Note: this is not a continuation of Darlene’s Story. I’ll probably pick that up next week!
Dorothy was a rabid bowler.
No, I didn’t mean “avid.”
She bowled on a league every week in sickness and health; to call her competitive was a gross understatement. In any other setting, one would find her outgoing, friendly- even agreeable.
My memory settles on the summer of 1982. For several weeks, Dorothy brought me to her league games because my mom had taken a job. Somehow my brother had gotten out of it, but, being four years older, he had developed a knack for weaseling out of pretty much anything he didn’t want to do. Every week began the same: a group of white-haired ladies would approach us and give Dorothy a hug and then turn to me and gush over my curly hair. They couldn’t just look. No, they had to get their fingers into it to feel the curl. I cringed every time.
I thanked God that it didn’t take long for them to turn their attention to the game. One woman’s eyes gleamed with excitement as she said, “Mrs. Craig’s arthritis is acting up. Without her, their team doesn’t stand a chance!” The women leaned in together and laughed. This is when I realized that Dorothy wasn’t the only competitive spirit in the Powder Puff league.
Thirty-one years later, I have three wooden bowling pin awards sitting on a shelf. When I see them, I remember my grandma, so full of life. When she retired from league bowling at eighty, I had never felt more proud of her. She had stayed active for as long as her body (and mind) would allow.
At the time, I didn’t understand a part of her died that day. I couldn’t fathom that the memory of scoring a turkey among friends wouldn’t be enough. I don’t think any of us had prepared for how much she would miss the urethane ball rolling on the waxed hardwood and the anticipation right before the crack of pins falling.
Now I know how she felt.
This is my response to Trifecta’s writing prompt: to write a 33-33 word post (surprise, surprise- mine is near the upper limit- 332) using the following word/definition:
Turkey: three successive strikes in bowling
If you want to read other responses, or submit your own, click here to go to Trifecta’s site!
As soon as I saw this prompt, I knew that Darlene’s Story wouldn’t happen today. I knew that I would write about my grandma- the biggest lover of bowling I’ve ever known. It’s been several years since she passed away and I still miss her. It broke her to stop bowling, but between Alzheimer’s and congestive heart failure, she just couldn’t do it anymore. After she passed away, the only thing I asked to keep of hers were the bowling pin awards. No one knew I wanted them and many had been thrown away. I dug three of them out of the trash. It’s strange how certain things hold such memories that you’ll do almost anything to hang onto them!
Sorry. I got sidetracked. This piece is so personal that I probably shouldn’t post it. But I’m going to hit “Publish” anyway before I change my mind. Thanks for reading!
What a touching and beautiful story and tribute to your Grandma. :-). Incidentally, I liked your Powder Puff League term.
I’m afraid I wasn’t that creative- that was actually the name of the League she bowled on during the time this story is placed. Thanks for reading, Imelda!
Thank you for sharing this! I rec3ently lost my Dad, and I’d like to share this. May I reblog?
I’m sorry for the loss of your dad. It is painful to lose those we love.
I’m honored that you want to reblog – please, go right ahead, Momsomniac 🙂
Reblogged this on db mcneill – Momsomniac and commented:
My Dad died earlier this month. I already had his bicycle – the one I loved to ride (which I have vague memories of him riding too). My life has been full of grief and joys in the recent past. My days have been full with both the glorious and the mundane. I am re-blogging this from JannaTWrites today. Enjoy. And tell someone you love them.
I appreciate the reblog, Momsomniac 🙂
Great story. Your grandma was very similar, and you brought her to mind with this.
Thanks so much for reading, Steve. I have many fond memories of grandma – she was an interesting lady.
Very touching and I like how intense you shared the feeling. well done, turkey…lol
It’s funny, but I didn’t know how this would come out when I started writing. I just started typing and it meandered into this. Thanks for reading, Lance!
I love how this just poured out of you, like you couldn’t help but share it. Powerful memories surface in the strangest ways. Great piece, Janna.
I much prefer to remember the earlier years. The last couple years were so hard. And yeah, when I saw the prompt I was so excited because my grandma was so perfect for it. Thanks for reading, Christine!
I love a good story spun from real life events. Good one!
I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading, Quickstepp 🙂
At first, I thought this was a continuation of the story because I managed to get Dottie and Your Grandmother, Dorothy, names mixed up but then as I was reading, I was saying that this doesn’t sound right for a continuation. Plus, I was thinking that this sounded a lot personal on your descriptions of things so I was confused for a bit. I know, the wheel is spinning but the hamster’s dead. It wasn’t until the end until the light managed to come on and then it made sense. Thank you for sharing this piece of you that most may never be able to see.
And I didn’t see the nice bold letters saying that this is not an continuation on the top of the page. I just got new glasses which are bi-focals, I’m getting old so I’ll blame it on that.
I could take this opportunity to mess with your head…but I won’t 😛 I actually added that after I read your comment because I thought you had a good point. Sorry!
I probably wouldn’t have seen it if it was there before anyways. As far as messing with my head, it wouldn’t take much. I think sometimes I need to look at my badge to remember my name. The bad thing is, is that I just looked at my badge and I don’t recognize the shirt I was wearing lol I’m getting old.
You’re funny, Sean! Okay, so you didn’t recognize the shirt…that might be okay. When you don’t recognize the face, you might need to get help, then 🙂
I added a note about this not being part of Darlene’s story. I didn’t think about it causing confusion. Thanks for reading, Sean. I almost didn’t post this because of the personal attachment, but figured why not do it anyway? Writing complete fiction is much easier, though 🙂
Love this! A touching tribute.
Thanks, Bryan! I’m glad you stopped by to read it.
Great post, Janna. We got a bowling pass this summer . . . 2 free games a day for up to 4 bowlers.
I bowl wearing my grandmother’s bowling shoes! 😀
Free bowling is a good thing, Nancy! I have my own bowling shoes…only worn once. Sadly, my bowling skills are
lackingnon-existent….it tended to frustrate my grandma when she tried to teach me. It seems I’m incapable of throwing the ball straight or putting a spin on it 🙂
Beautiful, and heartfelt story.
Thanks so much for reading, Susan!
That is heart touching. I can understand her passion (may be that is also an understatement) for bowling. You have narrated the tale so vividly. I loved it.
Thanks so much, HA. Passionate is a good word for it. She was less than 5 feet tall, but she was a fierce competitor when it came to bowling 🙂
A lovely read. Extremely well written. 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Yarnspinnerr…thanks for reading!
That story hit me right between the eyes – and shoulder blades, Sad without being whimsical, it is a beautiful piece of writing that I read at 3 am, and set the tone /mood for my piece. I think you might do these one-offs more often; this really was good.
Thanks for your beautiful comment, Ye Pirate. I’ve missed writing the one-shot stories, so it was nice that this opportunity presented itself 🙂
A bowler! My husband is quite the bowler to! I can’t stand it so I try to avoid the alley but he still likes to sneak a few in. CHEERS! Beautiful what you wrote about your grandmother.
You’re back, Jasmine! I like bowling, but I’m terrible at it….and I can only bowl about two games before the finger I broke in grade school swells.
OMG I just hate it but I LOVE to watch. I even like bowling alleys. No broken fingers we’ll let the boys play and we’ll cheer!
As long as you enjoy watching the game, it can still be fun, Jasmine!
It CAN be your Right!
So, that’s what a turkey is – as you probably gathered, I’m not into bowling.
Thank you for sharing this about your grandma – lovely.
Peace and luv,
It’s a strange think to call a group of strikes, Eric 🙂 Glad you stopped by!
Oh gosh Janna. I love this piece of you and your grandmother. Giving up things we love always seems to do part of us in. I’m glad you have those memories of her.
It’s sad that we eventually might have to give something up, but life is full of uncertainty. Thanks so much for reading, Jennifer!
Janna, this is awesome — so personal, so heartfelt! I can see how your grandma would be, giving up a beloved pastime, not because *she* wanted to but because she had to. It must have killed off a part of her very spirit! I’m glad you rescued the bowling pin awards — that way, you can always call up the memories (though I’m sure you’d prefer NOT recalling all those ladies’ hands twirling your curls!)
Exactly, Debbie – it was harder because the choice wasn’t hers (and she was very independent!) I really didn’t enjoy the pawing at my hair, or the extra attention. I much preferred to just sit and watch from the sidelines.
As an avid bowler myself, I can totally understand the loss your grandmother felt. Just got the season’s meetings out of the way. Bowling starts next week for 1 league, the week after for the second.
Good luck on your bowling season, Renee! My grandma always looked forward to each new season.
So many memories of loved ones circle in our mind. You did a great job incorporating your with this week;s prompt.
Thanks for reading, Joe! I couldn’t NOT write about her with such a perfect prompt 🙂
Oh, I am so, so glad you did post this. for a piece so personal, so heartfelt it was a smooth read, so smooth that it wasn’t towards the end that I was sure that it wasn’t fiction. the curls, the name of the league, the competition between the ladies, especially the arthritis line gave this piece tangible anchors in a sea of so much history and emotion.
I appreciate your kind words, Jennifer. Of course, there are some artistic liberties here because I couldn’t recall the exact year or the exact conversations…but the essence of the league days is here. The emotion and sentiment are closer to my heart than most pieces, which is why I felt so vulnerable posting. It’s more comfortable to keep myself hidden within the walls of fiction 🙂
Nice memory. Those pins- the shape, the smoothness – the sounds they echo, sometimes it’s so nice to have objects that stored so many sights and sound they just hit “replay” when your eyes fall on them.
I love those bowling pin awards because they are all a little different. Her name and score are hand-written on each one. Thanks so much for stopping by, Phil 🙂
Those are such a treasure. Weighty for several reasons
True enough, Phil 🙂
I’m glad you hit publish. It’s a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. I enjoyed reading it, and learning about your life. The fingers in your curls is a great image even if it is cringe worthy in your memory. Great piece.
I still don’t like people messing with my hair! I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Steph…I appreciate you stopping by.
Great stuff Janna. I’ll be looking forward to Darlene’s return, but this was a more than worthy diversion!
Thanks so much for reading, Brian. It was nice to take a break from Darlene and write something new.
This is taking a weird prompt and dominating it. Awesome job.
Thanks, Draug! It was an odd prompt…but this time, it worked for me 🙂
Janna, this is wonderfully touching. Sounds like your grandmother was a hoot. It’s nice that you have such great memories of her.
She was pretty funny, Ivy. And her competitive streak got more prominent as she aged 🙂
Janna, this is such a loving tribute to your grandmother. Somehow I could tell that she was an important person in your life even at the beginning of the piece. I know you’ll cherish those pins the way you loved your grandmother.
I enjoyed writing this piece about her, Sandra. It worked out well for an odd Trifecta prompt. Thanks for stopping by to read it 🙂
Love this. So much. Such a beautiful story.
Thanks so much for stopping by to read it, Deb!
This was a very sweet story. A lovely memory of a lovely woman.
I appreciate you taking time to read, Tara.
Lovely tribute. And you really captured that feeling of loss that comes with aging out of activities we love. Thanks for sharing this!
It made all of us think about quality vs. quantity of life and what makes it worth living.
This is a beautiful story about your grandmother. Makes me so sad she had to give up something she loved doing. My aunt passed away at 42 and I have of her belongings, bowling trophies, bowling pins (like pins on ones shirt), and two cases with her bowling balls in them. I enjoyed reading this very much.
I appreciate you reading it, Donetta. Bowling was the last grasp she had on independence, so it really was hard for her to give it up. Forty two is awfully young to pass away. I’m glad you have some of her belongings to remember her.
This did sound autobiographical, and I’m happy to find out it was. What lovely memories you have of your grandma, and her friends who admired your curly hair.
Thanks for reading, Patti. I always hated it when they would mess with my hair!
A difficult time to hold in memory, but these are the ones that become more important as we age. The threat of having what you love slide out of reach…
Love the hand having to feel the curls!
Thanks, Kymm! Ideally, we would get to live life fully until the end.
You are describing my mother! She bowls two or three days a week in several leagues. I know it will kill her if there ever comes a day when she can no longer bowl. Well done!
I’m glad you could understand the difficulty in giving it up. I hope your mom doesn’t ever have to stop bowling, Tina.
Such a warm and heartfelt tribute
Thanks for reading, Ruby!
Such a strong tale of friendship, love and loss.
I appreciate you taking time to read it, Sarah Ann 🙂
This is my favorite thing of yours I’ve read. Really good.
Thanks so much, David. This is a special piece to me, so I’m glad you enjoyed it as well 🙂
This was a lovely and beautiful story.
I appreciate you reading it, Michael!