The first step in our journey …

Journey.01

Each journey begins with one step.

And when I began, I had no idea where I was going. Worse, if I started, would I be able to finish?

What I have learned along the way is that this process … this gift if you will … is a journey of discovery.

I dig to the bottom of a trunk, pull from the back of a drawer, the old, yellow pages of journals written decades ago. The birth of some of my most memorable characters are fashioned from those who raised me, those I remember from my early years in Sunset Park. The older memories shine brighter, carry more meaning for me … especially now that I have more hindsight.

My alter-ego is actually my middle name … Antoinette … the name of my paternal grandmother and the name my father had wanted for his first, and most likely, only girl child.

It was fate that my maternal grandmother … Florence … passed away while my mother was expecting me, thus switching the order of my two names.

Antoinette is the main character in my Third Eye Mystery Trilogy and the central character in a series of short stories …  the stories of a young, Italian girl growing up in Sunset Park.

Here is one snippet from the stories I have written about the characters from Sunset Park.

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The first kiss …

Bobby Salzano was the prettiest boy Antoinette had ever seen and when his mom came to see her mom, he and Antoinette would go to the backyard to play. For as long as she could remember whenever they were together she felt odd or silly.

Bobby had beautiful wavy black hair and light blue eyes with dark blue speckles. He was two years older and the only boy Antoinette liked who was taller than she. Every girl in the public school was crazy about Bobby, especially Teresa. Antoinette knew he was crazy for her. She didn’t exactly know how she knew, but she knew.

They were playing handball against the wall of the diner and when they got tired, found two old milk crates and sat and watched Slow Rosie’s dad, Carmine Tafazzoli on the roof of the house next to hers tending his pigeons. Bobby was busy explaining about pigeons when Antoinette felt him put his finger on her arm. She flinched, but he left it there. She felt him move his finger all the way down her arm, giving her a chilly willy.

He said, “I like you, Toni. I want to kiss you. Okay?”

Antoinette’s head bobbed up and down, but nothing came out of her mouth.

He kissed her, just like that. He turned her crate so they were facing each other, put his hands on her shoulders, and kissed her. And before she knew what was happening, she put her hands on his shoulders and kissed him back. Her boobs in training started to tingle; in fact she tingled all over and didn’t want to let him go. She was two weeks shy of ten and Bobby was twelve.

Carmine yelled at them. “Hey! You two cut that stuff out. You ain’t old enough.” They looked up, laughed and ran back to the front of the house.

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Each time I journey back to those early years, I ponder … does this mean I was meant for this life … the life of a writer? The life of someone who collects memories and fashions them into tales for your enjoyment?

I think yes. This is the life I was meant to live … and for however long it has taken me to come to this crossroads in my journey …  I would not trade one moment of time to get here sooner. It is my way to honor those who have gone before me, those who I still cherish and those I have yet to meet.

How about you, how far have you traveled from those early years?

What memories find their place in your stories?

fOIS In The City

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24 Comments

Filed under Bleeps, Blooper and Outtakes

24 responses to “The first step in our journey …

  1. I love Antoinette already!

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  2. …boobs in training… Snort!

    I love your journeys back in time, Florence, because they always trigger memories of my own younger days. My first kiss? Oh, geesh! I was putting my jacket in the coat closet at school (fifth grade) and wore a grow-your-own-cup bra under a thin, white sweater. My crush du jour, Kenny Sullivan, came up behind me, and *gasp* said, “You’re wearing a bra, now?” Apparently that notion turned him on, because he kissed me on the cheek before he walked away.

    Whaaaaat?

    We were in school, for crumb’s sake!

    Yes. Memories past, experiences present, people I’ve known, do know, just met, and victims of eavesdropping find their way into my writing. Sometimes, I don’t even know how they got there.

    Lovely snippet. KEEP WRITING! Did Antoinette and Bobby grow up and…

    you know?

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    • Gloria, I have a sense that somewhere in time we were soul sisters. I see that feisty kid with fire in her eyes and a bright smile to greet the world and I think of myself during those years before life intruded on my daydreams.

      Ah yes, the first kiss. I once did a series of three first kiss snippets. It’s a tender moment for all of us and I’m glad this one reminded you of your first 🙂

      Antoinette and Bobby grew up, but she wants nothing to do with him … He is mentioned in her adult mystery series … Bobby Salzano the player reminds me of Morelli and Ranger from Janet’s series of books. In real life he was and is an absolute hunk !!

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  3. Another great post, Florence. I think you were meant for this writing life, as you say. It was already written in those few pages from when you were younger.

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    • That’s so sweet, Patti. My mom used to look at me with that crooked smile and ask me, “Did that really happen, or is it one of your stories?” LIttle did we know I was a budding author. Then it only took a few more decades before I hunkered down to the real meaning of my life.

      Better late … than 🙂

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  4. Your writing is a gift to the world. So real! Not only as a picture of an event, but emotionally.

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    • You are too kind, LIndsay … I feel often that my words are like the ingredients in something I am making for someone as a gift. When I get all the ingredients mixed just the right way … I have a pretty something, wrapped in ribbons and bows for their pleasure 🙂

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  5. christicorbett

    Florence,

    Again, I must state how happy I am that you’re back up and running with the computer. Technology is a helpful gift, until it isn’t, and then it’s a nightmare!

    Love the first kiss story. Such vivid descriptions make me feel like I was right there.

    Christi Corbett

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    • I’m happy to be back and running a full spead, Christi. Did I tell you my car died Saturday? Now, once I replace the car … I’ll have a new house, a new computer and a new car … hey that’s not bad.

      Glad you liked the “first kiss” … Antoinette is a pip to write about 🙂

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  6. I love the innocence of that scene, Florence. Thanks.

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  7. I look forward to reading more from and about Toni. I like her, Florence.

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  8. Yay for innocent first kisses. As a mom of an almost 13yo girl, I hope when she gets her first kiss it’ll be just as sweet:-)

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  9. Florence,

    First, I love your phrase “boobs in training.”

    My journey to get where I am? One filled with wonderful highs, offset by many more woes. Both have made me into the woman I am. Everything is fodder for what I write.

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    • Hey, Casey … I know we all take the good and the bad and meld it into our stories. We use amalgums of all those we meet as characters. I guess nothing is off base to use as fodder … and yeah … I kind’a liked her “boobs in training.” 🙂

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  10. A day made brighter by your words. A song heard with a lighter melody due to your words. Thankful for this day, now that I’ve read your words. I’ve missed you and your words, my friend. Thanks for being here. I wasn’t perfect today, but I did my best — and then your blog came along and you stole me away from pain and into yesteryear with remembrances of so many ‘firsts.’

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    • Ah, Sheri … I’m glad I could bring some joy into your day. I think about the long, long memories we have grown over the years and how much I love to pull in those streams of thoughts. My plans for this blogging year was to bring more of the little snippets from Sunset Park to my posts. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

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  11. I got all smiley-faced reading this! Terrific stuff. Now where’s the rest? Do they pass each other on the boardwalk one day as adults? Or do they marry and then have a raging, bitter divorce? Gotta know…

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  12. I couldn’t miss a week of your writing, Florence, and I’m so glad I finally got here to read about Antonette’s first kiss. Ah, those sweet memories from our growing up years. They’re so cherished and it’s so much fun to pull one out and examine it from all sides. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life. 🙂

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