Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Slice of Life - Hand Maps and an Engagement Story

I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
Today my students and I made Hand Maps.  This is another Penny Kittle idea for generating writing ideas.  We're taking our writing ideas and writing Quick Writes about them.  Some will develop into Slices of Life for Kidblog.  I was watching t.v. Sunday night and came across a perfect commercial to introduce this activity:
Penny Kittle has this one on her website:
Here are examples from my students:

     I made one, too, and decided to write about my wedding ring and our engagement story.  It seems especially relevant to tell our story since Libby and Jamie were recently engaged!
     The summer before my senior year of college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, my best friends and I moved into an off-campus ramshackle house, and I worked at a local Mexican restaurant called Pedro's.  I swear I smelled like a chimichanga most of that year.   Even though I was on my feet for that job, I loved to walk every day.  I would walk around campus in rain or shine, alone or sometimes with my friend, Jill.  I would always ask Ed, my boyfriend at the time, to walk with me, but he usually said no.  That didn't stop me.  I walked and walked. 
Illustration I drew in a letter to my parents in 1988
     After a particularly long and brutal shift on a hot, sticky July day at Pedro's, all I wanted to do was come home, peel off my sweaty socks and shoes, take a shower, and plop down on the couch to watch t.v.  It was going to be one of the rare days I had no desire to walk.  When the doorbell rang and it was Ed, wanting to go for a walk, I told him no, and was a little surprised he wanted to.  I was exhausted and hot and just wanted to prop my feet up.  He kept persisting, and I kept saying no.  I could tell he was getting a little aggravated, and my friend, Karan, was there, trying to encourage me to go.  Her voice was a little high-pitched, and even she was getting a little agitated.  I could not figure out why Ed wanted to go on a walk on that hot evening, of all times.  He NEVER wanted to go walking with me! 
Upham Hall Arch, Miami University
     Finally, I gave in, sighed, and put on my walking shoes.  I shuffled out the door, Ed's forehead visibly shiny with sweat.  He was obviously annoyed at me.  Eventually, we both relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful campus.  We were talking and holding hands, strolling comfortably, and soon approached Upham Arch.  Upham Arch is a legend at Miami University, surrounded with tradition.  You can read about it here.  As we approached, I even joked a little about the tradition.  Ed asked if I wanted to kiss underneath to seal our fate. I laughed and agreed, just thinking we were going to joke around.  When we were underneath the lantern, he got down on one knee, and I realized he was going to propose!  I couldn't believe it.  He reached for the ring box from his pocket (which he said later he almost threw at me when I wouldn't go on a walk that night - ha) and asked me to marry him.  It felt surreal.  I started laughing and crying at the same time, and, of course, said yes, with shaky knees and tears streaming down my face.  It was the most beautiful ring - his dad had helped him pick it out, and it was perfect.  We became Miami Mergers (another tradition at M.U.) a year later and have been married 25 1/2 years.  Here is our engagement picture taken for the local paper.  We both had a lot of hair back then!!
     It was with great joy we heard about Libby and Jamie's engagement several weeks ago.  That's  another whole story in and of itself, and a wonderful one (although Libby didn't want to go for a walk either - ha). They got engaged on the Miami campus, too, by the Sundial.  They will become Miami Mergers in June (Jamie's parents are, too!) Today, she sent me one of their engagement pictures, taken over the weekend, and you can imagine I got a little teary...


  1. Ah, what a lovely story about finding a partner and creating a tradition. Loved the juxtaposition of those two photographs!

  2. Love every bit of this, Holly, the videos about hands are marvelous-the 2nd one-wow! And your students' work, then yours, then your slice, more hands. Love the story, the connections, all the years to your daughter too. It's like a big hug today. Thank you!

  3. I love the hand maps and will be stealing this idea. But I'm teary over the sweet engagement story. When my husband proposed, he wanted me to walk down to a river behind the restaurant where we had brunch. It was muddy and I balked, but I'm so glad I took that walk...32 years later.

    1. Note to self for all of us - go on a walk when asked! ;-)

  4. Hand maps are on the plan now. Perhaps I should go walking a bit more often.....

  5. Oh, I love how this story comes full circle! What a proud, mama you must be!

  6. Holly, this is an amazing post with so much sentiment. I like the hand map idea and the videos as introductions to writing from hand to heart to voice.

  7. Holly,
    Your hand maps brought me here, but your beautiful story made me stay. Thank you for sharing it with us.