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Bite Size Memoir No. 2

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Congress of the Rough Writers, Carrot Ranch, @Charli_Mills


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Jinks & JapesFor me, exploring memory is like extracting water from a peat bog. It’s saturated, but not easy to pull out clean.

However, I’m taking the weekly “Bite Size Memoir” challenge posted by memoirist, Lisa Reiter, and discovering that I do have resources for writing from memory, after all.

This week’s prompt is “Jinks and Japes.”

Older students sat in the back of the bus. No reserved sign was needed; we simply understood the seating hierarchy. In the winter, we’d fill seats from first-graders to eighth and go skiing at Kirkwood for physical education.

Chatter buzzed the 30 minutes it took to drive up the winding mountain pass. Cheese sandwiches and cartons of milk filled two boxes for lunch. I can still taste the squishy white bread, tangy mayo and creamy American cheese. None of us dared to mess with lunch.

But let loose on the ski slopes, we found plenty of mischief, especially once we became back-seat riders. Our favorite joke was to ski backwards. We’d sing the television jingle that advertised Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars—“sometimes you feel like a nut” (jump to backwards skiing) and “sometimes you don’t” (jump to forward skiing).

We’d only stop long enough to devour a cheese sandwich.

Charli Mills – 1967 – USA


  1. Lisa Reiter says:

    Charli, you busy lady! Thank you for finding time to share this happy piece with us. It’s really atmospheric and I wish I’d had similar bus journey’s to have fun on the ski slopes instead of playing netball in the driving rain in a gym skirt the size of a belt or hockey on a cold, muddy field! I love the you-tube clip of the cheesy advert for Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars! I can only imagine that it was the best and most catchy of its day!! And delicious, I’m guessing..😄


    • Charli Mills says:

      I still love Almond Joys (because I’m now a nut all the time). 🙂 My school was unique–I don’t think any other school had a free ski program like ours. We were very small, in the mountains and had excess money because of logging and mining taxes, and Federal dollars for Native American students. Netball in the driving rain doesn’t sound as fun! But then again, I missed out on squashed fly biscuits…


  2. I love the vision you have given me of a ski slope with people singing skiing and jumping backwards and forwards.


  3. Norah says:

    Wow! Skiing for PE class. What fun that must have been – surely a compensation for the cold! There was no skiing for me, but sometimes swimming lessons in the summer. I always found it a bother though, especially trying to dress into dry clothes in a large wet change room. Like Irene, I love the vision of all you fun-loving young people jumping from front to back as you skied down the slope in full singing voice!


  4. Annecdotist says:

    Having a bit of trouble with my comments today, feel as if I’ve already said this but might be just in my head as it’s not on the screen:
    Like your memory and love your metaphor which perfectly encapsulates how I feel about my muddy memories – though not sure I’d want them any different now


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