Jenny flopped back on the bed and started daydreaming again. Mom worked hard trying to support the family. She did housework for several people and was usually exhausted when she got home after traveling on the bus and then walking several blocks. She put Jenny in charge of watching the kids and cleaning the house. Jenny liked being in charge because she could then boss her younger sisters around whenever she felt like it. They rebelled of course and there was many an argument. Jane was eleven and Mary was nine years old and they clashed loudly with Jenny over who was in charge. Their older sister Kate was mostly out, either at work or on a date. She and Jenny got along fine as long as Kate did not have to do any of the housework.
The house they rented was a two bedroom over a shoemaker shop so Jenny and Kate shared a bedroom and Mary and Jane shared the other room. Mom had to sleep on the couch but claimed she didn’t mind because she had to keep an eye on the coal stoves to make sure they didn’t go out. If that happened in the Winter, they would freeze. Kate had to quit high school to work and help support the family and as a result of bringing money in she assumed no duties at home and paid little attention to Mom. The younger girls really didn’t remember their Father or if they did, it was just a fuzzy memory. Their lives consisted of going to school and playing with their friends.
Jenny had a part time job at a local soda fountain not far from home. It was for the Summer and when school started, she would work a few hours after school each day. So it didn’t interfere with her school work. The owner was a friend of Mom’s so that way Mom could keep an eye on Jenny and she usually came and walked Jenny home after work. Between the job and going to school Jenny was kept quite busy. She even managed to do the cooking and some cleaning at home because if she didn’t then Mom would have to do it.
She did love the job though, because all the school kids gathered there after school and the basketball games. It was a gathering place for all the teens in town from different schools. So Jenny got to meet more kids her own age and older whom she otherwise wouldn’t have met. And she got to drink all the cokes and eat all the ice cream she wanted, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing because she was beginning to gain weight.
Her reverie was interrupted suddenly when she heard her Mom’s voice coming from the bottom of the steps.
“Come on down girls, there’s someone here to see you.” Mom’s voice sounded strange.
Jane and Mary bolted down the stairs but for some reason Jenny was hesitant about going down and joining them.
To be continued.