorated my kitchen and asked Mose if he’d create a painting for me of strawberries to hang in that room. I brought a bowl full for him to use as a guide, but he was more interested in eating them. Several weeks later, I visited again and there was my strawberry painting. I think it may be one of a kind. I really cherish it. But, more than that, I cherish my times visiting with this gentle man, hearing his stories and witnessing his love of life. He was truly inspirational. I was saddened to hear of his passing in 2006 at the age of 82.

Mose Tolliver’s work has appeared at such renowned institutions as the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The American Folk Art Museum in New York, The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, The New Orleans Museum of Art, The Milwaukee Art Museum and many more throughout the world.

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Rediscovering a Treasure of Youth

When you were twelve, did you know what you wanted to become when grown? A few days ago, I started going through a closet full of photos and old papers from years ago with the idea of getting rid of some of it and organizing the rest.

After days of sorting and tossing, I discovered an autobiography I had written. It was an assignment which my seventh grade teacher, Miss Galbraith, gave us students several months to complete, and told us our success or failure carried with it a large part of our overall grade for the year and was due in the spring. No pressure there!

I remember being perplexed about how to begin, since my life had started out so different from the other children in my class. A large part of my early years were spent in foster care and later being adopted, so I didn’t have the usual baby pictures and mother and father photos for Illustration. I had to start somewhere, however, so I began with explaining I was adopted and I wrote about my last foster home, adoption, and a couple foster children who came to live with us later.

I wrote about my church and singing in the various choirs through the years, and about my friends, and about school. In sixth grade, a couple of my poems were published in the school newspaper. It’s strange to me that I still remember writing them and I can still recite them at the age of seventy-two. I mean, gads, that was a loooong time ago! Why do we remember such things? Here’s one:

        Snow Fairy

     I am a little flake of snow,

     Falling from the sky;

     I bounce and toss and whirl away.

     Such fun – oh me! oh my!

 

     I gently touch the treetops tall,

     And scamper here and there;

     I rustle on the window pane,

     With not a thought or care.

 

     And when at last I reach the ground,

     And join the other flakes of snow;

     We play a game of hide and seek

     With piercing winter winds that blow.

I wrote about how my leisure time was spent and about vacation trips to the western states, Canada and Florida that I’d taken with my parents and suddenly, it was spring and my autobiography was soon due.

In trying to write the last chapter, I found myself in a real quandary. I originally wanted to title it, “My Future,” but I had no idea what that would be. What I did write is as follows:

“…I do think putting down a lot of facts and reading them over has helped me to realize that there really is to be a future and what it is like will depend a lot on how I shape it. My mother and father say there are many things I might do and have explained to me that most of the professional fields require a lot of work and training. They have suggested I might want to do something in dramatics or music, because I like to entertain people. I think maybe I may want to be a writer, because that would be another way to make people happy.”

As I ponder the words of my autobiography, written so many years ago, I’m surprised. Dumbfounded, actually. I don’t remember them. I thought my desire to write came from the search and subsequent discovery of my sister’s whereabouts much later in my life. What a revelation! That writing seed was planted when I was twelve, not during my fifty year search.

How about you? Have you discovered something really significant about yourself many years later that was buried in your subconscious? I’d love to hear about it.

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