May Day

Getting into the right of mind to tell a story can be challenging.  It was nearly 80 degrees in Denver two days ago. Yesterday, the high reached 33.  And it snowed all day long.



Such were the views from my windows, as I re-worked an opening chapter scene that takes place in the summer of 1958.  I was ten years old then.  I lived with relatives in Monrovia, California, after the death of my mother.

“Thick scents from tropical plants and a constant generator-like hum of insects rode in through open doors and windows on a soft, dark breeze.  The screen door’s tiny square wires fractured the glow from the front porch bug light.  Outside, Suzanne paced the sidewalk, waiting for Bill, a new fella she’d met at the record store.  The crunch of gravel under tires of a slow-moving car was always the first sign of visitors winding their way up the steep road to the house.  Headlights bounced off the hillside as a car made the sharp turn and headed up our long driveway.  Dry dust filtered through the screen door along with a squeal from old brakes.

That summer night, Bill brought over a small stack of LP’s–he said “LP” was short for long-playing records.  They were 12-inches in diameter and could hold more than twenty minutes of music on each side.  Until then, I’d only seen 45’s and 78’s…” — excerpt from Chapter 19, “Ouiji Board,” from Security Bound.

Yesterday was May 1st, May Day, a time for outdoor festivals and the display of new spring hats.  All that had to be postponed or cancelled.  May Day.  I thought of “m’aider,” which in French means “help me.”


About Ken Lutes

Ken Lutes brings his background in memoir and fiction writing to his work at the North Denver Tribune ( He enjoys interviewing his neighbors in Northwest Denver, where he has lived since 1999. After hours you will find him playing hot gypsy guitar with the Paris Swing Set band.
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