Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All Our Sundays . . . A Prompt

As our September 10 read-around at Wellington Square approaches, I think of this prompt:  All our Sundays were mostly alike.  I liked it so much, I used it in my new memoir, Morning at Wellington Square, which is about my writing life. I  encourage you to try it as a prompt for our read-around.  This is a good life writing exercise. For more information about the read-around: http://www.susanweidener.com/p/circle-read-arounds.html

 
All our Sundays were mostly alike.  Dad and I walked to the Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion at Valley Forge Military Academy.  As we stepped inside the chapel, we saw a blue and red stained-glass window depicting George Washington.  He was on one knee, praying in the snow at Valley Forge. 
Since Dad was dean of the academy, we had our own pew in the back of the chapel. My prayer was that the cadets wouldn't notice me.  They marched in formation down the main aisle, stopped, waited for the command. “Be seated!”  Six hundred cadets sat in unison, heels clicking, sabers smacking against gray wool trousers. So many boys, all in rows in front of me!  I studied the back of heads, buzz cuts, profiles.  As they marched out at the end of the service , I felt their eyes glancing my way. I wanted to disappear under the wooden pew.  Even though Dad thought I was pretty, I knew better.  I favored big hats with brims that shielded my face so the cadets couldn’t get too close a look.   
When I went home, I dreamed of falling in love, but feared love would never come my way. My mother's lamb roast permeated the house, along with Maurice Chevalier singing, "I'm glad I'm not young anymore . . ." playing on the stereo.  It was true.  It wasn't easy being 16-years-old and filled with longing and a lack of self-confidence, wondering where it would all lead someday. 

As I sat in chapel Sunday after Sunday  with Washington praying above my head, I never would have imagined that one day I would meet a man, not a Valley Forge cadet, but a former West Pointer . . . just a short walk from that chapel . . .  or that he would forever change my life with the words, “I fell in love with you the moment I saw you.”
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