Note:  this is not a continuation of Darlene’s Story.  I’ll probably pick that up next week!

08-26 Bowling Pins

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!


85 thoughts on “Dorothy

  1. Imelda August 26, 2013 / 8:37 AM

    What a touching and beautiful story and tribute to your Grandma. :-). Incidentally, I liked your Powder Puff League term.

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:54 AM

      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!

  2. momsomniac August 26, 2013 / 8:51 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:52 AM

      I’m honored that you want to reblog – please, go right ahead, Momsomniac 🙂

  3. momsomniac August 26, 2013 / 8:56 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:25 PM

      I appreciate the reblog, Momsomniac 🙂

  4. Steve Costello August 26, 2013 / 9:42 AM

    Great story. Your grandma was very similar, and you brought her to mind with this.

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:25 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Steve. I have many fond memories of grandma – she was an interesting lady.

  5. Lance August 26, 2013 / 9:43 AM

    Very touching and I like how intense you shared the feeling. well done, turkey…lol

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:26 PM

      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!

  6. Christine August 26, 2013 / 11:51 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:29 PM

      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!

  7. Quickstepp August 26, 2013 / 11:52 AM

    I love a good story spun from real life events. Good one!

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:30 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading, Quickstepp 🙂

  8. Sean August 26, 2013 / 12:54 PM

    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.

    • Sean August 26, 2013 / 2:18 PM

      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.

      • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 2:25 PM

        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!

        • Sean August 26, 2013 / 2:37 PM

          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.

        • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:36 PM

          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 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:33 PM

      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 🙂

  9. Bryan Ens August 26, 2013 / 12:59 PM

    Love this! A touching tribute.

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:33 PM

      Thanks, Bryan! I’m glad you stopped by to read it.

  10. nrhatch August 26, 2013 / 1:59 PM

    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! 😀

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 8:35 PM

      Free bowling is a good thing, Nancy! I have my own bowling shoes…only worn once. Sadly, my bowling skills are lacking non-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 🙂

  11. howanxious August 26, 2013 / 9:10 PM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 26, 2013 / 9:54 PM

      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 🙂

  12. yarnspinnerr August 26, 2013 / 10:18 PM

    A lovely read. Extremely well written. 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 6:56 AM

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Yarnspinnerr…thanks for reading!

  13. Ye Pirate August 27, 2013 / 1:03 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 6:58 AM

      Thanks for your beautiful comment, Ye Pirate. I’ve missed writing the one-shot stories, so it was nice that this opportunity presented itself 🙂

  14. I Am Jasmine Kyle August 27, 2013 / 5:00 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 6:59 AM

      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.

      • I Am Jasmine Kyle August 28, 2013 / 10:23 AM

        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!

        • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:12 PM

          As long as you enjoy watching the game, it can still be fun, Jasmine!

        • I Am Jasmine Kyle August 30, 2013 / 1:23 AM

          It CAN be your Right!

  15. Eric Alagan August 27, 2013 / 6:15 AM

    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,

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:06 AM

      It’s a strange think to call a group of strikes, Eric 🙂 Glad you stopped by!

  16. jwilliams057 August 27, 2013 / 7:10 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:07 AM

      It’s sad that we eventually might have to give something up, but life is full of uncertainty. Thanks so much for reading, Jennifer!

  17. Debbie August 27, 2013 / 7:35 AM

    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!)

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:08 AM

      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.

  18. Renee TennisMcKinley (@2old2tap) August 27, 2013 / 7:38 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:09 AM

      Good luck on your bowling season, Renee! My grandma always looked forward to each new season.

  19. Joe Owens August 27, 2013 / 10:05 AM

    So many memories of loved ones circle in our mind. You did a great job incorporating your with this week;s prompt.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:10 AM

      Thanks for reading, Joe! I couldn’t NOT write about her with such a perfect prompt 🙂

  20. Jennifer Dillon August 27, 2013 / 11:30 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:14 AM

      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 🙂

  21. philosophermouseofthehedge August 27, 2013 / 5:06 PM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:15 AM

      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 🙂

  22. steph August 27, 2013 / 5:40 PM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:16 AM

      I still don’t like people messing with my hair! I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Steph…I appreciate you stopping by.

  23. Brian Benoit August 27, 2013 / 8:16 PM

    Great stuff Janna. I’ll be looking forward to Darlene’s return, but this was a more than worthy diversion!

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:17 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, Brian. It was nice to take a break from Darlene and write something new.

  24. Draug419 August 27, 2013 / 8:27 PM

    This is taking a weird prompt and dominating it. Awesome job.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:17 AM

      Thanks, Draug! It was an odd prompt…but this time, it worked for me 🙂

  25. Ivy (Mommy Dourest) August 28, 2013 / 5:37 AM

    Janna, this is wonderfully touching. Sounds like your grandmother was a hoot. It’s nice that you have such great memories of her.

    • jannatwrites August 28, 2013 / 7:21 AM

      She was pretty funny, Ivy. And her competitive streak got more prominent as she aged 🙂

  26. Sandra August 28, 2013 / 10:15 AM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:11 PM

      I enjoyed writing this piece about her, Sandra. It worked out well for an odd Trifecta prompt. Thanks for stopping by to read it 🙂

  27. debseeman August 28, 2013 / 11:50 AM

    Love this. So much. Such a beautiful story.

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:16 PM

      Thanks so much for stopping by to read it, Deb!

  28. Tara R. August 28, 2013 / 3:09 PM

    This was a very sweet story. A lovely memory of a lovely woman.

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:17 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read, Tara.

  29. Trifecta (@trifectawriting) August 28, 2013 / 3:39 PM

    Lovely tribute. And you really captured that feeling of loss that comes with aging out of activities we love. Thanks for sharing this!

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:18 PM

      It made all of us think about quality vs. quantity of life and what makes it worth living.

  30. DonettaS August 28, 2013 / 8:51 PM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:20 PM

      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.

  31. pattisj August 28, 2013 / 9:51 PM

    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.

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:23 PM

      Thanks for reading, Patti. I always hated it when they would mess with my hair!

  32. KymmInBarcelona August 29, 2013 / 2:36 AM

    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!

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:25 PM

      Thanks, Kymm! Ideally, we would get to live life fully until the end.

  33. Tina August 29, 2013 / 6:30 AM

    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!

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:26 PM

      I’m glad you could understand the difficulty in giving it up. I hope your mom doesn’t ever have to stop bowling, Tina.

  34. Sarah Ann August 29, 2013 / 12:16 PM

    Such a strong tale of friendship, love and loss.

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:28 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read it, Sarah Ann 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:32 PM

      Thanks so much, David. This is a special piece to me, so I’m glad you enjoyed it as well 🙂

  35. Michael August 29, 2013 / 7:08 PM

    This was a lovely and beautiful story.

    • jannatwrites August 29, 2013 / 11:33 PM

      I appreciate you reading it, Michael!

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