Shattered Dream

I’m taking a six-week writing class at the community college.  Our teacher asked us to write about a single event that was the most important moment of our lives, and how it impacted ourselves or others.  I thought I’d let you grade it before I turn it in…

Defining Moment

The freight train rumbled by the house, sending Grandma’s huge, glow-in-the-dark rosary beads into a flurry of rattling against the mahogany headboard of the bed.  I got an idea.

“Grandma!” I shouted as I ran to find her.

“I’m not deaf,” she scolded when I found her.  “Must you always shout?”

I looked down and shuffled my red leather shoes.  Shouting was the norm at home with my nine brothers, but not here at Grandma’s.

“Grandma, can I play dress-up?”

“Well what do you want to wear?”

“I want to dress up like Sister Peter Miriam!”

Ever since beginning first grade I wanted to be a nun, just like her.  She was so kind, and I liked the way she smiled all the time.

“Let’s see what I’ve got.”

I followed Grandma back into the bedroom with the rosary beads.

“Can I wear those, Grandma?”


She opened the cedar closet and pulled out a black dress.  It was the perfect length for me, going all the way down to my ankles.  Grandma put a belt around my waist a few times and draped the rosary beads through it, just like Sister’s.  She wrapped a black veil around my head and gave me her black low-heel shoes.

“They fit, Grandma!  They look just like Sister’s!”

“I can hear you already.”

I stood before the mirror, admiring my new persona.  I couldn’t wait to show Gramps.  I ran to the kitchen to find him.

“Gramps, look!”

“What are you supposed to be?” he said with a frown.

“A nun!  I’m gonna be a nun when I grow up!”

“A nun!  You don’t wanna be a nun!”

I always listened to Gramps.  He was the smartest person I knew.  My dream melted away in the wake of his angry words.  If he didn’t want me to be a nun, then I wasn’t going to be one.  I looked down at the rosary beads and shoes I had been so proud of.  My face flushed red-hot with embarrassment.

“No.  I guess not,” I said.

I turned and slowly trudged back to the bedroom to change.

As I think back on that decisive moment, I can’t really say it was the most important moment of my life.  But my husband and three children would strongly disagree.


4 Responses to “Shattered Dream”

  1. Robyn Says:

    You are a gifted writer. You make your case so well and yet with few words you give the reader the impact necessary. I’m impressed!

    Your story makes me think of what our words do to others. We should always be careful what comes out of our mouth. But who knows, maybe your Gramps words were divine!

  2. judyransom Says:

    Perhaps! Thanks.

  3. Don Jones Says:

    what a great story on how powerful the words are. How they can destroy someones dream in an instant. You really need to think before you speak, especially to children. Thank you Judy

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