Author: Almeda Miller

A NEW BEGINNING

New Canadians – First Place   On October 20, 1954, my mother and I boarded the ocean liner, Vulcania, from the port of Genoa, Italy. As I was very young, (almost 4 years old), the enormity of this trip did not fully register. However, I do have some recollections of the journey. I remember waving to my Nonno from the deck of the ship and my Mom crying, not knowing what this phase of our live would bring. I cried too, as the little white handkerchief that I was waving slipped out of my hands, and drifted slowly down into the water. The journey took 13 days, and the seas were rough. Mom did not have a good experience as she suffered from seasickness. I, however, was fine. One of the other passengers would take me to dining room for meals, and ensured that I was entertained. On November 4, the liner arrived at the port of Halifax, N.S. I distinctly remember wet snow, a new experience for me, was falling as we entered a …

ABOUT AN UNFORGETTABLE GIFT

  Adult New Canadian – First Place Foreword: I met the old man only once, almost 30 years ago. But his words of compassion and wisdom spoken to me in a heart-breaking situation changed my awareness of life forever. My gratitude for his gift is still present; just as much as my shame not even to have thanked him.   …And About Dreams, Farewells…   The first years of my life my family lived in a bombed-out city in post-WWII Germany. We resided in a wet, cold ruin with a shared smelly outhouse in the yard. Rain constantly dripping through the ceiling was the only running water source. However, playing in the remains of the destroyed chaos was always an adventure for us kids, scary, when we ran into traumatized adults and stranded hobos in rags and old army garment, all former rank badges carefully removed. They hunkered down in whatever shelter they found and either tried to chase us away or draw us near. Exciting, when we played WAR, the only game we knew. …

Strong

Youth – First Place   “My time’s run out,” Queen Isdron says. The dying woman is ashen, her voice steel. “Tomorrow you will be Queen.” Although this frozen statue has raised me since childhood, her looming death doesn’t inspire grief in me. She’s a hard woman, feared throughout her land of ice. She summoned me here tonight with a final message. At dawn, the Prophets will perform the Death Ceremony. They will cut Queen Isdron’s hair to strip away her power. “Come,” Queen Isdron commands. I lean down so my lips almost brush her clammy forehead. She extends a hand smelling of rot and digs fingernails into my neck. They’ll leave crescent-shaped bruises to match the ones on my forearms and back from days past. My face remains impassive, just as Queen Isdron taught me. “I made you strong,” she whispers. “I transformed a weak Veikur Skinner’s daughter into a Queen. You can’t fail.” I nod. Sick as she is, the terror evoked by the sight of her is only slightly less potent than usual. …