Dear Arlie – business

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 ‘box.’

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

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The small group finally arrived at the meadow, their journey slowed by the joking and lollygagging along the way. As they headed towards the small corpse of trees where they typically laid out the picnic blanket when they came to the creek to play and cool off, Arlie spoke up. “I’m so excited about the picnic and fireworks this year.” She tried to suppress a widening grin. “I even have a new frock to wear for the Fourth. It’s got huge blousey sleeves with a fun red, white, and blue trim.”

George looked in her direction and winked. “I’m looking…”

Before he could finish his thought, Millie butted in. “I won’t be there this year. I’m going to miss it.” She pursed her lips in a pout.

Arlie stopped and spun around. “You won’t be there? But why ever not? You’re always part of our little gathering. You, me, Alla – and Pauline before she moved. You have to be there!” Arlie gestured emphatically as if the waving of her hands in the air would make it so. She paused and scrunched her eyes, little lines around the corners emphasizing her worried look. “But what about the flyers? I thought you were going to help your mother and her friends pass out the flyers we folded the other afternoon. The ones advocating our right as women to vote.”

“Father’s being a beast. He took some time off from the bank. We’re going to motor up to Michigan on Monday.” Millie frowned and stuck out her tongue. “For the whole month! Imagine! What am I to do up there for the whole month with no friends? Although – it is awfully strange that he’d come up with this grand idea so suddenly. Almost as if he’s out to foil Mother’s plan to participate with the suffrage group.”

Quiet Alla spoke up from the rear. “Michigan? Why there? You have family there?”

Although Millie’s tongue returned to its proper place, the frowny pout remained planted on her face. “No family. Father says one of his business associates told him of an Inn that’s a wonderful place to holiday at. Sauble Inn, if I recollect. There’s supposed to be a grand lake with rowing and fishing. I imagine Father will be planted behind the end of a pole for most the days. It shall be dreadful. I know I’ll pine away from loneliness.”

A young woman always shows her sunny disposition. Words that Arlie’s mother frequently admonished her with came floating through her mind to haunt her. And, although she was slightly concerned about how it appeared that Millie’s father was attempting to sabotage his wife’s activism activities, thoughts of spending time with George crowded out her other concerns. “Well, if there’s rowing that should be delightful.”

“I suppose. At least it shall be cooler up there,” Millie conceded.

Arlie turned and began walking again towards the shaded glen. “Speaking of cooler, let’s sit down the blanket and basket and go cool our feet first before we eat.”

dear arlie_wading1.jpgThe rest followed and soon all six were down at the creek removing shoes and socks. The three boys were slowed as they rolled up pants legs, while the three girls simply picked up the edges of their skirts and were wading about in the ankle deep creek.

George was the first of the boys in the water, trousers up about his knees and hat still in place. He made his way towards Arlie.

Arlie giggled and kicked up a foot, splashing water in his direction.

“Arlie Shinkle…” he started in protest, then chuckled and splashed a handful of water back towards her. “You better behave, or I’ll get even at the fireworks.”

dear arlie_wading2.jpg“Now just how will you get even then? There’s not a bit of water about at the park.”

“No, no water. But there’s watermelon – and cold drinks. You just never know, my sweet girl.” His eyes twinkled as he teased her.

After an hour splashing about, the friends returned to the picnic area, cooled and refreshed. They dug into the hamper with relish, eating as if it were their first meal in a week. Full and replete, they lounged on the plaid, woven blanket. William and Eddie soon snored away, their heads propped up on their rolled up jackets. Arlie and George spoke quietly to one another, seated next to each other at the far corner. Millie and Alla, wanting to give their friend a little private time with her beau, grabbed their cameras and headed back down to the stream.

dear arlie_camera1          dear arlie_camera2

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August 2017
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