The Wishing Well Lounge, St Johns
I AM FROM ST JOHNS. I AM FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CUT, THE PLACE WHERE POWERFUL RIVERS MEET BENEATH THE MAJESTIC BRIDGE THAT FRAMES ST JOHNS. THE SAME BRIDGE MY MOTHER THREATENS TO JUMP FROM WHEN I MISBEHAVE. THE SAME POLLUTED RIVERS THAT TEMPT ME ON HOT SUMMER DAYS. I AM FROM THE WORKING MAN’S END OF TOWN WHERE THE DRUMS OF THE SALVATION ARMY BAND ON THE CORNER DROWN OUT THE WESTERN MUSIC BLARING FROM THE BEER JOINTS....
I AM FROM SHUCKED CRAB, CLAMS, AND HOTCAKES FOR BREAKFAST. THICK WHITE SLABS OF HADDOCK AND SALMON EVERY DAY, FRIED, PICKLED, CREAMED, POACHED, AND SMOKED, GORGING ALL WHILE "THE LITTLE CHILDREN IN CHINA STARVE"....
I AM FROM UNIONS, SOLIDARITY, AND EQUAL RIGHTS. AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL. I AM FROM FAIR AND SQUARE, I AM FROM ST JOHNS.
79 YEARS OLD
This excerpt from Sharon Helgerson’s version of this popular writing prompt (I used it with prisoners in Texas a decade ago) is posted on butcher paper, written in large caps with a wide marking pen, in the display window of a shop in St. Johns. The shop is defunct, and these words will come down at some point, but they are there now, and Sue and I drove over to read them. (See Extra.) While we were there we wandered around St Johns and had a fountain Coke at Patti’s Cafe. When I spotted the Wishing Well Lounge, I thought of shots by William Eggleston like this one and this.