Dear Arlie – earth


I’m taking a break from Ten O’clock Scholar to work on a historical short story for an upcoming anthology. Dear Arlie is a fictional tale about five friends in their early 20’s, set in 1911. While fictional in nature, snippets about these real women have been taken from actual postcard correspondences between Pauline Washburn and Arlie Shinkle.

In Tuesday Tales, we write to a weekly word prompt. Once a month we write to a picture prompt. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘earth.’

Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read other fun tidbits of upcoming works.

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Arlie straightened the stack of pamphlets in front of her, then leaned back and fidgeted with the cameo brooch pinned on her collar. “This isn’t as important as these flyers about our right to vote, but…are you two coming to my birthday party?”

Millie spun towards Arlie so fast she sent a flurry of the precious folded flyers tumbling across the dining room floor. She bent to retrieve them before her mother saw her and chided her for carelessness, and her friends came around the oak table to help. Millie glanced up, her hands still in motion gathering the mess. “When’s your party?”

“The party will be July first. It’s a Saturday. My birthday is on the third, but with all the festivities going on, Mother got the vapors just thinking about all she’d have to do in two days’ time.” Arlie sighed and rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why she’s in such a state about it. It’s not like she actually does anything. Cook is making all the food for the picnic at the park. And I’m sure Cook will be in charge of my party preparations too.”

Alla spoke up in defense of the absent parent. “There’s a lot to get ready for a party. There’s all the cleaning too, getting the house ready for guests.”

“Cleaning?” Arlie giggled at the thought. “Mother doesn’t clean either. Cook does all the dusting, shining, polishing, and beating of the rugs. Mother stays busy crimping her corset tighter and polishing her pearls.”

Millie’s mother entered the room, her skirts swirling around her quick steps, sending a light breeze in the direction of the errant papers. “What on earth? Millie, darling, whatever are you three doing on the floor in the middle of this…this…jumble?”

“Now Mother, it was just a little fumble on my part. See, we’ve just about got it all picked up.”

Millie’s mother simply shook her head with a bemused smile on her face. “Sweet, sweet child. I do believe you got your clumsiness from your father. Speaking of which…” She turned and looked at the ornate walnut coo coo clock sitting on the fireplace mantle. “…he’s due home from the bank. And I, obviously, don’t have his supper even started yet. You three may want to make yourself scarce to avoid the upcoming fireworks. And it will be the dark, sputtering ones, not like the pretty flashy ones we’ll see on the Fourth.”

The girls laid the papers on the table and took off for Millie’s room where they could talk about the upcoming birthday activities. Alla and Arlie plopped themselves on the downy mattress, while Millie turned her vanity chair towards the bed and sat on it.

Alla almost wiggled with excitement. “Arlie, are you having a slumber party again this year?”

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July 2017
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