Memories surrounding my first story are both painful and warm, and for me an unfortunate change in my dreams of being an author.
My 10-year-old self, wrote The Monster of the Hawaiian Islands while on a family visit with my grandmother in Marquette while sitting on the cool, soft feather bed in the front bedroom along the long porch which surrounded two sides of her house. I had a new sharp pencil and lined paper … which smelled heavenly.
My story was centered around a monster on the islands and a ship named "The Olivia" - my grandmother's middle name. Clever and fun to write I gave my "final" draft to my grandmother to read … she was ecstatic, "ye gads" this needs to be published!
As my grandmother was a person of action, walked my story down to the local paper, The Mining Journal, on Washington and Third. I remember a feeling of dread and even fear that she would have my story put in the paper.
That's it! The end of my memory -- I never saw the story again.
My *father did not encourage my writing and seemed to think it a lazy person's activity. In my later years I wondered if it were he who might have tossed my story. As a young person with this passion, which was not exactly allowed, I think my soul for writing was crushed ... it took a number of years before I wrote again.
Until I was in a college creative writing class. This "secret class" I kept from my father, yet mom knew and approved. My teachers, my adored teachers, wrote wonderful things at the end of my writing - in red! I've kept the little bits of stories for my memoirs. "Ye gads!"
Writing has been a positive outlet for my feelings, projects and thoughts. My mother, may she rest in peace, encouraged me, would carefully read the sentences, advise, and hoot with laughter, as only a mom is allowed to do, at my word choices. Her absolute favorite thing was finding gems of misspelled words, a tasty morsel for her (which occasionally I'd place to please her).
Fritz was raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where schools awarded students for good penmanship … my mom received many awards. She also took Latin, and became an exceptional crossword puzzler and Scrabble player. I valued her and the significance of her abiding encouragement and attention to detail in making me a better writer.
Happy Mother's Day, moms. You make such a difference.
*Dad, may he rest in peace, died young from heart disease and left seven children and a wife. Going through his memorabilia, it was discovered that he developed "Shell Shock" (PTSD) following the war. He was a soldier in many battles, including Normandy's Battle of the Bulge.
His sister shared that before the war, dad was a peaceful, sweet man. In my heart-of-hearts, I have a greater understanding and have respect for my father and the horrid situations he encountered in the war. I thank him deeply for his service to our country, keeping us safe and free. He was a great man!