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Peter and I walked through the front door of our apartment and set my suitcases down in the bedroom.
“You should have seen how we crammed seventy-three choir singers' suitcases into the storage under the double decker bus.” I rushed to tell my husband all my trip details. I didn’t want him to speak the thoughts I saw on his face. If I kept talking he would never say …

He was a few inches taller than I and had to lean down to me when we kissed. His eyes were a deep, dark brown, his hair, thick, black and curly. Thick muscles defined every curve of his body. His shirts always looked too tight, stretched over his powerful, broad shoulders. He was the second-string center on our high school football team.

Sometimes when we were winning by …

I got stuck in a camisole in a JCPenney’s dressing room once. My boyfriend was waiting in the store while I tried on the beautiful cotton garment. A size small. Like most women who think they can fit into a piece of clothing that’s too little for them, I removed the top from the hanger and lived in the moment. But living in the moment, especially when denial is mixed …

Millisecond Moment, Infinite Wisdom


I was thirteen years old and had all of the concerns of a teen: clothes, makeup, friends and future husbands.

When I looked at him, I saw only his eyes. Azure and piercing. Oh, and, his hair. He had sunny blond hair that made him look much younger than his fourteen years.

His name was Billy and …

For a while – several days – I thought I’d lost my wedding ring. I eventually found it, but while I was ringless, I discussed the situation with a friend. She was dismayed, at first by the possibility that I’d lost my ring, and then by my lack of concern.

“It’s your wedding ring,” she said, as if maybe I’d missed the most significant detail of my own story.Read more »

Fifteen years ago I stood in the preschool room with one hand on a squirming toddler and one on the sink alternating hurls with diapers. After three days of this my boss sent me home and I called my mom.

"Are you sick?"
"Yes."
"Do you have Giardia?"

Why Giardia? I …

It is the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. We are moving from California to Iowa so my mom can go to school. It is our last weeks in California. We are making the rounds. Saying good bye.

One night I find myself at a public pool with my mom’s friend Cathy. We are standing, staring up at the high dive. …

They gave me morphine to cut the pain...it didn't. They gave me ambien to help me sleep...I couldn't. Going on Day Three and hearing another nurse say, after examining me, "You're still not dilated" was getting old. I was delirious and exhausted. Finally, my doula turned to me and said, "Did you ever have cryosurgery?" Why yes. Yes, I had. Over 20 years ago, when I was 23. They froze …

Our little flat was in the dip between Nob and Russian Hills just above Chinatown. It was a five-minute walk from my home away from home, City Lights Bookstore and a twelve-minute cable car ride away from work at Macys. Of course such a cosmopolitan address with such delightful urban amenities would be costly. My old friend and soon to be roommate Ron and I were ready to bite the …

A girl is always supposed to be “Daddy’s Little Girl”. Right? But what if Daddy goes to jail for hurting your mom? My life changed when I heard a scream and saw police lights outside my bedroom window.
The good part, nobody knows. The bad part, I do. The really bad part, it doesn’t go away. One night can change a lifetime. Heck yeah! I should know. And what …

Dear girls playing in the Carmel surf, April, 2007,

You are extraordinarily beautiful. I noticed that right away. That’s why I took your picture.

But I was sad the day I watched you playing. I kept losing track of your beauty. My heart was aching and so I worried about yours. I thought this: the odds are against you. By the time you’re my age, statistically speaking, one …

Muggy summer night, Chicago, 1968, my cousin Al and I went to someone’s apartment to score some grass or speed, I’m not sure which, but since I was with Al, it was probably speed. Anyway, on the way there I find out that Ginnie Gilbert was gonna be there, that she had been crashing there for a while.
This was surprising and impressive to me because I hadn’t seen …

When I was in 7th grade, my dad had a seizure at work and it was later found that he had a brain tumor that needed to be removed. The moment I saw my dad in the ICU with a shaved head and in a hospital gown I realized that my parents were people who would not live forever. They were just regular, mortal people, and it was terrifying.

My boyfriend and I climbed into his car on a cold January morning in 1977. I scooched over to the middle of the front seat. He turned the key. I leaned forward to put my purse down. There was a whooshing sound as I was thrown back into the seat. I thought I was being electrocuted.

I saw Gordy go out the window and I tried to follow. …

I wake up to do the sound of the alarm on my cell phone
I don't want to get up when I know what lies ahead
My stomach churns as I do my hair and makeup
I try to keep to my makeup light but my handshakes and I put on more than needed
As I dress I feel like I will vomit
Can't wait to get outside and light …

So my dear Mom, fresh back from a road trip with her BFF (she's feeling that good these days - modern ALZ medicine has its virtues) is telling me about all the friends she was able to see at the holiday trailer. One of them, Jane*, a woman about her age, is apparently having some memory issues herself.

Not able to remember that she, too, was feeling pretty anxious …

Three days past my due date, our mothers and their nervous energy overcrowding our 1200 square foot condo, tons of labor-inducing wives’ tales tried and failed, we placed a desperate call to our midwife. “I’m on-call tomorrow, stop by and we’ll see what we can do.”

Next morning, we journeyed optimistically to the hospital, eager to meet our first child. I’d been 2 cm dilated since week 32, …

I was at School. It was a Chemistry class. Somebody had rung the school and said would I go home. So I went. When I got there, my Dad was sitting very still. Something had happened, maybe the doctor was there, I can't remember but the decision was to take him to hospital, so I got in my Dad's car with my Mum. I think he was in the car …

Dear John,
I was upset, at first, when you decided to end things. You were ahead of me that day, because you knew it was probably the best decision... not just for me or you, but for both of us. I know now though, that it was, indeed, the right decision. I definitely wouldn't change what happened between us. It's not the best feeling in the world to be left …

Depression ruled my life. Almost every event triggered me wanting to just die. One Saturday night, I made a friend very angry and he said that I ruined everything and I will never be forgiven.

That week I sat down and wrote two lists. One hundred reasons to commit suicide, and 100 reasons not too. I got farther in my list with not to commit suicide then I …
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The Moment Book

Moments from the SMITH Community

Tomorrowland "Daisy, F3," my son Archer says as we pull into our parking spot. Disneyland’s about to open and we've arrived, just the two of us, our last hoorah before school starts. *** The alarm goes off and I pull the pillow tightly over my head. My husband, Hal, offers to wake the kids so I roll over, fall back asleep until Archer's voice wakes me, this time for good. "Hi, Mommy. It's …
Line Break
With Both Hands Whenever I think of my mother, my mind flips to this story. Not to the whole story, but right to the middle of it, the worst moments of it. For me, that's where the story always starts. My mother was beating the hell out of me. The first few blows seemed to come from every direction as I grabbed my nightgown and pulled it over my head, not …
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Reasons to be Thankful By Robert Israel They scraped me off the street, my bicycle in a heap nearby, and ever so gingerly placed me on the gurney. A crowd of curious onlookers watched intently, thankful they were not being loaded onto the ambulance. The nurses at the hospital were calming as nurses are wont to be, and administered an intravenous tube of morphine, and soon everything around me became fuzzy and numb, and the …
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Read More Community Moments →
 
SMITH Magazine

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