Ten O’Clock Scholar – sticky

This snippet is written for Tuesday Tales, where a group of authors write to a word or picture prompt each week. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘sticky.’

Enjoy the snippet here, then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

Pulling her attention back to the teacher’s lesson, for the next hour Peggy immersed herself in antiquities. While she thoroughly enjoyed the lecture and found the facts about historic time periods fascinating, she also wondered what role that played in current interior design.

After all, it’s not like I’m going to be creating a living room to look like the inside of a pyramid, she mused quietly in her head. After Mrs. Stone’s earlier rebuke at the start of class, she certainly wasn’t going to speak the words aloud to Wanda. She stifled a giggle and tucked her bookmark in the current page on the textbook as the teacher wrapped up the lecture.

Mrs. Stone shut her laptop with a solid click, bringing the slide presentation to a close. As she stood and unlocked the classroom door, the students rustled about, picking up belongings and scurrying towards the door in a hurry. With only ten minutes between classes, with the next class sometimes being clear across the campus, there wasn’t time to dally.

Peggy felt a rush of relief, knowing that she had a free period between her Introduction to Interior Design and her Mechanical Drafting 101 class. This brief respite between classes gave her either time to study or catch up on reading – or, if she needed to doze for a few minutes and catch up on her missed sleep, then she could merely sit in the car and close her eyes. Today was probably going to be a day where she did the latter.

Before she could zip her tote closed, Wanda tapped on her shoulder. “Hey, on the museum tour day, you want to ride together?”

Conflicting emotions tore at Peggy. Rather than waffle about, she decided to be honest and direct, a lesson that she was finally learning how to do in life. “I’d really love to. It would be fun to drive together and chat. But with getting the boys to the sitter first, it would be too sticky for me timewise. By the time I drop them off…if my babysitter can watch them early, I’ll barely be able to make it to the museum in time.”

“That’s alright. I understand. Maybe I’ll check with the girl that takes the bus to class. If she doesn’t find anyone else to drive with, she might not mind taking a trip in with an old grandmother like myself.”

“Psshaw! You’re not that old.”

“How old do you think I am?”

Peggy hesitated. On this one, she decided she’d best pass on the honest and direct mode. She squinted her eyes and tipped her head, making a big play about looking closely at her classmate. “Hmmmm…hard to tell. I’m guessing older only because of the gray hair…fiftyish?”

A hundred-watt smile lit up Wanda’s face and she raised a palm to high-five Peggy. “Off by a mile! Sixty-four next month.”

A grin flickered across Peggy’s lips. Seeing the pleasure on Wanda’s face, she vowed to never admit she’d fudged on her answer.

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – hug

In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘hug.’

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.


Reaching for the note, Peggy kept her eyes on Mrs. Stone. After the teacher’s admonitions about tardiness and cell phones in the class, Peggy didn’t think that passing notes to one another would be an allowable action, even though she hadn’t specifically spoken against it. Even though many years had passed since Peggy sat in a classroom, she instantly felt like she was back in Junior High, passing notes to her best friend. Although, in this current technological age, it felt like old times. What the kids would call ‘old-school’, she supposed.

Looking at the piece of paper in her hand, she saw it was a phone number. She gave a thumbs up motion to Wanda, to acknowledge it. I’ll have to ask her if she texts. My parents do, but Wanda looks older – more like my grandparents age. They carry cell phones, but don’t know the first thing about texting.

Before she could worry more about Wanda’s texting abilities, she turned her attention back to the instructor, who was pacing back and forth across the front of the room during her introductory discourse. “…you’ll need to have your laptops with you every day.” She picked up a stack of papers from her desk and handed the pile to the corner seat. “Here is the syllabus for the quarter, along with instructions and passwords to log onto the online course items. We will have two mandatory field trips. One to the Pacific Design Center and one to the Gable House in Pasadena. The dates and times are in the syllabus.”

gamble house.jpg

Field trips? Clear to Pasadena? And the Design Center in LA? How am I going to work that out? I hope Mary’s up for a few longer days than I anticipated.

wallpaper samples.jpgBut she couldn’t dwell on that. Mrs. Stone was off in another flurry, opening the cupboards that ran the full length of three sides of the class. “…samples are in here…textile samples…wallpaper books…paint chips here…”

Even though the work seemed overwhelming, Peggy was enthusiastic to start learning. A ripple of excitement coursed through her soul as she imagined immersing herself in the hundreds – or thousands – of available samples.

By the time she left class, Peggy’s head was whirling with the massive assignment list the students received.

Wanda caught her elbow as she gathered her belongings. “Call me and we can compare notes about the class.”

“OK. But I don’t have a lot of time to chat during the day. You know, two young boys and all. You text?”


“Great. I usually text. But don’t take it personal if I don’t reply right away. Sometimes I’m in the middle of things and can’t answer then.”

A wistful smile filled Wanda’s face, smoothing out the crevices that lined her face. “I remember those days. Vaguely. Now my grandchildren are having children and I’m an old woman with nothing to fill her days.” A gleam in her eye replaced the look of longing. “Until school. Happy 60th birthday to me. Now there’s an agenda to my week and a purpose to get up and get dressed.”

Peggy chuckled and held up a palm for a high five. “Good for you! We’ll chat. But I’ve got to run and pick up the boys now. They’re not used to being left with a sitter, even though it’s a friend that they know.”

Dashing to the car, Peggy felt like dancing with glee. I needed this! School and learning. And making new friends. Topped off by giant hugs from the boys when I pick them up. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

It was when she was in the car, fighting traffic on the congested 10 Freeway that she thought of Derek and wondered what mood he was going to be in that evening.

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August 2022

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