Category Archives: 8 Minute Memoir

Little Things

Prompt: Little Things. 8 minutes. No editing. No stopping. No worrying.


The first thing that comes to mind is my little Clifford. Little Clifford came with a Big Clifford, but Big Clifford didn’t have the same appeal that the little one did.

He used to have three or so hairs that stuck out of his head but they got cut when I went through the hair-cutting phase that every child seems to go through at some point. There is something about little stuffed animals, Beanie Baby size, that you can just hold perfectly when you’re little, they fit in the crook of your neck and under your arm and as you grow up they still kind of fit in those places.

Little Clifford was given to me by the only person close to me in my life who died before they were supposed to. I don’t remember him giving them to me but I remember being told he was the one who gave them to me so real or not Little Clifford will always remind me of Doug Chase.

He was the strongest man I knew. My dad was strong too but Doug was taller than dad and worked with his hands building houses so that seemed to make him automatically the strongest person I knew. He took us on rafting trips and made sure we felt safe. He always kind of had calloused hands and he could eat lots of donuts for breakfast because of his fast metabolism. These are the kinds of things that feel important when you’re a little kid. He also liked dogs like I liked dogs. Even though he was so big and I was so small I felt like he was my friend and we were equal.

He was tall and strong and always around in the time in my life when I was little and it was comforting to have someone around who was tall and strong. He seemed to be my dad’s best friend and that made me love him even more because I liked that my dad had a best friend and I got to hang out with him and my dad at the same time and we’d go camping and fishing and even though I really hated fishing after the first time I did it I still kind of liked the idea and I liked that him and my dad would catch really big fish that I would refuse to look at because they scared me–mind you this wasn’t necessarily when I was little because dead fish still scare me. The eyes, ew.

So this man, who had always been so strong and tall was diagnosed with cancer one day. And he was still strong and tall for quite a while but then one day, laying in a bed he seemed very small, very pale but even then he was so brave and strong to me and while I was sad then seeing him leave us and while I’m sad now as I write this when I think about Doug I feel those feelings of feeling safe and brave because he was always so strong and tall and when I was around him I felt like I was too.

It’s hard to remember specific memories, it just feels like he always there as I grew up.

And over a year ago when I got married I felt he was there. I had always imagined he would be at the important days in my life and he was. There are few things I have felt as strongly as feeling his presence in that moment in a day that was full of nervousness and new life changes and a decision almost as scary as catching a fish, he was there, helping me feel brave, which leads me to believe he’s always there. Maybe even more so than he could be if he was still alive.

Dumbledore got it right, those we love never truly leave us.



8 minutes, no stopping, little thinking, billboards.

Oh man, when I think about billboards all I can think about is all those Cavalia ones. Did you know that billboards stay up until there is a new one to replace it, I mean, it makes sense, they don’t want a bunch of blank billboards and it’s more effort than it’s worth, but that means that we may see those Cavalia billboards for a long time despite the fact that it’s moved on to Portland and maybe even on past that.

We used to visit Utah a lot growing up because my dad’s family lived here and my mom’s parents lived in Wyoming. I remember the first time I saw I-15 I was actually sort of enchanted by the all the billboards, which is amazing because most people, including myself sometimes, find them so ugly. We didn’t have as many billboards where I grew up, too many trees I guess.

So seeing all the billboards was exciting. I wanted to read them all. I love criticizing their advertising techniques. Whether they make sense or whether they have too much information to process as you speed past.

It reminds me of Fahrenheit 451 where they’ve increased the speed limit so much that they have to stretch out the billboards so they can be read. That book is crazy. I haven’t read it in a long time.

When I came to school at BYU I remember the drive from SLC to Provo and all the billboards. They sort of added to the excitement of a new beginning. Provo looks nothing like my hometown, where I had lived my whole life up to that point.

Now, having been here for more or less eight years give-or-take some summers, a mission, and a study abroad, I miss trees. I miss them a lot. But because of my initial feelings towards billboards I still love them. The drive from Provo to SLC is justifiably one of the ugliest commutes and also one that according to the traffic signs seems to be fairly deadly but it is still something I like. It reminds me of some place that was new and exciting but is also a second home.

I Don’t Remember

“Day 2: “I don’t remember” : Same rules as last time. Write “I don’t remember” at the top of your page. Eight minutes, no stopping, don’t think about it too much–let yourself go and whatever shows up on the page shows up. No censoring or editing.”

Prompt via

I don’t remember a lot of things. I try and think about being five years old and I don’t know. I remember my mom throwing me a circus themed birthday party but I can’t remember which birthday it was exactly.

My dad juggled apples. He would take a bite out of them while he was juggling and I thought it was super funny. We made masks out of paper plates. Tigers, lions, and elephants. When I was little I always wanted to be an animal instead of a person when I played or when it came time to pick a costume for Halloween.

I feel like I have one memory from each year at school but it’s harder to keep track of memories before school.

First grade I remember our teacher was sweet and always smelled like creamy coffee. I remember I threw up and she rubbed my back for me until my mom came. I remember one time someone someone stole lunch boxes and we had to figure out who it was. I had a hand-me-down Duck Tales lunch box and my friend had a Lion King one and I was sort of jealous but not that jealous because Lion King was/is my favorite  movie but her lunch box had some sappy image from the Can You Feel the Love Tonight scene. Our teacher would give us fireball candies and we always wanted to do whatever it took to earn them but then they’d be too hot for us so we would run them under water until they turned white (because the red candy coating would come off) I’m sure it was a huge sticky mess.

In second grade I was put in a special reading group with two other people. Because we were better readers and they didn’t really have a program for it, so we were supposed to go off by ourselves and read a book and write down any words we didn’t understand so we could talk about it later. We giggled as we discussed writing “buttocks” on the list to see if they would tell us what it means. We were reading some book where someone got shot in the buttocks with an arrow.

In third grade our class hamster died. I met my first new best friend Hillary. All my other friends had been since school started so there was something special about making a new best friend. When our hamster died we each put on a rubber glove and got to pet him one last time before we buried him in the courtyard. Can you imagine who came up with the idea of letting us pet him one last time but they were worried that the newly dead hamster had already collected enough diseases that we needed a glove to do it.

Our student teacher liked Elmo and had really long fake nails that would sometimes scratch on the chalkboard if the chalk she was using was to short. I was in a special group for math but it was bigger than just two other people. I really liked doing timed tests for multiplication. I really liked math.

At some point in school I was told I couldn’t draw in the margins of my paper. I’m still not sure what margins are for then.

Fourth grade we drew our own Pokemon cards. Our elementary school was a hospital at one point and it was more tall than it was wide so each year you got to move higher up in the building, except for third grade when we were in the basement. It flooded one time and we had to hop over the water. The bathroom had penguins painted in it but was still kind of scary to me.

Fifth grade we were on the top floor. Our teacher was an artist. My mom made sure I got her because my brother had had her before, I think. She taught us how to draw a hummingbird. You draw the eye and then connect the beak. We had to walk up and down so many stairs to get to lunch or the library or recess.