Mr. Pauley’s Undoing.

We are supposed to write in the first person, using the voice of a twelve year old.  And use the neighbors, M. and M. Pauley to fill out the story, with Mr. Pauley dying and Mrs. Pauley being evicted. 

It was a challenge for me but I think I came through it okay.

 

I was sitting on the swing on my front porch. It was dusk and I loved to watch the passing parade of people going by. There was old Mr. Jones walking his dog, and right after him came a young couple that I didn’t know. They were holding hands and looked to be about 17 years old or thereabouts anyway. The young guy was moving his hand to the girl’s waist and then it started creeping lower to her butt. I heard a giggle from the girl and had to smile to myself.

I was only twelve but looking forward to the day when I would be able to date. I was already getting advice from my older brother, although I was not sure the advice was any good. He was only fifteen and had only been going out with girls for a few months. Mom wanted us to wait until we were sixteen before we started dating and then she only wanted us going out maybe once a week. Like that’s going to happen.

Oh, there’s Mr. and Mrs. Pauley out on their porch doing pretty much the same as I am. They lived across the street and she was friendly with mom. They had coffee with each other a few times a week. She’s waving now. Guess I better wave back or she will think I am rude and tell mom.

They have six boys but they are all grown and gone now. Don’t think I’ve ever seen them since they never seem to come and visit. There’s a rumor going around the neighborhood that Mr. Pauley is having an affair with some young chick. Wonder who would be interested in that old fart? He is certainly nothing to look at. Guess they are well off, at least that’s what I heard mom saying. Not sure Mrs. P. knows about the affair. If she does, she is certainly keeping calm about it.

Two Months later:

I heard fire sirens coming down my street as I was walking home from school. They stop at the Pauley’s and the ambulance follows with the cops not far behind. Oh my God, I wonder what’s going on there? A small crowd of neighbors gather near my house and I join them as mom comes out and we stand on our porch watching. The ambulance guys come out with Mr. Pauley on a stretcher and put him into it and take off, with sirens screaming.

We later heard that Mr. Pauley had a heart attack and died at the hospital.  So much for his affair I thought.  Wonder what Mrs. Pauley is going to do without him.  She’ll probably be better off, my mom said.  What with his carousing with young women and her not even knowing anything about it.

So mom and I went to the funeral.  I only went under protest as I really didn’t like the man.  But when mom says go, you go.  Most of the neighbors went and came back to the house later for refreshments.  Mrs. P. actually seemed to be enjoying herself.  Strange though, not one of their sons came to see dear old dad put into the ground.

Mrs. P. later told my mom that she was being evicted because of back taxes, so she would be leaving soon.  She told mom not to worry though as one of her sons had invited her to live with him and his family.  She also told mom that she knew about her husband carrying on behind her back.  She thinks it was the reason he had the heart attack!

Sifting Through the Past…..

Mother and Marion
Mother and Marion

Sifting through the past either physically or mentally certainly brings back a lot of memories. Not the least of which is, after my Mother died and my sister and I were cleaning out her room, saving some items and putting others aside for the Salvation Army Thrift Store. We hate to throw anything away.

My Mother had moved in with my youngest sister and her husband when she was in her eighties because she was having some problems getting around by herself.  Not getting around physically but going to doctors appointments and to the grocery store for provisions. She had never learned how to drive which made things even harder to get around in the city.  My sister had a beautiful home with plenty of room and no children.  Which worked out fine for all of us especially my Mother.

Mother was not very happy about leaving her cozy apartment where she was on her own and enjoyed her autonomy. She certainly loved all of us and especially the youngest daughter, so it wasn’t a matter of not appreciating the offer to go and live there.  But my sister  lived in a far away city and it would all be new and strange to mother.

After a short time, she was adjusting well and they had a great time going out to eat and shopping, more than mother had been used to. Mother certainly loved eating out, so  she was in her element. This took a load off all our minds knowing that she was happy living there, so we  could relax and know that mother was in good hands. We would all go and visit on a regular basis.

But back to going through mother’s stuff in her room.  We continued going through as much as we could.  My sister told me to take anything I would like to have.  We were almost done, when I happened upon a small jewelry box in one of the drawers.  There was a lot of costume jewelry in her bigger jewelry boxes and I was going to take a few pieces I would like to have.  The small ring that was in the small box was twinkling at me and I picked it up, tried it on my finger and loved it.  It was a gold ring and had an unusual setting with five separate small stones and when I asked my sister about it, she said each stone was the birth stone of each of the sisters.  And in the middle was mother’s birth stone.

My sister said that she and our oldest sister had gotten the ring for mother for a past birthday.  So I, of course, told her she should keep it.  But she insisted on my taking it since I liked it so much.  Also, it did not fit any of the other sisters.  I was happy to accept her generous offer.

I still have the ring after these many years and I still love it.  I will pass it on to one of my daughters.  So even though the ring wasn’t lost, I found it that day and have enjoyed having it ever since.

The Lady in the Mirror.

Mother at Christmas
Mother at Christmas

Today’s post is supposed to be about an overheard conversation, wherever you may have heard it. Could have been anywhere, at home, in a coffee shop, a restaurant, etc. Not sure that this qualifies as an overheard conversation but it’s certainly a story that has been told and repeated many times in our family. And it bears repeating I think but I will let you be the judge of that.

The twist is to include a foreshadowing of events to come. That may or may not be appropriate in this story but we will see.

My Mother was a great story-teller.  She kept my girlfriends interest when they would come over to visit.  Sometime the stories were about the supernatural and graveyards at midnight and would scare my friends so much that they were afraid to walk home in the dark of night..  But they would always come back for more.

When Mother got older, she moved in with my youngest sister and her husband.  My sister would take mother to all her doctor’s appointments and they usually stopped at a coffee shop on the way home.

This particular day when they went to a coffee shop they had frequented, they were seated at a table facing each other and there was a large mirror all around the restaurant taking up most of the wall, which mother was facing.

They had finished their sandwiches and were just enjoying their coffee and chatting.  Mother said that she noticed these two women sitting nearby, who had their heads together and were chattering away.

“Don’t look now but those two women haven’t stopped to take a breadth since they came in, especially the older one,”  mother said.

“No, don’t look, the older woman is really taking over the conversation.  What a chatter box.  The younger one can’t get a word in edgewise.

She is still at it!  Going a mile a minute.  Haven’t seen her stop flapping her lips since they got here,”  mother  said in an irritated voice.

Now my sister was going to turn around to see these two, who were annoying mother so much.

“No don’t turn or they’ll know we are watching them,” mother insisted.

But by this time, my sister was too curious and had to get a look at these two gossips especially the older one.  So she turned slowly, pretending to pick up her dropped napkin and get a look at the women.

When she turned back to mother, she was laughing so hard that tears were in her eyes.

“Well I’m glad you think it’s so funny,” Mother said with a frown on her face.

“Mother, those two women you have been watching are us in the mirror!  And here you are getting annoyed at yourself.  Because you are that older woman.”

Well, mother’s face was red as a beet for a few minutes.  When she thought about it, she had to laugh at herself.  But she said, “Oh, I guess you are going to tell everyone about it now!”

 The story was passed around the family for years after, along with a lot of other stories about mother that were just to good to keep to ourselves.

Where I lived at Twelve Years Old

We are supposed to write about where we lived when we were twelve.  And we are also supposed to include the town, city, country we lived in..  In addition, we should include whether it was an apartment, a house or mobile home or something different..  Another thing to add is where you went to school and who lived with you at the time.

The twist being the length of the sentences.  They should be both short and long and also medium.  Sentences of all the same length would make the story boring.  And of course we don’t want that do we?

When I was twelve we had moved out of the shack we had been living in for a good part of my childhood.  The roof leaked, we had no hot water except what we heated on our coal stove and our toilet was outside in what we called a porch.  It was freezing in the winter when we went to the toilet and in the summer there were mosquitoes to annoy us.

So moving to the ‘new’ house, which was actually a duplex, we were beside ourselves with the joy of having a roof that didn’t leak and an inside toilet.  We still did not have a proper bathroom but just to have an indoor, enclosed toilet was enough for us.  We still didn’t have hot water unless we heated it on the coal stove but we were happy.

I lived with my three sisters and my mother as my father had deserted us quite a while ago, while we were living in the shack.  I had one older sister and two younger sisters.  My Mother worked as a cook for a doctor and sometimes she had to stay overnight, as she also did some of the cleaning for the doctor’s family.  She had to take two buses to get to the doctor’s house and of course two to get home.

My older sister was fourteen and had gotten a part-time job after school and this helped with paying the bills.  I was babysitting for a few of my Mother’s friends and that helped with buying my own clothes and various things I needed for school.

We lived in a small town in Pennsylvania where everyone knew everyone else.  It was good and bad.  Good because everyone knew what everyone else was doing and bad because everyone knew what everyone else was doing.

We went to Catholic school and were taught by nuns and got a very good education.  The church was near the school and we went to mass every Sunday and holy days of obligation.  Also, we went to mass on certain months that were holy for some reason and we had to go every day before school that particular month. In those days everything was in Latin, the mass, the singing, the whole bit.  We had to take two semesters of Latin and two semesters of another language or four semesters of Latin.  You had to have at least two years of Latin to be a nurse, which was what I was thinking I might do. But I decided to take two semesters of French because I was so sick of the Latin by then.

My Mother was a good cook, so on the days she was home we had some delicious meals and on other times, I usually tried my hand at cooking.  Sometimes the meals I cooked turned out pretty good, because I had learned a lot from Mother.  Other times when I tried something new, the meal turned out not so good and there was a lot of complaining from the sisters.  But I carried on and since I was the only one willing and old enough to cook on the coal stove, the complaining was held to a minimum, especially if they wanted to eat.

So we lived in that house until I was nineteen and then we moved to the nearest big city.  We were upgrading at each move, especially since both my older sister and I had graduated from high school and were both working full-time. But the small town where we grew up and graduated from high school, still holds some fond memories of school days and friends, some of whom I still keep in contact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY EATING TO ALL!

Mother enjoying a snack.
Mother enjoying a cuppa.

 

We are supposed to write about our favorite meal either to celebrate something or just a favorite meal we have had as a child.

And tell it in your own distinct voice.

As a child I remember we were suddenly very poor when our father who had lost his job as a school teacher, deserted us.  So food was scarce a lot of the time.  My mother was a good cook though and she could make shoe leather taste like steak.  Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but not much.  If she had a few potatoes, she would make potato soup with an onion and a little butter.  We, and there were four of us girls, loved the potato soup and would always gather around the table and eat it with gusto and a few slices of bread.

Mother also made a killer potato salad with lots of hard-boiled eggs, mayo and onion. When mother’s sisters knew potato salad was for dinner they just happened to show up for a visit around dinner time.  Even though we barely had enough for ourselves, she always served the sisters first because they were company, and she may have to give them her portion.

Chocolate cake was one of her specials with chocolate icing of course.  But we only had that occasionally for special times.  If you requested it for your birthday, you usually got it.  She also baked her own bread when she had the time.  We, of course, loved that, and if she had dough left over she would fry the dough for us.  I think that was my overall favorite, the fried dough.  It was heavenly and we would argue for who got the last piece.  I was the skinniest so I usually won that argument.

But my most favorite time of all was when mother was planning a picnic in the summer, either going up to the woods or to one of the nearby lakes.  Then she pulled out all the stops and make everybody’s favorite foods.  This included, potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad and a big chocolate layer cake with chocolate icing.  Needless to say, all us kids were happy as clams on those picnics and came home sunburned, wet or damp wrapped in towels and stuffed to the gills.

Those were some good times with the family and it didn’t cost much at all.

DEATH TO ADVERBS!

Merlin my Muse
Merlin my Muse

 

We are supposed to lose the adverbs in today’s post, therefore making our post more interesting and giving it more life and action.  I was told over and over again in writing classes to use action verbs that keep the story moving and of course it does do that.

The Killer in the Coffee Shop

While I most enjoy going to a local haunt with a partner, going alone is a preference when I want to get input for a story I am working on.  I happened to be at Starbucks a while ago, just sipping on my latte with extra foam of course and munching on a biscotti, when I noticed a man sitting in the outside patio.  There was a window between us but I could see him well enough.

I tried to observe him without being obvious after I noticed his lips were moving and he was alone.  He wasn’t talking on the phone and he didn’t have a computer with him or any wires coming from his ears.  His eyes were darting around and his lips kept moving so at this point I was getting a little concerned.

He caught me watching him and I averted my eyes quickly feeling like an idiot.  I pulled a book out of my purse to make it seem as though I was reading and sipped at my drink.  I had a strange feeling that he was the serial killer the police were looking for in the area.  The news had carried the story in both the paper and the local TV station.  I told myself I was being ridiculous as I tried to concentrate on the book.  He did look familiar though.

Then, lo and behold, he started to get up and was gathering his stuff, coming inside and before I knew it, he was sitting in the seat at the counter right next to me.  He could not only look down at me and see everything I was doing but he could grab me and do God knows what.

By this time my heart was racing and also I started to sweat, feeling very nervous.  I couldn’t very well check to see what he was doing now as he was above me and not even an arm’s length away.  I decided the best thing to do was leave.

I started to pack up my book and finish my latte as I could not get out of there fast enough.  As I stood up and turned to go out the door, I got a good look at him and what he had with him.

On the counter in front of him was a small ipad next to his drink.  He was playing some game on the ipad!  So it was with a red face that I exited stage left.

A DIALOGUE WITH THE DEVIL

Today’s prompt is to have two contrasting ideas, people or whatever.  And the twist is to put it in the form of a dialogue.

I thought talking with the Devil may make for an interesting dialogue.  So here goes.

Me:  Well hello Devil,  have not seen you in a month of Sundays.

Devil:  Indeed!  I was just thinking about you.

Me:  Oh, oh, I don’t like the sound of that.  Any particular reason you were thinking about me?

Devil: Um hmm…. There sure enough is a reason.  I don’t do anything without a reason.

Me:  I was kinda thinking you were gonna say that.  So give, what is the reason you were thinking about me when there are so many people you could be thinking about?  I don’t think I’ve done anything lately that I am ashamed of, or particularly bad.

Devil:  Well guess again little Missy.

Me:   Oh, oh, doesn’t sound good.  Out with it Devil, don’t keep me in suspense.

Devil:  Devil leans over and whispers in my ear.

Me:  Oh no not that?  I didn’t t think that was so bad.

Devil:  Well a lot of people feel the same way you do.

And it’s not gonna be so good for them in the end.

Me:  You mean that we will be going to that hot place for something we didn’t know was wrong?

Devil:  That’s what I mean alright.  And don’t give me that, you didn’t know  it was wrong, stuff.  You better straighten up and fly right girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

On finding a letter in the street……

California St.-looking down towards the ocean.While walking downtown on my way to the Post Office, I noticed  an envelope under a tree in the adjacent park.  On closer inspection, the envelope was dirty and a little damp and also did not have a stamp on it. The envelope was open so I read it and was chagrined to find out the letter was from a mother telling her daughter that she had Cancer.  She was asking the daughter for help.  Strange I thought, usually a phone call would be quicker for news like this.  But as I read on, I saw that the two had been estranged for quite some time.

By this time I had to make a decision, or go on my way and let someone else take care of it.   I decided I couldn’t let it just go and do nothing..  So I took the letter and went to the store and bought a package of large envelopes.  I then decided to go to Starbucks, my favorite haunt in the city, to finish what I had started..

While I sat there enjoying my latte, I put the letter, which had dried by this time, into the larger envelope I just bought and addressed the new envelope, making sure the stamp was on right.  Then I went to the Post Office and mailed it.

 

MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GET AWAY

The HarborThis is the Harbor in the small beach community where I live.  I have been going there for many years now, sometimes just because it is a beautiful place to visit but more often to get away from the hub bub of everyday life.

I mostly just sit in my car and sometimes I write, or do a little sketching of something I would like to paint at a later date.

The sounds you hear are seagulls and once in a while children’s voices can be heard playing on the sand.  There is a variety of boats coming in and out of the Harbor and the sound of the fog horn can sometimes be heard.

I get out of the car and take a walk along the trail near the beach area,  Just down a bit there is a tourist area with coffee shops, restaurants, and of course an ice cream place.  There is also an art gallery, which I usually visit as I know some of the local artists..

So you can have your privacy as you see in the picture above or go to the visitors’ area and enjoy.  I really go to the Harbor for the feeling of knowing the vast ocean is right there and I can just sit there and enjoy the sounds of the seagulls and the water.

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

MEDITATION

Our prompt for today is to write for twenty minutes anything that comes into your mind.  A stream of consciousness.  So I set the clock and here is what came out.

I am sitting on my favorite chair, a big recliner with my cat, Lady, on my lap.  I usually do morning notes (not every morning) and it is interesting what comes out when I go back over the notes at a later date.

I get a lot of good ideas when I go back over the notes.  Some  I will use in a story and then possibly become a post on my blog.

Sometimes I get the glimmer of an idea and then I expand that into a story at a later time.

It’s usually best to do the notes first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea.  I have a cup of green tea most mornings as that is my favorite.  I like coffee but it sometimes causes me stomach pain.

I find that green tea with white tea combined is a really smooth drink.  I am taking a sip now.

Glad to be in the Class again especially since it keeps me motivated to do some writing, if not every day, then most days a week.  And it is always interesting to read other classmates ideas and stories.  There are a lot of creative people in these classes.

And another thing, it keeps my brain working, thinking of new ideas of what to write about.

Also the photography class and the poetry class were so interesting.  I did not know I could write poetry and there I was doing poetry.  It makes one feel good about oneself to do something you never dreamed of doing.

I have expanded my horizons to such an extent that I feel as though I can go on indefinitely.

So coming to a close here with two minutes to go, I can only say that I am really getting a lot out of these classes.  So good luck to all of us who are participating in these creative endeavors.