Big Canoe Writers Words and Wit for the Ages
Browsing all posts in: Childhood Memoirs

Don’t Mess With Uncle Otis

April 4
by Bill Booth

A low, throaty growl awakens me in the darkness of night. My dog Pat is standing, facing the landing below our campsite. Against the gray, moonless sky, all I can see are Pat and silhouettes of enormous cypress trees against a dark background with a million stars. A sudden breeze fans embers of my dying campfire, sparks glowing, drifting downwind.

“What’s wrong, Pat?”

Then I hear the soft “thunk – thunk — thunk” of a paddle bumping the side of a wooden boat. It moves closer to the landing with every stroke.

I roll over and fumble with Pat’s tether. Read the rest of this entry »

Pocketknives and Slingshots

August 22
by Travis H. McDaniel

It’s easy to see why I loved pocketknives when I was a boy.  They were solid, had a nice heft to them, and the bone handle felt good and smooth when I turned the knife over and over in my right front pocket.  Other pockets might hold things like an “aggie toy” that helped win marble games, a lucky creek rock to rub whenever I made a wish, my favorite arrowhead, and other invaluable stuff like that.  And another thing about a pocketknife, it’s just the right size to take to bed with you every night.  Little boys like to sleep with at least one of their valued possessions.  But of course, you already know all these things if you were born before World War II and lived in the country, or a small town like I did.

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I Remember Danielsville

October 24
by Travis H. McDaniel

Except for Sundays, we went barefooted nearly all the time from May to September. We drank Double Cola, RC or Pepsi from the ice-filled metal cooler at Mr. Hoyt’s store. On Saturday nights we bathed in a # 3 washtub filled with water heated on the kitchen stove. We caught white-face bumble bees in our hands (they’re the ones with no stinger) from the wisteria-draped trees in Mrs. Cox’s front yard.

(First published in Georgia Backroads Magazine, Winter 2008)
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Take a Sentimental Journey

September 12
by Maria Boling

There is no such thing as a normal life. If you have ever daydreamed by an open window, skimmed a pebble across a still lake, or stood in the silent world of snow, then you have a story to tell.

Writing life story memories can be a lot of fun, especially if you try to remember the moments not the years. Even age, whether a teenager or an adult, does not matter when you are ready for this incredible journey. Today will be tomorrow’s remembrance and once these current events have past they will only be in your memory unless you write them down. Some of your seasoned thoughts and musings have long been stuffed back and stored in the crevices of your mind. They can be activated with five simple steps: Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures With Mike

August 4
by Bill Booth

In the early 1950’s, most children in the deep south attended public schools and shared a spirit of adventure that carried over from the recent World War. I was no exception. Much of my youth was spent in quest of exploits like those described in books by Mark Twain, Jack London, Zane Grey, Jules Verne, and similar writers. These were tales boys thrived upon … stories of outdoorsmen, heroism, soldiers, and cowboys. They were about the kind of Americans we emulated.
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Christmas at Nana’s

June 12
by Vivian Sheperis

Christmas at Nana’s in the South Bronx was no Currier and Ives holiday print. Driving a drafty Ford over the Triborough Bridge was not a jingle bell experience. Mother tried to warm up Dad and me, singing her rendition of Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go. It was 1951. I was seven and old enough to know the song was meant for a sleigh ride. Below us, the East River raced through the narrows to dump its load into the mouth of the Hudson.

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The Pipe Pike

May 20
by Jim Elliott

We knew we would need a lot of room for the load of fish that would be coming from the pipe so Bob and Dave manned the seine about ten feet back from where the pipe ended. I went to the other end of the pipe, looked in and it was creepy. All I could see was a circle of sunlight at the other end and lots of spider webs. Bob and Dave didn’t care about it being creepy. They told me to get in there and drive those fish into our seine.
Read this story as published in the
January/February 2010 Michigan History magazine.

Rabbit Seeds

April 20
by Jim Smith

Our mother seldom overlooked an opportunity to promote felicity between my sister and me. Sister Phyllis was nine years my junior. Despite the disparate interests implied by our age difference, and my disinclination, mother often encouraged me to include her in my activities. When she was about 4 and I about 13, Phyllis accompanied me on a snowy day on what mother chose to call “a nature walk”.

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Down on Caddo

April 3
by Bill Booth

Sunlight reflected off the blue metal, and its smooth, stained wood felt like silk under my fingers. I closed my eyes and sighed with pleasure as the clean smell of gun oil floated to my nose. It was a thing of beauty. The single thing I wanted most when I was ten years old was finally mine: a classic Red Ryder BB gun.
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A Step Up

April 2
by Vivian Sheperis

After that day I never played with dolls again. It happened on the seventh step, in the middle of my fantasy, halfway up the oak staircase. A baby doll lay on each of the steps, three through nine.
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Chinaberry Summer

January 20
by Harris Green

It’s early summer, 1947 in Riverton, Alabama. Graham Flourney looks forward to a summer free of teacher demands but learns that Life is the most demanding teacher of all.

Order Chinaberry Summer Online »»

Read about Harris on the Writer’s Bios Page