A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Miss Hastings was Wade's fourth-grade teacher. She had square glasses and brown hair she wore held back by a clip. One day after school, Wade went back into the classroom to retrieve his forgotten lunch bag and found his teacher looking out the window, her long hair loose and falling over her shoulders. 

She'd turned from the window and smiled and Wade felt dizzy. He thought maybe he'd throw up--like he'd gone on the Zipper at the fair too many times. Walking home, he realized it was just like being on the Zipper, because as soon as it was over he wanted to feel it again. 

They were learning about Ancient Egyptians. "In ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs and their Queens were buried together inside the great pyramids," Miss Hastings said. 

Wade looked at the pictures of Cleopatra in his book. He imagined Miss Hastings wearing a golden crown, her eyes beneath her glasses dark with kohl makeup. 

One night before dinner, he asked his parents: "If a boy loves a girl, what should he do?

His dad peered over his newspaper and shrugged. "There's no use trying," he said, "you can't please a female." 

"Demonstrate," his mother said, plunging a knife into the center of a roasted chicken, "show her how much you care." 

Wade had an idea. The next day at recess, he gathered up as much snow as he could and built his structure in middle of the schoolyard. By 3:00, he could barely sit still at his desk. He was so excited for her to see it. 

Finally, the bell sounded. They put on their boots and coats and snow pants. Miss Hastings led the line of children outside. When they rounded the corner, Wade's heart sank. In the spot where his beautiful pyramid should be, was nothing but scattered snow. Someone had destroyed it.

Wade started to cry. Hot tears of disappointment ran down his cheeks. He gulped for air and his small chest shook. 

Then she was beside him, leaning down, her concerned face close to his. 

"Wade, are you alright?" she asked, taking his hand. 

Wade felt the warm pressure of her hand in his. He smiled at her through his tears.


  1. Beautiful words. Very happy to have found my way here to your blog.

  2. Great one!

    It reminds me of this day in first or second grade. It was some kind of track and field day at school... the kind where there are no classes, and you get to go around to all these staged, olympic-like events.

    We had been in groups, led by the older kids. My leader was this popular 8th grade girl.

    I don't remember the details. Something about the day had upset me, I think, and by the end of it all, I was back in my classroom. What I do remember is that there weren't many kids there yet.

    Out of the blue, my 8th grade leader-girl came into the classroom, walked straight over to me, kissed me on the cheek, and told me I was cute. I'm sure it was just her way of trying to support a little kid in need of some support. But at that young age, I was suddenly ga ga over her. My infatuation didn't last long--I never interacted with her ever again. I don't even remember her name. But the incident affected me.

    Your story reminded me of that story, and how it felt to be young and infatuated. Thanks for sharing your insights on life as a kid.