I wanted to be a poet. I had remembered riding in the 1960 Ford that my Daddy owned down through Summerville back when I was in the eighth grade. I had a little green notebook, wire bound at the top, and I was writing poems as we drove along.
I was unusual at that age, I suppose, because I could do anything in the back seat of a car without getting “car sick”. I used to read comic books in the back seat on the long rides out and back to Blue Ridge. There were some pretty curvy roads along that journey back then. Most of the time we had to go over to Chatsworth and cross Fort Mountain, and coast down the steep roads into Ellijay praying that the brakes wouldn’t overheat and catch on fire.
Once when I was very young, we got caught in a snow storm going up Fort mountain, and Daddy had to walk back down into Chatsworth to buy a set of chains for the tires on his ’53 Pontiac, so we could even make it back down off the mountain. My Mom was deathly scared of crossing that mountain anyway, and thereafter was even more terrified of it.
I remembered the huge, beautiful snowflakes which covered up the mountain that day, and wrote a poem about it in that green notebook those few years later. I saved the notebook, and continued to write some poems from time to time in it.
When our High School started a literary magazine in 1967, my junior year, they had a contest for the best poem turned in to be published in “The Sampler” which was what they called it. I reworked my snow poem and turned it in, not expecting it to even be published…..but was shocked when I won first place! The prize was a painting by my classmate Wayne Greene, who was using the name “Gerald Johns” back then.
At some point over the ensuing years, I lost that little green notebook. I did manage to keep a copy of that Sampler though, and I’ve also still got that futuristic green monster of a painting that Wayne did, squirreled away somewhere in my storage building.
Great days, wonderful memories.