Dear Arlie – box


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.’

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dear arlie_3 friends on the fence.jpg


Although the heat was rising, it didn’t slow the group of six friends down. They were on a mission to reach the cool shade of grove of trees lining the meadow. Only the girl’s silliness gave them occasional pause, as they stopped along the way when their giggles overcame them as they frolicked in front of the camera lens.

Millie took the camera from around her neck and held it out. “George, come get the camera and take a photograph of us girls.”

“I don’t know how to use that new-fangled contraption. Last time I shot a photograph it was still the old box type.”

“You can do it. It’s a snap. Come here, I’ll show you what to do.”

After a two minute instruction on the workings of the Kodak, George seemed satisfied that he could operate the device. “Besides,” he countered, “if you two girls can do it, then a strapping fellow such as I should be able to.”

Arlie snickered. “It’s not the brawn that will take a good photograph. It’s the brains that matter for this.”

George looked up at Arlie with a twinkle in his eye. “Then I guess I’ve got the brains too. After all, I’ve got enough smarts to know that I want you for my girl.”

A hot blush rose from Arlie’s neck and tainted her cheeks scarlet. She opened her mouth, but not a word came out.

“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” George teased.

Alla’s raised voice from behind them shattered the moment. “Come on you two. Arlie, get over here with Millie and I so George can take our picture.”

Reluctantly Arlie turned to go join her two friends. She rather would have stayed and pursued the conversation with George. A Cheshire grin lit up her face as they posed for the camera.

He likes me! He wants me for his girl!

As she settled in on a wooden step between Millie and Alla, Millie rose up and started acting like she was going to climb over the makeshift ladder contraption set over the barbed wire fence.

Arlie’s grin widened, even though she tried to sound outraged. “Millicent Arnold! What in the world. Get back down here before you show those young men more than they need to see. Sit down properly so George can get a good shot of us.”

The click of the camera echoed across the space and the girls knew that Millie’s shenanigans were captured on celluloid. “I get this one. It’s my birthday so I get this picture to put in my scrapbook.”

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – stone

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 ‘stone.’

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


Sure enough, his footsteps padded down the carpeted hallway, right past the dining room table without a pause to stop and say goodnight. A brief moment of elation filled her with joy. She wouldn’t have to deal with his bullshit tonight. Almost as suddenly as the happiness descended, it fled, leaving in its place a well of sorrow and sadness.

Tears welled up behind her eyes, her vision clouded and sobs threatened to spill out. She caught herself and stopped the emotions from overwhelming her. She didn’t want him to hear her break down crying.

We can’t keep going on like this. I need to make a decision. I’ve got to give him an ultimatum. But…what if he takes me up on it? I don’t have any money. I don’t have a job. I have no earthly idea what I’d do then.

Reacting in a manner that had served her well her whole life, instead of dealing with the critical situation in front of her, Peggy tamped down her emotions and her thoughts and turned her attention to an action unrelated to the dilemma that left her feeling confused and helpless. She flipped through the pages of the opened textbook in front of her.

TT_stone bedroom.jpgA photograph of a peaceful, serene bedroom caught her eye, making her gape in awe. A rush of desire flooded through her. I want that room! The light neutral colors were soothing. The bed linens were plush and inviting. The beige stone wall behind was the perfect accent, lending a natural, but not rustic, feel to the atmosphere.

She turned the page to find another photograph depicting different stone varieties for interiors.

And here I thought stones were only used for walkways, or maybe some countertops.

She ran her finger down the list; marble, field stone, limestone, granite, slate, river rock, pebbles.

TT_stone.jpgI can see there’s going to be a learning curve in this class. There’s ideas here that I’ve never even thought of using in a room. I’d better start opening my eyes and checking out the possibilities. Maybe I’ll text Wanda tomorrow and see if she wants to meet up and go visit some model homes with me.

The grandfather clock on the wall ticked on as Peggy spent the next hour browsing through her brand new copy of The Fundamentals of Interior Design. After perusing through the end of the book, she returned to the first chapter and began reading. The Design Process. Yellow marker in hand, she highlighted sentences and sections that she wanted to make a note of. At some places she picked up a red pen and underlined words and ideas that she wanted to remember. On a legal pad she made notes of words to look up, and ideas she wanted to Google for more information. By the end of the chapter her mind whirled and tumbled with new data and facts. One more thought crossed her mind. She closed the book and set it aside, then pulled her laptop closer. Opening it up, when the screen appeared, she clicked on a favorite icon. Pinterest.

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July 2018
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