Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kick it Hemmes!

I ran in to my high school coach today in the hall at the college where I work. I was engrossed in conversation with a colleague, and never expected my coach from thirty years ago to be there. As this spry woman was walking past us, I caught a glimpse of her and said, “Majka?” and she looked at me, because I’m sure she was thinking the same thing, “Why would Hemmes be in this hallway?”

We greeted each other with a big bear hug, and not enough time to catch up. She was headed one way, and I another. I told her where my office was, and asked her to stop in one day to visit or stop by for lunch.

It was this woman who used to yell from the other side of the track, “KICK IT HEMMES” when I was on the last 200 meters of the grueling 800 meter race. I heard her yelling these very words every race in my senior year.

For some reason people in sports typically called each other by their last names. Hers was Prumo, and in my head I still think of her as Prumo, even though I know she’s been married for at least 25 years now and her last name is Majka. She’s the one who brought our school out of the gymnastics era and into the Title IX era, where we had teams of girls playing soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and track. She’s the one who mentored us to become what we are today.

We learned so many skills playing sports and being coached by Prumo. She was more about the hustle and less about the skill. Of course if you had both, that was great. Prumo was always looking for those who would work together and form the perfect team.

The “KICK IT HEMMES” helped me when I was young, just as it helped me when I really needed it. I don’t know if I can tell you a particular time when I heard her yelling in my head during my chemo treatments. I think whenever it got difficult, she was there yelling. Maybe it was on my fourth chemo treatment and I was sicker than a dog and vomiting like I have never vomited before. I heard her yelling “KICK IT HEMMES!” Or maybe it was during the 12 weekly chemos that I had to go through and just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore – I’d hear her voice.

I don’t know if she knows how much I appreciate all that she did for me when I was in school. She helped me apply to college, helped me get a soccer scholarship, and even gave me a job coaching JV soccer when I graduated from college.

But I really think she helped me make it past anything that was difficult in my life with three simple words yelled at the top of her lungs. “KICK IT HEMMES!”

So all I can respond is with a “THANK YOU PRUMO!”

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Backyard Balance Beam

Back in the early 1970s the Russian gymnasts were inspiring young girls across the world with their skills and abilities. Olga Korbut was changing the face of gymnastics with her fabulous moves on the uneven parallel bars and the balance beam. Olga had inspired (so it seemed) every girl in my school to want to become a gymnast, and I was no exception. I got involved in all the gymnastic events at school and could even do a back handspring (with some help). I was terrified of the vault, and couldn’t do it in practice, but when it came time to show off my skills during a showcase for parents, I managed to make it over the horse and without landing flat on my face.

In 1976, Olga Korbut again inspired us to do more difficult tricks on the balance beam. I must have hounded my father into making a beam for me. He sanded and varnished a piece of wood, and put it up in our back yard near by bedroom window. My beam was the standard four inches wide, and probably about three feet of the ground.

While Olga was doing back flips and crazy back bends on the beam, I was honing my skills with a full turn, a shoulder roll, and some other fabulous moves that certainly would help get me into the Olympics one day.

During practice at school, I learned how to do cartwheels on the beam and a dismount that was a no-handed round off. This move was quite simple for me, and I wanted to show it off to my friends and cousins one day from my own backyard balance beam.

I kicked off my sneakers and hopped up on the beam while explaining what I was going to do. I gracefully moved to the end of the beam and prepared for the most fabulous dismount that they would ever see in person (and not on TV). I moved my arms around, and my feet followed.

All of a sudden, the momentum stopped and I was in the air suspended parallel to the ground for what seemed to be an eternity. I looked around at the faces while I was in the air looking something like Wylie Coyote when he runs off the cliff when chasing the Road Runner.

They all had their mouths open and I was splayed out in mid-air. And then all of a sudden, gravity took over and SPLAT. I landed flat on the lawn. Arms extended, legs straight out, and you could hear the WOOOSH of air come out of my lungs. The audience all held their breath and looked down on me lying on the ground. I sucked in a big breath and they all sighed. When I finally could breathe, we all started to laugh.

The only thing I can say about that incident, was thank God my mother didn’t see my fabulous dismount, because she would have had my father sawing the legs off that balance beam faster than you could hum the first few bars of the USSR’s national anthem.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Convergence - and a Song Called "Skinny"

Sometimes things happen for a reason. I started a class called Digital Narratives in January 2011. At the same time, my husband, decided he needed to "fill some holes" in his life by contacting one of his friends that he hadn't spoken to in a long time.

During the time they hadn't spoken, Mike's friend Jon had been creating a lot of music and brought over multiple CDs of the songs we hadn't heard. This one song stuck in my head and I couldn't get it out. At first I was annoyed with a section of the song, but after I heard it a couple of times, I guess I "got it."

I sat down at my computer the Sunday before my class started and created this video. I yelled to my husband from my office "What's the name of that song? I need to find it on our iTunes!" He yelled back, "I don't think it has a name, it's Track 7." So, I decided it was going to be called "Skinny." I'm not sure if that's what Jon was going to call it, but that's its name now.

So here's my first digital narrative project - while it is not a personal story, I think the lyrics tell a story and the images give the lyrics meaning. I used images that are out there in the webosphere to illustrate the lyrics in this song.


"Skinny" music by Jon Liebing, video by Lynne Browne

The Ivory Horse - an artifact project

Another assignment for Digital Narratives class was to create a story using artifacts we've collected. Those who know me KNOW that I have probably a MILLION artifacts (that might only be a slight exageration), so I chose to use only ONE artifact and develop a story around it.

I chose a little ivory horse that I found a few years ago. He is about 2 inches tall, and I have him on my shelf tucked between decanters. He is very delicate, so I put him there to protect him from the tiny people who come to visit who ALWAYS pick up the scariest thing possible.

I hope you enjoy the story:
The Ivory Horse

~ Lynne

Birthdays - an Animoto project

I created an Animoto project called "Birthdays" for my Digital Narratives class.

Here's the link:

I hope you enjoy it. Thanks to my husband for acquiring the props (cake and candles). Also thanks to my parents for participating.


Here's a link to the full version of the birthday song.
We had to do it twice, because I forgot we could do more than one "take".
(You must have a facebook account to see the video).