A Memory of May

A 150-word personal essay

Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle
The Shortform
Published in
1 min readMay 2, 2024

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Photo by Social History Archive on Unsplash

How long does a Mayfly live?

My mayday memory hovered under wispy wings hidden for seven decades. It alighted, unbidden, around a maypole on a playground behind Lafayette Elementary School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The year, 1948.

Delicate dancers in white dresses pose in a circle around a flower-bedecked pole. Each holds a ribbon — pink, yellow, or blue — billowing skyward. I see a quivering colorful carousel caressed by a soft breeze.

In a grander circle behind the girls stand the boys, oddly angelic in new milk-white suits. Red ribbons flow from their shirtsleeves and dangle dangerously toward their bright black shoes. They fidget as if dancers primed to prance.

I hear the music. I watch them perform measured movements. The boys wildly wave streamers. The girls weave a celestial tapestry.

The magic of a mayday memory made an old man a child again.

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Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle
The Shortform

An aged humanist hanging on to the idea that there is hope for humankind against most current indications.