Categories
Nonfiction The Upper New Review

Inheritance

by Taylor Roseweeds

A glass-topped tray in a carved wooden frame affixed with two brass handles hangs on the wall by my bed, five blue swallows hand-painted on its surface. It’s the type of tray you might bring to a sick person in bed, but I’ve chosen to hang it on the wall exactly as it hung in my grandparents’ bedroom until I inherited it in 2016. I spent portions of each summer and many Christmases with them on their apple orchard—a welcome break from a less idyllic daily life. Despite the availability of a spare bedroom, my sister and I almost always slept in the living room on two matching couches.

When we were small, we’d wake up before anyone else and get in our grandparents’ tall, soft bed. I would choose my grandpa’s side and he would check that my feet were tucked in, muttering something about Jack Frost coming to get my feet. In a dream—or a waking imagining seeded by this idea of Jack Frost—I sometimes saw a creepy man at the foot of the bed, emerging from the closet. So, while my grandparents tried to get a few more minutes rest, I would turn my gaze away from the closet and focus instead on the wall where the bird tray hung underneath an extremely 1970’s print featuring sunflowers in a vase. In calligraphy, it read “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” I’d watch the birds fly and take in the pleasant philosophical depth of that simple statement, drifting back to sleep.


When my grandma—Dee Loris—died in 2016, preceded by her husband seven years earlier, she left a houseful of stuff. An individual binder-style scrapbook album of snapshots for each year from 1958 to 2015 as well as additional themed books for vacations, older photos, or individual people. Kitchen cupboards crammed with sets of dishes, papered inside with recipes and diet tips cut out from Woman’s Day and Redbook. Basement rooms with closets still bearing treasure—Gunne Sax dresses, washed-soft vintage tees, and bell bottom jeans so wide my aunts said they’d have to stop walking on windy days when their pants transformed into sails.

Categories
Nonfiction The Upper New Review

My Flag

by Vanessa Wright

The Union Jack. Three colours. Three stories. The same national symbol unites and divides us.

RED: “to paint the town red: meaning to party or celebrate, usually in a public place”.1Red – en.wiktionary.org/wiki/paint_the_town_red

We walked a couple of streets to Howberry Road, where we would spend every Saturday morning visiting the butchers and greengrocers with Mum. But on this occasion, it was transformed. Trestle tables instead of parked cars now lined this street in Thornton Heath; red, white and blue bunting draped between lamp posts; Union Jack flags arranged as centrepieces on tables. And crowds lined the street in readiness for the races. The Queen’s Silver Jubilee, 1977. My earliest memory of the British flag.

Categories
Nonfiction Research Narratives The Upper New Review

Connect-the-Dots

Connect-the-Dots: Following the Unnatural Path of Water from the South San Juan Mountains to Albuquerque

By Stacy Boone

Growing up meant worm farms, roly-polies in a jar with dirt mined from the garden and smashed lightning bugs on my t-shirt as day wrestled with evening. I turned over rocks to find hidden crawdads in water drainages and hopped after toads accidentally kicked out of a molt of leaves. I was raised in an era when a child’s mode of travel was a bike and shoes were of the “tennis shoe” variety. I was left to wander in an Arkansas subdivision with no sidewalks but wood lots and forest that neighbored in safe proximity to lawns. I rarely strayed far from an oversized circle radius of seven or eight blocks. Well, maybe more if I thought I might not be caught. My friends and I made a point to check-in at whoever’s house was closest at lunch where we were fed and promptly pushed back outside with a gesture to, “Go Play.”

In the wild, I waded in creeks, scaled trees, rushed into high grasses and drank with scooped hands most any clear water source when thirsty. I scraped my knees. My legs bumped and itched with chigger bites. Bruised was an unworried part of play. Outside was education laid bare. Unwittingly, day-to-day outdoor activities were experiments of how the natural world worked. I researched before I understood the concepts that involved a created hypothesis or abidance to a system of methods. I examined without formality through a hands-on studied approach. Without the scientific methodology, I knew that tadpoles became frogs, water moved downstream and branch buds turned to leaves. Intuitively, I expected a repetition of nature’s routines.

Categories
Challenges Nonfiction The Upper New Review

Silence is Golden, But Music is a Girl’s Best Friend

by Lillian Beach

I find myself constantly listening to one thing or another. The only time, it seems, when I am not listening to something is when I am in the shower and forced to be alone with my thoughts. Even then I sometimes turn on a podcast or music, distracting myself from the quiet that feels so claustrophobic. There is a need to listen to something. My thinking is done for me. I don’t need to consider what is going on outside, or what I am stressed out about on a particular day.