Saturday Story Starter

Welcome to a new feature on my blog!

I had so much fun reading all your stories about the mysterious shoes (click here to check them out), that I decided we needed to make this a regular habit. And so, the Saturday Story Starter was born!

I can’t promise you a story starter every Saturday, but I’ll try to put one up here at least once a month. It’s purely for fun, just as a way to exercise those writing muscles (think of it as Heather’s Literary Gym). There are no prizes, only the simple joy of putting words on paper (well, OK, computer screen). Also, I won’t be offering critiques, just brief words of encouragement, but I will read all entries, that I can promise!

Here’s this week’s photo:

Concord house

This is the house in Concord, Massachusetts, that I lived in from 4th grade through 10th grade. It’s pretty, isn’t it? I know it looks terribly grand, but it was a shambles back when my parents bought it for a song. It used to be painted white, but the current owners changed it to yellow. I like it better, don’t you? Yellow is so cheerful. (Fun fact: for anyone who lives in Concord, or who’s traveling to Concord, the cozy house that I gave to Emma Hawthorne’s family is right next door, just before the bridge on Lowell Road).

STORY STARTER: Β Write about home. One that you have lived in and loved, be it large or small, fancy or plain, in a city high rise or out in the suburbs or the country, in a trailer or a hotel room or a tent or wherever else Β home took you. Help us see and feel why you love this place, and what makes it home to you.


Ready, set, write!

53 thoughts on “Saturday Story Starter”

  1. The peeling paint on the sills and shutters and the scratches on the keyhole (not to mention the many insults that keyhole has endured from not working) do nothing to contain the fact that home is bursting at the seams with music, words, crafts and games. It’s not a palace, but it sure is a cozy place to curl up with a book!

    • Love it! Nothing better than “a cozy place to curl up with a book,” in my opinion. πŸ™‚

  2. Today I sit in my bedroom like most days thinking-or dreaming more like-about the house we moved out of two years ago. You’d think after two years a person would forget about a certain house. But, no. I still remember the red brick that had stood there since the beginning of time-or so my sister and I used to think. I still remember the long driveway where my sister and I spent hours upon hours each day, riding our bikes. I still remember the warm fireplace we lit in the winter, and the cozy conversations held by it at night. I still remember our kitchen, even with it’s horrid, chicken print, wallpaper. I remember the bread and baked goods my mom showed me how to make in that wonderful kitchen, her hopes held high that I would become a great baker like her. But today I sit, on my bed, wondering about the people who moved into it. How they treat the house. Did they paint over the baby blue color of my walls? I hope not. But I’ll never know. But I can’t help but to wonder. And maybe that’s not so wrong.

    How was that?:)

    • Wonderful! I am totally intrigued with the “horrid, chicken print wallpaper” πŸ™‚ and I love the way you wonder about it to this day. Home is a powerful feeling, one that stays with us forever…

  3. Ooh, I told my mom not long ago that we should visit Concord! (After I re-read the MDBC for the umpteenth time!) My family’s a bunch of historians! πŸ™‚

    Okay, now for my story-starter:

    In a small middle-class home on Country Lake Road, there lives a little girl who adores it with all her heart. She loves the big oak trees and the garden out back, and she loves the kitchen, and the office, and the cozy living room. It may be quaint, but for a little girl who grew up there, there’s no place like home.

    • What type of history do like, Emily? My family is a bunch of history fans too, and it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one! I enjoy the late 18th century.

  4. I have moved every year since I was born to now. I lived in Washington for a year, then back to California, and then I moved back to Washington. We lived there because my dad was stationed there. We moved back to California because my mom was pregnant. When my dad was done serving we started moving every year throughout a city in the Greater Los Angeles area. Just like Emma felt when she moved to England, I was excited but sad to leave at the same time. But now I’m living with my grandparents and I love it the most out of all the places I’ve lived. It has a big frontyard (we always lived in an apartment), I get to see my grandparents everyday, and it feels cozy. That is what feels like home to me.

    • Wow, how cool that you’ve lived in so many places, Kay! And that you’re so fond of the home you’ve settled in now. Sounds ideal to me, with a lovely front yard and grandparents, too! πŸ™‚

  5. Ms. Fredrick~
    As I looked at the picture I could almost see Jess there. It reminded me of Half Moon Farm! It is a truly beautiful house and I would love to see it in person, but I live in California. I have also always wished that you would come visit my school, but alas my school is far from where you live.

    • I visit schools all over the country, Kay. All it takes is an invitation from the librarian or principal! πŸ™‚

  6. Home to me will always be a two-story square house in a growing Midwest town. It will always be a delightful cream that is peeling just a bit, and trimmed with a forest green. It will always have a wonderful old house feel, and will be packed with lovely antiques, and many, many books! I will always have been the girl who had a bright red carriage barn in the city, and had wild blackberries along the back fence. This is “always”, because no matter what may happen to it in the future, home will stay as a cherished memory.

    • Love this — “I will always have been the girl who had a bright red carriage barn in the city, and had wild blackberries along the back fence.” Such a lovely image, Elizabeth!

        • Thanks! Don’t get too happy about the fence though, it’s not a white picket fence or anything like that, it’s just metal. Oh,well.:) I used artistic liscence. The house IS nice though.

  7. Wow.. I love the house!!!! It is such a pretty pastel yellow!!

    – Home is where the heart is, first of all. It is a lifetime of memories stored forever no matter what circumstances. Home is my aqua walls in my room and books strewn haphazardly in my room. Home is board games on Sunday nights and aromas of cookies and baked delicacies wafting down the hall. Home is a medium sized house, which I am very lucky to have considering how many people are without one. Home is where my family lives together and a welcome place for non-immediate family to stay anytime.
    Home is where I have lived for almost my whole life, and it is a peaceful dwelling. Many Halloween goodies have been dumped on its floors, and many MANY slumber parties and sleepovers have occurred. Home is where I love to be and where I am with my family.

    • I whole-HEARTEDLY agree that “home is where the heart is,” Elizabeth! And I love the image of those Halloween goodies dumped on the floor — that sure happened at our house, when my kids were growing up … πŸ™‚

  8. To me, home is a fairly large and fairly new house, built in 2010. Home is my desk in the study at home, always a mess of drawings, books, old homework papers, and photos of my family, my friends, and me! Home to me is my room in this house, big but cozy (and the perfect place to curl up with a good book). But home to me is also the house I lived in before I moved into this house. I remember the small estate, way out into the country. I remember the special friendship I shared with a girl named Sophia at the school I went to. I also remember my 4th grade teacher, one of the main influences in my life (at least so far). Now I’m going to seventh grade after the summer, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them. But you never know, maybe the Winding Hall of Fate will allow me to see them again sometime!

    • The Winding Hall of Fate never ceases to surprise us — I love that it’s taken you from the country to town, to a house that’s “big but cozy” — cozy seems to be necessary for someplace to feel like home. At least for me!

  9. Hi Mrs. Frederick!
    This is so perfect! I am going to Concord this upcoming weekend. We are going to Boston and I really wanted to go see Concord after reading so much about it in your books. I am excited to visit all the author sites. Do you have any suggestions of where else we should visit?

    • Orchard House for sure, where Louisa May Alcott wrote LITTLE WOMEN. Walden Pond! Kimball Farm (or Bedford Farm) for ice cream. The Old North Bridge, the bullet hole house, “Colonial” (Concord) Academy, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. How’s that for starters?

  10. I stared up at this new house-it was different somehow from others. The other houses seemed to almost shy away from my gaze every time I’ve done this. But not this house. It looked me right in the face. I smiled. This house now seemed more welcoming to me. But, oh, how I still longed for our old homes, the one with too small rooms,repelling floral wallpaper in the dining room, the bookshelves riddled with time capsules of our life; every house had that and more. But they had never been ‘home’. I again looked up at this house, it’s yellow paint peeling, the bushes overgrown. This one, unlike others, felt like home.

    • Beautiful, Abigail. I love the idea of a house that “looked me right in the face.” Yup — that’s home.

      • Thanks,Mrs. Frederick. LOVE Saturday Story Starter; I will certainly be participating next time!

  11. Home: For some four walls a ceiling and a floor, for others a group of memories shared in a place that everyone remembers. Home for me isn’t either of these. My home is where I can be most alive, most vibrant. For me Home is the small theater in the park. I have several different families there. I can be myself or put on a mask. I can imagine and explore. I love to see smiling faces, and full houses on opening night. Home is where I won’t be judged because I’m different, because there we are all similar and there we are all we’ve got for tireless hours daily. I love what I do and I do what I love. And so home is not where I sleep and eat, home is where I live.

    • “Home is where I live” — love it, Adrianna! And love the idea of “home” not necessarily being a “house.” πŸ™‚

  12. This sounds like so much fun! πŸ˜€

    Home is an interesting word with a plethora of meanings different to each individual. Home can be a physical place you return to after a long day, the place you live, or simply a place to sleep before you move on. It can be a mental place of comfort, a place where you can be yourself. People can have many homes simultaneously, or just one.
    As a person who hasn’t moved around much, I have two homes I can speak of. The first was a small red brick house, whose halls were often littered with the My Little Pony homes and Barbies from the playing of my sister and me. Outside there was a swingset and shed, which, despite my grandfather’s generosity in building it, served more often as a home for spiders than a place for me and my family. Inside lay a dark hallway where I would linger after I was supposed to be asleep, making excuses to enter my sister’s room to borrow books I could hardly read, usually ones that would slide off my bed after I doze off, startling my parents.
    That was the house I was born in, yet I hadn’t spent as much time in there as my current one; nevertheless, a home is a home and the two of mine are incomparable. The one I live in now as the best mental paradise I have ever found- that is to say, my room. Originally I pouted over its pink walls, wishing for the green room my sister had immediately claimed. However, I’ve come to love it, my room filled with every relic of my past I’ve refused to throw out. Downstairs is a warm kitchen occupied by a completely beaten up kitchen table, and even farther below, a basement that still smells like the candles the former owners lit. The (eternally, if how long we’ve lived here is any indication) unfinished part of the basement has often served as a place for hide and seek during many birthday parties, and contains the Christmas items we’ve probably owned since before I was born.
    It’s all these little things that make me love my house(s), these small comforting details. Everything is familiar. All the little bits of the childhood of my sister and me, and parents’ married life, are assembled together into a home. Memories upon memories added in with a constantly changing life create something sturdy, secure, and comfortable- something like home.

    I wrote way too much! >.< (Just ask any of my teachers- I always end up doing this.) Well, I hope it's good anyways…

    • Wonderful, Gwyneth! I love the “memories upon memories” and all the smells and sights — and even the home for spiders… πŸ˜€

      • Wow! That is awesome, Gwyneth! I always love the things you write (I loved your piece on the neighborhood mystery, too)!! My favorite part is when you say “whose halls were often littered with the My Little Pony homes and Barbies”-I can definitely relate to that!! πŸ˜€

        • Thanks, Olivia and Heather πŸ˜€ Yes, the spiders certainly had it good in that shed…And I’m glad that you like what I write, Olivia, you’re so nice! πŸ™‚ Ah, yes, they definitely were fun to play with,weren’t they? ^.^

          • You’re welcome, Gwyneth! πŸ™‚ And yes, I did have a lot of fun playing with My Little Pony toys and Barbies… πŸ˜€

  13. Small and quaint, anad most the of the people’s coments are, “wow your room is really small”.
    “Yes”, I respond, “When we first moved in I thought it was a broom closet”.
    Though it may be small it the easiest house I know how to clean. It’s not large and grand like my childhood home, that my dad built with his own two hands, or the cockroach aparmtment, that I long to forget. It’s not the old house house that my own family and friends rebuilt when I was just a silly young girl. But this house means more then any other house, and to me it’s not just a building or a place to fill with junk. It’s a place to call home.
    Now I could write more about the place that I live, but that’s all for now, from the place that I live.

    • Funny, Samantha — one of the things I tell people about our cozy little house (MUCH less grand than the one I lived in when we were in Concord) is that “it’s so easy to clean!” A definite advantage to cottage life … πŸ™‚

  14. Dirt is all that remains of the lush, beautiful yard that stood there just days before. The halls are all stripped bare of their paint. Everything from the well-worn and well-loved home has disappeared, been demolished for now. It makes me want to cry, looking at the bland thing my house is now. Through my whole life, I’ve chipped the paint on the railing as I ran down the stairs, loved its little quirky, old seats that are pulled out from the wall, rearranged my room and rearranged it again, and loved every minute of living there. I’m only going to be away from my house for a year, while it gets updated or redone, as my parents say and as I have to accept. When I go back to it, it’s not going to be the same house that I have always known and loved, but hopefully it will be just as good, or even better.

    • We all hope it will be better, Katie! (And still contain all its happy memories for you.) πŸ™‚

  15. I feel that home to me is that large, beautiful home I had back in 5th grade. The setting was in Westmount, Illinois. Although I lived there for only a year it was a home I loved unlike any other. It was a beautiful white house. It looked magical in the snow. My room was on the upper floor. It had beautiful light purple walls. It made me feel so alive and free. It had a mini table which I used to write all my hearts desires. Actually, to be honest I almost always wrote curled up in my bed. Just like Emma did in the MDBC. The library’s light blue walls were so special too. I went to my home’s library to do my homework or work on a special project. If you walked just a little farther was my play room. It had exquisite beige walls, it was actually a loft. I watched movies up there, read, or played table games. If you walked all the way back towards my room, across from it was my parents light green room. I liked it because it was large and it had many hiding places. I also loved the backyard. I was and am not an outdoor person but the backyard made me adventurous and daring. Once, I walked all the way to a park ( that was a little far from my house) and another time I walked with my friend to her house ( which was far as well). Of coarse, I was punished big time for it. Anyway, I loved singing in the backyard and sometimes it was the place I most used to act hyper. I also went sledding in the driveway ( with my parents supervision of coarse.) But now my motto is: ” Home is where your heart is- where your family is.” I love the new house I’ve been living in for over a year in a half in the sunny state of California. It is smaller but it has its perks too. But that is a whole other story.

    • “it had many hiding places” — that’s one of the best things about big houses, Mireya! I love my cozy house now, but I loved growing up in a house with a basement and an attic and a chicken coop/shed outside — all sorts of great places to hide! πŸ˜‰

  16. By the way, whenever you see something Mireya Del Pozo or Mireya wrote is really the same person. Sometimes I forget to write my last name so it may look like is two people. Is not!

  17. My favorite home was a one bedroom one bathroom apartment. We weren’t that rich because both my parents were students. What made it the best was my friends that I had! We had the most magical memories! I relied on books from the library when I couldn’t buy them. Now, I live in a really wonderful house but my friends aren’t there for me anymore. So I write stories to let my feelings out.

    • Magical memories are the BEST! And my childhood memories are grounded solidly on those library books, too! πŸ˜‰

  18. A bookshelf chock-full of books
    With crafts filling all the room’s nooks
    Several paintings adorn the walls
    A couple of them picture soccer balls
    Library books stacked high
    Next to homeschool work – sigh
    There’s the souvenirs from around the world
    And fabrics lying unfurled
    But most of all the books:
    Some fiction, a Bible, and lots of notebooks
    A soccer goal out the window
    With a lawn that just got a mow
    The house is certainly “Home Sweet Home”
    I hope I’ve convinced you with this poem.

    I mostly just did my room – I hope that’s okay πŸ™‚ .

  19. In the middle of nowhere, there lives a camp that is so welcoming no wants to leave. Boys and girls who fit in nowhere else fit in at this small overnight camp and those who do fit in are welcomed as well. One day I ventured over the hills, through the highway, pass a pizza place and some WAWAs, and up a hill again. Now, I keep going back to 157 Gamefarm,Rd – my second home. Its not be the facilities, or the activities, but the people that make it mine, and their home. Sitting on top of a roof on a hot Sunday night with your brothers and sisters gives such a rush happiness where you realize this is what life is meant for. Being at camp is an alternative reality, but at the same time – life doesn’t get any realer. The last night of camp where you sit around the lake with everyone and cry and cry and cry really comes to show that this is a place making memories. Memories of sitting on a ledge overlooking the lake having a gossip secession and tanning on basketball courts are memories worth while. They might seem like little things, but these are the things that make camp.

  20. I know that this story is quite a few Saturdays late, but while I was writing my favorite fruit story I stumbled upon my home story which I had started but never finished. I decided to finish though so here it is….

    The place where I feel most at home isn’t the place where I sleep. No, it’s not the place I was welcomed into as a newborn, not the place I learned to walk and talk, not the place I share with my family. It’s the studio.
    When I was 4 years old, mom took me to the studio for the first time. Though I don’t remember that day very clearly, I do know that I enjoyed the hour long ballet class so much that mom took me again the next week, and the week after that and every week up until now. Through the years, my classes have increased from one hour to two or three, from one day a week to six, and from frolicking around in sparkly leotards to memorizing countless combinations wearing deceivingly beautiful yet excruciatingly painful pointe shoes.
    Every weekday at exactly 4:30 I promenade along the cement path up to the white, peeling door, with my purple dance bag swinging to bump my waist with every step. Usually I’m walking alongside one or more of my dancer friends who all arrive a half hour early before class to stretch, warm up, and prepare. I take in the familiar sight of the pink letters painted on the door saying Kingsburg Ballet & Arts which is the name of the studio. I grip the rusty door handle and yank. I love how the old door only opens if you pull it a certain way and its harder to get ajar in the ungrateful, cold winter months. I toss my bag onto the floor next to me as I plop into a chair in the waiting area of the studio. I grope around in my bottomless bag until I find a few spare bobby pins which I use to secure my bun even more. I slide on the satin pointe shoes and tie the ribbons in a tight knot, then tuck the fraying edges out of sight. As the younger kids class ends signaling the start of my class, the little girls file out of the classroom as me and the other girls in my level of classes step in. Everyone begins stretching and chatting at the barre until Madame enters the room. She signals for the pianist in the corner to begin playing, and everyone stands tall with our heels touching and toes facing outward in first position. As we bend and straighten our knees doing demi (small) and grande (big) pliΓ©s our muscles slowly come to life. The black, rubbery ground grips our feet as we make marks on the floor to add to all the others. The tall mirrors reflect our moves; from the graceful ones that Madame nods in approval at to the clumsy mistakes that we try again and again to perfect. The row of windows along the back wall let the afternoon sunlight illuminate the room as we dance through the blood, sweat, and tears.
    They say home is where the heart is. Well, if that’s true my heart was stolen by ballet a long time ago meaning wherever I dance, I am home.

    • Oh my goodness, Juliette – this is GORGEOUS! Glorious, glorious writing. We’re all right there with you in the studio, and we feel your passion for dance. And the last two lines. Oh my. Perfection!

      • LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was sooooooooooo wonderful!! And I know exactly how you feel, being a fellow dancer. πŸ˜€

  21. When I read your comment it seriously made me glow! Thank you so much!! Your kind words are so inspirational! I never would’ve expected a published author, let alone one of my favorite authors of all time, to like my writing. It means so much to me that you take the time to read what everyone writes πŸ™‚ again, thank you so so so much!

  22. Wow, Juliette, this is beautiful! I share your love of ballet, too, (there are really great teachers at the Loudoun School of Ballet) and I start wearing pointe shoes in September. My friend Mariana, who also goes to Loudoun Ballet, says they really hurt at first, and that she has to replace them often because she wears them out quickly. But even so, I can’t wait until I finally get to try them out for myself! πŸ™‚

Comments are closed.