Tag Archives: teenagers

Two Little Girls – An Essay

TWO LITTLE GIRLS – Another Essay

By Donna Jean McDunn Author

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Mine was great. All three of our daughters and their families came, so it was a busy four-day weekend. Our oldest grandson celebrated his 13th birthday on November 7th. (That gives us three teenage grandkids with five more to go.) He lives to far away so we weren’t able to celebrate with him on that day and while they were visiting, he enjoyed another birthday party with us.

We also attended a party for my husband’s brother’s 70th birthday and a surprise birthday party our son-in-law planned for our youngest daughter. By the time the weekend ended, I needed another four days to recuperate.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted since November. I’ve been busy editing my novel Nightmares. As soon as all the editing is done, I will share an excerpt of the story here. I just finished working with the content editor who suggested I consider turning the book into a series based on the characters in the book, so I have begun a new story I have tentatively named Visions. I’m still waiting to hear from the line editor and get her opinion of the idea.

I’m also working on another story I began for a writing course a few months ago. The course has ended, but the writing goes on and I really want to finish it. It is tentatively named The Rose Stalker. It is geared to a much older reader than my Nightmares books and is a romance/mystery about a stalker who leaves roses.

Now I would like to share with you an essay I wrote in 2008. It’s not very long, just under 650 words. It’s about something that happened in my childhood that has always bothered me. It still does whenever I think about it and that year, I thought about it a lot, just as I have during this one. Some of the words I used for descriptions may not be politically correct today and I don’t wish to offend anyone, but in the 1950’s these terms were accurate. It’s called:

TWO LITTLE GIRLS

I grew up in a small town in Iowa during the 1950’s. During those early years of my life, I remember seeing only two people of African American decent at my school. It happened when I was in the third grade.

The teacher had just let us outside for recess. It was early spring and I had on my blue winter coat I’d gotten for Christmas. The day had turned out so sunny and warm; I felt I no longer needed it. So, like several other kids, I took my coat off and threw it on top of a pile of coats already lying on the ground.

My friends and I ran to the jungle gym to play. When I happened to look in the direction of my coat, I saw two African American girls. I naturally assumed they were sisters and the older one was holding my blue coat.

“Hey, this can’t be mine,” I heard the girl say to the younger one as she slipped it on. She held her arms out in front of her. “Look, it’s to small.”

Concerned I was about to lose my coat to a stranger, I jumped off the jungle gym and ran to her. “I think that’s my coat.”

Looking down at the pile still on the ground, I could see the arm of a blue coat just like mine. I pulled it out and slipped it on. The sleeves hung down past my fingertips. “Maybe this one is yours.”

We exchanged coats, giggling about the mix up, until her younger sister poked her in the ribs. “Come on. We’re going to get into trouble.”

“Thanks,” the older one said to me and the two girls ran toward the school.

I wanted to talk to them and find out if they were sisters, where they came from and why I hadn’t I seen them before. I didn’t even know their names. Why did they leave in such a hurry?

I watched as they ran to a door, the rest of us weren’t supposed to use, but before going inside, the older girl turned and smiled in my direction.

I wondered where they were going. Recess had just started.

I rejoined my friends on the jungle gym. “Who are those girls,” I asked my friend, Mary. “I’ve never seen them before.”

“I don’t know their names,” she said. “I heard they go to school upstairs.”

I couldn’t believe it. “Upstairs? Why?”

She stared at me like I must be really dumb. “Because they’re Negro.”

I was eight years old at the time, but even I could see sending those two girls upstairs was wrong.  I knew about prejudice and the riots happening in other parts of the country. I just never expected to see it in my town.

Several years ago, the upstairs in the school had been condemned and considered unsafe for anyone. I had heard rumors that there were bats up there, too. If it was unsafe for us, how could anyone make two little girls use it as a classroom? Did they even have a teacher?

I never saw either of the girls after that day, not in the hallways or during recess or even after school. I asked about them everyday for a long time, but no one seemed to know if they moved away or what happened to them.

I’d like to think situations like that don’t happen in this country today, but I know I’d only be deceiving myself. Even so I still have hope for us and I pray the girls are still alive and well and see how things have changed. It only took forty-nine years! The sad part is we have only just begun to make real progress.

As always, I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts, so please leave a comment.

My short story Trapped, included in the anthology Mystery Times Nine 2012 will be released, according to the Amazon site, on December 7, 2012. The book went to press November 29th. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. The publisher, Buddhapuss Ink is located in New Jersey and there was a delay thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

My young adult paranormal/mystery will be released in May 2013, but can be viewed on MuseItUp Publishing’s website: Nightmares

Other places I can be found:

Facebook Author Page 
Facebook Profile Page 
LinkedIn

MusePub_Readers : MuseItUp Publishing Readers Group

I’m also on Twitter.

Other Places to view my short stories:

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

A Reason To Live

Saving Katie

Pack Leader

The Golden Stallion

Gus’ Big Adventure

 

 

Band-Aides For The Heart-An Essay

Over Sixty Years Of Life

In 2010 our three daughters threw us a surprise 40th anniversary. Our oldest made this collage to show our lives before, during and after children.

Band-Aides For The Heart-An Essay

By Donna Jean McDunn Author

Do you have children? My husband, Pat and I raised three daughters. Talk about drama. It began almost from the first moment of birth, right up until they moved out of the house… Oh, wait, it didn’t stop there. Maybe it lasted until the second time they moved out or was it the third. No, that wasn’t it either. Could it have been when they each were married? Nope. So when does it stop? The truth is, I don’t have a clue.

During their growing up years I had almost completely stopped writing. Life had just gotten so over whelming. The only writing I managed to do was to scribble out some of the funny things they did or said to put in their baby books.

When our youngest was a teenager, the desire to write began to grow again, but I could still only manage a few words now and then. And usually when I would pull out paper and pen too write, it was because something had upset me.

From birth on, seeing one of my daughters in pain for any reason was enough to make me write. I wanted their lives to be free of physical and mental hurts. Unrealistic, I know, but that desire is still a big part of me and will be until the day I die. Below is a short essay I wrote many years ago when my youngest was sixteen; she will be thirty-five next month.

Band-Aids For The Heart

From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I loved my baby dolls, and treated them as if they were real babies. I was seven when my baby brother was born. I had wanted a baby sister, but he was so cute, it soon didn’t matter. I couldn’t wait to hold my nieces and nephews when they were born. I baby-sat a lot. I just knew that being a mom was going to be easy.

Here I am as a teenager with my favorite people and animals. My little brother, Mike is on the far left, my nephew Tommy is next to him and I’m holding Tommy’s little brother, Danny. The two dogs belong to them. Duchess is on the left and that’s Duke on the right.

Then reality struck.

Pat and I were married at nineteen and hadn’t quite reached our twenty-first birthdays, when Patty was born. Jodi followed three years later and Jamie three years after her. No one had warned me about the mountains of diapers, bottles and the tons of clothes that were necessary incase of accidents…and there were always accidents.

I soon learned that being a mom was a lot different than being a big sister, aunt or a baby sitter. I couldn’t just hand them over to my mom or my sister like I had my little brother and nieces and nephews or go home to my own house like I could when I used to baby-sit. I was stuck with them twenty-four seven.

But the joy of all those first smiles, first steps and first words made all the sleepless nights and the worry worth every minute. The milestones soon began to add up and before I knew it, those years of babyhood were slipping away.

Instead of dirty diapers, I now had to deal with bumps and bruises, scraped knees and cut fingers and toes.  Most boo-boos could be healed by Mommy’s kiss. For other ouches, a band-aid and a kiss could stop the hurt. I thought I would always be able to take away their pain. No one warned me about the boo-boos we had no control over.

Like the disappointment Patty experienced when she didn’t win the Science Fair in the fifth grade or the surgery when Jodi was five. The learning disability that still haunts Jamie today. Each time and for each daughter, I wanted desperately to take the pain away and make it my pain. Isn’t that what I’d been doing since infancy? “Let Mommy kiss it and make it all better.” And sometimes I still could, but that wasn’t going to last for much longer.

The teenage years were filled with drama in the form of laugher and tears. The laughter came with each new budding romance and the tears came when it ended. By the time my youngest daughter became a teenager, I had gotten quite good at spotting the first signs of a failing romance. Unfortunately, they didn’t make band-aids big enough for broken hearts.

It didn’t come as a complete surprise the day I came home from my aerobics class to find my sixteen-year-old daughter sitting at the dining room table, her schoolbooks spread out before her. She looked up at me and with a shaking hand, brushed blond hair from flushed cheeks and red puffy eyes.

My stomach did a somersault. I took a deep breath and silently prayed for the right words. “What’s wrong?” I asked, even though I thought I already knew the answer.

Her eyes filled with tears. “Matt,” she said, her voice cracking. “We…” Her face crumbled and she buried it into her hands.

“I’m so sorry.” I put my arm around her shoulders. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” she whispered.

I knew that wasn’t true because my own heart felt ready to burst. “Do you want to talk about it?”

She shook her head no without looking at me. “Not yet, maybe later.”

What do you say to someone who is in this kind of pain? Is there anything that will take it away? If there is, I hadn’t found it yet. I stood there with one arm around my little girl’s shoulders and couldn’t think of one single thing that would ease her pain or my own. “How about a hug?” It was the best I could come up with.

Jamie stood and wrapped her arms around my neck. I wanted to ask her when she got so tall, but instead I said, “Anytime you feel like talking, I’m here to listen.” I rubbed her back, like I did when she was tiny and needed comforting.

She nodded, sucked in a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. “I’m going to lay down for a while.”

“Okay, I’ll let you know when dinner is ready.”

She seemed…different. A tiny smile played on her lips. “Thanks Mom,” she said.

Somehow that one little hug had made a difference. Maybe, I’d found a band-aid after all.

As always, I love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions.

My short story Trapped, included in the anthology Mystery Times Nine 2012 will be released November 19, 2012. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. 

My young adult paranormal/mystery will be released in May 2013, but can be viewed on Muse It Up Publishing’s website: Nightmares

Other places I can be found:

Facebook Author Page  

Facebook Profile Page 

LinkedIn

MusePub_Readers : MuseItUp Publishing Readers Group

I’m also on Twitter.

Other Places to view my short stories:

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

A Reason To Live

Saving Katie 

Pack Leader 

The Golden Stallion

Gus’ Big Adventure

When To Say “I Made It”

Some days it only looks like rain

When To Say “I Made It”

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Are you a writer? What do you write; fiction or non-fiction? Do you write for small children, middle grade/teenagers/young adults or adults? What genres do you write?

If you are a writer, then you know how much there is to learn before we can call ourselves writers and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever measure up. Sometimes, I wonder if I should have stopped writing a long time ago. Would it have made my life easier?

What does it really take to be a writer anyway?

My main goal as a writer has always been to be as good a writer as possible. But how do I accomplish that? How do I know for sure when I’ve arrived? There are so many rules in writing, how am I supposed to learn and remember them all when I have trouble remembering when to use “to” and “too” and what the heck is a dangling participle anyway? Am I fooling myself into believing I can turn this writing dream into reality? Will people want to read my stories and encourage others to read them? Is being a writer worth all the trouble and the heartache?

The truth is No one knows. (That answers all the questions, but the one about dangling participles; there are people out there who do know and can explain it. Now if I could only remember…)

Anyway, just ask anyone. Ask a dozen different writers at various stages in their writing careers and you’re going to get a dozen different answers. Why? Because the answer is different for everyone and the answers come at various stages in each individual’s career.

For an example, one writer may feel they’ve “made it” when they publish their first piece. Someone else my feel they’ve made it only after they’ve sold that one manuscript that had been rejected twenty-seven times, even though they’ve published several others. Some writers, even after publishing several best selling books, may still be waiting for that moment when they know they’ve “made it”.

I was told at a young age that I had a natural talent to write, but when I started writing seriously, I realized something. Natural talent, for most of us normal humans, isn’t enough.

There are several things writing experts agree on, one of them, and maybe the most important, is to continue to learn and grow as a writer. How do you do that?

Well, some say by taking writing courses either online or in a classroom setting. Continue to read the types of books you want to write. Step out of your comfort zone and stretch your imagination by reading and writing various genres. Short stories are a good way to begin. If they’re bad no one has to see them, but it will help you to grow as a writer.

Study the books you read and really enjoyed. How did the author of that book draw you, the reader, in? And of course continue to write. It doesn’t matter what you write, only that you do it and do it often, everyday if possible. Start a blog and read and comment on other peoples blogs. You’ll be glad you did.

I haven’t made it yet, but someday in the near future I hope to be able to say “I made it.”

An update: When I started this blog post, I was waiting to hear from Muse It Up Publishing about my novel manuscript I sent them. On Saturday August 11, 2012 I received an email from them. They want to publish my novel. I’m not ready to say “I made it” but now I really do have hope that I will.

As always, I love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter I will like, follow you, or Tweet so I can thank you.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

I was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of the nine winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at: (13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between the ages of 4-10, it might be worth it. It’s a very entertaining website.