Erika Winston, VA
Erika has three great loves in her life – family, politics, and writing. A former attorney, she left the courtroom to spend her days helping individuals and organizations communicate their ideas, platforms, and compelling stories. With a knack for finding her clients’ voices, Erika has successfully written and edited business content, books, articles, and more blogs than she can count. She knows the emotion that goes into writing, and she honors that by listening and ensuring that her clients shine through in the finished product. She also loves melodic lyrics over a contagious beat.
As a Story Terrace writer, Erika interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
Yogi Bear, The Eiffel Tower, and Elvis
I could barely contain my excitement as the car zoomed passed the interstate’s wall of trees. It was 1977, and I was headed to my very first amusement park. For months, I’d been running to the television every time a Kings Dominion commercial aired, mesmerized by visions of skipping along with Yogi Bear and riding on the little train that was just my size. It looked like a magical adventure and it was finally my time to go.
Walking up to the entrance, I remember being awestruck by the cartoon characters cut into the greenery and the huge Eiffel Tower that welcomed me to the park. It was the perfect start to what I thought would be a perfect day … but something just wasn’t quite right.
There were a lot of tears in the midst of my childhood elation. As some people quietly wiped their eyes, others openly bawled with heartbreaking grief. I searched my mom’s face for answers, but she obviously didn’t have any to give me.
As my dad walked back from the ticket booth, I ran up and grabbed his hand. “Why is everybody so sad, Daddy?” I asked.
“Well, baby,” he began, hoisting me into his arms. “Somebody that a lot of people care about died today.” Then, looking at my mom, he added, “Elvis Presley died.”
I knew who Elvis was, and I somewhat understood the pain of death. But it wasn’t sadness that drove the tears down my tiny cheeks. It was compassion. Even at the age of four, I could feel the immense pain of the strangers around me, and I hurt for them.
We went forward with my first visit to the amusement park, and though I vaguely remember the Scooby Doo roller coaster and drive-through safari, I clearly remember the sadness that hung over that day. It’s my earliest memory of empathy and, particularly in the challenging times we live in today, I hope that four-year-old part of me never dies.
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