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When I was 5, my parents sat me and my older brother down and told us that mom was pregnant. We were going to have another little brother or sister. We were really excited and started helping them decorate the nursery and helped my mom non-stop around the house to make it easier on her.
She went into labour one day when I was home from school. I had to call my dad at work to tell him and got to be the big helper with everything.
That day, my life changed drastically.
My mom suffered from severe Post Partum Depression. There were some days when she didn't even get out of bed. I became the new mommy for the baby. I fed him …

“Choose color!” the reception shouts, and I walk quickly to the wall of nail polish bottles behind her head. There must be dozens here, frosted or shellac-bright, in shades from white through pinks and reds to browns and black. I grab a bottle of pinkish natural color and follow the manicurist to her station.

This is my first time in the nail salon, and though I’m turning sixty, it will be my first manicure. I chose this salon out of more than a dozen like it near my home, all in little strip malls, all run by Vietnamese immigrants.

The shop is busy on this rainy Saturday afternoon, and the workers chatter loudly to each other in a foreign language. …

Instead of having my five year old class for the week at work I was transfered to the 4 year olds. Let me tell you its a hell. Who knew that one year can make a difference in a child. But one child has caught my coscience. His name is Sean. Now Sean has ADHD and barely registers anything in his mind when someone tells him something. Sean's mom apparently has a rewstraing order on him. There fore he lives with his aunt, who apparently to all co-workers is a moron. Sean's aunt was well informed that Sean doesn't listen or behave. She reportidly told us to threaten Sean with Hasham (jewish god) saying that he won't give Sean play dough. She also told …

Bowls littered the kitchen table in varying degrees of fullness. Some had nothing but dough left over by the careful scraping of spoons, others were overflowing, a thin layer of saran wrap protecting the rich triple-chocolate cookie dough. My hands glistened with super-refined baking sugar as I rolled small balls of dough between my fingertips, plopping them down on crinkling wax paper on the cookie sheets in perfect spheres.

My grandmother sat across from me, her eyes squinting at the dough in her fingers as her hands trembled slightly, poking the dough around in the bowl of sugar, “Sweetie,” she says, “Did you hear about that terrible thing that happened at that church in Seattle?”

I smiled over at her, raising my eyebrows …

I’ve been told, by a very reliable source, that when my husband came to bed on Monday night and started to undress, I woke up (or not) and informed him, “You don’t need postage for that.”

My excessively brilliant husband took this in, then replied, “Thank you,” upon which I said, “You’re welcome,” and promptly fell back asleep, while he valiantly stifled his laughter.

I began having nocturnal conversations when my sister and I shared a room as kids. She would come back late from a party with her high school friends, we’d have a brief exchange about who was at the party and what happened, and in the morning I’d have no recollection of our little chat.

I know these conversations …

Today I received some disturbing news. It came in an ominous white envelope from my doctor's office. The dreaded envelope contained results of recent testing I had done, including blood work, a chest X-ray, a CAT scan, an ultrasound and a venous doppler. First, let me assure you that I am ok, and not in any real danger of falling over dead any time soon. They discovered though, that I have COPD, and an arteriosclerotic aorta. So I guess the good news is that I can be treated for both conditions, and I will get serious about regular exercise and a healthier diet. Alright...don't give me that look...I promise to get on it, asap!
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Really disturbing to me was to see in print that …

My Parkinson’s Experience – December, 2009

If you know a Parkinson’s patient, have you ever wondered what it is like to live in a Parkinson’s brain? What are the sensations, emotional feelings, and physical expressions of the disease?

Well, it’s a little like being on the subway in Washington DC. If you have ever ridden that subway, sometimes the train cars are above ground in the open air sailing along the rails as usual, heading to the next destination station. Hopefully the train is on time! The stations come at regular intervals, discharging and picking up passengers. But there is a part of the subway which reverts to it's namesake – it goes underground into a …

CHILDHOOD VIGNETTES

Part Two—High School /War Years (Updated 6/21/10)


It was a typical Sunday afternoon on December 7, 1941. My friends and I had just exited the theatre after viewing a movie (the name of which escapes me.) We hurried out into the glare of sunlight, our little bodies shocked out of our reverie, as we encountered a chill wind, our breath's trailing in the air as we spoke.

With the sophisticated air of new high school freshmen… and now teenagers… we complained about the rowdiness of the young boys watching the latest chapter of FLASH GORDON (a popular serial in the late 30's & 40's,) and his impossible space escapades. What a silly premise...as if there would ever …

By Lynne Weinberger

I never knew the gentle 70’s singing duo, Seals and Crofts, were bikers. Or Texans. But they had to be -- their song Summer Breeze perfectly captured the sweetly-scented, heavy honeysuckle aura I enjoyed this morning as I rode down some quiet North Texas country roads.

Those of us who wore out their vinyl of the same name in 1972 still remember the lyrics and the slow, soothing melody:
”Summer breeze, makes me feel fine,
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind…”

I couldn’t help but play it over and over in my head. My friend had invited me to go on a morning ride to nowhere in particular, a meandering …

It was about a week since I had flown back to school after going home for my first time as a college student for Thanksgiving. And about a week left until I could go back home again for Winter Break, which I most certainly was looking forward to. Not only would it be nice to take a break from all of the schoolwork and nearing-end-of-semester-craziness, but I really needed the use of my cell phone. I had accidentally left my cell phone charger at home in Michigan, but considering it was such a short time until I was going home again, I decided to just wait and not have my parents ship it out to Boston. So, in an effort to save my cell phone …

Some weeks ago, a Monday night transpired as most Monday nights for my family and me; a late dinner for my husband, myself and our youngest daughter. Just the three of us and, once again, the absence of our twenty year old twin daughters was palpable. After a few evening chores we settled down to a little television and by 10 both my husband and daughter had retired for the evening as the cat slept soundly in his basket.

I sat alone in my den, thinking how quiet this all too big house sounded sometimes, and how much I missed my twins; gone for days at a time for their respective college internships. I felt slightly comforted by silently reiterating to myself that …

I’ve been questioning what defines me: mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, Christian, American. One would never know for sure by looking at me, right? But when you look at me today, you know that something is not right. At first glance, in that moment, I am defined, not as a mother of two beautiful daughters adopted from China, or as a wife of twenty years, or a daughter, a sister, a friend. I have Parkinson’s disease, and that is what defines me first. It was never easy getting beyond that first impression. I’m not bothered as much anymore by stares or sympathetic looks. In fact I am often moved by the kind gestures of strangers.

I was shopping recently at …

I jump from interest to interest quickly. This morning I was drawing comics. An hour later I was working on a movie I'm making with my cousins. Then I was hunting ghosts in my friend's basement. Now I'm thinking more about photography. I should be walking my dog but I'd rather be on my bike. Too bad the gear shift is broken. Maybe i'll be a mechanic tomorrow and figure out to fix it... not likely =].

Bagheera choked the other day and now I’m paranoid whenever she chews on sticks. She’s a goat: devouring anything that can or can not fit into her mouth. She started foaming at the mouth and then coughing before we even thought that maybe she was choking. Dad rushed over and began pounding her with an open fist on the back of her neck, but nothing would emerge. So he shoved his hand down her throat - no hesitation, no fear - and began searching for the lodged stick.

And all I could do was stare helplessly and cover my mouth and listen to my pulse rapidly approach heart attack-level. Dad succeeded in saving her life, but even as she ran over to her water …

To sum up my family situation in one word- chaotic. And most would think that with each new day would come at least a tad bit of healing...not so much. It's quite difficult to find a purpose to live when the people who brought me into this would find any small thing they can to degrade my existence. But more than that, it's hard to follow the will on my God. He whispers truth to my heart while the world screams lies to my mind. I have faced my trials and pains, love and loss, hate and rejection, fear and despair. And I'm not finished yet. I wish deeply that following Jesus was easy, that I didn't have to deal with so much hurt. But …

To be one of six (the fifth, no less) is one thing. To be one of six of us (the fifth, no less), is a completely different thing. My mother had five brothers and sisters. My father had the same. Somehow, they ended up with six kids – all healthy, all beautiful, all famous.
Number One worked the hardest. She never had a lazy complex. She looked like our mother – long dark hair, big green eyes, classic semi-amused smile. She acted like our father – organized, driven, hard-working, desperate to succeed. She was the only short one in the family. Short and curvy, while the rest of us were tall and thin. The problem with following after One is that she’s perfect, at first …

It was raining, so I didn’t get to go outside and play with my kickball. Instead, I’d been on my fold-out loveseat/bed reading Gone with the Wind. I’d never seen the movie, but for my History class, we were to read a novel, historical fiction or non-fiction, and then write a paper on it. Being the over-achieving student that I was – along with being an avid reader – I’d opted for this massive tome. Well, to my delight, the story was far racier than I’d imagined, and I could get away with reading it because it was for school. I’d been reading about Rhett and the “muscles of his big body,” so my 12-year-old mind was in a bit of daze as I wandered …

Everyone remembers who they were.

They take a piece of you no one will ever really know, a part of you that you didn't know existed until it's gone. They make you feel the world stop spinning with the touch of a hand. Without saying a word, breathing suddenly becomes a conscious effort. You feel your heart speed up as the world slows down and only quick shallow breaths is all your lungs can bare. It's the best and worst feeling that can completely possess a person. And even when things change, life happens and you move on, there's always a fire still burning deep inside of you, fueled by those feelings that have buried themselves deep within …

When our sweet, embraceable son, Theo, was born last fall, my wife and I received many practical presents. But it was the gag gift – a vintage 45 single of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” – that truly symbolized my long, eventful passage from a tumultuous adolescence to fatherhood at the age of 52.

I first saw Bruce on a summer’s night at Madison Square Garden in 1973. I was an overly sensitive 16-year-old with thick Coke-bottle glasses and a Buddha belly, desperate to crawl out of my own skin. Bruce let me become a character in one of his songs then: someone charming, like Chaplin’s tramp; street smart, like De Niro’s taxi driver; even a lover, like Valentino’s Romeo. Bruce’s searing soliloquies …

How I Saw A U.F.O.—Part II

One evening after work, I asked the German girl to come sit with me by the lake. I wasn’t particularly attracted to her, but she was friendly, and a conversation with a young woman, even one who is far from beautiful, is not a pleasure to be overlooked or to be taken lightly.
I was curious about what this blue-eyed girl wish short blonde hair thought about working in a pleasure camp for Jewish children and teenagers, but the conversation never went in that direction. We compared notes on the life in Europe and life in America as I understood it.
The night was cool enough to justify wearing sweatshirts, and the windless sky was clear. …
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