Hot tub #SOL22 11/31

“Write about the hot tub,” they say. I’ve done a quick write in front of them, randomly listing childhood memories. Trampoline and Hide-n-Go Seek haven’t piqued their interest in quite the same way as hot tub.

I laugh. “Sadly, there’s not much to say. We had a hot tub in our backyard when I was in high school… nothing really happened there.” I trail off and end up writing about the trampoline after all, shaping the story, modeling various openings, playing with structure.

I don’t tell them that images of the hot tub bubble in the back of my mind. Look: my sisters and I are playing in the warm water, snow on the deck. There: I am 13 and awkward, wearing my bubble gum pink bathing suit, my hair pulled back – the photograph reveals a liminal beauty that I can only now appreciate. Over here: My birthday party, fifteen-year-old girls full of high spirits and loud laughter, though in every photo of the evening our heads are hidden in our arms, as shy away from the very lens we crave. “We’re in our bathing suits!” someone had squealed and the camera was put away.

Was that the night the boys crashed the party? Possibly, but even that phrase implies a wildness we didn’t embody. Maybe I should rewrite it and say, “was that the night that Michael and some friends came over while we were outside and we sort of pretended to scream but mostly chatted?” Or maybe both ways of telling the story are true.

With my sisters in the snow

How disappointed they would be with the truth: “The hot tub story” isn’t really a story, and it isn’t salacious. The hot tub is evenings with family, breath-holding contests with my sisters, a science fair project done with my dad (about the chemicals – the only science fair I ever won. Figures that it was about that hot tub.) I know what my students expected to hear when “hot tub” appeared in my list. Instead it’s moments of connection with my family and friends, moments from a time so distant it seems almost unimaginable now.

On the other hand, the trampoline – now, *that’s* a story.

12 thoughts on “Hot tub #SOL22 11/31

  1. I love this story, not story sort of slice. I enjoyed how you used Look: Here: Over there: to create a few snapshots, like you’re sharing a photo album. There does seem to be so much there to tell! And now, I am intrigued by how the trampoline story must be extra-ordinary to outshine the way you describe the hot tub.

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  2. A hot tub in the snow – sounds so relaxing and surely so memorable. I find that once i start remembering such moments, more rise to the surface…the trampoline?!? What a teaser of an ending!

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  3. You might be surprised how your students would respond to the truth. I wonder if they would make their own connections with places that hold the depth of connection that the hot tub does for you?

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  4. Hot Tub Science Fair? That’s definitively *not* the story, or at least not this story. But it could be the hook for a different one… Or maybe I’m getting confused with “Hot Tub Time Machine.” Anyway, I enjoyed how this slice twists and turns through memories: how they were, how they weren’t, even how they could’ve been in your reimagining.

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  5. Love that you quickwrite in front of your students. Such and authentic way to model brainstorming and idea development. Of course hot tub would catch their eye! I do think the hot tub science fair could be an intriguing vignette!

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  6. Your opening paragraph made me laugh out loud, especially this line, “Trampoline and Hide-n-Go Seek haven’t piqued their interest in quite the same way as hot tub.” And thisline: “the photograph reveals a liminal beauty that I can only now appreciate.”-so evocative of our newfound “older” lens, peering into past versions of ourselves. I really, really get this. And here…such a reminder of how different the world seems to me now, “We’re in our bathing suits!” someone had squealed and the camera was put away.” Sigh. Imagine kids these days putting the camera away! The photo alone speaks volumes. And, lastly, I would love to see you in action, showing your students how to play with structure and begin in different ways, and, of course, I’ll be waiting for the trampoline story!

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