Writing Exercise: Remember a sound and write about it for 17 minutes.
By Dawn M. Hamsher
I remember double dutch ropes slapping the black pavement. It was 1982 in the school yard of Bredgy Elementary School in downtown Philly. I was one of the few white kids in the school and I looked enviously at the girls who could double-dutch so easily, twisting and turning, signing and laughing, as natural as the day they were born. I wanted that rhythm. I wanted that freedom.
I began to practice at home with neighbor kids until I could jump in and out without touching the rope. Then the day came at school when I was ready. The girls eyed me up when I asked to join them, but nodded that I could try. I began to move with the rope, in - out - in - out, waiting for an opportunity to jump in. I was scared. Scared of messing up the rope, of ruining the jump. But, then I was in! My feet pounded back and forth, moving to the music of the ropes. I didn't try any fancy turns or try to touch the ground, like they often did, I just focused on the rhythm. When the girls saw that my jump was good, they began counting. 1-2-3-4... And, when they yelled 100 and I jumped out.
One girl, who I had wanted to impress, was absent. I told her about my jump the next day, but she didn't believe me. She said, "White girls can't jump. I just smiled. It was OK. I knew I had done it. I had that rhythm, the rhythm of the city schoolyard.