Inspired by Memory Chain Post

I read the 6/25/18 Two Writing Teacher’s post by Stacey and then tried out her Generating Writing idea.

I picked an object: my swimming google and my Memory Chain ended up looking like this:


Then I picked “practicing for All Stars – pool had different feel” and I wrote this story:

All Star Practice

“Have a good swim practice,” I heard my mom say as I climbed out of the car.

“Thanks,” I replied and then headed into the pool area. Last week at this time there were kids everywhere. The 8 and unders were in lanes 1 and 2 with their coach calling out directions. The 9 and 10s were in the deep end doing half-length sprints with their coach. And the 11-12s, 13-14s and 15-17-aged swimmers were at least 6 to a lane across the six lanes in the lap pool. Each lane looked like a game of Follow the Leader. The leader headed swimming down on the right and back on the left and just like the cars on the beltway, a safe distance was between each swimmer.

But not today. Today there was Ryan, a 15-17 backstroker, there was Megan, a 13-14 breaststroker and there was me, a 11-12 butterflyer. Only 3. Why? Because only 3 were lucky enough to swim so fast at the last team meet of the season and qualify for All Stars. The good news: We get to swim in All Stars. The bad news: We have swim practice, just the three of us,  for one more week.

“Pick a lane and start your warm-up. A nice and easy 500-free,” the coach announced.

Ryan walked over to lane 3, dove right in and started swimming freestyle. Megan pulled on her swim cap, adjusted her googles and jumped into lane 4. After bobbling up and down a few times, she took off, too. I quickly put my towel on a lounge chair, removed my warm up pants and t-shirt and jumped into lane 5. After I dunked down, getting my hair wet, I put on my goggles and began my warm up.

At the opposite wall, I did a flip-turn, pushed off and set into this freestyle pattern.
Stroke-stroke-stroke-stoke-breath on the right.
Stroke-stroke-stroke-stoke-breath on the left.
Back to the starting wall, I flipped and counted, 2 laps down, 18 to go.

After about 10 minutes, I reached the wall for the 20th time and stood up. Ryan and Megan were at the opposite end of the pool with a kickboard. “Sally, grab a board and be ready to join us,” the coach shouted out to me.

I pulled myself out of the water, walked over to the stack of blue kickboards in the corner and grabbed one. I hurried back to my lane and watched my older and faster teammates kicking toward me, Megan just a tad ahead of Ryan with a smile on her face.

“OK, be ready to take off together on the top,” coach announced. I glanced at the pacing clock at the side of the pool. The red hand was on the 7 and sweeping toward the 12.

“Ready, go,” coach shouted as it reached the 12. I pushed off and moved my legs up and down as quickly as I could while keeping my arms perfectly stretched out holding the kickboard on each side. Ryan took the lead this time and together we looked like the right side of a flock of geese flying south. Except we were flying through the pool, preparing for All Stars.

Thank, Stacey for helping me recall this memory “chained” to my swimming googles!

9 thoughts on “Inspired by Memory Chain Post

  1. tbreitweiser says:

    Thanks for the link…I somehow missed that post…I was a swimmer too. Reading your story reminded me of my time in the pool!! Do you still swim laps occasionally?


  2. Dawn says:

    A great working illustration of the strategy of “Memory Chains”. I love your similes…” like a game of Follow the Leader” and “we looked like the right side of a flock of geese flying south.”. Given me a few ideas too…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jen Hunsberger says:

    I love your idea of a writing chain to help with ideas for writing. This is a great idea to take back in to the classroom. Thank you!


  4. Sue says:

    I love the memory chain – and students can make it their own! It seems like this story was still truly “alive” in your memory.


  5. mschiubookawrites says:

    I always love snapshots from your writing notebook! I often teach that stories hide in objects, but the memory chain idea encourages deeper reflection and digging into the rabbit hole of our past. Thank you for your weekly posts!


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