Fireworks For Freedom: A Memoir in Verse

Posted on September 29, 2020


Installment 1

Over the coming days, I’ll be publishing my verse memoir, “Fireworks For Freedom,” in 4 installments.

I started this piece in 2017, writing memoir with my high school students. I was very inspired by Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse’s historical fiction in verse, as well as verse memoirs, How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and I wanted to try to write one, using some of the same techniques I saw at work in their writing.

In this memoir, I explore the meanings of freedom as a girl coming of age just after the federal Title IX law passes, insuring my rights to equality at school–and from the prison of an abusive dating disaster.


“I Want You to Meet Someone”

Kathy says.

I had introduced her 

to her boyfriend-become-fiancé↕

a year earlier. 

She returns the favor

by introducing me

to John’s

younger brother, Greg. 

He has the same

bright blue eyes–

but they sparkle

when he looks at me. 

Grass Lake, MI, September 1980


Awesome Autumn

Cool, fall nights,

warm-snuggle hayride, 

competitive pumpkin carving, 

sharing cinnamon donuts and 

sweet apple cider–

It’s fall on the farm,

there’s a fire in the hearth,

and young love is the ember

warming our hearts. 

Brooklyn, MI October 1980


Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving on the farm

and another in town;

love doubles the fun.

With over-full bellies and hugs for everyone,

we shout our goodbyes, and then we run.

“See you at Christmas!” we say as we go,

Fall may be chilly, but love gives a warm glow. 

Brooklyn and Grass Lake, MI, November 1980


Family Fun: The Roller Rink

I come from a family of roller skaters.

For years, my parents and some others

ran several Saturday skating sessions

in the ancient middle school gym.

The unused kitchen held

shelves and shelves of skates,

and skaters rented them

from the serving window.

I learned to skate at three years old,

holding the hands of my parents.

They dragged me round and round the room

until I was skating on my own.

Now we’re headed to Holt–

the whole family in several cars–

to skate in the big rink

with concrete circus animals

on the roof. 

It’s going to be

so much fun! 

Parents, sisters,

an aunt, my twin cousins–

all eagerly lace up

and hit the floor.

Everybody’s skating–

all, that is, except Greg.

He stands on the carpet,

too frightened to join us

flying round and round, 

doing spins, and gettin’ down.

We cajole and plead,

But he says, “Not today. Maybe later.” 

My nephew, Aaron,

is not impressed.

He nicknamess my boyfriend

“Chicken Skater.” 

Holt, MI, March 1981


lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

On email: