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  • Melissa Westemeier


Incredible how one can go Mach 10 during the school year, juggling teaching, grading, planning, meal prep, loads of laundry, track and baseball schedules, volunteering and irregular workouts to A FULL STOP when the calendar page turns. The last two weeks of May left me breathless between graduation (which was its own beast this year between teaching seniors and having a senior of my own clad in cap and gown), track season (Mr. T made it to sectionals) and baseball. We held a party for the graduate, we made it to the state track meet to cheer on the qualifiers, we cleaned up the house and I finally checked out of my classroom for the summer.

And just like that my life slowed down to the occasional appointment on the weekly schedule and a couple of baseball games for Mr. G. I read a lot. I deep-cleaned a few rooms and caught up with the stack of random papers and bills and correspondence that accumulates while one is armpit-deep in grading final exams and busting out dinner for five at nine o'clock at night.

The summer pace here is leisurely. Nobody really checks the time too much. I kick back in the hammock after pulling weeds and getting a little sweaty. Our main meal is now lunch, when Mr. T is back from his job at the golf course and his brothers are fully emerged from their bedrooms/Fortnite battles/chore list. (Be impressed, we haven't had sandwiches or frozen pizza all week!) Team Testosterone is handling the dishwashing rotation and I hardly have to drive anyone anywhere because the younger two have bicycles and the oldest has a drivers license.

The laundry load has decreased exponentially now that school's out. Mr. B declared he'd wear nothing but swim trunks for the first two weeks of summer and nobody's changing three times a day from school to practice to some new outfit before bed at night. I don't have papers to grade, but I have three manuscripts to read with a very generous deadline.

I'm writing again. Every day I've sat down and produced a couple thousand words for book three in the Bassville series. I'm bringing that trilogy to its conclusion and I finally figured out how it's all going to work.

And with this leisurely, luxuriously slow pace of life, I now turn to book two, On the River, which came out last month. Now I have time to really promote it, so here it begins:


The winter had become a test of endurance and patience, especially for those living in northern Wisconsin. Three friends, June Butterfield, Dottie Trayson and Arlyce Shanski sat at the end of the bar near the Bassville Pub’s kitchen and pored over knitting patterns, ignoring the grumbling men gathered to watch basketball on the wall-mounted TV set. A cold and snowy February had left behind three feet of snow, and now it was March 3, 1985, with no sign of a spring thaw. Even though the Shanskis had turned on every light, their bar still seemed dim. The huge windows overlooking the Wissipaw River let in little light on an overcast day and the view in both directions looked the same: a solid mass of unmoving snow and ice, except for the occasional vehicle crossing the bridge that connected both sides of Bassville.

So, dear reader, if you want to slow down your pace and read my book, you can email me (mwestemeier@melwestemeier dot com) or you can buy one online Spill it. Do you have a different pace for summertime?

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