What I did on my summer vacation


“What did you do on your summer vacation?”

Would you believe this was the question asked of us at the English Writing Proficiency Examination (WPE) I had to pass to receive my BA? I had asked everyone I knew what they were asked to write about at their test site. I had heard about being asked for political commentary, analysis of current events or international affairs. I worried about the subject matter I would face even though I was reminded they were looking at the structure of your comments and your general writing skills, not content.

I went in and, pencil in hand, took a deep breath and looked at the paper. It said, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

“WHAT? WHAT!?, But I didn’t have a summer vacation. Being an older student, I had summer school, two small children and 100+ degree heat and NO MONEY! That was my summer vacation. So what am I supposed to do now?”

Of course I panicked, I drew a blank, and I sweated a lot. Everyone around me was writing quickly. I’m sure they were relieved it was such an easy question. So I did what any reasonable student would do… I lied. I made it up. Well, not completely, but it was an amalgam of various moments from my past, not necessarily summer, but activities at least. A little volleyball, some swimming, and a lot of fake enthusiasm later, I completed the essay. I think I held my breath until the day the results were posted. I passed (not in the top percentile I might add. How embarrassing!) It had been more than 10 years since high school English and it showed. I was an art major so a passing score was all I needed, but what a wake-up call that was.

I only mention this because I am reminded again today that my posts (and stats) have dwindled to near nothing again. If I don’t use it (my blog), will I lose it? I am spending time with my daughter and son in law from Australia and my first grandchild. The last two weeks have been, well, full! I am so behind in reading my feeds and I miss my favorite bloggers but I know I will be alone again after they leave. Plus (!) We are leaving on vacation at the beach and I am going to be on and offline for awhile. No apology necessary there, right?

So have a great end of July and I will be lurking in spare moments on my laptop by the bay. “What did I do on my summer vacation?” Maybe I can finally answer that question when I return  🙂

6 thoughts on “What I did on my summer vacation

  1. That photo is classic and the WPE story was fun to read. Thank you for sharing both. If when you took the writing test you had been as cool and calm as Dylan, you would have been in the top percentile for sure.

  2. @marstead, My daughter takes the best photos doesn’t she? She’s been at it a while now.

    Glad you enjoyed the photo and the story.

    The funny thing is… when writing this I kept stressing over grammar and punctuation. Then I thought, “YOU’RE ON VACATION!” 🙂

  3. Here’s to living life and not worrying about grammar and punctuation! As you pointed out when I felt bad about not keeping up with online work during a tough time, there are other things which should take priority.

    Plus, after your vacation you’ll have fresh new stories to share. When you get back we’ll be expecting a standard five-paragraph essay in MLA format. 😉

    Until then, have fun!

  4. “Thanks Terry. Nice to hear from you,” she wrote while sitting by the bay. “Should there be a comma after ‘Thanks’ or ‘she wrote’,” she wondered? She was taught to only use a comma when she is saying thanks, as in “Thanks, Diana.”

    Commas are her achilles heel. It doesn’t help that some of the rules have changed on her over time. It also doesn’t help that it’s been so many years since anyone edited her work for her. At least at work she had a reference guide handy. Now, although she relies on Google search to verify spelling, she is too tired, lazy, or rebellious to look up punctuation unless curiosity gets the better of her. “Hmm, I didn’t remember curiosity has no ‘u’. And spell check is still branding ‘achilles’ spelling as suspect! And how do you make ‘achilles’ possessive when there are quotation marks around it?”

    She blames her senior year English teacher, Mrs. Schumacher, for this obsession with punctuation; but she also loves her for instilling a love of language so strong it has never lost its allure.

    Well then, it makes sense that ee cummings is her favorite poet. I know, I know… his precise knowledge of punctuation allowed him to play with it the way Picasso played with reality. Wait… reality? Oh yeah! She is on vacation by the bay. Back to reality then!

  5. No apology needed at all. Of course your blog will still be here if you want it! I’m missing you but happy in the knowledge that you’re out there living.

    I love that picture too by the way. So. Chilled. Out.

  6. Hi Emma! Thanks, I am so enjoying my baby granddaughter that I have done little else… so wonderful. They grow so fast at this age!

    I will be back soon.

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