Memoir excerpts


For a middle-aged, Midwestern school teacher, my life hasn’t been too cursedly interesting nor has it been soul crushingly difficult, but despite my cat-footed landing of late, I don’t think I could give it away on Craig’s List.

I wouldn’t want to in any case, and I am surprised by this because there have been numerous moments when my fairy godmother could have offered me nearly any other life, and I’d have leapt.

I’ve resisted the urge to tell my story for the past year or more because I wasn’t convinced it was mine to tell. I was a supporting actress. The best friend friend, size 12 and quick with a witty quip not the willowy romantic heroine. And I didn’t really think that the story was all that compelling or extraordinary.

What widow doesn’t fancy herself as an author and dream of righting the unthinkable with words?

But I have never believed that if I tell the tale often enough I will be okay with the outcome. A metaphorical wallowing is still wallowing, and it’s still pointless.

Finally, I was just worried, afraid maybe, that I couldn’t. Tell the story. Big and gutsy and ugly and sad and amazingly and, in a perverse way, a blessing. The disguised kind that my yoga instructor is always reminding us to be on the lookout for and be grateful when we recognize them.

I am not a flamboyant personality. Gray really is my favorite color. And if “gutsy” is code for “tactless” then run me up a flagpole, but I suspect that this isn’t so.

I am determined past the point of being branded a mule, and I am as reliable as the changing of the seasons.

At my core however I am Ella, sitting in the cinders of the kitchen flue and dreaming of far away places and people who live only inside my own imagination.

Until a little over a year ago, any dreams I dared to commit to the world came at a huge expense to me personally. Silver spoons were as unknown as glass slippers until the day I married a man who looked me straight in the eye hours after we exchanged vows next to a raging river surrounded by mountains and family and friends and said,

“You can be anything you want to be.”

This is my story.