Here’s a biographical sketch of my grandparents’ journey to America. I never got to meet them, but I am grateful for learning about them from my father while was he living. Although it saddens me to think that when I first posted this, he was still alive, I’m still happy we had the chance to share this story and that I heard it from his lips. I consider that a gift. My dad is Michael in the story.
Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the Fictioneers and to her husband, Jan Wayne Fields, for the wonderful photo.
A Journey by Boat
Melchior, a carpenter, couldn’t have known his fate the day he walked into the church of St. Francis. He saw a smile in her eyes and heard his mother tongue of Swiss German once again. It was here that he met Elizabeth, a stranger in this foreign land, but a neighbor who had lived only twenty miles away in their native Switzerland. Six months later, in this same church, they married.
Their twelve children taught them English. Seven left to fight in the war.
At home by the fire, Melchior played the accordion with his youngest, Michael, while Blackie the dog howled at their feet.
“Mom, slow down. I need to get some progress on my egg.” No, we’re not farmers. These are the words of my son when we’re playing Pokemon Go. Okay, and we’re cheating. Just a little. We’re in our car and we should be walking or biking. You see if you move too fast, your egg won’t incubate and you’re likely to miss all kinds of nearby Pokemon.
Let me pause and say whoever thought us this Pokemon Go is an absolute genius. It gets kids (and adults) off the couch and out of the house, all while still playing a video game. Imagine that! I thought I’d document my little adventures as I play alongside my sons, both very video savvy. As for me, I’m an absolute beginner and have never been a gamer, but we’re having a great time so far.
Yesterday, my son and I rode bikes around the Intel campus after dark on the hunt for a memorial plaque. I come to find out that there’s this beautiful little lake with trails I never knew about. We also found that someone around Intel is really scary with a lot of power. (I mean in the game, of course!) Right now, because my son and I are new to the game, we’re weak and so want to keep our distance.
We are also a bit too weak to contend with anything having to do with the “gym.” My son tried to fend off someone in a gym in the produce section at the supermarket, but was unsuccessful. You can easily recognize a gym on your phone. It’s a big and menacing, blinking tower.
Tonight, my younger son joined us. We drove to a reservoir nearby, a small body of water I haven’t been to in years, and had never seen at dusk.
My younger son is hooked now and wants to play. Unfortunately, his iPad doesn’t have a data plan. We may resurrect an old phone and see about changing that. I think it could be worth it. Anything to get these kids outside. This is working! We’ve tried to get out in nature before, but it always seems to be a dreadful thing for my younger son. Tonight, he was skipping along.
And lo and behold, a Pokestop in front of another grocery story I frequent all the time. Pokestops are my favorite. Free stuff and more pokeballs to catch the Pokemon. And guess what? It has a compass in the front I’ve never seen before. Who knew?
I’m at Level 4, so I know we have many more adventures ahead, and I have to catch up to my son who’s at Level 10. He shakes his head at me, but he’s patient and explains things about the ever-changing Pokemon.
I watched my son’s middle school music concert with tears streaming down my face. I know what you’re thinking. Really? But it’s a middle school music concert.
I know, I know. But I also that know that my dad would have really loved this. He was a huge jazz fan. My dad played the clarinet and I grew up listening to him play and all different types of music, including jazz.
The funny thing is, my son was not a big jazz lover until recently after my father passed. Now he listens to jazz all the time with his earbuds in and attached to his iPhone, snapping his fingers and tapping his toes. Now it feels almost as if my dad is living through my son somehow or maybe it’s just in the genes.
There’s also another huge factor. My son’s middle school jazz band is top-notch. One of the best in the country, in fact, as rated by Downbeat Magazine. His music teacher John A. Zimny (his initials are JAZ!) teaches at both middle schools in the city of Folsom, close to Sacramento.
My son wants to play in the jazz band next year. His instrument is the baritone horn. This past year, he was in the Advanced Band. He plans to practice all summer and audition in the fall. I sure hope he gets in. I was absolutely blown away by the talent of these musicians at this concert.
Most of all, I was touched by their devotion to their band teacher and to each other, and to their high level of commitment. If you ever have an opportunity to support music in the schools, please do! It’s worth every penny and they need many more pennies.
Many of the students spoke during the concert to thank Mr. Zimny for giving them the best year of their lives. One even said she loved her jazz band more than her family. Sorry family! Kids from both of these middle schools traveled together by bus, competed against each other and, for the final concert, were on stage playing together. It was grand and what a sound!
Music has such a unifying power. Mr. Zimny told the audience that when you set the bar a little higher, you would be surprised what these kids can do. They surpassed expectations and took things further than he ever thought they could.
During the concert, my son watched in awe, snapping his fingers as he does and typing in the names of the pieces he heard into his phone.
The next day, my son gave a presentation of a poem he wrote for his English class. I was such in awe, I wanted to share it here.
The Rhythm in My Head
As I walk through the world I see a rhythm to things like a way of life while with the snap of my fingers and the blow of my horn I form a picture of the world around me, A picture full of sound and beauty where the rhythm just won’t stop. Then I open my eyes and realize the world is just too quiet.
If you want to take a listen, here’s a bit of the jazz band with Mr. Zimny conducting.
Welcome to Friday Fictoneers, where every week writers attempt to create a 100-word story based on a photo. Thanks toRochelle Wisoff-Fieldsfor hosting the group each and every week. The photo was provided bySean Fallon.Thank you, Sean.
This week’s prompt is a repeat from three years ago. Since many of you may not have seen this and because I’m satisfied with my story, I decided to repost it with a few minor changes. It feels good to like something that I wrote! I hope you enjoy it.
It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, hosted byRochelle Wisoff-Fields,our very talented fairy blog mother. I thank her for her dedication and leadership of this group. Thanks also toThe Reclining Gentlemanfor the this week’s beautiful photo, just in time for Valentine’s day.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly writing group, challenged write a 100-word story based on a photo prompt. If you’re interested in joining in,here are instructions.All are welcome.
Genre: Realistic Fiction (100 words)
The dust never settled in Rhea’s house. Only the broken remained, intact and unpatched. The faucet still dripped its feeble presence.
The door creaked with Janie’s entrance.
“Here. It was grandpa’s favorite color.” Janie offered a bouquet of yellow daffodils, picked fresh from the neighbor’s garden.
It didn’t matter then. “Why would it matter now?”
Janie shrugged and skipped away, leaving the splayed flowers behind.
After washing a vase, Rhea posed the stems in a vase where they exceeded their expected stay.
Every time she wanted to throw them out, she sniffed the bright petals. “Maybe I never knew him.”
It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly writing group. The challenge is to write a 100-word story based on a photo prompt. Thank you toRochelle Wisoff-Fieldsfor hosting and toC.E. Ayrfor the this week’s photo.
It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting and to her husband Jan Fields for the wonderful photo.
All are welcome to join this challenge, which is to write a 100-word story based on the photo. Here are instructions. Give it a try. My story follows.
Genre: Realistic Fiction (102 words)
Liza pounded the piano, the way her mother told her not to. It had been Mr. Stevenson’s cue to play.
Mr. Stevenson, a pianist for mama’s ballet class, was so good you hardly noticed him. “Like a waiter in a fine restaurant,” mama had told her. But mama had noticed because they had done the fine dining together.
Sweet music filled their small quarters like jasmine on a summer night. Liza and mama danced with roses in their hair. At night Liza heard a more percussive number, what Liza determined could only be 3/4 time.