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Scrap and Salvage by
50
(98 Stories)

Prompted By Going to Work

/ Stories

Early one morning during Christmas vacation, my dad decided to take me to work with him. I would have preferred to stay at home playing jacks and solitaire — my brother had just taught me how to play Clock — but he’d made up his mind and that was that.

It was cold in the rusty red pickup truck and I was shivering, exaggerating to make the point. Dad put the key in the ignition and turned it; a bullet-shaped magnet to tell what’s ferrous and what’s not dangled from the ring. The engine coughed, then turned over on the second try. I sat small on the wide bench seat, bouncing and sliding as we bumped over a few side streets, then jumped onto the freeway and headed downtown.

Dad had fine light brown hair and deep-set hazel eyes, and I watched his profile as he drove, his prominent nose and high forehead backlit by the morning sun. He held a cigarette in one hand, his elbow resting on the open window ledge, right hand draped heavily at eleven o’clock on the steering wheel.

We pulled into a driveway and parked in a huge scrapyard.

“Sit tight, I’ll be back in a sec,” he told me, and I watched him walk into the shadows of a cavernous building, his loose-limbed loping gait at once awkward and graceful. In a few minutes he returned, opened the door for me, took my hand as I jumped down onto the ground, and we walked into the building.

It was a warehouse heaped with an assortment of metal objects from huge to small, mostly things that had been thrown away or taken to the curb…radiators, machine parts, filing cabinets, beer and soda cans, appliances, even sculptures, pewter trays and candelabras, and antiques that would be taken home or sold as-is. Men in heavy shoes strode back and forth, some were sorting, others had torches, and there were forklifts and conveyor belts and other contraptions I couldn’t begin to figure out.

Over the din my dad was explaining things to me, who does what and what does what and all that, but I wasn’t really interested. And that noise — I wasn’t even sure where the sound was coming from, but it was all around — the screech and moan of crushing metal. I put my hands over my ears but it didn’t help at all.

I didn’t like it there, it was scary, and it wasn’t long before I tried pulling Dad towards the door. Instead of leaving, he led me up a short flight of stairs and into an office where he introduced me to a couple of men wearing white shirts. I hung back behind my dad’s leg and offered shy smiles, head tilted down, eyes up. Then they had a conversation while I kept tugging on my dad’s pant leg. Finally, we left.

That was the first and last time my dad took me to work. I didn’t ever want to go back there, and I didn’t understand why he didn’t just get a normal job, like in an office or a store or something, like everyone else’s dad.

Two Simple Remedies by
50
(98 Stories)

Prompted By Senior Moments

/ Stories

Remedy #1

This is what happens now: I’m doing one thing — say, making the bed — and I think of another — say, needing to change the Brita filter — but by the time I’ve finished Thing 1, I’ve forgotten all about Thing 2.

Well, I’ve come up with a remedy. As soon as I think of Thing 2 while in the midst of Thing 1, I begin counting out loud. By the time I’ve finished Thing 1, I’m still counting and that reminds me to do Thing 2. Of course if I’m brushing my teeth when I think of something I need to add to the grocery list, I can’t count out loud, but I can count to myself until I’ve finished rinsing and it still works.

This is something new, and so far it’s worked every time. I think I’ve actually conquered this annoying problem…as long as I can remember why I’m counting. I even tried it out with a Thing 3 — “one, one, two, two, three, three, four, four,” etc. Beyond that, all bets are off…I’m not that wacky!

I haven’t, by the way, figured out how to apply this remedy to reheating my coffee in the microwave. I put it in there for one minute, and you’d think with the microwave doing the counting, I can just wander off and tend to something else…because I can’t just stand in one spot for 60 seconds now, can I? Yet pretty much every single time, hours later, there I find it, sitting cold and dead in the microwave. What the…?

Remedy #2

This next remedy has nothing to do with senior moments…it’s about getting rid of hiccups. But since I shared one remedy, I thought I’d share another. This one, too, is incredibly simple and pretty much foolproof. I can’t remember where or when or how I came up with it…have searched for it on the Internet and can’t find any mention of it, but believe me, it works:

If someone has the hiccups, without explaining what you’re doing, ask them what they had for dinner last night. While they’re thinking and reciting, they’re likely to have already stopped hiccuping. If not, ask for more details…what did they have to drink, what about dessert, etc. And if they still have the hiccups, just move on to another meal. I would say 9 times out of 10 it works…somehow it breaks the hiccup cycle.

I actually performed this magic trick on a stranger several years ago (March 26, 1994) at a UB-40 concert. The young woman sitting next to me couldn’t stop hiccuping so, over the strains of, I don’t know, maybe “Red Red Wine,” I boldly asked her what she’d had for dinner last night and, though she undoubtedly thought I was a little odd, as she started telling me, she suddenly realized her hiccups were gone, and why, and then excitedly told everyone she was with that I’d cured her.

And guess what? You can perform the same magic on yourself! And you don’t even have to do it out loud…just think about what you had to eat, adding as many details or meals as necessary until you’ve stopped hiccuping.

Now you just have to remember to do it!

 

Riptide by
50
(98 Stories)

Prompted By Dating

/ Stories

My most memorable date was my first date with Garth (see Found), but my second most memorable date was my very first date ever. It was the first time I was allowed to go out with a boy, in a car, at night. His name was Rusty, and yes, he had red hair. He picked me up in his parents’ car, a long, yellow convertible, and of course he opened and closed the car door for me. As he pulled slowly away from the curb in front of the pink house I grew up in, it hit me…a wave of freedom. 

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RetroFlash – 100 Words

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Here’s my actual diary entry:

Dear Diary, recently I have started dating, and it’s just wonderful, even better than I thought it would be. Even going out with a male friend is fun. I know that I will have many more dates, because there are so many more boys and so many more days, and things don’t all of a sudden just stop. 

New Rule: You can add as many words as you want to a RetroFlash as an addendum. Just kidding…I made that up. But I couldn’t resist when I found that diary entry. Deep thoughts, right? Little did I know I would continue to date off and on up into my sixties…so many boys, and so many days indeed!

That Sunday That Summer by
50
(98 Stories)

Prompted By That Summer

/ Stories

I met my second husband, Ken, in the summer of ’92. Shortly after we met, we went to a wedding where I remember dancing to this song, ubiquitous at the time. As soon as I saw the prompt, I thought of it…it reminds me of him in the very nicest way. There was a full moon, and he was a good man.

 

“…If I had to choose one moment
To live within my heart
It would be that tender moment
Recalling how we started
Darling, it would be when you smiled at me
That way, that Sunday, that summer.”

 

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RetroFlash – 100 Words

Forever Fair by
50
(98 Stories)

/ Stories

Believe it or not, I have never been to a county fair. So I don’t have a story — I don’t think I even have 100 words — but I just had to post this wonderful image on the heels of Mr. Ed’s recent story on Hobbies, one of his being philately. (As in “Frankly, Natalie, I dig philately”).

Note the perforations…four different Forever first class stamps. So cool. Makes me want to write some letters so I can send them via snail mail.

(Did you know you can order stamps from the USPS online? It’s like an eye candy store!) 

Oh…100 words!

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RetroFlash – 100 words

Everyone’s Gone to the Movies* by
50
(98 Stories)

Prompted By Hobbies

/ Stories

As a dreamy pre-teen, not exactly a collage artist, I’d pore through McCall’s, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen Magazine cutting and pasting fashionable images of hairstyles and clothing into my scrapbook using scissors and LePage’s glue. Little did I know I was learning skills that would last a lifetime, even morphing into the digital age. Now I cut and paste pretty much every day of my life…be it in an email to a friend, a story for Retrospect, or an image for one of our prompts.

Here’s the “before” of our featured image. Notice any difference?

Goodbye and good riddance, crusty rubber-tipped glue bottle!

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100 words/RetroFlash

*Re my title, any guesses?

Saving the Best for Last by
50
(98 Stories)

Prompted By Anniversaries

/ Stories

May 1st was Garth’s and my 10-year anniversary. It’s a milestone for any couple, but for me, it was extra special. It marked the very first time I’d been with a partner for ten years (and counting).

We’ve always gone somewhere special on our anniversary, sometimes overseas, but this year…well, Covid. Instead, we enjoyed a quiet dinner at our favorite local restaurant…best martinis around.

We exchanged gifts. For him, I’d commissioned watercolor portraits of our newest addition, Teddy, and dear sweet Charlie. Garth, well, he gave me a little bling. 

I definitely saved the best for last.

 

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100 Words / RetroFlash

Catch-22 by
50
(98 Stories)

Prompted By Guns Then and Now

/ Stories

There’s a gun in a case near Garth’s side of the bed. It looks mean. I’m afraid to touch it let alone pick it up.

I thought I’d use the excuse of this prompt to face my fear, hold the gun, learn how to load it, even go to a shooting range and learn to use it. I didn’t do any of that.

I’ll never hunt, don’t think I could shoot a person. Not even a robber.

But if they were hurting my husband, or my dog, or coming at me, I would shoot them!

Once I figured out how.

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100 words / RetroFlash

 

Cool Water by
50
(98 Stories)

/ Stories

I’m not really thirsty til I realize

To my surprise and horror

That I’ve left the house without

My HydroFlask of water

Cool clear water (water, water)

 

I try not to panic but I find it hard to swallow

Will tomorrow ever come

I mean what I am to do

without water

Cool clear water (water, water)

 

Cuz what if there’s a pileup and

I face the the barren waste without

cool water

Wait…I feel a rumble beneath my seat! 

It’s a plastic bottle I’d plum forgot to toss

Water (water, water)

Warm, sweaty water

 

With appreciation and apologies to Bob Nolan, and the dozens of artists who recorded his song Cool Water. And now, for your listening and viewing pleasure, from the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs…c’mon, sing it with me now:

I’ve Got A Secret by
50
(98 Stories)

/ Stories

Well, I have the perfect story for this prompt…only problem is, I already posted it back in September of 2019 for the prompt Games People Play. Rather than repost the same story, here’s a link to that one.

This time I'll let the clip tell the story...if you're old enough, you'll likely get a kick out of  it.

Now I have another one I think you’ll enjoy, although I already gave the gist of this one away in my story “This Just In” for the more recent prompt Advertising Jingles and Slogans. This time I’ll let the clip tell the whole story…if you’re old enough, you’ll likely get a kick out of  it.

P.S. In case it isn’t obvious, my maiden name is Schultz, and those are my brothers.

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