Writing Challenge: day 17

Hawaii 1954

My Dad with his first car in 1954

Day 2 continued of the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge and the focus is first lines. Lynn suggested reading first lines from some favorite books but I googled “first lines of books” and found a sight with “100 Best First Lines from Novels.” As I started reading them, I decided I would use them as inspiration and see how many first lines I could write for my book. I came up with 41. It remains to be seen if one of these will actually get used but it was an interesting exercise. If you want you can read them below.

  1. “Call me Red,” he said.
  2. The dark green bug convertible wound it’s way across the southern United States in the hot late August sun of 1954.
  3. Many years later in the face of retirement Ray Hoglund would remember his first drive from coast to coast.
  4. It was a hot summer night in August as the dark green convertible chugged it’s way across the barren landscape of Texas.
  5. I am an actual Navy Instructor, he thought. When he dropped out of high school at 16 he never imagined what his future might bring.
  6. He would never forget the first time. The freedom, the ease of movement and oh, the possibilities.
  7. He must have done something right to have the privilege of going back to Key West.
  8. The sun shone unceasingly on the dark green hood of the car, made tolerable by the advantages of a convertible.
  9. Twenty-four years of life proceeded this point when we pick up the story of Ray Hoglund. You may think you want to know how the choices of his life lead up to him driving across the country in an green convertible but that isn’t the point of this story, so we won’t go into it here.
  10. Tall, lean and tan, Ray Hoglund sat at the wheel of the dark green convertible, the wind failing to ruffle his crew-cut reddish hair.
  11. Hot sun and dry winds were the norm on the week-long journey across the southern Untied States, relieved only after nightfall, that was his favorite time to drive.
  12. “Fill her up.”
  13. The late afternoon sun made the shadow of the Chevy convertible race ahead of him on the road.
  14. 1954 was turning out to be a good year.
  15. Somewhere in west Texas in a town he hadn’t noticed the name of, Red stopped to fill up the gas tank of he green Chevy convertible.
  16. Everything changed the day the letter came. His whole future shifted down a new path.
  17. Every time he visited his parents while on leave he was glad to be going.
  18. “What is the next town?” he asked himself, as he study the map with his dark thoughtful eyes.
  19. Just another 100 miles and he would call it a day.
  20. “Can I drive myself?” he asked.
  21. This is just the way it happened, or as close as Red can remember.
  22. From the moment he took his first SCUBA dive his life changed.
  23. Twenty-four, single and making his first solo drive across the United States.
  24. To be a Plank Owner in a the US Navy Underwater Swimmers School. That was a dream come true. To be a part of it from the beginning. To help set things up right. Was it really happening?
  25. In a convoluted way all the decisions of his life had lead him to this point. From his childhood in the suburbs of Chicago to dropping out of school to join the Navy to volunteering for EOD to get off the U.S.S. Macon to the first time he put on SCUBA gear, it all came together here.
  26. There was a sailor named Raymond Walter Hoglund, Red to his friends and he was a newly certified Navy instructor on his way to Key West, Florida.
  27. Ray Hoglund was exhausted. He had driven 300 miles today and still had more to go.
  28. He took pleasure in the solitude of the long cross-country drive.
  29. Let’s pick a time to start this tale. While any point will do, let’s pick this one.
  30. In the beginning sometimes he woke to a sick feeling in his gut.
  31. He looked like a sailor with his lean body, tan skin and crew-cut hair.
  32. He loved it from the start.
  33. This is the life. If you have to move from Hawaii, then what could be better than Key West?
  34. When Ray Hoglund was in the Navy, they called him Red.
  35. In the late summer of 1954, Red found himself driving from San Diego to Key West.
  36. He was a few inches over 6 feet with tan skin and lean muscles from his time in Hawaii.
  37. From High School drop out to Navy instructor and Plank Owner. That was a nice change of scenery.
  38. Down the last few miles of road with ocean on either side of the road, the dark green convertible sped.
  39. The long straight road stretch out before and behind the little green Chevy convertible.
  40. On September 11th 1954 he rolled into town. Who knew that date in about 50 years would have a very different meaning. But today it was the beginning of a new a better opportunity.
  41. The heat of the day was reluctant to let go to the cool of the night as the miles of road slipped slowly by.

I failed at my goal yesterday. I hope to make up for it later in the week. Life got away from me. I have to keep this as a high priority in my life and not think I can always squeeze it in at the end of the day. That is too risky and yesterday I just couldn’t make it work.

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