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The Door To Nowhere: Billy Buc's Writing Challenge

Updated on January 28, 2015

Was It Really Only Yesterday?

Billy Buc posted a photo of a door leading to a fire escape and challenged writers to compose a written piece around that picture. He also suggested the first sentence read, "Was it really only yesterday?" This is my response to his challenge.

Was it really only yesterday?

Childhood memories flood my soul.

I am amazed at teens who audition on the television show, "American Idol."

When asked, "When did you become interested in singing?" they answer "Age two."

TWO? Are you kidding me???

I have one memory of my childhood. I am sitting in a white paint chipped wooden high chair.

My twin sister must be nearby, but I do not recall.

I spill my milk. My mother slaps me.

That's IT.

We live in the housing projects where the kitchen door leads to nowhere. Except a fire escape ladder.

By the time we are two, our mother decides she cannot raise us. She leaves for New York City to pursue an acting career. Our father comes home to find us alone. He takes us to his parent's home down the street, and he says, "If Ruth comes back, do NOT let her have the kids!" He then moves to New York City to manage a restaurant.

I do not remember any of this.

Was it really only yesterday?

Decades pass. Bits and pieces of my life as a child enter my mind...flashes only.

I am riding my bike wearing a taffeta white and green striped dress. It is late May. The air smells wonderful. I am eight years old. I have missed a month of school because of a tonsillectomy and pneumonia.

School ends. My sister and I spend our summer at DeRuyter Lake In Upstate New York. One of the most wonderful memories ever of our childhood. One hundred dollars a month for our grandfather to rent a cottage.

Than a tragedy at age eleven. Our father, who had visited us at DeRuyter Lake that summer is found dead in his New York City apartment.

These childhood memories are more vivid. Seeing him in a casket. My grandmother's cries when given the news. My sobbing at the funeral home.

Was it really only yesterday?

On our 16th birthday our grandmother dies of a massive stroke. I now see clearly. She is lying in the casket wearing a dark purple suit. She looks at peace. Red lipstick.

I sob uncontrollably. Downhill plummet. All is lost.

But. I am still standing.

Was it really only yesterday I stood on the back porch of my apartment building, similar to the one at the housing project? Catskill mountains. Margaretville, New York. Married. Baby Neil is in his crib. Wooden steps lead to International Harvester machines below. Noisy during the day. My son sleeps well through the noise.

Was it really only yesterday my first husband and I move back to my hometown and we buy a house in the country? By now we have a daughter. Again, I stand on a wooden side porch overlooking spectacular fields and woods, not knowing where they lead. My only door is the one behind me to the laundry room.

My life is side porches and balconies that tell stories of where I am and where I have been.

However, I lose that beautiful home and that wonderful inspirational porch with the panoramic view.

My husband has fallen in love with his secretary. He leaves. I have to sell the house and move to an apartment ten miles away.

Was it really only yesterday that my husband tells me he will not leave me for his secretary until our son, Neil, has celebrated his eighth birthday? Was it really only yesterday when Neil said to me, "Mom, this is the BEST BIRTHDAY I HAVE EVER HAD!"? While I fight so hard not to weep.

Was it really only yesterday that I had to tell Neil and his sister a few days later that their father was leaving?

Neil's face. His answer. "This means you are getting a divorce."

I will never recover from my gut wrenching sobs alone in my bed.

All is lost.

But. I am still standing.

More decades have passed. I have tied a huge ribbon around the memories, for I have kept diaries since age 14. Forgotten, they come alive when I read...about yesterday...when I write...about yesterday.

Was it really only yesterday that I took my wonderful walk in the freezing cold, looked at the stars, watched the sun rise? Yes, it was, for I have logged it in my diary, and I have written personal thoughts in my journal.

All my yesterdays, good times, tragic times, inspirational moments are on paper.

And you know what? I am still standing.

Blessings to all, Sparklea

Lea C. Tartanian copyright 2015

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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 22 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      You are still standing, and seem so strong. We have lots in common. I think some people are here to suffer maybe for others. Just think of the place we may have in heaven. God bless, and Merry Christmas. Stella

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi Unknown Spy, I have sure missed seeing your posts! I just read two of your poems and sent comments. It is very hectic and I am so behind in the hubs, but I read the notifications every day, and try to do a couple comments and answer a couple questions to stay on board. Trying to write a book, but do not want to give up on the hubs. I am also trying to clear house of clutter...I can't believe what my husband and I have piled up over the years, especially the cellar and writing room. I read a quote in a book, "My space is my kingdom" and I want to be able to say that.

      I will try to return to more of your poems...I will be out of town tomorrow, but PLEASE stay in touch...I will too. God bless Sparklea

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 2 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Lea..hi! how are you?

      i know, im so sorry that i just disappeared out of the blue. How are you now? you know, i always think of you. you're one of my few friends here in HP whom i gotten so close in time.

      i am so happy that i finally got to talk to you again.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      truthfornow THANK YOU for taking time to read this hub and for your kind words. Such a big world, so many struggles, but so much inspiration intertwined with future stories to help our fellow men and woman. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Your story of survival is an inspiration. Your faith is amazing. Your honesty I am sure helps others through their struggles.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      DzyMsLizzy: Thank you so much for your feedback...I so appreciate your taking time to read and comment. Yes, everything in this hub was true, but I am so thankful we have choices on what to do with the rest of the time that is given us. God bless. Sparklea :)

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      What a heart-wrenching tale of loss and sadness, and yet personal strength and fortitude.

      Bright blessings upon you for the courage to share in this well-done story.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Always exploring: Thank you for your taking time to read this and for your positive feedback. It means so very much to me. I sure did not consider myself strong back then, but, as I stated, I am still standing...so I definitely consider myself a survivor. God put me here for a reason, and I am determined to STAND until my purpose is fulfilled. God bless and thank you from my heart. Sparklea :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      And you're still standing. Isn't it amazing how strong a child can be? I could relate. Your story is packed with one tragedy after another, yet you survived. Thank you for sharing. Peace.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you BlossomSB, thank you SO much for stopping by and for your kind words. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      So beautifully expressed.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      Welcome sweet lady to the official "Wounded Healer" club!

      You have come such a long way, and I send you spirit hugs of hope and encouragement! You keep standing strong! You are a great role model for your son. You show every day that when you get knocked down, you pick yourself back up! May God show you (if he hasn't already) your destiny and all the wonderful things I have no doubt that you will be doing! Blessings and Up to the Angels, sharing with all your friends!

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Kim I am thrilled you took time to read this...THANK YOU. I have been sick the first 3 weeks in January so I am very behind in everything...Billy Buc encouraged me to make my challenge into a hub. I sent it to him on his email...and I am glad he talked me into it. I am so blessed with meeting so many people on the hubs. Hoping to catch up. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Emese, yes it is all true, every word, but my purpose is to encourage others through my writing. I wrote from my heart. THANK YOU for your feedback and for stopping by. It means so much to me. Blessings Sparklea :)

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 2 years ago from The Desert

      Beautiful story, sad but triumphant. I enjoyed reading it, and as heartbreaking as it was, still is so positive. I really like the fact that you are still standing. seems like a true story. If it is, glad you made it through still standing:).

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      so raw and honest--excellent read--excellent response v+

      hope you are well and having a Happy New Year

      Many Blessings,

      Kim

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Lady Guinevere: It is very difficult for me to keep up and I DO love the Hub Pages and I have been so blessed with all the people I have met who share the passion of writing. I am also working on a book in bits and pieces but I HAVE to truly make it a priority in 2015. I have to put the day in God's hands. Or I fail. Blessings, Sparklea

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Marilyn Davis: I think we tend to learn MORE from the tragedies of others, and how one deals with them. Also, anyone who has suffered a similar tragedy can be there for others who later on go through the same thing. One can say, "This happened to me too. I have been there. I KNOW exactly how you feel." I think God places us at the right place at the right time for us to be there for one another. This is one of the best billy buc challenge I have seen on HP. He has inspired me to continue my story. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. And for your kind words. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Lea, I know what you mean. I haven't been around much to participate much here in a couple of weeks. I just cannot keep up with all my friends here.

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Lea; yes, you are still standing. More importantly, you tell us that you can stand no matter what happens. That message comforts and gives meaning to the tragedies. Doesn't mitigate them; just allows us to know the courage that you possess.

      I think these pictures prompted memories for all of us who took the challenge. A door to nowhere is metaphoric and as such, allowed each of us to find our symbols; excellent job of conveying yours.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Lady Guinevere: What wonderful words from you: "there is always beauty no matter what or where you go." I get so behind with Hub Pages because of my schedule and 'life' events, but I DO try to visit every day even if only for a few minutes. I hope my story encourages readers to 'still stand' no matter what. God bless and thank you so much for taking time to read this and to comment. Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      annart: Wow, thank you SO much for your positive feedback and lovely comments. I am working on a book about the second half of life, which I may focus some on survival with the hope it would inspire readers to keep going forward and STANDING, rather than dwelling on negative past experiences. Billy Buc has no idea what this challenge has done for me. God bless you real good, Sparklea :)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Life takes a lot of strength to get through sometimes. There is always beauty no matter what or where you go. I am glad you are still standing and with all of us at Hubpages too.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      DDE: You are correct I HAVE learned more about myself! Looking back I wonder how I ever survived what I have...what I shared is only the tip of the iceberg...I try to keep my hubs short as I know readers are busy and try to read as many hubs as time permits. Thank you from my heart for your feedback and encouragement. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      btrbell Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to read what I shared in this challenge. I wrote this from my heart, and I am grateful for the positive feedback. God bless you and I so appreciate your comments. Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Dear Paula, Thank you from my heart for your feedback. We can choose to be bitter or better with anything that we face in life. Also we can share circumstances to hopefully encourage others that all is NOT lost. We can decide what to do with the rest of the time that is given us...that's a quote from the wizard Gandalf in the movie Lord Of The Rings. I wish you great success also, Paula. I have to say I read your review of Billy Buc's Resurrecting Tobias and it was one of the best reviews I have EVER read in my life...and I read reviews all the time. You are a gifted wonderful writer and person. Your personality shines. God bless you real good Paula. Blessings always Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Michael, I agree I am here because God wants to use me for His purpose. This hub came to me out of nowhere, which I truly believe God led me to write what I did. Your comments are lovely, encouraging and so very appreciated. There is a lot more to this story which would blow you away...and I can share later on perhaps in another hub...but through all of these things I KNOW God was in total control. Looking back I don't know how I did it...I DO know God did it. My greatest prayer is that God will not take me into eternity until His purpose for creating me is fulfilled. God bless, and thank you from my heart.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      A wonderful, touching, sad and hopeful review of a hard life lived with guts and resilience - and still you come through standing!

      I was hooked from start to finish and the emotions were raw.

      Fantastic!

      Ann

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You are an amazing person to have pulled through at your worst of times. Through all experiences you have learned more about yourself. Voted up, and useful.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Wow, this was amazing. Your emotion and descriptions had me visualing and feeling your memories. Thank you for sharing.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Whoa, Sparklea.....Hello and Bless your heart, my sister in tragedies. I feel deeply for all you have endured. You can be so proud these traumas have not made you jaded nor cynical. Very beautifully written memories shared with your readers. I wish you much success....Peace, Paula UP+++

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Oh Sparklea dear, Awesome life story. Somewhere halfway of your article up to the end the words of Davidic song of Ascents has hit me , “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side…if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us , then they would have swallow us alive…” - exactly applicable to your experience. It was His hand over you all along protecting, strengthening a keeping you standing as a pure refined gold exceedingly high value because of His loving you , saving you for the world as testimony to His faithfulness . Without His protection, you would be destroyed . No human being on its own could survive the horror you went through, too severe for several persons, not a single chosen vessels , you are.

      It is only because the Lord lives that His children are alive. " We live because He is risen..."

      Yes, you are here standing alive because the Lord wants to use you more for the purpose of His kingdom and you know that. Glory to His name.

      Voted awesome, beautiful and useful.

      Pease be with us.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      bravewarrior: Thank you so much for your feedback, so appreciated! I believe my life is Divine Order from God where, no matter what, everything falls into place. If not for my faith, I don't know where I would be today. God bless from my heart. Sparklea :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Another strong woman who has overcome all the doors to nowhere. It's nice that you journalize your life so you can see how far you've come.

      Very inspirational!

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Sallybea, THANK YOU for the time you took to read this hub and for your encouraging comments. I guess spontaneity is the best way to write, I am sure learning that, for I had no idea ahead of time what I was going to type! Blessings from my heart, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Rhonda thank you so much for your feedback. It was not my intention to break anyone's heart, but to inspire, and I am happy this left you with a sense of triumph. I did not even know I was going to type this when I read Billy Buc's challenge, but just decided to give it a try. Writing this gave me a flood of unexpected memories. God bless and thanks again from my heart. Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      tobusiness, thank you from my heart for taking time to read this hub and for your lovely feedback. It means so very much to me. My purpose in writing is to encourage and inspire. God bless you, Sparklea

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi Jodah, THANK YOU from my heart for your encouraging words. I am behind also...in everything, including the hubs...just happened to spot Billy Buc's challenge on Facebook, did not even know I would respond, but decided to give it a shot! I guess it was meant to be written because it was SO unplanned, and the words just came out. God bless you real good today - Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Oh, Faith, you make me want to well up with tears! I wrote that so quickly, did not even have time! (See my response to Billy Buc above). It came from my deep heart and soul, which I NEVER planned on. I call these inspirations 'glad surprises' from God. THANK you for the email, as well as, your encouraging comments and for sharing. Love you dear friend, Sparklea :)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      A courageous piece of writing, it takes guts to spill it all out and come out at the end of it, a much stronger person. You certainly get top marks for this challenge in writing.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Inspirational and beautifully done, a true survivor.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 2 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Wow. This broke my heart yet left me with such a sense of triumph, of survival, of determination at the same time. They say that which does not kill us makes us stronger and I have to believe that's true but it changes not the fact that it still hurts like a beotch! Wonderful share!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Sparklea, this is such a sad but beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your heart and memories with us. I am behind on my reading and hadn't seen Bill's challenge yet, so have to remedy that. You did a wonderful job with this challenge. All strength to you overcoming these hurdles, which obviously served to make you a stronger person you are today. Voted up.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Sparklea,

      I just could not resist and took a peek earlier in the day at your response to Bill's challenge, while on my phone, and it blew me away, so much so that I could not stop reading until the end! WOW, OH, WOW, sweet friend, you are an amazing writer and fast too.

      Thank you for a most excellent write here and sharing your life. You are a strong and beautiful person and God still has so much in store for you. I am so glad He is using you for His glory.

      I know you are blessed now with a wonderful husband who loves you dearly for so many years and years.

      You are such an inspiration for you ARE still standing! I praise God for you.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      (((Hugs))) and much love always

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Availiasvision: To answer your question, it is NOT fiction, every word I wrote is true and really happened. But I wrote from my heart and I am so thankful to God for showing me His love and always working things out for good during my life. I am also thankful for my diaries and journals which DO tie a ribbon around memories. THANK YOU for your comments and feedback. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Elsie, Yes I WILL keep smiling. God has been so good to me, and I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. Thank you for taking time to read my response to Billy Buc's writing challenge! I so appreciate it. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Audrey thank you so much for your comments and encouraging words! I so appreciate your stopping by. It is my hope that what we share from our lives inspires and encourages others. God bless, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      pstraubie: Thank you so much for taking time to read this and for your lovely note. Thank you also for your vote and sharing. God bless you real good, Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Jackie, thank you for your kind words. When I re-read it later, I thought to myself, "you know, God put me here for HIS purpose. I can't believe I survived all this!" My faith is so uplifted by this testimony I had placed on the back burner for so long. I give Billy Buc the credit for this writing challenge. Jackie, I SO appreciate your taking time to comment. I have been so busy but I do try to get on the hubs at least once a day to at least answer a question. I thank God for Hub Pages and the wonderful people I have met. Blessings Always Sparklea :)

    • Sparklea profile image
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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billy Buc I am proud of YOU for this challenge to write based on a photo and a first line. I did not have one minute today to write...was just browsing FB when I came across it. I just went to your email and said, 'what do I write about what he wants?' and I just started typing. It was GOD, not me. I had no clue what to say. But if not for you, I would not have written. ANY writing I consider to be going forward...for myself and ALL writers. God bless and thank you from my heart for your genuine feedback. Sparklea :)

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Very nice piece of writing. Was it fictionalized or non-fiction? You paint very vivid imagery. You show so much struggle to keep standing; very realistic.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Beautiful, yes you are still standing. You have your children, that is something wonderful, that will never leave your memory. their birth, the love they have given you, times may have been hard bringing them up, but they are yours,. Keep smiling.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      So moving--and you are still standing! Sometimes, we do what we have to just to survive--hugs to you!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      What a testimony to strength....up and down, despite it all we can come out on the other side wiser and better.

      Voted up +++ shared

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      What a heartbreaking story and my heart breaks for you. Apparently you pulled through but I know how very hard it must have been to have someone unlove you. I am just so glad you knew God never would.

      May he always bless you. Up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is such a beautiful tribute to the resilience and strength that is in each of us. All the roads filled with potholes, and we stumble over them all, and yet we are still standing. I would call this a great success, my friend. I'm proud of you.

    • Sparklea profile image
      Author

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      DJ Yes, all is true. I just rattled this off on a total impulse when I read Billy Buc's challenge. I'm behind in my writing because of family obligations plus I got sick New Year's Day, and am now feeling much more energetic. Thank you for your very kind comments and for taking time to provide feedback. God bless from my heart, Sparklea :)

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Lea, your story is beautifully revealed, but heartbreaking to know that

      you lost so much at such a young age. I take it that this story of your background is true.

      You have survived; better still, you have flourish.

      And, look at yourself. You are a success in your own right, and,

      you are still standing.

      Great job.

      Blessings to you!

      DJ.