Wanda’s Winning Words: Part Two

October 6, 2017 • Posted in baseball, book tour, careers/jobs for people who are blind, memoir writing, politics, public speaking, visiting libraries by
That's Wanda and me with some writers from our class. Wanda refers to her trusty walker as Wilma after track star Wilma Rudolph.

That’s me, Sharon, Audrey, Wanda and Darlene from class. Wanda is pictured with her trusty walker, who she has named Wilma after track star Wilma Rudolph.

The week the Cubs won the World Series last year, I assigned the writing prompt “Winners!” A year later, the Chicago Cubs are in the running again: they play their first game of the 2017 NL Division playoffs against the Washington Nationals today.

This post is the second in a series of posts considering which essay from Writing Out Loud Wanda will read when she appears with me Tuesday night, October 17, 2017 at 6 pm at the Harold Washington Library Center.

If the Chicago Cubs are still in the playoffs on October 17, Wanda may decide to read the essay she wrote after last year’s World Series. It’s featured in Chapter 86, “Winners All” and is written in the form of a letter from her favorite Uncle, Hallie B. An excerpt:

My Dear Niece,
Greeting from Mount Eternity! Spunky (aka Bea) and I are hoarse from cheering our beloved Cubs, Winner of the World Series. Ernie Banks is running around yelling “NEXT YEAR IS HERE!

From there, Wanda has her uncle naming some of the sports heroes from his lifetime. “Many folks were winners against tremendous racial and economic odds,” her uncle reports about fellow Mount Eternity residents. “Joe Louis crowned Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, and Gail Devers, Olympic champions.” You’ll have to come to the library at 400 S. State in Chicago on October 17 to hear the part where Halli B. acknowledges that the best man or woman doesn’t always win, though. “This is proven by some of the duds the voting and non-voting public have elected.”

In our writing class at the Chicago Cultural Center downtown, 95-year-old Wanda is often asked how she stays so positive, and she always credits her mama and her Uncle Hallie B. Sure enough, Hallie B.’s letter ends with positive words of wisdom. “Spunky and I polled the group and we say in some way we are all winners,” he says. “Everyone has conquered the challenge of a mountain or maybe a hill. So, Three Cheers for us, WINNERS ALL!”

Allan Hippensteel On October 6, 2017 at 8:17 pm

Hi Beth. The hand out we have from the library says Oct 17th. You have Oct 12th written in your blog. Please advise.

Allan Hippensteel On October 6, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Beth, never mind. I see Oct 17 all over the place on the right hand margin here. Plan to be there.

Beth On October 6, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Aha! Just a tease to remind all of us how important it is to have our work edited.! Thanks for catching that, I fixed the error so that yes, everyone will know that October 17 is the right night. Delighted to hear you and your bride might be there — I can guarantee you’ll love Wanda.

nancy b On October 7, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Wanda, I will be there in spirit!! I know you will be great as usual.

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