Three weeks into this alphabet project and I’ve been bested by the letter C. The C-section (I did toy with that as the title of the post)  is very big and the one I recall my mom using most often. It includes Cake, Canadian cookery, candy, canning, casseroles, cheese, chicken, Chinese cookery, chocolate, chowder, cookies, […]

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As I pulled out of the parking lot onto Passyunk Avenue I saw the sleek, antique Thunderbird convertible. It was black, the top was down, and seeing it flooded me with distant memories. When I was a little girl, maybe four or five, my grandfather, Bud, promised me that when I learned to drive he would […]

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  • July 6, 2017 - 2:43 am

    Melony Boseley - What a beautiful memory, Nancy! Your grandfather sounds like he was a wonderful man! You were very lucky to have him in your life. XoxReplyCancel

  • July 6, 2017 - 7:13 am

    Danielle Dayney - Nancy,

    You have a way with storytelling. I liked how you kept going back to the thunderbird. It anchored your story. One tiny thing. Maybe move the sentence about your grandfather’s passing to after your last visit? Or remove it entirely. I think the last paragraph will have more weight then.

    Lovely job either way 🙂ReplyCancel

    • July 6, 2017 - 7:20 am - Thanks for the compliment and the feedback! ReplyCancel

  • July 6, 2017 - 1:05 pm

    Michelle Longo - I am fascinated by those moments when something clearly known in childhood becomes fully explained to us as adults.ReplyCancel

  • July 6, 2017 - 3:32 pm

    Rowan - I love – as usual, for folks who know us – the same thing Michelle does, about the juxtaposition between child and adult perceptions, and how re-examination of what we “knew” feels. Your childhood perception stories always read very authentically, maybe because you don’t fall into the trap of being an adult trying to write childishly when you talk about childish things.

    Like Danielle, I struggled with your last two paragraphs. There’s some *there* there, but it’s not as clean as the rest of the story. I might even just swap the order of those two paragraphs and leave the bit about how you never got the Thunderbird up at the top where it is (or even higher) to keep the slightly empty, faded feel to the nostalgia, rather than trying to build it up as a piece about hoping for things and being disappointed. That’s an interesting essay but I don’t think it’s the essay you were trying to write.

    Your eye for detail can be both a blessing and a curse in your writing – with so much detail and memory available to you, it seems like it’s occasionally hard for you to pull out only the relevant ones and avoid the clutter. Your writing style is otherwise so clean and focused that the reader then struggles a little bit when they find something that isn’t moving the plot along, because they expect the digression to be more important or to circle back to the central theme, when in fact it’s just something else that happened that day that isn’t necessarily part of the same story. (This is me, passive-aggressively hoping the other Yw’ers that do the same thing are reading this comment!)

    Ultimately, it’s hard to write about something most readers may not have experienced – the maid, the expensive car, the country club – without coming off as bragging. You manage that incredibly well, both by presenting it as “this is a thing that child-me just accepted” and by showing it as almost fantasy, a divergence from your daily life like a fairy tale. Linking that feeling up with many readers’ fantasies about it keeps the piece relatable.ReplyCancel

    • July 7, 2017 - 5:16 pm - Rowan, As usual, you nailed it, this wasn’t quite the piece I wanted to write. I am always grateful for your feedback, it is clear and sometimes I wonder if you have implanted a camera in my mind… Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • July 6, 2017 - 7:46 pm

    AmyBee - I agree with a lot of what Rowan said. I’m a fan and am always happy to read a post from you. The way you showcase your time in your Grandfathers world feels both nostalgic and mythical, kinda how my own memories of my Great Grandparents play out. Your story captures that space that children occupy within the family structure.ReplyCancel

  • July 6, 2017 - 9:07 pm

    Asha Rajan - Your child voice is spot on. You don’t veer into an adult rendering of childhood events and that’s a joy to read. It’s something I wrestle with often, so I notice when it’s done well.ReplyCancel

  • July 7, 2017 - 12:02 pm

    YeahWrite #325 Weekly Writing Challenge: Popular Vote Winners and Editors' Picks - YeahWrite - […] an incredibly important detail. You know who really nailed down how kids think and act this week? Nancy, on the nonfiction grid. Danielle’s nonfic line: Mama! Can I make you a mermaid? Please! Please! Please! (the three […]ReplyCancel

Not that you asked, but these days I ride the bus to work. I’ve lived in Philadelphia for almost twenty years and this is the first time I’m using public transportation on a regular basis. When I first moved to Philadelphia from NYC I didn’t have a car and biked everywhere.  Philly is a fairly […]

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  • June 28, 2017 - 7:49 am

    Sara - Your writing brought the bus in front of my eyes.Beautiful vivid descriptions and I love the care you show for fellow travelers- “I haven’t seen her in a few days. I hope she’s OK.”ReplyCancel

    • June 29, 2017 - 6:13 pm - Thanks Sara. I saw the dad again this morning! ReplyCancel

  • June 28, 2017 - 11:01 am

    The Helicopter Bride - I felt like I was there people watching with you 🙂 I love the little thoughts that go through our minds about people that we see and you captured it well.ReplyCancel

    • June 29, 2017 - 6:15 pm - Thank you for that. Every day I make up more stories about the people I see.ReplyCancel

  • June 29, 2017 - 10:34 am

    Margaret - I loved this commuter community. I too wanted the man with the baby to work at the hospital, and I wanted to know what the woman saying to help the blind man. I love to people-watch, just like you.ReplyCancel

    • June 29, 2017 - 6:16 pm - They are an endless source of entertainment!ReplyCancel

  • June 29, 2017 - 5:10 pm

    Cheney - I also, like Laura Neill, think the best essays are the kinds that find meaning and beauty in the mundane. Good job with that. I love imagining what people’s lives are like in this same way, so it’s very relatable 🙂ReplyCancel

    • June 29, 2017 - 6:15 pm - Thank you Cheney. Sometimes writing is a leap of faith.ReplyCancel

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