Well, after 5 years of dealing with my “condition” I possess both the strength and motivation to invest in marketing my novelette, Two Little Girls.
I hear that this is when the real work begins. After all, the words came pouring out of me and in less than two weeks I had written a book!
It all started in 2010 with an unexpected visit to my home. I was living alone in the old family house. The youngest member of my family of 12, recently reduced by the passing of its three eldest members, my maternal aunt, my father and then my mother. Visiting today was the only remaining relative of my parents’ generation, a generation that thought it quite necessary to “come calling” on extended family.
I remember that whenever he came to call, he brought something special with the bond that he shared with my parents. A world seemed to form around them built upon their recollections and bursts of laughter that would not be contained. They were almost childlike, one out-doing the other with what they remembered of the past. I enjoyed seeing them this way. I can think of nothing to provoke such abandonment of parental restraint as Simon’s visits. But today he’d come to visit with me. I was thrust into connecting with him as one adult to another.
It was odd as we convened to Mother’s living room for a talk, as I could not recall anything passing between us beyond a smile and possibly a brief admonishment for some mishap of mine that he could comment on, his contribution of caring concern of an elder for my well-being. It wasn’t long before he revealed the news he came to tell, that my grandparent’s farm had been sold to a developer. The house, the barn, the smokehouse, everything was gone.
I couldn’t move. I never imagined it would be destroyed; perhaps renovated beyond recognition but not that it wouldn’t be there in some form for me to visit whenever I chose to do so.
Instantly it seemed the earth around me fell away and I was standing on a small bit looking out with no point of reference. I stayed with the news in an attempt to hold on to what I could remember of the farm. And years later, stuck in a quagmire of circumstances, which would include illness and more loss, this moment would re-emerge and become the inspiration to write of a summer that I visited with my grandparents on their farm in Virginia.
Here is an excerpt from my novelette:
Two Little Girls
As far as I was concerned, summer began with the day my father installed the screens in the windows. Early that morning, Mother would have taken the summer sheers from storage to the clothesline in our backyard. By the afternoon, she swooped up the freshened bundle and brought them back indoors to hang on the rods at the tops of the windows. When the transformation was complete, I’d run from room to room to see the curtains flying on the breeze that raced in through the windows of our big old house. Like a magical invitation to adventures possible only with summer, when one day melted into the next and no one asked about the time, I felt that I could fly too and that anything could happen.
There were 5 children in my family. My brother Lionel was the oldest; my sister Cecilia was next, followed by my sister Rose, then my brother Isaac, and me. We spent summertime totally absorbed in keeping pace with our friends as was our Mother in keeping up with us. She mended our scraped knees, our bruised egos, and the holes in my brothers’ dungarees. I remember lemonade and tuna sandwiches, cotton sun dresses and hair ribbons; the pennies I collected for the corner candy store, and my ankle socks that never stayed up. Summers seemed much longer then when hopscotch and jump rope, hide-and-seek and tag, dress-up and make-believe, with my bicycle, my dolls and friends filled the days until supper time. When August finally came around, among the five of us someone would be chosen to vacation with our grandparents in the country. It was in the year 1957 that I was to spend my first summer there.
I’d thought so often about my first trip to the farm. But like the landing of a cascading boulder, my mother’s cheerful delivery of this summer’s plan completely shattered my vision of it. Leaving little room for the way that reality alters things but similar to most events concerning “the children”, I was quite certain of my unvarying reverie. It was always the same. My brothers and sisters are running through a country field with me, very happily and as usual, following close behind. But everything had been arranged and I alone would spend two weeks on the farm that year.
My family had gathered in the living room when Mother made the announcement. But my frustrating lack of enthusiasm was like a call to dinner in emptying the room of everyone and I found myself alone, save for the dog. While I struggled with the concept of being on my own, Spiky jumped onto the couch next to me. Placing his head upon my foot he kept a concerned and watchful eye over my disposition until we both fell asleep.
Later that day, I listened to Dad’s recollections of farm life adventures while Mother prepared supper. As she filled in with the finer points and particulars she’d taken note of my mixed feelings with her knowing smile that always took the sharp edges off of things. “Don’t forget that your cousin Joanna is just about your age and lives close to Grandpa‘s”, she nearly whispered. Then I thought of the pocket inside the little green suitcase as the place where my Jacks would find a perfect fit.
~~~~~~~ Truth is Beauty is Love ~~~~~~