In 2005, I took my one and only ‘writing’ class. I was nearing 50 at the time and had been sternly coaxed to look at all of the dreams I’d had way back when I was a teenager. It was near the time of my 30th high school reunion and I had reconnected with my first love. He and I chatted through email and he asked me.. “what did you ever do about your writing?”
I had done the thing that many people do about the dreams we have in youth. I let that dream get set aside by other important things like a husband and diapers, and strollers and late night walks with a colicky baby. It wasn’t long before that dream gathered layers and layers of dust. When Mark asked me about my writing.. it was as if he’d drawn in a big breath and blew off all of that dust. Let me tell you, dust flew everywhere! It even crept into my musty brain and got me thinking about a new horizon. It seems this horizon had a laptop perched proudly upon a desk. Not so oddly though, I had to run to the local department store for some necessary item. And as I left the store.. right there in the entryway I noticed a bulletin board. I’m sure it had hung there for years. The amount of pin holes in the cork were a dead giveaway. But there it was front and center. An ad, an announcement, a bulletin. “Advanced Writer’s Workshop” I was intrigued and read on. Its being held at the local college two evenings a week. For information, contact.. Professor Joe Wilkins, Director of Creative Writing at Waldorf College. It was very bad of me, but I took the poster. I sent him an email when I got home.
I had absolutely no writing experience other than years of journaling and grocery lists. But I had this dream that Mark had unearthed. My arms were stretched out wide-reaching for that dream as I clicked off a few words in an email. The Professor’s response came quickly along with an assignment due even before the class started. I grabbed a pencil and a few sheets of notebook paper. I sat down at my dining room table and looked at the assignment. Using your creative skills, write a paper answering the question, Why do you write?
This is what I wrote…
Tupperware Really Locks It In
It was 7:00 p.m. and the darkness was beginning to fall. Coffee could be heard percolating as the smell drifted in from the kitchen.. I was in the livingroom perched front row center on a folding chair as the Tupperware Lady was assembling her case of wares. Ah, the anticipation as the doorbell rang. They piled in the front door all at the same time. It was the neighbor ladies now free of their squabbling children all of whom were my friends. These women I had seen every day in mismatched shorts and tank tops smeared with the days’ lunch of Spaghetti O’s and PB&J, now appeared in skirts, make-up and jewelery. A rare opportunity to be women rather than mothers. And in the midst of it all, there I was my six-year-old self, invisible to the audience assembling in the livingroom. An evening of fellowship and lighthearted conversation was about to begin.
The Tupperware lady, her given name, was putting the last-minute touches on her well formatted presentation of colorful bowls, gadgets and of course the product catalogs and order forms. Then through the chatter of excited women, she slowly turned and smiled. Her plaid pleated skirt gave a little swish and she began.
She explained the myriad of possible uses for each container. One for salad, one for crackers, and one for deviled eggs. She had one that could be used as a first aid kit or a tackle box, very versatile indeed! But what caught my attention, was the cautious and detailed explanation she gave about each and every lid. It wasn’t the atrocious array of colors available, avocado, gold and orange – it was her fingers. Long and perfectly manicured, I’m sure a job requirement. Those fingers ‘walked’ around the edges of each bowl, sealing it. She demonstrated the security of the seal by pouring a cup of flour into a bowl, then walking around the edges of the lid to seal it, and finally submerging it into a tub of water. And in her self-assured manner, she reopened the container of flour – and of course, as planned, it was completely dry. That’s when she exclaimed “Tupperware really locks it in.” And she was right. Those containers keep everything as fresh as the day you put it in the container.
There were questions from the neighbor ladies about the Tupperware lifetime replacement guarantee. Just in case of those containers or lids would become worn out or damaged. The women didn’t however admit that items were most likely lost by their children who would use the strainer in the sandbox or a lid for a frisbee!
The presentation is now complete and the consideration and dessert begin. As each guest scans her catalog, the invisible girl passes out decadent chocolate cake from a recipe that had been discussed for weeks. However, unlike the neighbor ladies, she has already determined which containers she will need.
For inside my soul is a kitchen cupboard. And as you open the doors of the cupboard, you can see all of the neatly displayed Tupperware containers, just like in the order catalogs. The cupboard of my soul is a colorful array of lovely containers in avocado, gold and orange. All neatly organized. Only you won’t find crackers or deviled eggs stored inside of them. Rather, inside each container is every thought and emotion I have ever had. Safely and securely stored until that invisible six-year-old girl, sitting on a folding chair front and center, opens the lid and allows air to mix with those thoughts and emotions and they become words on paper making her real.
When Prof Wilkins returned my paper, it was filled with underlines and stars and slashes.. and this note…
Little did I know that when Mark blew away the dust.. or when Prof Wilkins accepted me into that advanced writer’s workshop.. or when Scott lovingly pushed me on the 4th of July to go and write.. that I’d be here today.. with Jane and all of you.. accepting an award for my writing.
This is what achieving a dream feels like.
Thank you Jane at http://janeannethorne.wordpress.com for the “One Lovely Blog Award” I am honored to accept it.