The eight budding writers of our first workshop this summer scribbled the beginnings of their first writing assignment. We’ve tasked them to write a personal narrative focused on a life-changing moment. They may not have won the Nobel prize yet, but everyone has an experience to share. I penned my own example, entitled, “The Night I Hunted for John Adams’ Bones:
The wind scuttled frost-bitten leaf carcasses across the circular walkway surrounding the fountain. On warmer nights all paths led to the heart of the Adams Park, this fountain. It splashed happily for children, mothers who watched them anxiously, and college students holding hands. But tonight the icy wind slapped my face and tore at my scarf. The dark fountain was almost ghostly and the deserted park did not welcome us.
“Why are we here, Matt?” I asked.
He was a fourth grade teacher, so I had believed him a few minutes earlier when he pulled his black Jetta up to the park without warning that March night. Matt had muttered something about researching our country’s former president, John Adams.
“Adams’ bones are supposed to be buried in this fountain,” he said, pointing at it.
Incredulous, I asked, “What?”
“Look,” he said, “If you look closer over the ledge you can see them!”
I like to think now that my brain was frozen by the chill. Gullibly, I leaned over the cement edge, grabbing cold stone. A shallow, icy layer covered the fountains’ dark bed, through which I discerned shapes of coins and litter. Spying no bones, I righted myself.
The view shocked me: Matt kneeled on one knee, holding up a black velvet box that revealed a glittering ring. “Will you marry me?” I felt as if I was turning upside down.
We had found the diamond and white gold ring at Stones jeweler’s on Front Street together a few weeks ago, so I knew a proposal was likely someday. But I had still fallen completely for John Adams’ bones.
Luckily for Matt, I was ignorant of both Wheaton’s and the presidential history. John Quincy Adams, who moved to Wheaton in 1876, and built his home on the block that is now Adams Park, was only a distant relative of our 2nd and 6th presidents.
I also fell for Matt Jewell, a guy who values permanence and community, which is why he chose Adams Park. “I figured it would always be there,” he said. “It’s never closed and you can go day or night. It’s at the center of Wheaton.” And the rest is history.
Come back for more updates and hopefully excerpts of our budding writers’ work!