Monday, February 17, 2014

Beachfront Memories

Stolen from Professor SAM's Blog

Professor SAM gave us the following instructions for this week’s Master Class prompt: 

 “This is a week of 5ths, your challenge is to use this line as a 5th in your story. For newcomers, that means you can use it as the 5th sentence or any multiple of 5, as the first line of your 5th paragraph, etc. Anything goes as long as it is in a 5th position, any genre, any length.”

Here is my sleepy tale inspired by a line from The Beach Tree by Karen White - "There was an empty lot next door, with short cement steps leading up to nothing but air, and a For Sale sign swinging in the barren and sand swept yard."

Beachfront Memories
The old wooden swing that Poppa put in a couple of decades ago had seen its share of weather: sunny days that bleached the arms until they were almost white, and some powerful rain to darken it up again. It was a haven that quietly shuffled back and forth over the sand with a prime view of the ocean, and it was one of my favorite reading spots. There was a gentle breeze blowing across the water this morning, but last night was a different story. Last night, the wind startled me awake, as it lashed out on the south side of the house. It reminded me of the great storm that landed here many years ago, when Taren lived next door.
I’m not sure anybody ever really knew what really happened to Martin and Maizy Mathews, but folks sure do talk. In 1964 things were different around here. A white man was not supposed to mix colours in his house, but Taren’s father was a stubborn mule of a man, and he had his heart set on Maizy from the first time he saw her, and no “back woods redneck” was going to change his mind. If anything, the attention that folks gave Mr. Mathews only made him more determined to do whatever it was they did not want him to do, and they did not want him taking a fancy to Maizy.
Maizy was a beauty by any standard. Her classic features were the kind you might find on an artist’s canvas, hanging in the parlor of some southern plantation, wearing a fancy dress and big brimmed hat. Smooth, high cheekbones slid gracefully into full lips that needed no added colour, her amber eyes radiated light as though it came from behind them. It was no wonder that Martin Mathews wanted to make her his wife, Maizy was as sweet as she was beautiful and that man was smitten. Maizy’s folks were simple people with solid ideas about what was important in life. They didn’t mind that Martin was white, but they were a bit worried about what might happen when the two of them got hitched.
Martin and Maizy had a simple wedding, with just the two of them, the Justice of the Peace, and Maizy’s folks; both of Martin’s parents had died several years earlier on their way back from a visit to the north. The roads were icy, and their driver slid right off the road and down the side of a mountain into the river. Martin inherited a large piece of land inland, and the Beach house that sat just a skip from the ocean’s edge. Maizy’s family worked for the Mathew’s nearly all of Maizy’s life, so she was familiar with it, but she had never thought about that big old house on the beach being hers one day.
It wasn’t long after they got married, that Maizy got pregnant. Taren was born when I was just a toddler, but we grew up together none the same. The night that storm blew in, me and Taren were watching movies in the basement of my folks’ house; it was my ninth birthday and Taren was the only friend I wanted to have over, so my parents let us have a sleep over with movies and popcorn. The wind was whipping so hard that night that it took down a stretch of the pier where they docked the boats. The waves slapped the shoreline, then receded again still in turmoil. When the wind finally quieted down, my folks took Taren and I over to his house to see if everyone was okay. The house was little more than shards of broken glass and broken boards. We searched, and scrambled to find his folks but there was no sign of either of them. Taren moved in with his grandparents after that and for the longest time "[t]here was an empty lot next door, with short cement steps leading up to nothing but air, and a For Sale sign swinging in the barren and sand swept yard" (White), but today, the new owners took the For Sale sign down; they are getting ready to build a new house on top of old memories.
Images used in this blog are either mine, or come from Morguefiles unless indicated otherwise.


  1. From the swing on the porch, to the portrait hanging in the southern plantation house, to watching movies in the basement, to a storm that took a house with it, this story is captivating. You don't expect it to end, but when it did, you knew it was exactly right. I'm left wondering what happened to Taren (Great name, too!) even though you wrote that he went to live with his grandmother (this is a good thing). You approached the whole mixing of the races thing with class and in such a way that I didn't mind, either, and am happy that they were happy. I found many lines to love throughout the piece, but this one sticks out the most: the Beach house that sat just a skip from the ocean’s edge.

    Thanks for linking up!

  2. SAM, Thank you for such detailed feedback, it is appreciated. I am glad to hear that it went smoothly with the mixing of races conversation. It took me some time to redo it comfortably and still have the elements of a beginning, middle, and end in tact. I rewrote it more times than I care to admit. Thank you again for your feedback.

  3. This line is just so beautifully perfect: Smooth, high cheekbones slid gracefully into full lips that needed no added colour. I love this whole write. Great prompt and you did a great job responding to it!

    1. Thank you Kelly, I appreciate your feedback, and I am glad you liked the prompt. :-)


I appreciate your comments, and constructive criticism is welcome!

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it's already there.”

- Richard Bach

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