Dear Arlie – bike

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 ‘bike.’

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

tt_banner

 

Arlie rushed to the front door and flung it open to reveal George standing on the covered porch.

He held his straw fedora in his hands, nervously twisting it in circles. “My, aren’t you a lovely vision for this fine Fourth of July?”

Arlie tucked a few strands of loose hair into her bun and primped. “Why, thank you, kind sir. And you are so handsome in your freshly pressed shirt and striking tie. Is it new?”

George shuffled his feet and dropped his head as if suddenly shy. “It is. Got it at John Campbell’s mercantile for our outing today.” He tipped his head up and raised his shoulders as if finding an inner well of courage. “Are you ready to go? I heard the band practicing on the way here. The parade should be starting soon.” He held out an elbow, ready to escort his girl.

“Let me grab my parasol and tell Mother that I’m leaving.” Arlie dashed back inside, leaving her guest standing on the wrap around porch in front of a wide open door.

George awkwardly stood, as if unsure whether to enter, stay where he was, or sit on the porch swing and wait. Before he could decide which plan of action to follow, Arlie appeared in the doorway, tucking an embroidered handkerchief in her waistband, a white lacy parasol dangling from her wrist. Taking his offered elbow, she slid a gloved hand into the bend and the two stepped down off the porch and headed towards Main Street.

A squeaky noise appeared behind them, accompanied by a soft scrunching sound. Both George and Arlie turned their heads to look and saw Arlie’s neighbor on a bike soon to overtake them.

Arlie squealed with delight. “Look at Mrs. Henderson go!”

George chuckled as he watched the woman ride past them, her eyes intent on the road and never veering towards the pedestrians. “Bet the whole population of Ellwsorth will be in attendance today.”

dear arlie_woman on bike.jpg

By the time they’d reached the downtown of their small community, Arlie already had her parasol open and was shading them both. Heat waves shimmered off of roofs and surfaces. Dust from the foot traffic billowed around the crowd, but everyone was so caught up in the excitement, that the heat didn’t slow anyone down.

A drum cadence announced the start of the parade and those mingling in the middle of the street quickly moved to the sides, clearing the way for the uniformed drum crew. A vendor passed along behind the crowd hawking his wares. “Flags here. Get your flags here. A penny a piece.”

George dug in this pocket and handed the stubble-faced man two pennies. He and Arlie now had a flag in hand to wave with the other observers. Three motor cars followed, with billowing drapes of red, white and blue festooning each vehicle. The local suffragettes followed at the tail end, waving flags high above their heads, while two women on each side of the group handed out flyers to the crowd lining the street.

dear arlie_parade.jpg

Arlie frowned as they passed by. “How I wish Millie were here for the fun today. It’s just not fair that her father spirited them away to Michigan. She’s always been here for the festivities. And Pauline too. This is the second year she’s missed. I wish she hadn’t moved all the way to Los Angeles.”

“Do you ever hear from her?”

“From Pauline?” Arlie waited for George’s nod of agreement before continuing. “Yes. A postcard now and then. Not often enough. But several times a year. We were so close for so many years. She’d often take the train down from Bloomington and join us at Old Settler’s Park for different events. Now our little group this year is down to me and Alla.”

“And me,” George reminded her.

Arlie patted his shoulder in reassurance. “Yes, dear George. You too. The best part of the day.”

He grinned slyly. “Maybe before the day is over, I can make it even better for you.”

“Better? Come now, dear man. How could that be? Do tell.” Arlie pursed her lips in a pout.

“Tell? And ruin the surprise? That would never do. You’ll just have to wait for the fireworks to find out.”

“Not find out till the fireworks? But that’s hours and hours away!”

The crowd began dispersing and moving down the street towards the park. George, the ever perfect gentleman, held out his arm to guide Arlie along. “My sweet Arlie. You’ll just have to wait in suspense. Now, let’s join the others at the picnic, lest they think I’m hogging you all to myself for the whole day. Much as I’d love to do that.”

“Give a little hint at least?”

George stopped and turned to look her square in the eye. “A hint? Hmmmm…fireworks and the desire of my heart…a lover’s moon…Arlie Shinkle on my arm…”

George Noble Paxton. That does not constitute a hint.”

“Then I suppose you’ll just have to wait. Let’s go eat. I’m famished and my stomach has been rumbling for some of your Cook’s delicious fried chicken.”

Dear arlie_picnic.jpg

Return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to MY WEBSITE here.

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.

tt_banner

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

Return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to MY WEBSITE   here.

Dear Arlie – box

tt_banner

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.

 

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.”

Return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to MY WEBSITE here.

Dear Arlie – silver

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 ‘silver.’

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

tt_banner

As raindrops started pelting the glass, Arlie threw her hands to her cheeks and moaned. “Nooooo! It can’t rain.”

“Don’t think you have any say in the matter.” Millie was nothing if not matter of fact. “It’s gonna rain whether you want it to or not.”

“But it will be too muddy!” Arlie stomped her foot on the oak plank floor and crossed her arms across her chest in a pout. “And I want a picnic for my birthday.”

Alla shook her head slowly. “Oh…waaa…waaa…you get quite maudlin sometimes, Arlie. Do you think everything in life is going to go your way?”

A look of shock flashed across Arlie’s face. “Now that you mention it, dear…why…yes. I do believe that circumstances should favor my needs.”

“Your needs…and your whims…” Alla didn’t look very sympathetic.

“Oh poppycock. Needs. Whims. Wants. Whatever you want to call it. I do believe life should go according to my desires.” The firmness set in Arlie’s jaw compounded her intent.

Millie turned from where she stood watching the rain cascade down the bay window. “If you two would stop your snipping with each other and think logically about it, you’d realize that Arlie’s birthday isn’t for another week. It’s not likely that it’s going to rain for a solid week. It will be dry by picnic day.”

“You think. It’s rained for a week at a time before. Sometimes even two.” Arlie wrung her hands and began pacing the length of Millie’s bedroom.

“It has. But not during summer thundershower season. That usually happens in the spring.” Millie gracefully eased herself back down on her vanity seat. “Besides, as my Granny always says, ‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ And she should know, with all the years she has behind her.”

Alla nodded her head in agreement, but didn’t add to the conversation.

Arlie scoffed in protest. “What silver lining could there be with this rain?”

Millie took a deep breath and appeared to be searching for patience. “Why dear, you know how low the creek gets during the summer. Some years it’s barely running by now. This rain will refresh the springs and it should be a nice wading depth for us in a week.”

Arlie didn’t look convinced. But when she awoke the next morning to the brilliant rays cast through her bedroom window, she knew that her friends were most likely correct. And they were. The rest of the week passed with nary another drop and the day of her party promised to be dry…and hot.

Saturday morning she sprung out of bed, wide eyed and bushy tailed. She could hardly get her corset tightened fast enough to run downstairs and check on the picnic preparations. When she scurried into the kitchen, she saw that Cook already had everything under control. An opened picnic hamper sat on the table, with a checked tablecloth folded beside.

Cook stood in front of a sizzling pan, turning pieces of fried chicken in the spattering oil. “Go on, girl. Get yourself some breakfast. You’ll have to wait on yourself this morning if you want this food ready before your friends arrive.”

“I do believe I’ll just have a piece of toast this morning.”

“Toast?” Cook snorted. “That won’t give you sustenance until the midday meal. You’ll waste away before you get to the meadow.”

“Okay. Toast with a bit of apple butter…and maybe a piece of fruit. I’m too nervous to eat much.”

Cook tried to suppress a smile. It didn’t work. The grin showed from ear to ear. “It’s that George fellow, isn’t it? You’re all atwitter over him going on the grand adventure with you today.”

Arlie smiled back at the sassy woman that had been a feature in their kitchen since she was a sprite. “Maybe…”

“Twaint no maybe about it. I can see what happens every time he’s around. You light up like a Christmas candle on a Christmas tree. That you do.”

Arlie cut a slice of bread from yesterday’s fresh baked loaf and popped it in their new-fangled contraption. Before it popped up ready to go, Alla and Millie arrived with a Kodak camera dangling around each of their necks. The girls giggled together while Arlie ate her light meal. Cook placed the containers of food in the picnic hamper, with plates and utensils laid in on the side of the basket. As she closed the lid, a knock at the side door announced more guests.

Arlie threw open the door to see George, William, and another boy standing on the porch.

George spoke up first with a slight blush rising up as the three stepped inside the kitchen. “Morning, Miss Arlie. This is Eddie, Williams’s cousin. You don’t mind if he tags along with us today, do you?”

Arlie cast her eyes down and simpered. “Why, not at all. It’s my pleasure.” She turned to the new fellow and held out her hand. “Eddie, so glad you could join us today.”

Millie looked up, appearing excited to see a third male guest. With a quick glance she acknowledged Eddie and then turned and dismissed him.

Alla made her way across the room towards where William stood inside the door. She hesitated as she passed Millie and murmured. “Not your cup of tea?”

Millie whispered back. “Not hardly. Too young and fresh faced. But he’ll be good company for the day.”

Chattering a mile a minute, the six friends left for the meadow. They moved as a group, taking turns carrying the wicker hamper until they reached the railroad tracks where they broke into pairs to traverse the portion they needed to walk along to reach the path that led to the meadow.

Millie hung back behind the others, hoping to capture a few photographs without her friends knowledge.

dear arlie_walking down RR tracks

Return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to MY WEBSITE here.

Dear Arlie – earth

tt_banner

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.

pc_Pauline Dec 1910.png

pc_Pauline Dec 1910 back.png

 

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?”

Return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to MY WEBSITE here.

Ten O’Clock Scholar – purple

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 ‘purple.’

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

tt_banner

Nerves tingling with excitement, Peggy couldn’t wait to dive into her schoolwork once the boys were in bed. She was so anxious and ready to start her reading, she started the whole run the bath and lay out the jammies process thirty minutes earlier than usual. Not that the boys were that happy about it. But they were never excited about bath and bedtime, so their reaction was nothing new.

Neither was Derek’s. His behind was firmly attached to the sofa cushion and would remain there until he headed to bed. TV blaring, empty beer cans leaving wet rings on the coffee table, cigarette butts piling up in the ashtray; that was his usual nighttime routine. Peggy had tried getting him to help out with the boys at bedtime. His rote response did nothing to endear her to her husband. “Nothing doing. That’s your job. I work all day.”

As if I sit on my tush and eat bon bons all day.

But tonight nothing would erase the shimmer of anticipation that rippled around her.

Finally the boys were tucked into bed and Peggy headed for the kitchen table with the stack of books she needed for her classes. Opening the book for the Interior Design Basics class, she stroked the cover page lightly and silently admitted to herself – there’s nothing like the fragrance of a brand new textbook with its slick pristine pages, crisp to the touch.

Perusing the table of contents, the chapter on color theory caught her eye. “Page 178.” She muttered softly under her breath and flipped through the pages until she found the section she searched for. Skimming through the subheadings, she turned the page and stopped at the full size color wheel. Finding her favorite color, she read off the list of corresponding names.

purple colors“Violet. Boysenberry. Lavender. Plum. Lilac. Grape. Periwinkle. Eggplant. Iris. Amethyst. Orchid. Mulberry. Wine.”

Who knew there could be so many different colors and names of purple?

The sudden silence in the living room announced that Derek was done and headed for bed. She halfway wondered if he’d even come in the kitchen to say goodnight. She knew he wouldn’t make the trip in to throw his own empty cans away. A small part of her missed the old days of their marriage when they seemed happy to be around one another and would spend time in the evening cuddling and being intimate. The larger part of her was so disgusted with the current state of their relationship, she didn’t care at all if he came in to say goodnight – she almost preferred that he keep his distance and let her enjoy this small slice of quiet time. She had so little time for herself that she’d almost forgotten what it was like.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

Return to my WEB SITE here.

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.

tt_banner

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?”

“Naturally.”

“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.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

Return to my WEB SITE here.

Ten O’Clock Scholar: staple

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 ‘staple.’

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

tt_banner

The woman tucked a few stray, silver tresses behind an ear and leaned in closer. “Hi, I’m Wanda.”

Peggy held out a hand and introduced herself. After comparing notes about what brought them to this class, she was pleasantly surprised to find that the two had a lot in common, despite the age difference. Her new friend was not the curmudgeon she appeared to be at first glance. And, while Peggy was returning to school after a ten year hiatus, she learned that Wanda was returning to the classroom after forty years. She had just celebrated her sixtieth birthday and starting the interior design program was her present to herself.

Maybe she’s just as intimidated as I am right now.

Before she could question Wanda about it, the instructor clapped her hands at the front of the classroom. The chatter that had been filling the room with a soft buzz came to an abrupt halt. The teacher stood in a regal stance, her gaze shifting around the room to make sure she had everyone’s attention. “I’m Mrs. Stone. I’m your instructor for most of the classes in the interior design program. I’m also the program chair. Before I begin, I want to cover a few ground rules for my classroom. First of all…no cell phones. If you have your phones with you, please turn them off, or silence them during my classroom time. If your phone rings during class time, I’ll ask you to leave for the remainder of class.”

Every student in the room scrambled for cell phones, either tucked in pockets or sequestered in purses. Rapid movements from everyone reflected a mass of students scurrying to comply with the teacher’s request.

After she waited a few moments for phones to be silenced, Mrs. Stone continued with her standard rules. “Also, I do not tolerate tardiness. When it’s time for class to begin, I lock the door and no one may enter after that. There will be a signup sheet stapled to the bulletin board next to the door. If you arrive late and the door is locked, sign up on the sheet and you’ll get partial credit for the day.”

Peggy gulped. Being on time was not an attribute she possessed. It was hard enough getting herself ready and out the door on time. When you added two boys to the mix, it made her run even later. Getting to class on time, for every single class, would be a challenge. She leaned over to whisper a comment to Wanda, then caught the teachers glaring look in her direction. Sitting back straight in her chair, she decided it was best to keep quiet. She certainly didn’t want to earn the teacher’s ire on the first day.

Movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. She glanced off to the side and saw Wanda slipping a note towards her.

passing notes.jpg

Ten O’Clock Scholar – cry

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 ‘cry.’

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

tt_banner

Once she was away from a clingy youngster and the confusion of getting two boys dressed and to Mary’s house, Peggy felt the stressed feelings peeling away like layers of an onion. With each mile getting closer to the campus, she felt her excitement rise. Even Derek’s sour mood over the past week couldn’t dim her enthusiasm. Feelings of pride and accomplishment over this huge step in her life swelled in her and caused her to set up straight in the driver’s seat.

Empowered was the word that came to her mind. After all the years of submitting to Derek’s desires and wishes, for once she was taking action towards something that would expand and enhance her life.

TT studentsPeggy’s feeling of pride deflated as soon as she rounded the corner and saw the line of barely-twenty-somethings waiting to enter the classroom. The students – mostly girls, but not all – giggled and twittered in their clustered groups. Most wore skimpy clothes that revealed a lot of abdomen and back – certainly far more than Peggy was willing to display of her post-two-children body. She caught herself as a brief moment of wanting to cry passed through her.

They will not make me feel old.

I will not allow myself to be intimidated by these youngsters.

I have every right to be in a classroom learning too.

I am not too old for this!

The thoughts ran in a jumble through her brain as she tried to banish the unworthy feelings and tried to gear her thoughts towards a positive mindset.

She stood in line, leaning up against the brick wall, feeling too timid to speak to anyone around her. Two more girls, looking just barely out of high school fell into place behind her, chattering away to each other as if they were lifelong friends. Another lady joined the line and Peggy sighed with relief when she saw the short gray hair and wire rimmed glasses.

Whew! Someone older than me. At least I’m not the oldest woman in class now.

She smiled at the newcomer over the heads of the youngsters between them, but wasn’t prepared for the reaction she received.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

Return to my WEB SITE here.

Ten O’Clock Scholar – life

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 ‘life.’

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

tt_banner

An early morning August sun blazed across southern California in celebration of Peggy’s return to school. The memories of a childhood mid-September first day of school, with an early fall chill to the morning air, were something from the past. Life had changed in the twenty-five years since Peggy was a student, ecstatic with a new dress to wear to a new grade. Now, the academic year began earlier – right in the middle of the dog days of summer.

Knowing that the air conditioner in the car wasn’t working right then, Peggy dreaded the drive home, knowing it would be over a hundred degrees by the time her last class ended. But the afternoon heat was the least of her worries. Her nerves had kicked into high gear earlier in the week, and the lack of sleep the night before as she tossed and turned in an insomniac daze was reflected in the dark shadows lining her eyes.

first day of schoolShe’d planned on leaving the house early, leaving her plenty of time to try to find a parking spot and get to the classroom long before the scheduled start time. She’d even packed her satchel the night before, relishing the new supplies that filled it. Notebooks, legal pads for notes, new pens and highlighters – she had everything she thought she’d need, plus a little more.

And then…the morning happened.

“Clifford Anthony Taylor! Why aren’t you dressed yet? We’re leaving in ten minutes!”

Five minutes later, Cliff still sat in the middle of the bedroom floor surrounded by regurgitation of a giant Lego monster – minute multi-colored plastic blocks in various piles and an oddly constructed contraption in the midst of being built.

She bit the inside of her check and counted to ten, knowing that what was headed out of her mouth at the moment wasn’t language meant for a child to hear. Even if it was a hardheaded, obstinate, noncompliant boy.

“Two minutes! Get it in gear…now! Or your Lego’s are gone for a week!”

Cliff looked up when he heard the calm iciness of her statement. Realizing that now mom meant business, he reluctantly left his building behind and moved towards the clean clothes his mom had laid out on the bed earlier that morning.

Peggy grabbed the pile of clothes on Jonathan’s bed and headed to go change him. She knew she’d find him parked in front of the television, enraptured by his favorite children’s video. Seeing only one shoe on the floor, she began looking for its mate. Nothing under the bed. No shoe around the toy box. She didn’t find it in the closet either. Feeling more frazzled by the moment, she frantically set out on a search mission throughout the house.

“Jonathan, where’s your other shoe?”

No response. Deep in a musical wonderland, the two year old hadn’t even heard her.

Ten minutes later, she finally found the canvas mate tucked between cushions in the sofa. Finally, the toddler was dressed and ready and she almost dragged both boys out of the house a full twenty minutes later than she’d planned on leaving.

The boys bickered in the back seat the entire way to Mary’s house.

Mary threw open the front door as soon as they pulled into the driveway and headed out to greet them. “There you are! I was starting to worry.”

Peggy grimaced as she pulled a bulging diaper bag from the front seat. “Oh my lord, you have no idea what a disaster this morning was.” She handed the diaper bag to her friend and leaned in the back to unfasten car seat buckles.

As she followed Mary inside, directions and cautions spewed out of Peggy’s lips.

An impish grin flashed across Mary’s face. “I think I’ve got this. I have had children, you know. Grandchildren too.”

When Cliff realized that he and his brother were staying with Mary and mom was leaving, he started crying.

Peggy gathered the sobbing boy in a giant hug. “It’s okay. I’ll only be gone a few hours.”

Her words didn’t reassure. Cliff just clung to her tighter.

“I don’t know what’s up with this. I know he loves you and he always enjoys when we come visit you.”

The gentleness of a grandmother’s understanding shone from Mary’s eyes. “Yes, dear. But we’re usually just visiting here. Or going to lunch. Mom’s never gone off and left him with me before.” She bent down to the golden head tucked into his mother’s side. “There are some fresh chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen. I was going to save them for after lunch…but I bet your mother wouldn’t mind if we go have one now.”

The mention of cookies – especially at breakfast time – caught his attention and Cliff stopped his crying. A few remaining sniffles later, he loosened his grip on his mother and followed Mary to the kitchen. Jonathan had heard the ‘cookie’ part and had already wandered in there, in search of a treat.

Peggy took advantage of the break and dashed outside, in a mad rush to the campus.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

Return to my WEB SITE here.

Previous Older Entries

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031