Monthly Archives: October 2013

At Home Memoir—George Diggins—Part 3

a-smiling-police-officer-

My dad taught me something when I was little. “Always look out for those who are weaker than you are, George,” he used to say. “Never take advantage of them or persecute them. They need your goodwill, not your judgment.”

Protecting others came early for me—in grade school. Later, when high school rolled around, there were times when leaning quietly against my locker signaled other students that they could approach me and confide whatever was troubling them. There were a lot of kids who stopped by to talk, including our current mayor. His story was the same as many. I just helped him to see how he could change its direction.

One of those who seldom stopped by was Dreamie. She would slow in her stride, glance at me, and smile. Just smile, and then walk on. She seemed to always know when I needed encouragement or recognition for what I was doing. I learned to cherish those smiles.

I’d come to her rescue on many occasions over the years. I still do. I’ve helped her do little projects around the house to make her life easier. I’ve kept her activities to myself. Even our dearest friend, Spicy, was left out of the loop. I’ve never felt bad about that. Some things she simply had no reason to know.

But Dreamie—she was something else. She seldom talked about her life or her marriage, except when she’d remark that Martin wouldn’t approve of something or that he’d scoff at something she’d heard. Nothing positive emerged from our discussions of marriage.

I don’t know whether she’s ever tumbled to the fact that I love her. She’s never so much as hinted that she feels anything but friendship for me. Time has taught me to be content with that much.

Time also erodes things placed in its path.

Martin’s murder has eroded too many things for too many people. A little cop’s voice in the back of my head tells me this mess is only going to get messier with time. Dams crack and break, washing away anything left lying loose. I wonder how many secrets are going to wash up on the banks of this town.

I have only one choice to make now—a choice between being a cop and protecting Dreamie from the secrets that she’s been holding onto all these years—secrets she doesn’t realize that I know.

 

Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
2013 Participants:
(Read about the 2013 Challenge – click here)

Jane Ann McLachlan
Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll
Amanda M Darling
Katie Argyle
PK Hrezo
Stacey Rene
Claudette Young
Kay Kauffman
Leslie
Deb Stone    Twitter: @iwritedeb
Gerry Wilson
Susan Hawthorne
Satia Renee
Bonnie
Angie
Pearl Ketover Prilik
Terri Rowe
Talynn (starting 2nd week)
Rebecca Barray (occassional)
Lara Britt  (occasional)
Linda G Hatton (occasional)
Stephanie Ingram (Unable to join us now – maybe later)
Anastacia (signed up but hasn’t posted yet)

 

 

At Home Memoir Anna Belle “Spicy” Hutchins, Part Three

Spicy

What does a person do when she sees her best friend’s life and future spinning out of control? What can she say that will stop the strange events from unfolding? If I’d known the answers to those questions, I would have acted much differently when Dreamie got married. I knew that she didn’t even know the man named Martin Simple.

Dreamie had picked up her life after returning from her Aunt Amanda’s in Philadelphia. She seemed so much happier than I’d ever known her. She could laugh and joke about how different life here was from the magical one she’d left up in the north and in Europe.

The jokes stopped and laughter died away for her less than two years later. My vibrant, though reticent, friend withdrew from all of us who loved her. I’ve never figured out why, nor has the reason for her agreement to that sham of a marriage ever been whispered. Even the town gossips puzzled over that one for several years before stating that the couple must have been extraordinarily circumspect while courting to have pulled off the stunner of the century.

Later, the only time I ever saw her leap from her role of subservient spouse was the night Jasper   assaulted me in the parking lot of the supermarket.

I didn’t want to go to the police. I would have had to identify the assailant and I didn’t want the publicity. I didn’t think my husband Fred would have liked seeing me testify in court either. So I went to Dreamie’s house for her help.

Tiny pebbles tossed against glass don’t make much noise. The code for attention always worked between Dreamie and me. That night the old signal brought my friend to the window as quickly as it did thirty years before. We were lucky that a full moon was up that night. She could see who stood below without having to say a word.

She had the front door open and was dragging me inside before I could catch my breath from limping from around the side of the house. She wanted to know what and who, why and how long ago. I only told her what, when, and where. That’s when she really surprised me.

She took immediate charge of the situation. Less than fifteen minutes later, she’d changed clothes, helped me to my car, slid behind the wheel, and was pulling up at the emergency room at the local hospital. We didn’t talk in the car, but then I wasn’t in any shape to talk much.

Dreamie helped me inside, saw that I was treated, and insisted that the police be called.  She told me she’d take my car back home and walk back to her house from there. Her expression was serious, almost severe. She didn’t rush any of this, but everything fell into place as if by magic.

Anger radiated from her. She got no argument from me. I suppose she was the one person I would have listened to at that moment. I didn’t get to talk to her in person for weeks after that. Right after she got home that night, another crisis took her up state to attend to Martin’s mother.

We wrote to each other, but it wasn’t the same. Her anger still smoldered deep inside. It popped out on occasion in her words—how she phrased things. It was as if all of her emotions were inside a pressure cooker that sat on a burner set on LOW. The cooker just waited for a bit more heat before it would blow.

I don’t think about the episode often. Sometimes it just feels too raw for that. But Dreamie withdrew even further after that night. She was still my best friend, but not the one I grew up with. We still did all of her usual quiet activities when she could escape that house of Martin’s.

Sometimes I wonder if she leaped from the pan into the fire when she married. Getting out of her mother’s house was a blessing for her, but maybe that blessing turned into a curse in the end. I watched Dreamie turn into a slave for a petty tyrant. But in the depths of her eyes, there were times when a gleam of something other than the slave peeked out and let the observer know that wheels turned whether they were on display or not.

 

Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
2013 Participants:
(Read about the 2013 Challenge – click here)

Jane Ann McLachlan
Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll
Amanda M Darling
Katie Argyle
PK Hrezo
Stacey Rene
Claudette Young
Kay Kauffman
Leslie
Deb Stone    Twitter: @iwritedeb
Gerry Wilson
Susan Hawthorne
Satia Renee
Bonnie
Angie
Pearl Ketover Prilik
Terri Rowe
Talynn (starting 2nd week)
Rebecca Barray (occassional)
Lara Britt  (occasional)
Linda G Hatton (occasional)
Stephanie Ingram (Unable to join us now – maybe later)
Anastacia (signed up but hasn’t posted yet)

 

 

 

At Home Memoir: Dreamie Simple, Part Two

Dreamie

I don’t know how I survived that moment in my mother’s living room the day I was told a marriage had been arranged for me. I don’t remember much of that day. I suppose I never wanted to dive into that feeling of utter betrayal ever again. It was enough that the daily reminder sat across a dinner table from me for seventeen years.

My memory flashes show a scene with Mother sitting in her chintz easy chair, agitated but resolved. Martin Simple stood at her side, one hand on her left shoulder, a look of smug satisfaction smeared across his face. I’d come in from my job at the PigglyWiggly four blocks away, anticipating a quiet evening in my room without distractions.

My reward for coming home was a demand to sit down and listen to how I was going to marry Martin in three weeks’ time.

Talk of arrangements swirled around the room like a maelstrom. My mind felt swallowed in this bizarre proposal of intent. I was left, in the end, with the certain knowledge that Martin would destroy us all if I didn’t go along with their plan.

The ceremony was a civil one, in more ways than I could count. I wore my Sunday best. Spicy came has my bridesmaid. George came as her escort. I wasn’t allowed to invite friends for the affair, not that I had that many to invite.

I didn’t argue. I didn’t make a scene when Martin deigned to kiss me at the declaration from the JP for that action. I didn’t throw up, either, though fighting down the urge was a heavy battle. If he’d expected my reaction, he certainly had reason to smile like the Cheshire when he turned to those who’d come to see the spectacle.

Mother’s true wishes on the matter were something she never discussed with me. Only disdain and hatred colored her voice when she spoke of my “husband.” Her wedding gift was to educate me in how to get along without becoming an inner slave to his demands.

Years later, when she lay dying, she told me that she hoped I would find a way to even the score for her and for me. She said, “Dreamie, no man should have the upper-hand, in any way. Martin had no right to do what he did to me, to us. He took half of everything I had.”

Knowing that my then seven years of lifeless marriage had counted for little to her left me with an emptiness that no one should have to bear. I’d been robbed of my youth by her and my young adulthood by Martin. I had taken my own steps to salvage a future without Martin. I didn’t need her asking me to take revenge for her.

I’d learned how to take charge of my own life, with my own priorities, none of which involved a parent. I could not mourn her death. I could only mourn the possibilities that had died along the way to that moment.

 *  *  *

Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
2013 Participants:
(Read about the 2013 Challenge – click here)

Jane Ann McLachlan
Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll
Amanda M Darling
Katie Argyle
PK Hrezo
Stacey Rene
Claudette Young
Kay Kauffman
Leslie
Deb Stone    Twitter: @iwritedeb
Gerry Wilson
Susan Hawthorne
Satia Renee
Bonnie
Angie
Pearl Ketover Prilik
Terri Rowe
Talynn (starting 2nd week)
Rebecca Barray (occassional)
Lara Britt  (occasional)
Linda G Hatton (occasional)
Stephanie Ingram (Unable to join us now – maybe later)
Anastacia (signed up but hasn’t posted yet)

At Home with Character Martin Simple, Part Two

Martin image

 

When I look at my life, there’s little I would change. I’ve had a good life so far, all things considered. Plenty of money has flowed my way through investments made long ago, and the title company purrs along with little effort on my part.

Respectable marriage to the same woman for many years lends legitimacy to my world, as does our weekly church attendance. What I do the other days of the week have no bearing on that clean record. That’s what I love about being a church-goer. No matter what kind of person you are, once established as devout and Sunday reliable, the church-goer can live almost any kind of life outside the public eye and never be suspect.

I’ve made certain that no one will ever discover all the enterprises I dabble in to help amass my little empire. Most of those who know anything about my activities are either dead or silenced in other ways. Intimidation and coercion go a long way to prevent disruptive confessions. Life taught me that early on.

Dreamie will never leave me any more than she could refuse my proposal in the first place; for the simple reason that she’d be tainted by her own mother’s chosen profession. Of course, having Ma Tucker right there to help with the convincing didn’t hurt. That woman was desperate to keep her business out of the public eye when I advanced my little scheme for taking over her operation from the financial viewpoint.

My wife, if you insist on calling her that, needs respectability through our marriage just to legitimize her existence. It’s not like she needs much else. She’s not bright enough to be more than a seamstress, regardless of that fancy apprenticeship she served.

All of my endeavors have worked well and profitably over the years. Bank accounts bulge nicely. I can spend more and more time away on business and enjoy myself when I want. Above all, I have no worries.

This is how life should be lived; plenty of vigorous exercise—of the pleasure variety, lots of money to spend as I choose, someone to keep my decency façade tidy and acceptable, and no one the wiser who can tip the balance without losing more than me.

 *  *  *

Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
2013 Participants:
(Read about the 2013 Challenge – click here)

Jane Ann McLachlan
Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll
Amanda M Darling
Katie Argyle
PK Hrezo
Stacey Rene
Claudette Young
Kay Kauffman
Leslie
Deb Stone    Twitter: @iwritedeb
Gerry Wilson
Susan Hawthorne
Satia Renee
Bonnie
Angie
Pearl Ketover Prilik
Terri Rowe
Talynn (starting 2nd week)
Rebecca Barray (occassional)
Lara Britt  (occasional)
Linda G Hatton (occasional)
Stephanie Ingram (Unable to join us now – maybe later)
Anastacia (signed up but hasn’t posted yet)

 

At Home with George Armstrong Diggins’ Memoir—Part Two

a-smiling-police-officer-

 

Fellow cops have asked me for years why I don’t accept a promotion. Yeah, I’ve taken my sergeant’s exam and passed with “exemplary” marks. Going for detective doesn’t interest me.

The thing is, having more rank isn’t critical for me. Happiness wouldn’t be attached to a gold shield. Detectives always suspect everyone in a case of doing something wrong and needing their entire lives ripped apart, or at the very least, turned up-side down.

Good relationships with people are my perks. It’s nice, knowing there are good people out there who do the right thing for the right reasons. It’s nice being able to give back to them.

My arrest record is a healthy one, and I remember most of those arrests—even those people who were considered less than citizen-worthy. Why? Because each one of them had a story that was unique to them, giving them unique reasons for being where they were when cuffs were put on them.

I’m an optimist, and freely admit it. Recognizing negative influences isn’t a great feat of intelligence. Instead, my preference is to think that those with the white hats always come out on top in the end.

I’ve been with the force for twenty years, and in all that time, nearly every person in this town has become an acquaintance. They each gave me pause for one reason or another.

Back when I was a kid, my grand-pappy taught me a valuable lesson. He said, “Georgie, the world will show ya what’s wrong. That’s the easy part. But if you learn to listen well, you’ll hear about what’s right with people. Now that’s the hard part.”

His advice caused me to listen hard. Old people are fascinating. They have so many stories to tell about so much history from their own perspectives, and that’s what drives the world and how people behave in it.

Personal perspectives control behavior. Any good cop will tell you that. Personal history acts as a rudder for each person. Knowing that, I look at my own behavior and wonder at its direction.

I’ve learned when to push and when to back off, how to smile when smiles come hard, and how not to interfere in business that isn’t mine. I’ve also learned how to wait and that patience has a price.

My eyes have seen more of the seamy side of life than most. Yet, tucked away inside grimy spaces are sometimes those who know nothing different and who ask little of the world aside from privacy and respect.

Along the way, a certainty has grown inside me; a certainty that says each of us holds at least one secret we don’t intend the world to know. The secret doesn’t need to be heinous or forbidden. It might only be something cherished.

Silly thoughts, perhaps, for a beat cop, but they are a part of me.

 

Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
2013 Participants:
(Read about the 2013 Challenge – click here)

Jane Ann McLachlan
Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll
Amanda M Darling
Katie Argyle
PK Hrezo
Stacey Rene
Claudette Young
Kay Kauffman
Leslie
Deb Stone    Twitter: @iwritedeb
Gerry Wilson
Susan Hawthorne
Satia Renee
Bonnie
Angie
Pearl Ketover Prilik
Terri Rowe
Talynn (starting 2nd week)
Rebecca Barray (occassional)
Lara Britt  (occasional)
Linda G Hatton (occasional)
Stephanie Ingram (Unable to join us now – maybe later)
Anastacia (signed up but hasn’t posted yet)

 

At Home with Anna Belle “Spicy” Hutchins (Part Two)

Spicy

Everybody asks me why Dreamie and George call me Spicy. It’s really not a long tale.

Early on in school, my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Waverly, asked us what our favorite food was. When she got to me, I had my answer all figured out. I was a pert little girl and seldom hesitated.

I said, “Fried okra, Cajun style.” That’s how Dad always said it when he put in on the table.

She looked at me and came back with “My, you are a spicy one, aren’t you?”

Her remark sailed over her students’ heads. They were too young to get it. I remembered it, though, and so did Dreamie. At recess she asked me what the teacher had meant. I explained that Cajun food from the swamps of Louisiana had lots of spices in it and was very hot to the taste. I figured since I ate a lot of it, all those spices would flavor me, too.

I was always glad to explain things to people, even at age five, whether they wanted to hear all about it or not. Mom used to call me “Little Miss Margaret Ann,” from that old TV show about the naughty boy. I never saw the show, so I didn’t get the reference.

I always felt sorry for Dreamie. Poor thing, she didn’t have a father who used to live in New Orleans and who still loved to cook some of his favorite dishes. She didn’t understand my explanation, but from then on, Spicy was her name for me. Much later, when George became our staunch protector and friend, he began using the same name for me.

The funny thing was that I didn’t mind them calling me that. “Spicy” was different and sounded much more exotic than Anna Belle. Heavens, in the South, there’s an Anna Belle behind every fifth shrub you come to. My parents used the name for me, too, when they heard about it. Dad, especially, thought it was cute. But nobody else was allowed to use my “special” name.

A few people tried over the years and were promptly corrected. They hadn’t earned the privilege of using that name for me. But poor Dreamie couldn’t help getting stuck with her name and never liked it.

Shortly after I got my nickname, she asked her mother why she was named Dreamie. Her mother told her that after she had given birth to her, she was worn out and only wanted to sleep. She was in pain and wanted to escape from everything going on in the hospital room. When one of the nurses asked her if she’d decided on a name for her daughter, she was already half asleep and said something about “being dreamie” and the nurse had taken that to mean the baby’s name. The birth certificate was filled in before Mrs. Tucker knew any different.

So, all her life, she’s stuck with that peculiar moniker. Mrs. Waverly had a good time with that name, too. “Miss Odd and Dreamie” she called my shy little friend.  It’s sad that she’ll never get away from it.

At Home with Dreamie Simple

Dreamie

People are terribly conflicted creatures. Take secrets, for example. I was incensed when I learned that my best friend, Spicy, had kept a major secret from me.

I’d been involved on that occasion, but she never told me all of that truth. In fact, she’d even asked Martin not to tell me the grim details. I had my own crisis with Martin’s mother that took me out of town at the same time and never realized that she’d omitted critical information.

When I learned the whole truth, I felt anger over her secrecy, Yet, I held most of my own life secret from everyone. Why did I feel so betrayed when Spicy did what I had done?

The question spun around in my head for hours that day. We all talk about how honesty is the best policy and how real friendship has a cornerstone of truth. But if my cornerstone is nothing other than a lie by omission, how can I fault Spicy for keeping a few of her own pieces of life to herself?

What would she feel if she ever found out about my real childhood?

Thankfully, my mother is gone–may she spin in a personal purgatory forever. The thought of having to go into detail about how my average day went, back in elementary school, makes my skin crawl. It may have been a lot of years ago, but I still have the same spine-chilling reaction to surfacing memories.

I feel vindicated every time I remember how, after Mother’s death, I had that place razed to the ground and then gave it to the town for a neighborhood park to take its place.  I was determined that something good come out of that hell-hole.

I’ve worked hard to be who I wanted to be. Aunt Amanda saw to that, bless her spirit.

Spicy never knew that her parents and their shop were my refuge and my only contact with real parents. I never told her how much I loved them and that I kept learning from them throughout high school. They wanted it that way. They were an anchor to normal life for me. There are times, though, when I suspect she’d figured out that part. I was a different person when I was in her home or at the shop.

I didn’t keep Aunt Amanda a secret, either. Spicy and her parents always knew what I was doing during the year I  spent with my aunt. Spicy shared my letters to her with George, as well. And yet, she knew nothing about her parents’ involvement with my aunt and the arrangements to get me away from my mother for a while.

Protecting people from my life’s influences had always mattered to me. Spicy never came to my house to play. I never invited her over. She only met my mother in the front yard a few times. Even in church, I never sat with her for services.

That separation was for Spicy’s benefit. I was window dressing, respectability on two thin legs. Mother’s future depended on my appearance and demeanor, and my ability to keep secrets.

No day went by when I wasn’t reminded of that fact. The real secret is that kids believe what they’re told on a regular basis. I believed my welfare depended on silence.

At Home with Carroll Watson, Attorney-at-Law

I apologize for the delay in posting this offering for the October Memoir Challenge.  Circumstances preventing me from posting yesterday. Please enjoy this new character’s memoir for the day.

*  *  * 

Watson3Mr. Carroll Watson, Attorney-at-Law

I never really wanted to go into criminal law, but I had student loans to discharge.  My only choice of employment after passing the bar was in the Public Defender’s Office. It kept my bills paid.

Fortune smiled on me, at times, when I got called out of my cubbyhole in the PD’s Office.

Take the case of a sassy, little red-head who was charged with solicitation. She was like Belgium’s best to a chocoholic, and I could understand why men lined up for a chance to get closer to her. Her bail was set at the usual level—high enough to match the charge but doable for someone with connections or a good pimp.

I got her case simply because my name came next on the duty roster. No qualms deterred me from doing my utmost to get her released and acquitted.

The docket was light that week in our small burg. It took less than that week to get her home and resettled as a free and enterprising woman. Getting paid twice for the same court case didn’t compromise my ethics at all.

Romance is a sham, you know. Anyone who’s looked hard at life knows that. My new, red-headed doll, Anita Bryonby, kept me entertained at a deep discount. Her attentions guaranteed that emotional entanglements with other young women never got off the ground. I liked that idea.

I met Anita’s pimp one Saturday afternoon when I got a call from Anita about a business proposition. I suppose the proper term for the woman was madam. She lived in one of the older neighborhoods in town. That surprised me. I hadn’t expected a brothel contained in a two bedroom bungalow. I also hadn’t expected a minor child to reside there.

The madam wanted to talk to me about becoming a bona fide client on a small retainer. I needed the extra money at the time—getting a raise at the PD’s office was not likely. Small jobs on the side seemed the way to go, especially since it didn’t necessarily involve a full-time contract. A professional conflict of interest was also something that didn’t disturb my ethics.

When I learned about the child, though, I found the whole situation despicable. Anita was worried about the girl. The junior high kid had always lived with her mother. I informed Mrs. Mobley that I would consider the job if, and only if, she removed her daughter from the brothel. Otherwise, I would turn her in to the authorities.

Anita’s sparkling eyes lit up even brighter. Mrs. Mobley looked sick. I felt good about my decision. I didn’t mind doing jobs for consenting adults, but I drew the line at possible child prostitution.

That’s when my life turned toward a better financial future. I advised Mrs. Mobley to move the business to a different location. I couldn’t understand how she’d stayed out of jail all those years, considering that the neighbors had to have noticed all the customers coming and going at odd hours of the day and night. No argument ensued. At least the child wouldn’t be subjected to the continual rotating inventory of clients.

While I didn’t take over day-to-day operations of the business, control of it came through my knowledge of the law. Never let it be said that criminal law has little to do with the commercial side of things.

Within a few years, my debt had turned to a nice profit in the bank. My practice had gone private in a modest office downtown. And my business sense had grown exponentially with my new interests.

A Yellow Pages ad and a weekly one in the newspaper brought potential new clients to my door. With my name and a proclamation of ‘Business and Family Law’ on the door, the small office boasted simple but classy furnishings.

I was set for success.

 *  *  *

Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
2013 Participants:
(Read about the 2013 Challenge – click here)

Jane Ann McLachlan
Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll
Amanda M Darling
Katie Argyle
PK Hrezo
Stacey Rene
Claudette Young
Kay Kauffman
Leslie
Deb Stone    Twitter: @iwritedeb
Gerry Wilson
Susan Hawthorne
Satia Renee
Bonnie
Angie
Pearl Ketover Prilik
Terri Rowe
Talynn (starting 2nd week)
Rebecca Barray (occassional)
Lara Britt  (occasional)
Linda G Hatton (occasional)
Stephanie Ingram (Unable to join us now – maybe later)
Anastacia (signed up but hasn’t posted yet)

At Home with Amanda Liesens

Following October’s memoir dictates, we have another character from “Dreamie’s Box” to give us insight into relationships, histories, motivations, and all things between. Please meet Mrs. Amanda Liesens. I hope you enjoy her tale from the past.

*  *  *

Senior woman2She came to stay with me for a year when she was eighteen. That experience is one of my fondest memories in life. Great-nieces are treasures to enjoy, and she came along at the best possible time for me.

I’d lost my beloved husband the previous year. I felt lost, too. Joy had fled from my days, and nights were nearly unbearable. Harold and I had no children, and his death left me feeling abandoned by family and exiled to loneliness.

While I leafed through an old family photo album, my nephew’s face lit up one small image at the bottom of a page. He’d been such a sweet child, always tinkering with motors, telling anyone who listened how he would build them when he grew up. He wanted to make engines and motors that used something other than gasoline for fuel.

Years later, on a fine spring day, I heard through an old neighbor that Lester had been killed. Details were difficult to come by. I certainly wasn’t informed about the funeral.

Condolences were sent to his widow, but she never responded. Her silence roused my curiosity. I was Lester’s only living relative. That’s when I hired someone to get details about Lester’s death, his family, and whatever else seemed relevant. The information that came back kept me interested, but only for the baby’s sake.

For years, regular reports on the family’s activities were sent to me, complete with pictures. Several times during those years, I traveled south to see the child for myself from afar. From those accounts, I knew that the girl called Dreamie deserved a much better life than the one she’d been handed.

Getting close to the Bigelow family was a bonus. Mr. Bigelow was a tailor. His wife helped him in the shop, and their daughter was good friends with Dreamie.

I confided in the Bigelow couple about my connection to Dreamie. In the end, they helped watch over her for me and gave me personal insights into the mother’s activities. None of us could do anything about those suspect activities, but at least I wasn’t in the dark.

When Dreamie was ready to graduate high school, I sent her a letter via Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow, asking to meet her and have her visit me in Philadelphia for several months. With sincere apologies I told her that she might not want her mother to know that I’d contacted her. If she would like to meet me, my letter read, she had only to leave a letter for me with the Bigelows. They would send it on to me.

She wrote and agreed to come if her mother never learned the truth. The final plan was for her to wait for a letter from Mrs. Liesens, offering her an apprenticeship in high fashion design alterations. I told her that Mr. Bigelow suggested the ruse and that he would make sure to keep the secret from everyone.

We had such fun during her “apprentice” year. I hadn’t laughed as freely since before dear Harold’s stroke had taken away his smile. My job was as a tour guide. Philadelphia laid its history at our feet. New York City became a new playground, filled with Broadway shows, haute couture, and galleries. Boston lent its own flavor to our meal of city adventures.

Dreamie blossomed into a beautiful young woman. She gained more confidence and poise with each excursion. Along the way, she met the people who could make or break any future she could name, and she charmed them all. By the time we landed on the continent, she was alive and looking to drink deep of what the Old World had to offer.

Once a month she sent a letter to her mother. It didn’t matter what the postmark said. The explanation was always something like; “Hi, mother. I’m in Paris and learning the difference between combed cotton use and Egyptian cotton use. I never knew it mattered so much which one was selected.”

Alas, our sojourn among some of the world’s great cities came to an end. Dreamie had conquered her early life, and I’d been gifted her friendship. Each of us prospered.

I watched her leave, tears escaping my eyes. Hers leaked as freely, though perhaps with more reason. She was going back to a place she in which really didn’t want to live. She knew she could return at any time; that we would communicate regularly. My prayers were frequent that she would make it out again.

She never did make it out. I’ve done what I could to insure that she will get out when she’s ready to live again. Everything I own I’ve left to her. She’ll want for nothing for the rest of her life. It’s the least I could do for the granddaughter I never had.

 

If you’ve liked this, take a chance to pop in on any of the others listed below. Each carries a marvelous entry for each day of this challenge.

Memoir & Backstory Blog Challenge,
2013 Participants:
(Read about the 2013 Challenge – click here)

Jane Ann McLachlan
Joy Weese Moll @joyweesemoll
Amanda M Darling
Katie Argyle
PK Hrezo
Stacey Rene
Claudette Young
Kay Kauffman
Leslie
Deb Stone    Twitter: @iwritedeb
Gerry Wilson
Susan Hawthorne
Satia Renee
Bonnie
Angie
Pearl Ketover Prilik
Terri Rowe
Talynn (starting 2nd week)
Rebecca Barray (occassional)
Lara Britt  (occasional)
Linda G Hatton (occasional)
Stephanie Ingram (Unable to join us now – maybe later)
Anastacia (signed up but hasn’t posted yet)

At Home with Martha Tucker-Mobley

I had plans for my life, you know, like every other girl in school. I certainly didn’t plan on marrying so young. Well, I probably would’ve married at eighteen, but I wouldn’t have latched onto that first lump of manhood I got.

Elderly womanWillis Tucker was the worst excuse for a bread-winner I ever saw. Oh, he made enough money to keep food on the table, but if I hadn’t kept my small garden in the backyard of that shack he called our home, we would have had a lot less on that table. He wouldn’t even drive a decent car. He had to be proud of his dad’s old pick-up that looked like it had come out of the salvage yard.

He gave me barely enough extra spending money to get a new pair of shoes and good dress for church twice a year. He had me buying all of our baby daughter’s things at rummage sales and the second-hand store. “There’s no sense spending lots of money on thing’s Dreamie will out-grow in a month,” he said. “Something good for church is all she needs right now. When she’s a toddler, then she can have things that are new.

I’m so glad that I made sure I never birthed another child. Shame wasn’t going to be placed on me because my husband was too miserly to pay for clothes. My poor hands wouldn’t let me make my baby any pretty things. I’m all thumbs when it comes to needles and sewing. They’re only good for working the dirt and cleaning the house.

‘Course, Willis didn’t live long enough to mend his ways, not that he meant to mend them anyway. He had a fatal accident in the truck shed one Saturday afternoon. Dreamie was only about two at the time and down for a nap. He was working under the truck, fiddling with something, like he did most weekends.

It’s not like he’d ever spring for a movie or something in town for the night.

Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, the accident.

The sheriff thought that a dog, maybe, had come through and brushed against the jack that was holding up the front of the truck. Willis was crushed. Back then they didn’t have all those fancy ways to figure out how things happen. They never came up with a sure time for the accident. They knew what time I went out and found him dead—just not what time the accident happened.

The one thing I was always grateful for was Willis’s insistence on having life insurance. I had to agree with him on that point. He wasn’t much of a man or a husband, but he did think ahead about that. I suppose that’s why I kept adding a bit more to the policy every few months with money I’d saved from my small allowance each week.

I felt I had to have some kind of guarantee that I’d be taken care of in case anything ever happened to him. Oh, and have something for Dreamie’s future, too, of course.