By Mary Zachmeyer
?Mt. Pleasant, Be It Ever So Humble? was my first article October 3, 2012. The Mt. Pleasant News kept changing my ?titles.? I wondered if they knew how hard a writer works on her titles, be it prose or poetry! It?s the first hook to get your reader to read your writing. I stewed about it for a few weeks, wondering why Norfolk Daily News in Nebraska let me keep my titles. Then, Brooks explained to me that titles and headlines are different. Duh, of course!
I was excited to have a column again, as excited as a baby bird when its mama peeks in with food in her bill. I couldn?t wait for the first issue to arrive, so I drove to the News and bought several copies. In the article, I proposed a question which I have yet to learn the answer: How did Mt. P get its name.
People tell me I have a good memory, yet I remember all the things I wish I could remember. I wish I had written down every story my relatives talked about. I have tried to encourage all of you to write down your memories. These past 100 columns have been worth it if you have begun to do it.
The next column was ?Duct Duck Tape for Halloween?? Stupidly enthusiastic about writing this column, I went shopping for Halloween stuff. I bought three rolls of duct tape, pondering not only what to do with the candy corn design, luminous orange roll, and purple with black cats and white jack-o-lanterns roll, but wondering why it was called duck tape. (Later, when I opened my eyes and read the label, I found out it was the company name. Duh, #2.) I?m sure I will take these to heaven with me. Maybe the angels can find a use for them.
I bravely presented you with several of my poems. ?In Defense of the Marigold? was the first one. People dislike this lovely little flower because it stinks. I informed you that it only emits the odor when touched. I still think it?s one of the most faithful flowers in the garden.
My favorite subject for two years has been my childhood, growing up in Burlington in the 1940s and 1950s. I hope none of you became weary of my vignettes. I?ve been writing about those years for 34 years. Yet, just when I think there can be nothing else to write about them, a new thought comes.
There?s the story of ?The Hiding Place,? which was the space under a drawer at the bottom of the built-in china cabinet at Grandmother?s. Mother didn?t even know about it. To think I could surprise her was pure gold. We both expected something priceless there. All there were were yellowed newspapers dated 1954. That?s when I decided God has a sense of humor.
?The Peach Taffeta Dress? is probably one of my favorite articles. I was 11 when Mother gave me this lovely dress for my Dec. 22 birthday and for Christmas. I felt like a princess in it. I would remember the lovely dress, but more importantly, I would remember that that was Grandfather?s last Christmas.
In January 2013, an article walked you up the steps of the 1905 house, into the attic, where so many stories, memories, and life entwine my very soul: Grandmother?s curtain stretcher with all its tiny nails, Grandfather?s work bench where he spent hours making picture frames, a cove where two old trunks faced each other and I played for hours, Grandmother?s faded-green paper, four-foot decorated Christmas tree sat ready to come down every December. I told you how she recycled Christmas wrap and ribbons by ironing them.
And so, I bored you with lots of tales, tried to give unsolicited advice from my experiences, tried to make you laugh and even cry a few times, but you all gave me even more. So many of you complimented me week after week. You spoke of your experiences and how mine reminded you of something you hadn?t thought of for years. I thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my little column and to make comments. I thank Brooks especially for his encouragement and the women at the News that help with the column, giving it a proper name! Thank you, Mt. Pleasant, for 100 articles in the News.