KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Memoir: 213 words

Myth and History

by Skip Eisiminger

In the consulate’s lobby, while reviewing for her naturalization examination, Ingrid hastily constructed an Eselsbrücke. This frail bridge spun out of “Betsy Ross” and Ross, a German war horse, spanned a chasm in her memory that she trusted any sure-footed ass could negotiate.

I say “frail” because minutes later when her proctor asked, “Who fashioned America’s first flag?” Ingrid’s heart galloped and her mind reared. “The answer,” she said, rising from the metaphoric ground where she’d fallen, “has something to do with a woman riding a horse, but to be honest, sir, I cannot remember.”

“I’m sorry, madam, but a horse had nothing to do with it. Elizabeth Griscom Ross fashioned our first flag.”

Ach, ja, I remember her now. You wouldn’t understand, but I pictured her stitching the stars to the stripes seated on a horse. I mean no disrespect, sir, but my husband says the story of Miss Ross is an ‘embroidered fiction.’”

“Does he now—did he also tell you that George Washington never pitched a coin across the Potomac or felled his father’s fruit tree? Urge him to read your copy of the DAR’s leaflet. As a new citizen, I hope you’ll agree that we must preserve the past for our posteriors.”

—From a manuscript in progress


Publisher’s Note: Eselsbrücke, a German word whose literal translation is “donkey bridge,” refers to a catchy phrase or other mnemonic device which helps a person recall information; for example, “ROY G BIV” is a memorable acronym for the hues of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. See also Word of the Week: Eselsbrücke at (29 August 2014).


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