Family Memoir

FINAL DRAFT:

     I grew up in a small town in Arkansas. Stuttgart is the name, rice capital of the world. We were in the midst of the Civil Rights era and I was working at a white-man only dinner as a waitress. I did not think that working here was wrong, I had been raised amongst it and it just seemed normal to me. I was wiping down the counter one day when Frank Moore walked in.

     Frank was a handsome man. He was tall, over six feet which made him a giant compared to my barely five foot stature. His skin was tan, and eyes were dark. His hair was a light brown and his curls waved across his face. We were young, I couldn’t have been more than nineteen and fresh out of high school. My hair was still a dark auburn and my eyes a soft blue. I smiled at Frank as he walked in, welcoming him to the Dixie Dinner. With a quick glance at my nametag he answered back with a, “Hello Caroline,” and a smile. His smile was something special; it always seemed to melt my heart. When Frank smiled everything was okay.

     He continued coming into the diner every day at lunch. Frank was working in the rice fields outside of Stuttgart. They were owned by the largest manufacturer of rice in America, Riceland. His lunch break was an hour, and the diner was on the opposite side of town from the fields, so he always ate quick and never had time for pie. Frank made sure he sat in my section, shooting me that famous smile as he walked in the door. I guess he was just getting up the nerve to ask me out, because after three weeks he finally did.

     It was a Friday night in late September. It stays warm in southern Arkansas through late October, though the mosquitoes get worse as the summer gets later. We were on a trip down to a small like outside town. The technical name is Lake Duck Bill, but everyone in Stuttgart just called it “The Beak”. The mosquitoes were biting and the air was beyond humid down at the dock. Though nature was acting unpleasant I can truly not remember a time in my life that I have had more fun. Frank had brought a cooler of beer and we drank, and talked, and swam, and fished all night. My parents were furious when I came home several hours after curfew.

     Frank and I became virtually inseparable. If we weren’t working the two of us were together. We love to walk around town and he was a frequent visitor in the diner. Three weeks after our first date Frank proposed. And we set the wedding day for a month later. The two of us were so in love, I knew that it was right.

    We were married on a mild November day. The leaves crinkled under the soles of my shoes as I walked up to the Stuttgart Methodist Church. I had been in the church a million times, every Sunday since I was born and sometimes Wednesdays too. But that day it was so different, instead of walking in to a pew where I would sit through a sermon, I was walking in to marry Frank Moore, the love of my life. The thought still sends shivers up my spine. I was so nervous. I stood outside with my mom, dad, and the bridesmaids. They seemed to understand that I just needed a minute to get all of my thoughts together.

     Finally my dad opened the giant wooden doors and we piled into the church. Inside sat everyone important in my life. The music started to play and the bridesmaids walked. I took a deep breath and entered the main part of the church. I could have thrown up right there I was so nervous, but then I saw Frank, and he smiled. Everything was okay. I held my dad’s arm and smiled at my guests as I walked. It seemed like the longest walk in the world. And finally my hands were off my dad’s arm and Frank was holding them tight. He was scared, we both were but we had each other. I said “I do,” and the preacher announced me as Mrs. Caroline Moore. The name sounded so natural.

     Frank and I were married for forty-three three years before he passed. We had three beautiful children, all girls, Lainie, Dena, and Nola. Life was never easy, we both worked hard to make ends meet and to raise our children the best that we could. Then our girls grew up and had their own children. Life never got easier, but we loved each other, and that made life good even when things were hard. When Frank was diagnosed with cancer my life turned upside down, I thought I couldn’t survive without him. But the memories are here, stories for me to tell over and over again, to all the little pieces of Frank Moore I have running around.

   

 

 

ROUGH DRAFT:

     I grew up in a small town in Arkansas. Stuttgart is the name, rice capital of the world. We were in the midst of the Civil Rights era and I was working at a white-man only dinner as a waitress. I did not think that working here was wrong, I had been raised amongst it and it just seemed normal to me. I was wiping down the counter one day when Frank Moore walked in.

     Frank was a handsome man. He was tall, over six feet which made him a giant compared to my barely five foot stature. His skin was tan, and eyes were dark. His hair was a light brown and his curls waved across his face. We were young, I couldn’t have been more than nineteen and fresh out of high school. My hair was still a dark auburn and my eyes a soft blue. I smiled at Frank as he walked in, welcoming him to the Dixie Dinner. With a quick glance at my nametag he answered back with a, “Hello Caroline,” and a smile. His smile was something special; it always seemed to melt my heart. When Frank smiled everything was okay.

     He continued coming into the diner every day at lunch. Frank was working in the rice fields outside of Stuttgart. They were owned by the largest manufacturer of rice in America, Riceland. His lunch break was an hour, and the diner was on the opposite side of town from the fields, so he always ate quick and never had time for pie. Frank made sure he sat in my section, shooting me that famous smile as he walked in the door. I guess he was just getting up the nerve to ask me out, because after three weeks he finally did.

     It was a Friday night in late September. It stays warm in southern Arkansas through late October, though the mosquitoes get worse as the summer gets later. We were on a trip down to a small like outside town. The technical name is Lake Duck Bill, but everyone in Stuttgart just called it “The Beak”. The mosquitoes were biting and the air was beyond humid down at the dock. Though nature was acting unpleasant I can truly not remember a time in my life that I have had more fun. Frank had brought a cooler of beer and we drank, and talked, and swam, and fished all night. My parents were furious when I came home several hours after curfew.

     Frank and I became virtually inseparable. If we weren’t working the two of us were together. We love to walk around town and he was a frequent visitor in the diner. Three weeks after our first date Frank proposed. And we set the wedding day for a month later. The two of us were so in love, I knew that it was right.

    We were married on a mild November day. The leaves crinkled under the soles of my shoes as I walked up to the Stuttgart Methodist Church. I had been in the church a million times, every Sunday since I was born and sometimes Wednesdays too. But that day it was so different, instead of walking in to a pew where I would sit through a sermon, I was walking in to marry Frank Moore, the love of my life. The thought still sends shivers up my spine. I was so nervous. I stood outside with my mom, dad, and the bridesmaids. They seemed to understand that I just needed a minute to get all of my thoughts together.

     Finally my dad opened the giant wooden doors and we piled into the church. Inside sat everyone important in my life. The music started to play and the bridesmaids walked. I took a deep breath and entered the main part of the church. I could have thrown up right there I was so nervous, but then I saw Frank, and he smiled. Then everything was okay. I held my dad’s arm and smiled at my guests as I walked. It seemed like the longest walk in the world. And finally my hands were off my dad’s arm and Frank was holding them tight. He was scared, we both were but we had each other. I said “I do,” and the preacher announced me as Mrs. Caroline Moore. The name sounded so natural.

     Frank and I were married for forty-three three years before he passed. We had three beautiful children, all girls, Lainie, Dena, and Nola. Life was never easy, we both worked hard to make ends meet and to raise our children the best that we could. Then our girls grew up and had their own children. Life never got easier, but we loved each other, and that made life good even when things were hard. When Frank was diagnosed with cancer my life turned upside down, I thought I couldn’t survive without him. But the memories are here, stories for me to tell over and over again, to all the little pieces of Frank Moore I have running around.

   

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Published on February 23, 2009 at 7:04 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This was a great memoir. You got into plenty of detail with the people, the only thing I would have liked more would be more detail in the surroundings, otherwise it was a great story.

  2. this is such an amazing story. it is well told and is the perfect length. the writing is good as well. i wouldn’t make any changes to this story. good work.

  3. I really liked this story and it was well written.

  4. Beautiful! (I should note, I am responding to the final draft.) Great pace, and you kept very focused. I LOVE your descriptions, like “The leaves crinkled under the soles of my shoes as I walked up to the Stuttgart Methodist Church.” I think this is truly fantastic writing! The only thing I could think of would be to add some personality/ characterization for your narrator.

    I know you worked hard on this, and I definitely believe that it paid off! Thank you for sharing!


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