This Week’s Writing Prompt

Imagine the home you lived in as a child. If you had more than one residence as a child, pick one of the houses where you lived. You can close your eyes for this exercise if you’d like.

See yourself walking through the door you usually entered. Then make your way through the house to your bedroom. Look around the room slowly, seeing all the familiar things surrounding you. Notice your younger self in your bedroom.

  • What are you doing?
  • Who else is there with you?

Now, look outside your bedroom window.

  • What do you see?
  • What is the view from your bedroom window?
  • What does the scene include—people, plants, animals, buildings?
  • Describe in detail what you saw from your childhood bedroom window. Paint a vivid picture. Write in such a way that someone could mentally see that same view.

Post your responses in the comments sections below. All posts in response to our writing prompts in June will be entered into our drawing to win a free online coaching video—that’s a $20 value!  This is your last week to qualify for our June drawing. Go for it!

6 Comments

  • by
    Phyllis Sommerman
    Posted June 28, 2019 9:54 am 0Likes

    How did you know?? I am currently working on a chapter of my book introducing my readers to the house where I weathered the storms and joys of youth. Here is an excerpt.

    Our home on Elmwood Ave was known as ‘Club 103’ by our cousins and neighbors, except if cousin Richard answered the phone and then it was either ‘Joe’s Bar and Grill’ or ‘Mac’s Morgue – You Stab ‘em – We Slab ‘em’. Mom was ‘Mac’ to all the kids in the neighborhood and to our friends who frequented the house, very much like folks flocked to Grandma Smith’s house in days of old. Several nimble hops down the front steps, a walk past the Cullen’s house next door and across Mitchell Street would bring you to Belle Sherman School where I would be molded (disciplined and refined) and encouraged for seven years. This small town setting was our command post as kids, and we felt no need to roam. A tree-lined street of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood quality, Elmwood Avenue was peaceful, safe, and friendly to all. We moved there when I was five. …

    I feel like Mr. Rogers today. Let’s climb these stairs and take a walk around Club 103. Porches are the key to communications in a small town, and here it is – quite large, isn’t it? Underneath is a playhouse – damp, dirty, and fun. I’m not sure Mom had much ‘relaxing time’ to porch sit with her lady friends, but when she did, we would retreat to the back yard while she pulled herself together. We played in these ‘the woods’ between our house and the Jager’s house next door; just three or four trees, with enough branches for Mom’s bird feeders. Mom enjoyed the birds and used them to call us out of a lazy morning’s sleep on school days. ‘Hurry down those stairs, girls! There’s a tufted titmouse at the feeder’. It worked, and today we can all identify a tufted titmouse, any time of day. Mom got us off to school on a positive note. ‘No, you’re not sick. Get up and move around. You’ll feel fine!’ When a squirrel would come around to rob from the birds, she would call our dog. “Princess! Squirrel!” and hold the back door open. Princess would jump from a nap, engage, and charge!

    The ‘woods’ were one of our favorite places to play in, and up there on that hill (another hill that has shrunk since the ’50s), Daddy made us a tree house which we decided was a fort. From there we could see a distance. Forts are for surveillance activity. You can see it wasn’t far from the house, but very private and for girls and Princess only. Raspberry bushes used to grow in the garden here, but I didn’t like being sent to pick them. They’re too prickly! I pay good money for berries all picked. Maybe our neighbors didn’t have much money because sometimes Mom looked out back early morning and saw Bob Cullen picking some for his breakfast cereal. We ‘borrowed’, frequently, and when Bob and Ursula were not home, Tom would come over to borrow a cup of ice cream. Mom was glad she was home the day they came to ask her if cream of tartar and tartar sauce are the same thing, as they were baking and didn’t have any cream of tartar.

    Now come on inside. Just inside the front door here we have a foyer with a coat and game closet running along one wall. Besides lots of board games, we have extra chairs and at least one rickety card table; we can set up for a party at a moment’s notice. If we saw an unexpected guest coming up the front steps, we darted for the vacuum cleaner in that closet. By the time a visitor hit the porch, we had cleaned the house! Good enough, anyway.

    Poor Mr. Budd, the minister we loved for all of our childhood. We didn’t hear him on the porch one night. The invincible vacuum cleaner never had a chance. Just when Mom called ‘lights out,’ locked the front door, turned off the porch light and we started up the stairs, Mr. Budd reached out and rang the doorbell. Apologies, laughter, and cookies can recover almost any situation. And Mom always had plenty of cookies and laughter on hand. By the way, when you don’t have a chance to clean the house before visitors come in the front door, have a bundle of ‘get-well’ cards ready for display on the mantel. That way you can say you’ve been sick and didn’t feel well enough to clean.

    A right turn through this archway, love this wide oak trim, is our living room and our brown tweed couch. I got so sick of that couch, but Princess liked the way she had frayed the tweed for a comfy lay, so it stayed. This window, wide and low to the floor? It leads right out onto the front porch. It would have made a great escape route for a boyfriend late at night but I never had a boyfriend who was willing to stay that late. This other window gives a view of the neighbor’s maple tree roots; roots that line the narrow driveway our Mom so skillfully navigated for thirty some years. If we managed to pass our drivers test down on the flats of Ithaca, we still had to pass ‘the driveway test’. I turned 16 in January, so I learned in winter conditions. Backing across the street for a better ‘take-off’, and lining the car up with an eye on that garage up there, I would close my eyes for focus and gun it. If the snow and ice threatened to skid the car sideways, those roots of the neighbor’s tree on the right, or this cement retaining wall on the left held me on track. I remember the first time my cousins Dale and Howard sat in the back seat as Mom roared down the driveway. “Aunt Delores, you’re awful close on this side.” “Well, you ought to see this side!”

    Don’t you love this real fireplace with its wide oak mantle? Every Christmas we decorated it with greens from the trees out there. Maybe that’s why there are not many trees left. When it was really cold, Mom would build a blazing fire and then hang an old wool blanket across the archway to prevent all the heat from going upstairs, and we would sleep the cold night away here by the fireplace. That same fireplace was our source of entertainment one day. A bird made its way down the flue and frantically flew around in the house. We were pretty frantic as well; we couldn’t settle down enough to wrap it in a towel or anything, so Mom called the fire department. They rescued the bird, and then all the neighbors went back home, and she hired someone to put a screen over the top of the chimney. Any event like that kept the neighbors well-acquainted and up to date with everyone’s business. If the fire truck raced up Mitchell Street, we’d all meet up there. One time Stevie Black from across the street still had his fork in his hand when he arrived at the scene of the fire.

    In the back yard after a snowstorm we shoveled snow into ‘walls’ making a maze, then played duck, duck goose; reach the ‘end’ before getting tagged, and you win! Or we went out front and slid down the ‘big’ hill on our aluminum saucers, sailing out across the road into Stevie Black’s driveway. Someone was always assigned to tell us when no cars were coming down the road, but few cars did. On long summer evenings, after washing the dishes, we played ‘kick the can’ until dark when we couldn’t see well enough to ‘hide’ or ‘find’.

    • by
      Patricia
      Posted July 12, 2019 3:42 pm 0Likes

      Phyllis, your childhood home sounds idyllic and beautiful. I enjoyed reading the many details you wove in throughout the story, and your writer’s voice is entertaining and authentic. Well done! Thank you for sharing with us.

  • by
    Marian Caraway Gardner
    Posted June 29, 2019 7:51 am 0Likes

    My “room with a view” becomes very clear when I close my eyes. If home is where the heart is then I had one home but lived in thirteen different houses by the time I left at eighteen. I didn’t actually leave “home” but went to live with my sister and her kids the year her husband served in Vietnam. When I close my eyes my heart is full of family memories but rarely of the many houses.

    I was born on a farm in Hernando Florida but when the hogs died my father did not have money to start over. We moved closer to his family in Plant City when I was two. My father was one of ten kids and I was his fifth out of seven. I remember family fish fry’s and Easter egg hunts. I remember an Aunt giving me a perm every year just before school pictures were taken and I have pictures to prove my very straight hair could be curly. She would not allow me in her living room and I thought it was because she didn’t like me. My understanding of her reasons changed as I got older.

    Another Aunt had only one grown son who was in the military and she would have most of us for a week or two every summer in groups of two or three. She would “pair” us up with our closest cousin. One summer my aunt was in the tub and called me to check something on her back – a tick – the first one I ever had to remove. Aunt Bessie was large enough to fill the tub but I loved her best.

    We moved to Gainesville when I was twelve because my father found work. We came up the week before to clean the house we were to rent. Late the following Saturday we arrived at Uncle Elmo’s place with our old pickup truck loaded. When we woke up we learned the house had burned down during the night. Fortunately Uncle Earl owned a place in Waldo where we lived for about six months.

    Our houses changed a lot but the one thing that never changed was family, church and schools. Even when we moved to Gainesville, the Pastor of our new church was the brother of our church in Plant City. For the schools, I was in one school first thru seventh grade; eighth grade in Waldo and the last four at Gainesville High School.

    I recently read the book, When We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. The novel was inspired by a true story of the kidnapping of children by the director of a Memphis based adoption organization. Georgia Tann, the director, thought she could provide a better future for these poor kids in large families and she favored blonds. Had we lived closer to the Mississippi River, I could have been one of those kids. That would have been a tragedy for me. Family, Church and Education are the things we should focus on – not the house.

    • by
      Patricia
      Posted July 12, 2019 3:34 pm 0Likes

      Hi, Marian. Thanks for sharing your memories of growing up and about your family.You are so right about family being what fills our hearts, not merely the places we’ve been.

  • by
    Janet Evans
    Posted June 29, 2019 9:38 am 0Likes

    My childhood home was situated at the edge of the city and the beginning of a rural area….away from the busy streets and traffic lights. It was built by my Dad and Grandfather.. In looking back it was a very nice home for its day, small, bungalow style with two bedrooms and one bath. The year was 1945 and the big war was ending. Times had been very difficult but the promise of better times was evident. It was situated near the corner with an empty lot between that and Nye Ave… the Main Street. The Catholic school which my brother and I attended for eight years, was on the other side of Nye Ave. The school was on the second floor above Sacred Heart Catholic Church,

    My friends, of course, all attended that school and were close neighbors, many of them living in the City portion of the area. The home was well built and very upscale as I look back., probably less than 1,000 square feet. Most of our family and friends lived in older homes and/or apartments. As I entered the Kitchen from the side door stepping up one step, all was bright, new and modern. All the rooms were small and the third bedroom for my brother was on the second floor and part of the unfinished attic. The entry to the basement was straight ahead when entering from the side entry. It unfinished but in time became the laundry room and Dads workshop, as well as, a room for play. One year our Christmas tree was down there…Why I am not sure.

    The living room was small, but ample and housed the first TV on the block. The two bedrooms with a small bathroom between were in the hall right off the living room.
    We had a large tub but no shower which was normal for that time period. My bedroom window faced South and there was a fairly large fenced in backyard with a beautiful lawn. The garage was attached to the house but the entry was outside the small one stall garage. Yes, we were also one of the few in the family to own a car.

    As I looked out my bedroom window I saw the next street where many new houses were being built. My brother and I loved to roam in these new builds after dinner. We walked over planks to enter and were fascinated with the structures being assembled. All the neighborhood kids spent our evenings roaming on the premises.

    It was a simple time, and the future seemed bright and promising. A great time to grow up, safe and care free. I realize now how fortunate I was to grow up in that era.

    Janet Evans

    • by
      Patricia
      Posted July 12, 2019 3:28 pm 0Likes

      Janet, thanks for sharing about your childhood home. Excellent job recalling various details about the house and the area you lived in. What city and state were you in? How old were you during this time? The time period you described is foreign to our younger generations: the first on the block to own a television, one of a few in the family to own a car, and living through wartime. Well done capturing some of those details.

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