Selma’s Story Time – 8/2/14

Getting home pretty late from the library, Shelby saw her Grandma’s e-mail just before going to bed.

Dear Shelby,

How are things at school? Must be getting through your midterms by now. Boy, the school year has been going by fast. Seems like yesterday we were going shopping for your new sheets.

Wondering if you have time to help me with another project. I have another person I want to find out where they are now. Please let me know when you would be available. Hope to see you soon honey!

Love always,


Shelby replied,

Dear Grandma,

Another project? Who this time? I would love to come and help you, I will need to check on a couple of things at school before I can set a date. I will send you an e-mail to let you know.

Love always,

She kept the e-mail in her drafts folder. She would send it in the morning when she got up. Her Grandma got pretty upset knowing how late she had been up the last time she sent in the middle of the night. Shelby didn’t want to make her worry.

This is the second person she has tried to find. Where does she keep coming up with these ideas?


Selma’s Story Time – 8/1/14


Mrs. Stockton woke up the next morning to the birds chirping outside her window. Putting on a light blue housecoat she went to the front door to get her newspaper. It was taking some time for her to get used to seeing the news on the internet, but she preferred getting the hard copy of the paper delivered to her door. After making her morning cup of tea, she went out onto the porch and sat down on the couch to read the paper.
On the front page was a picture of Officer Dan Edwards in his Wooddale police uniform, looking very proud and sure of himself. At that time, he had no idea what he would walk into one day at work. And no idea that day would be his last. She thought it was probably a morning like any other at his house. He had breakfast with his wife and kids before he went to work. Said good bye, I’ll see you tonight and never come home. He and his wife Pam have three children. Now they will have to go to the cemetery to see their Dad, just like Ben had to do. Visiting the cemetery is the only memory that Ben has of his Dad, except for the stories and pictures that the family has shared with him.
Marty was in a situation he normally wouldn’t have been in. He was covering an afternoon shift for another officer that day. It was just after 8:00 PM and the shooter was picking up somethings at the convenience store after scoring some drugs. Pulling out of the parking lot, he screeched his tires to show off. Taking off pretty fast down the street, he ran a red light. Marty happened to be sitting in his patrol car at the intersection, so he turned on the siren and went after the car. The kid got nervous because he had the drugs and thought the officer knew, he had no idea he blew through the red light. He thought that if he shot the cop, no one else would know about all of this, so he just slowed down by the side of the street and let himself get pulled over. As Marty walked up to the side of the car, the kid had pulled the gun from the glove compartment and shot Marty in the head and drove off. Marty dies instantly and the cops did eventually corner the kid in a mall parking lot and arrested him.
Mrs. Stockton now felt that she needed to visit her son’s grave. He was buried in the cemetary here in Mount Vernon, where he was born. Being a young couple, Marty and Jenny didn’t have a place picked out to be buried. After talking to Jenny about what she wanted to do, she said whatever they wanted for Marty was fine with her. She had not put much thought into where she wanted to be buried, so only a plot for Marty was set up there. After she finished her tea and read the rest of the paper, Mrs. Stockton went and got herself ready to go to the cemetery.
She drove there remembering the ride in the limo along this same route the day he was buried. Her husband, Walter, had held her hand the entire day. He had been numb ever since they got the news Marty had been shot. Walter had been Marty’s biggest fan while he played basketball at OSU and when it came to him being a cop. When Jenny and Marty would come to dinner before Ben was born, the men would go off to the living room and Marty would tell his Dad some of the stories from the street. While Jenny and Mrs. Stockton would talk about what to buy for the house or for the baby.
Parking at the Willow Hills Cemetery, she got out of the car and walked up to his grave. The head stone was gray granite with the following etched into it,
Martin Walter Stockton
May 19, 1965 to October 12, 1992
Police Officer killed in the line of duty
Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle
She knelt down next to the grave and laid a bouquet of mixed wildflowers by his headstone.
“Marty, another police officer has been shot in our area. Please give me the strength to work through this episode of grieving for him and for you.”
She stayed by his grave for about an hour listening to the light wind rustle the leaves. The autumn colors were just starting to come to the surrounding trees.
Going back to the car, she started to wonder where the kid that shot Marty is today? Probably still in prison, but which one? Mrs. Stockton was thinking it would be another great opportunity to have Shelby over for dinner.

Selma’s Story Time – 7/31/14


Mrs. Stockton saw it on the 6:00 PM news. A 49 year old police officer was shot. It reminded her of the day she heard that her son, Martin had been killed. He was a police officer who had been shot by a 19 year old kid who  was in possession of drugs and didn’t want to go to jail. He ended up going to jail for a lot longer than he would have for just having the drugs.
The police officer that was shot today was Daniel Edwards. He was shot by someone he pulled over on a routine traffic stop. Mrs. Stockton imagined what happened. He just walks up to the car to talk to the guy and then he gets shot in the head. That simple, that fast. Witnesses saw him drive away from the scene. How can people be so selfish? They think that they are going to be able to get away. Don’t they realize that by shooting them, they are getting into more trouble? In the passion of the moment, probably not.
She was startled by the ringing of the phone,
“Hello Mom”, her son David said.
David was her youngest son. He was Shelby’s Dad.
“David, how are you?”
“I’m good. I heard about the police shooting in your area. How are you doing?”
“Well, the shooting was on the other side of town, but I am feeling a little scared and sad.”
“I feel the same way when these things happen. Marty always comes to mind and it makes my heart ache.”
“I miss him, David. I wish that I could have had the chance to talk to him one more time. That kid took him away from me.”
“Took him away from all of us, Mom.”
“But, he wasn’t your son,” she said, her voice starting to sound upset. 
“He was my brother. And I loved him too,” David replied in a calming tone.
Mrs. Stockton knew that she had never fully gotten over Marty’s death. The police department had someone come over and talk to them about how they were feeling about what happened. Her grieving has been hard. She had her son taken away from her for no reason.
“It’s still so hard honey,” she replied almost in tears.
“I know Mom. And it always will be.”
She just let down and started to cry. 
“Mom, do you want me to have Shelby stop by? I don’t really want you to be alone right now.”
She wished that David was there to hug her, but he lived in Nebraska. Shelby was about 45 minutes away at Columbia, but she didn’t want to disturb her from her studies.
“No honey, I will be o.k. This is not the first time this has happened. And it will happen again.”
“That is sad to say, but you are right. Being a police officer is not a safe job, but it has only gotten more dangerous.”
“Thank you for calling me though. It was nice to hear your voice and feel your support.”
“I’m always here for you, even though I live far away.”
“I know honey. I love you very much.”
“Love you too Mom. Are you going to be o.k.?”
“Yes, David. I will be.”
“O.k., I am going to do my rounds at the hospital now. If you need me, please call.”
“I will honey!”
They said their good-byes. She remained on her sofa for a moment and then went into her bedroom. She pulled a small oak box out from her closet. She sat down on the bed and opened it. Inside were things that belonged to Marty. Most of his possessions were saved in a box and given to his son Ben, who was only three at the time. She picked up the framed picture which was on top. It was of Marty after he graduated from the Police Academy. She smiled at it. He had that quirky grin ever since he was a kid. She loved that about him.
“I miss you so much Marty,” she said to the picture. “I wish you were here to see Ben. I’m sure that you see him from heaven every day, but he is doing really well at Ohio State, where you went to school. I don’t think that the basketball coach really knows what to do with him, like they didn’t know what to do with you.”
She put the photo back in the box. She held her hands clasped in front of her heart and took a deep breath. She felt a warmth surround her that could only be her son. The feeling is what she tries to remember, not what happened to her son. But each time it happens to another officer, it always reminds her of what happened to Marty that day. His picture brings her back to what she should remember, the spirit of Marty Stockton, her son.


This blogging session seems to have gone on its own track. Started off as an observation about how editing makes an idea into a story and wound up writing about how I am feeling about myself lately. I know I need to let the creative process take its own course and let whatever is going on inside of me come out. But looking back at what I have written so far, I’m not sure where things are really going. Let’s try and get this one back on track….
Creative writing has taken me on many adventures. It has always been amazing to see how the rough draft of a post starts out and how the final draft ends up. It’s like watching a painter create a picture in their head of what they want to paint and bring that picture to life on a blank canvas. The colors and forms fill up the picture and in the end becomes a work of art.
Sometimes I just start writing about something, an observation I’m making about something currently going on in my life. This summer has been a lot about baseball in our family, so a lot of my time has been around kids and doing things with them. So, I’m thinking about those experiences and relating it back to what I did when I was their age. 
The editing process is the key to making the final post a success. Making sure there are just enough words to make the idea clear to the reader without being too wordy. Or making sure I’m saying what I want to say with the words that I’ve chosen. Thank goodness we have computers and cut and paste options to help with that process. Makes it a lot easier to move paragraphs around and have a second set of eyes on spelling.
When does it become time for a story to take flight? When is it ready for the world to see? When it says what you want it to say and your brave enough to put it out there. Like the cover photo on my Facebook page says, “Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent.” Writing can be a way to share thoughts outside yourself. I used to journal my thoughts in notebooks and on the computer. Over the years I have gotten braver and braver at sharing those thoughts with others. 
By working on my writing again, I’ve been tapping into some creative energy that has been inside of me, waiting to come out. Seems to be coming out and taking me in many different directions. Sometimes staying on track with an idea and sometimes going off on multiple tangents. All a part of the creative process. I know what I  write is a personal choice, but there are many ways to do it. To bring the idea across to the reader in a creative but interesting way can be fun fun, but also very challenging. 
Blogging has helped me do a little bit of writing everyday and work on honing the craft. And, to experience some of the most special moments in my life again.


Being involved in the kids baseball season brings back lots of memories for me. After experiencing the end of one of this year’s travelling seasons with the boys, it made me pull out some of my pictures and articles from my softball career last night.
The smell of old newspaper greeted me as I looked through the photos and articles. My softball years spanned eight years, starting when I was ten and ended when I was eighteen. Seeing the pictures from my first T-Ball team, the Giants to the different sponsored teams that I played on. Some of the girls in those pictures, I’m still in touch with thanks to Facebook. Remember the good ole days up at the Little League Fields? Did you know that our league started in 1957? Do you remember the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary All Star games in 1982?
Reading through the articles, I saw that my name was mentioned having had two hits in a game a couple of times. I have a couple of trophies in my keepsake box from some of the successes I have had in softball. But not all successes are measured by having a trophy. Just being able to play has helped me to become who I am today and helped me to be involved in what Max and Mitch are doing in baseball now.
One of the memories I have from my childhood is biking up to the ball park to play softball for my summer league growing up. The field was about a half mile from my house, right between an airport and a golf course on the east end of town. Some of the team pictures I have show the airport in the background. We used to ride on the sidewalk all of the way up there. The fields are no longer there. The song, “It used to be my playground” by Madonna, runs through my head as I think about it now.
My primary position was catcher and I would bat first because I was able to get on base a lot. It was neat getting on base, waiting for my teammates to hit me in. Felt like you were helping your team score points while you stood on the base cheering them on. I wasn’t the best player and I wasn’t the worst player but I came to the field every day to play the game and hopefully help my team win. Getting treat tickets after the game to get a soda and some candy was another favorite memory of mine.
Our team went to the State Tourney in St. Cloud. My Mom had written all of the team names in the brackets for who won and who lost each game. Looks like we only made it to the second round that year. Whether we made it to State or played through just the regular season together, once it ended I would miss heading to the field and playing on a team with those girls.
One of the best things about playing team sports is meeting kids you may not have gotten to know in school. The experience gave us something to have in common and made us friends. We shared a chapter or more in each other’s lives growing up, creating a camaraderie that will always be with us. How about the team pictures that sometimes get posted on Facebook? 
I carry fond memories of those times in my heart.


The last day of this season…
So far they had a 3-0 record in the tournament and made it to Sunday’s bracket play. Dad keeps telling him to get ready. He is excited to play, but it is so hard to get going for the early morning games. But, thinking about the feeling that comes when he steps onto that field to play makes it all worth it.
Sitting on the couch waiting for his uniform jersey to dry, he watched his parents get the cooler and snack bag set up for the day. The outcome of the first game would determine how long they would be at the fields. So, the supplies had to be planned out for the entire day. Win one, play two more. Lose one, all done.
He napped in the car on the way and woke up just in time to see the sign for Arrowwood Fields. Getting out of the car a little bit groggy, he got his equipment bag out of the trunk. He perked up when he saw some of the team already warming up at field #2. He felt good about being there and headed over. He hung his equipment bag on the fence, took out his glove and hustled into the outfield to play catch with one of his teammates.
The morning games always came with a chill to them, since the sun hasn’t had a fair chance to warm things up. The sun was beginning to shine through the clouds and he could smell the freshly cut grass. The field was just starting to wake up with the warmth of the sun.
“Hey guys, let’s take some batting practice,” the coach called out to them.
They hustled in to the dugout to get their bats and helmets and headed over to the batting cages. The other team was warming up and seemed to be a little sluggish too. The excitement for the game was there, but the body wasn’t feeling it quite yet.
Finally, the umpire said,
“Let’s play ball!”
The other team was up to bat first, so his team took their positions in the field and the game got under way. The struggle for momentum went back and forth throughout the game. The fear of losing this game hung over both teams. For the loser, it meant their season would be coming to an end. When the team made an error, the fear of losing took hold and made it harder to battle back. But they had to find a way to do it, if they wanted to win the game and move on to the next round.
After a couple of hours, the game came to an end. The other team won and was moving on to the next round. His team finished as one of the top eight teams in the tournament. He felt sad that the season was over. He wouldn’t be having the same games and practices with his teammates two to three times a week and his family wouldn’t be coming to the field to watch him play again until next season.
Each player walked away from the field with their own family. They waved and congratulated each other for having a good season. Everyone drove away from the field in their own direction having shared a chapter of their life story.
What will he remember about his last day of this season? At first, it will probably be the fact that they lost. But hopefully it will become one of many good memories of playing baseball.

Selma’s Story Time – Mrs. Stockton Recap – 7/26/14

It makes me mad when other people take things that don’t belong to them, whether they steal it or just take it. And, it makes me mad that I have to lock up everything in my house or in my car for fear that someone will take it from me. On the way home from a family vacation one year, we stopped at a hotel in Philadelphia to stay the night. We left some of our belongings in the car and the next morning, most of it was gone, including a 35mm camera that my Dad had since he was a teenager. I’m sure that camera meant a lot more to my Dad than it did to the guy who took it and probably sold it for some cash.
One of the reasons people take things from others is for the sheer thrill of taking them. They feel like they are getting away with something. It’s like kids in the movies that dare each other to go into their local grocery store and put some penny candies into their pockets and run out into the street. In the next scene, they gather back at the clubhouse and take inventory of their efforts. Another reason is to exert power over someone else. They take something to get back at them or they know the person would do anything to get it back. In these cases, if they don’t get the satisfaction off of the power play from the other person, they windup just getting rid of something that meant a lot to someone else but, in the end, really meant nothing to them.
Johnny Kidler took the watch from Mrs. Stockton because he knew it meant something to her. It fell out of her pocket and she really didn’t want him to have it. So, that made him want it even more. She was afraid of him from the constant bullying, so he already had power over her. He didn’t need to take the watch. but, he did, and sells it at a flea market so he could go to the movies. Mrs. Stockton carries the guilt for the loss of the pocket watch for many years, and is why she felt she needed to contact him and try and put some closure on what happened that day.
I wish that people would put themselves in someone elses’ shoes before they decided to bully or physically take something from them. How would they feel if it happened to them? Asking ourselves this question is how we activate our conscience. It ultimately helps us make the right choices to do onto others as we would like them to do onto us. 
Did you like the story about Mrs. Stockton? What were your thoughts about it? How did it make you feel? Please feel free comment on this post.