Within Close Range: Whiplash Willie

Barely able to see over the dashboard of the ample sedan, toes stretching to reach the pedals, Nonnie is an Italian force on four wheels navigating the gridlock of suburban Chicago.

Her style is unique – driving with more emotion than convention,

more conversation than paying attention – usually resulting in last-minute lane changes and unpredictable turns, and me sliding (pre-seatbelt laws) from one side of the Cadillac’s bountiful back seat to the other.

When the story she’s spinning is a doozy and Nonnie gets roused – which it usually is, and she usually does – up goes her pitch and its volume, and down goes her tiny, bunion-ed foot on the gas pedal, causing the great, lumbering beast of a car (and all its passengers) to lurch forward.

To compensate for accelerating while accentuating, Nonnie then braces herself against the massive steering wheel and brakes!

Throwing her progeny back against the pristine upholstery.

Repeating this action with each grand inflection.

It’s how she got the nickname, Whiplash Willie.

And why, when I see her begin an earful of a tale to whomever called “Dibs on the front seat!” first, I know what’s coming…

We all do…

Buckling up, I pray the story is short.

And my neck is strong.

Author: Anne Celano Frohna

I have been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil in hand and would not feel complete without it. And I actually made a meager living at it (and as an editor) for 25 years. I worked for newspapers and magazines, in graphic arts and advertising, and wrote several local history books. But I have also taught English in Japan, been a Nanny in Italy, worked in and for museums, was an Airbnb Superhost for four years, as well as an Etsy shop owner where I sold vintage items I found over the years of thrift and yard sales. After moving to Arizona with my family in 2010, I completed a series of different writing projects, including two books of creative non-fiction: Just West of the Midwest: a comedy (Based on journals I kept during my two years as an English teacher in rural Japan.) Within Close Range: short stories of an American Childhood (Short stories and poems about growing up as the middle of five children in suburban Chicago.) I've also written children's stories and continue to write short fiction, but have recently found my voice in poetry. This blog, however, is where my greatest passion comes alive. I am also a mother of two wonderful girls, Eva (23) and Sophia (21) and wife to one wonderful husband, Kurt.

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