Inspiration, “Late that Night”

Melanie and I were best friends during that year our fathers’ tours overlapped in the same city.  We were twelve years old, and there were no other girls our age in our community.  Being twelve, we were not allowed a very long reign, as we were living in a new place.  We stayed close to home, and we were schooled through correspondence study.  We didn’t get out much.

So we relied on each other, as best friends do.

Once per week we were allowed slumber parties at each other’s houses.  There was no TV, so our entertainment came mostly from books.  We were both fans of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and my personal favorite, Kay Tracy.  Melanie and I swapped books and chatted endlessly about them.  But our supply was limited.  We read everything our little community library had, and there was no more.

So we made up our own stories.

Nighttime is always the best time for making up stories.  Nighttime invites mysteries.  Melanie and I spied on the “late at night” goings-on of the people in our neighborhoods.  To us, theirs was furtive activity.  What on earth could anyone be doing outside late at night?  They must be up to no good!  Imagining, we made up the stories.

Mysteries, of course.

Our fathers went on to different posts, and Melanie and I ended up losing touch with each other, as it was so easy to do in those pre-internet days.  I only know pieces of her family’s story, and I’ve always wondered what became of my friend.  I wonder if she became a mystery writer, as I did?  Thanks to those “late at night” stories, I was inspired to keep on making up more stories.


10 thoughts on “Inspiration, “Late that Night””

  1. Love “late at night” stories. Like ghost stories around the campfire! So cool that they started you on a writing career. I bet you could find Melanie with everything the internet has to offer; I wonder if she’d remember those nights, too.


  2. What a lovely childhood memory! You could probably find Melanie on FB. My long-lost sister, from whom we had not heard in nearly 60 years, did. (More on that later.) Have you turned that story into a middle-grade? Sure sounds like a great jumping off point.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll bet you a million bucks she remembers those times too.

    I still watch people and wonder about their stories. If a car passes me aggressively and too fast, is the driver on his way to the ER where his wife has been taken because of a fall she took pruning the tree he’s been putting off tending? What is the couple arguing about in German at the airport gate? Where is that kid’s mother? Why is that guy by himself at this romantic restaurant?

    My brain is a constant game of “what if?” and “I wonder….”


  4. An old junior high/high school friend found me several years ago through Facebook (I think). “Are you the Peggy Ham who was a hippy?” And another, even older friend from early elementary school and I recently found each other. Back then I wasn’t a hippy. I was a Brownie.

    Try to find Melanie.

    Great post.


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