Alphabet, A History (A)

The following piece of creative nonfiction is part of a series I started on my personal blog a few years ago called “Alphabet: A History,” which is a collection of short, autobiographical vignettes, focusing mainly on relationships (familial, romantic, platonic, and self). I will be publishing the series on Fridays.

A: Allison
I’m six and we’ve just moved to Tokyo from Chinhae, Korea. We’ve left our dogs behind and the only thing that gets me over it is the anticipation of a new baby. Allison is born on a cold day in the middle of winter five months after the move. My first grade class is at a special Air Force band concert on base. They’re in the middle of my favorite song, “Eye of the Tiger,” when I hear the familiar jangle of keys coming down the aisle closer to my seat. My father is the assistant principal at my school and whenever I hear, outside my classroom, the jangle of those keys he wears on his belt, I sit up straight, put my brush away, and fold my hands over my lap. Today when I hear the jangle at the band concert, I swerve in my seat and see my father and even in the dark I can make out his smile.

I spend the night at my friend Kristy’s house and her mother braids my hair and I feel like a whole new person. At the hospital the next morning, my mother doesn’t mention my braids and I wonder what it will be like sharing her now. My father asks if I want to see my new baby sister and I take a deep breath and nod. He walks me to the nursery and I peer through the window. All the babies look the same to me. “Which one?” I ask. He points to Allison and says, “That’s her.” I stare and wait, I’m sure something’s supposed to happen now. “She has red hair just like you,” my father says after a few minutes. “She looks like a bulldog,” I reply. A month later I teach her to touch her toes.


  1. Is City Wendy even up anymore? I liked lurking there after discovering your column on The Frisky. The Wedding pictures were especially nice. 🙂

    1. I’m taking a little hiatus from it right now. It was too much to keep up with and update this site three times a day and get ready for a baby. I hope, in coming months, to carve time for it again…

  2. Beautiful. I love the little vignette. So personal. Novel. From the era before ubiquitous digital pictures and video.

    Also, ha, careful leaving your dogs behind in Korea. 🙂

  3. LolaBeans says:

    HAHAHAHAHA.. a bulldog. super cute!!!!!!

    1. I’d like to clear the air and say that I don’t look like a bulldog anymore!

  4. Addie Pray says:

    Great! Alphabet, A History was always my favorite part on City Wendy. I’m glad they’re finding their way here.

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