Disappearing Ladders–a breath of Creative Non-Fiction

 (Personal Essay and Creative Non-Fiction are genres that intrigue me and challenge me! Is there a genre of writing that intrigues and challenges you?) 


One summer when I was small, a ladder appeared against a corner piece of fence that separated my backyard from Rhonda’s, my best-friend. I saw the silver top of another ladder on Rhonda’s side of the fence. That ladder was taller than the one in my yard so I had to swing my leg high over the fence to reach the rungs on the other side. When I journeyed back over to my side, I’d turn backwards, balancing my tummy against the wood, and stretch my leg blindly until my foot reached the top step of my ladder. I learned early that flip flops were not the shoe of choice to climb ladders. Sometimes a pair of flip flops would be in my hands and bare-footed I navigated the hot metal steps between my backyard’s and Rhonda’s.

I don’t know whose idea it was or remember who it was that added these ladders that linked my backyard with Rhonda’s. I do remember my mother, years later, telling me she’d once found me half way to Rhonda’s house after my three-year old self wandered out my front door. And she told me too, about the later times when I was five years old and she received a morning call from Rhonda’s mom to let her know I was safe at Rhonda’s house, pajama- dressed and shoeless. This all must have been before the appearing ladders.

I don’t remember wanderings to Rhonda’s. Mom is gone so I cannot ask her. I do remember Rhonda’s favourite breakfast of crust-less buttered toast. I thought it very special, to eat bread with the crust cut-off. I wonder if I ate Cheerios before I wandered over to Rhonda’s. I do remember floating Cheerios in milk, and my brother, Mark, beside me eating his cereal in our kitchen then. I can’t ask him either about my wanderings to Rhonda’s since he is gone too. At my last visit with Mark, he nibbled on a crust-less sandwich while the sound of distant chimes came from the open hospice window.

I was too late to see Rhonda in hospice.

Rhonda had the prettiest baby doll pajamas. I felt big around her but she was smarter. Her house had four big rooms on the main level—the living room where we made card houses and the family room where we watched cable television, the kitchen, and the dining room with tables bigger than the one at my house even though my family was bigger. I had four older siblings compared to her two however, a big space of nine to twelve years in ages is between the three eldest and I. I remember dinners in our kitchen, a small gathering most often, with my mom and Mark, and a plate of food in the oven kept warm for my dad.

I don’t remember when the ladders were taken down. Maybe it was months before leaving to move west- my parents, Mark and me. Both my parents are gone now along with Rhonda and Mark; my memories behind fences only I’m left to climb.

I miss those ladders.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18


9 thoughts on “Disappearing Ladders–a breath of Creative Non-Fiction

  1. …Lynn…just finished reading this story (while waiting in an airport) and found it taking me back to my childhood as well. I recall a ladder in my life too. It was a ladder to the hayloft in our barn. I grew up climbing that apparatus many times a day. It provided so much entertainment. There were often fresh new kittens to check out. Sometimes my brother or my cousins or my best friend “Shirley” would have a “sleepover” up there. I can still smell the hay. I can hear the various farm sounds. I can remember how the last step was a tricky one. I really remember the time I got stung by a bee while in the midst of my climb. And I can remember the days of haying when fresh bales would ride an escalator up to be stored for winter feeding. Thank you for sharing a simple memory and allowing me to ramble alongside of you back down a forgotten childhood memory. Old memories are a gift. Blessings to you…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynn, what sweet memories of your friend and those ladders. I’m so sorry you lost your friend and your brother. Loss is always difficult. Isn’t it funny how some childhood memories are always with us? I hope you’re having a good week, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this sweet look back, Lynn. I love the genre of creative non-fiction also. Those stories that are true can bring such an awakening in our hearts as we share them, and as we read others’ stories also! Won’t those reunions in Heaven be so wonderful? All of the questions answered. Blessings to you this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OH!



    Regretful, somehow, for the things that are gone now.

    This made me think of all the little memories, the small things that were the big things. What seems small today that will be remembered like this?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful post, Lynn! I loved it. Your childhood sounds a lot like mine – kids wandering between houses, eating meals at someone else’s house, creating friendships and climbing ladders. The verse from 2 Corinthians is the perfect accompaniment.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I stared at that photo for so long, just taking in the length of that incredible ladder. Just wow. And this story is precious, Lynn. I love how you are reflecting on your childhood memories with such vivid detail. I just wish you could have them all back in your life to rehash the memories with… I’m heartbroken you can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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