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The City Journals

Silver Pen Essay Winners Announced

Nov 10, 2015 03:19PM ● By Jessica Thompson

By Jessica Thompson 

Taylorsville - Audience members were transported to the splendor of the past as contest judges Florin Nielsen, Lee Alexander and Debbie Leasure stood and read beautifully-written stories.  The stories read were written by contest winners Robert Gallagher, Helen Droitsch and Chuck Golden. 

“I enjoyed reading all of their writings. I am grateful to be a part of the Silver Pen essay and have been involved for many years now,” Nielsen said.

This year’s Silver Pen essay contest’s theme was “I Surprised Myself When…”  The stories read followed the theme well, making the audience members gasp with surprise. Third place winner Chuck Golden wrote a wonderful story about how he surprised himself when he was able to transition back to civilian life after many years in the Army. 

The contest’s second place winner, Helen Droitsch, wrote a story about how she surprised herself when she was brave enough to call Jay Marriot and find a solution to the Meals on Wheels program she was a part of. Her story was titled “I Surprised Myself When I Made a Crucial Phone Call.” 

Robert Gallagher was the essay contest first place winner with an essay titled, “Memory of a Special Dance.” When he decided to write a story for the Silver Pen contest, he sat down in the library with a pen and paper and wrote down his story in long hand, later asking a librarian to help him type it up and turn it in to the contest.

His story was magnificently written about a couple he would watch dance together at a bar, until one day it was only the wife who entered the bar. He surprised himself when he got up and asked her to dance, after finding out she had recently become a widow. 

“Writing this story was an inspiration to me. While I wrote I could see her tortoise shell comb in the back of her hair and her husband, tough and lean and leather-born. While I was writing it felt just like it was yesterday,” Gallagher said.

Being able to be transported to a moment in an individual’s life and be able to see what is important to them was very special. 

 “We believe in the power of writing and the power of experiences to change people’s understanding of the world. It enriches the lives of the writers by writing, and the audience by reading and hearing the essays,” Aging and Adult Services director Susie Cates said.

After the winning essays were read, other contestants were given the chance to read their stories to the group, giving many the opportunity to share special moments from their pasts. 

“I would like to thank the people who put together the Silver Pen essay contest, who gave me the opportunity to write poems, especially emotional tender poems, to give me a chance to reminisce and to think about things that have happened in my past. I know this can be very helpful for a person’s health, memory and well-being.”  Gallagher said.          λ