Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Sparks Fly

I certainly can relate to the dynamic the Daily Prompt asks us to describe. What can we say about something or someone we connected with from the very first second?

I’ve made real estate choices solely upon my initial reaction to a place. When I moved to a condo after my divorce to The One, it was the setting near the Grand River that convinced me: buy it.

June 2004 on the Grand River

I responded similarly to the property I bought when The Performer and I set up house together. The jolt to the heart, a flip in the gut. That moment of recognition, of connection, of “yes”.

(Hmm. Now that I think of it, I felt sparks with the guys, too. Perhaps I should focus this talent on real estate and not romance, you think?)

Either way, as far as the daily prompt was concerned, I couldn’t think of anything to say more than that, and thought I’d give the prompt a pass.

Little Firebug

Little Firebug

Then I read Martha’s post about her “Jimmy” and I remembered this little guy. He’s one of my keepsakes.

The image is a scan of an Associated Press photo that the local paper used as filler sometime in the early 80’s. The boy was caught playing with matches. His daddy took the shot and submitted it to the press. A precursor of the shaming dog and cat memes that circulate the internet today.

The photo stopped me with a powerful jolt when I first saw it. My heart melted, tears welled in my eyes, and I felt a strong pull. He looks so sad and vulnerable. He’s probably a redhead. Look at those little knees and those little ankle socks! You can almost smell the little-boy smell.  Of course, he probably needs a bath!

I clipped the photo and showed it to my friends at work. They nodded politely, “Yes, Maggie, he’s cute.” But they didn’t see what I saw.

Which was what, exactly? Why was I compelled to hold on to the photo? He’s no one I know. Yes, I have a thing for little red-headed boys, but not to the degree that I clip out photos of random redheads. Just THIS random redhead. Caught with his hands in his pockets, full of remorse, and pouting in the most adorable fashion.

As near as I can figure, as I consider the question for the first time, I identified very, VERY strongly with the sense of shame that this photo portrayed. This was around 1982, when The Cowboy and I divorced. Anytime it came up in conversation, I’d lower my eyes, put my hands into my figurative pockets, and whisper, choking back my shame, that, “I am divorced.”

It took me years to get over the fact that I was a D.I.V.O.R.C.E.E. I can remember the relief when I’d read studies that announced divorce rates were climbing: from one in four, to one in three, and now, 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Yay! I’m normal!

OK, no comments from the peanut gallery!

I wonder who the little guy is? Does he know his picture was in the news? Did he get over his firebug stage? Did he get over his shame?

Wish I could tell him thanks for the teaching moment.

***   ***   ***   ***  ***

Keepsake: Sparks Fly is the sixth in a series

Categories: Blog Blog Blog

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22 replies

  1. A truly lovely post, Maggie: moving, funny and so sweet. That little guy caught me in the solar plexus and the heart too. Yes, I am sure he is a red head! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we can relate to the little guy. We have been where he is. I once frowned so badly I actually ruined the photograph! And yes I am a red-head.


  3. Terrible wonderful picture, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing! Was surprised about that divorce-stigma thing–a shame draped around women only, yes? Sorry you went through that. Equally sorry men didn’t, or it would have ended in a day.

    Also: Will you please, please, please choose my next NON-money-pit property for me? ; )


  4. Oh, my, you are a hoot. Is there such a thing as a NON-money pit property?


  5. I fall in love with property, too. That’s how I ended up where I am. Knowing I will have to move within the next 12 months I’m looking for the next property that pulls my heart strings. Why live there if you aren’t in love with it? Thank you, also, for the referral to my story. 🙂


    • I agree, Martha. If it doesn’t say “take me, I’m yours” I give it a pass. Some places have a very repellent energy, too, I find. Most welcome, for the referral. It’s a wonderful story, your Jimmy.


  6. Love this! And I have a thing for little red headed boys too! 😍


  7. Red heads have fiery passion! And this particular peanut (legume not a nut!) in your gallery wants to speak up about you – – you’re not normal or ordinary, Maggie – – you’re unique and extraordinary!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Maggie, I too love properties by their ‘feel’. This one I saw advertised, went to look that night from the outside, went back next day and bought it. Didn’t see any others. Still love it. Your post is delightful as usual. Am glad you are keeping the little lad safe in your thoughts.


  9. Great post! I think we can all relate to an intense sense of empathy to somethings without any clear or obvious reason why. It’s very touching that you relate to this cute little guy’s shame.


    • Thanks, Joanne! 😀

      A while ago, when I was more involved in spiritual work, a teacher taught me how to use this energy in order to make decisions. First you “prime” yourself by focusing, or meditating on an image of something that you know you love, for example, roses. You imagine roses, you think to yourself, “I love roses.” and you pay attention to your physical reactions – warmth, smiles, relaxation, and so on.

      Then you do the opposite. You think to yourself, “I hate roses” and again, you pay attention to your physical reactions. In my case it was frowns, twitches, clenched fists.

      It’s a good exercise to acquaint yourself with your “gut’s” voice.



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