Wendy Strain, MS
Always excited about sharing the next story, Wendy’s background includes reporting for several papers in the Star Newspaper Group of Texas, self-owned teaching and grant writing at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and freelance writing and ghostwriting. She has a Master’s degree in English with distinction in literature, business/technical writing, and rhetoric. Wendy’s special talent is telling a complicated story simply, a talent she uses to create intriguing manuscripts, help others discover their authentic voice, and share their ideas with the world.
As a Story Terrace writer, Wendy interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
House of Joy
The first memory is hazy. A bare white room, not large, and cold. The carpet was deep green, a comforting color that calmed me. It had a pattern, some of the fibers standing tall, while others were permanently doubled over, sewn down, tiny curls forever presenting their backs to the world. I wondered why some were free to be themselves and others must bend. Maybe they were broken and frozen inside, like me.
The next room was bigger. The yellow bed glowed with its own spirit as if nighttime dreams danced within, free and waiting for me to come play. But there were rules I didn’t understand, toys I was supposed to want, and ways young ladies were supposed to behave. I was not allowed to laugh too loud or run through the house or yell or play outside like the other kids. No matter how hard I tried, I always got things wrong so even alone, I was on guard.
Sometimes, I followed the dog’s example and curled myself into the square of sunlight allowed past the gauzy curtains, hoping it would melt the icy place inside.
I had to stay with my grandparents when Mommy and Daddy went to get my new little brother. It was better at Grandma’s. Grandma let me go out on the grass on purpose and wear pants instead of dresses.
But nights were the best. That’s when Grandpa turned on the record player. Scritch-scratchy noises came through the speakers before old-timey music started up. I don’t know how I knew it was old-timey music, but I did, and I loved it. It made my heart dance, and Grandpa always played along.
Once upon a time, Grandpa played his music on stages with big bands and movie stars on a beautiful golden instrument that could laugh and cry and do everything in between. Or he’d play in church, letting his fingers dance across two shining rows of ivory keys, sometimes pushing buttons on the side to change the organ’s voice.
When the music started in my grandparents’ living room and Grandpa pulled out his golden saxophone or sat at the organ, the shadows inside turned warm like blankets, melting all the frozen places, and the center was filled with light that fused the broken bits together. Those were the nights I discovered joy was a living thing, and I was it.
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