Friday Fictioneers: The Last Porch


Photo credit: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The Last Porch
By Tracey Delaplain
It wasn’t just a locked porch that separated her from the big house. It was her locked memories. “I can sing a show tune,” she muttered to her attendant. Never alone. Yet, always alone.

“Well Hello Dolly, It’s so nice to be to be, hmhmhm.” Today was a good day. She remembered when she had lived in the big house. They said that singing would bring back the memories she’d misplaced, so she had sung, “Somewhere over the the the hmhmhm”, the words eluding her.

Had she been the only resident humming the words? Perhaps, but why was the punishment so harsh? She’d been banished to the little house where they no longer helped her sing.


For more Friday Fictioneers 100 word flash fiction visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields blog here

Friday Fictioneers challenges writers to create fiction with a beginning, middle and an end using only 100 words. My inspiration came from watching my dear Mother and my Mother-in-law decline until their memories were locked and all but a few loved ones gave up on them.

Sing as if no one is listening. It’s good for your brain.

I read an interesting research study that documented an increase in cognitive function and brain activity in dementia patients who sang show tunes for therapy. (Presented at The Society of Neuroscience meeting, San Diego, 2013)

Why show tunes? I think it is because we all recognize a few popular show tunes and can recite at least a few lines. I’m sure when you read my flash fiction that you recognized the tunes and could finish the verses. Popular, catchy songs are stored in our long term memory and long term memory is initially protected in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It makes sense that singing would be a low frustration activity but it also stimulates cognition. We should never give up on dementia patients because group activities and sing alongs improve mood, social interaction and happiness.

Friday Fictioneers

32 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth Ann says:

    I sang it in my head as I was reading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth Ann, But did you get the words right? Ha ha I think your yoga will make your brain stronger too. There was really good research on the positive effects of yoga and meditation on our brains.


  2. Michael B. Fishman says:

    The last sentence made me feel so sad. Not just for, or because of, the character, but because it’s sadly so true of life. If we’re just a little bit different, just a little off the ‘norm’ and we’re banished where no one helps us sing. Let’s never give up on anyone…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, let’s never give up on anyone.


  3. Tish Farrell says:

    Great first two lines, Tracey. Poignant story so incisively captured.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tish, that’s high praise from you. I love your stories. Thank you


  4. Uh, oh. I never could remember words to songs. I can get the tune and sing a lot of la la las, but the words are not there. Bad sign. La, la, la.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Judith, I’m sure you’ll be fine. You write so that’s how your memories are stored. Write on!


  5. Maree Gallop says:

    Sad story, sensitively told with some interesting facts. I enjoyed the read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Maree. Two sad glimpses in a row. Maybe next week I can share some of the joys of medical practice. Of course the flash fiction writes itself so who knows.


  6. wildbilbo says:

    This was really nicely written – I’m presuming age related dementia is the narrator’s condition, and the confusion as to why she has been banished, which she views as punishment… great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wildbilbo. When my Mom was struggling in her last years, she often expressed a sense of punishment and abandonment. It’s so sad when we need to lock doors to protect these poor fragile patients.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ahtdoucette says:

    Such a bittersweet story and a fascinating look into a person’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anne. Perhaps this was just fleeting bitterness for my character and there was sweetness to follow. Thank you for seeing the sweetness.


  8. draliman says:

    Well written, but very sad. I get the feeling they’ve just shoved the poor woman out of the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately it is the norm in Western cultures to put the elderly and infirm out of sight (out of mind).


  9. That’s what it sounds like me too (Draliman). Shoved out of the way. I can feel her anguish and struggle to overcome her illness. Sad yet so true to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope her anguish is fleeting. Thanks Joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sandra says:

    That was very effectively done. That was a chilling phrase “alone but never alone”. Well done.


    1. Being locked in our own minds must be very lonely indeed.


  11. milliethom says:

    This is a lovely, poignant story. You’ve presented the old woman’s illness and snatches of memories so well. Music works (so I’m told) in the therapy of many mental afflictions. She feels her ‘banishment’ so acutely. So sad. 🙂


  12. This was heartbreaking. Which is good if its a story, bad if its your life or that of someone you love.


  13. Dear Tracey,

    I had the feeling that big house and little house were metaphors. I’m sure that somewhere over her rainbow bluebirds fly. Well done.




    1. I’m glad you see that Rochelle. Like it or not our world gets so small as we age and we are put out of sight in Western cultures. Thank you.


  14. kalpana solsi says:

    The locked memories are the root cause of her misery and loneliness. Wish age related problems ceased to exist.


    1. Kalpana we can only hope to age gracefully because our alternative to aging isn’t a great alternative. 🙂 Thank you for commenting.


  15. Jeanne Terrell says:

    Intriguing idea. I want to take the challenge, but . . . Don’t know if I have anything to say. You, however, are very clever.

    Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:06:08 +0000 To:


    1. Hey Jeanne, you should try it. It exercises your writing muscle even if you don’t blog it. It’s nice to hear from you. Tracey


  16. Margaret says:

    Very touching. Our family has fortunately been free of dementia until recently. My aunt is now a victim, and it’s a big shock to witness the loss of connections and personality. Your story shows the sadness beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s difficult to watch someone disappear in front of your eyes.


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