Wednesday, February 3, 2010

making the best of things

(a true story about my mom, circa 1935)

Alex stuffed the folded newspaper into the soles of her shoes, and hoped hard that it would not rain that day. Her hopes were granted when she saw that it was a sunny day. Her aunt would give her the ten cents she needed for the train ride, back and forth,  to go on the class trip to a church bazaar.

She combed her straight brown hair, and put the comb in her pocket. Her aunt made sure she had a starched handkerchief folded into her dress belt.

She anticipated the exciting day, and rode with her classmates on the train. She made sure to keep her dress covering her knees to hide the scars she had from an operation when she was a baby, because she had an infection in the bone. The scars were wide and deep, and try as she might, she couldn’t help but limp because of the lack of growth on that leg. She always wore out the shoe on her “good side” first, and that one needed paper first. She was light and walked tippy toe on the other foot, but still the shoes couldn’t be replaced soon enough.

The kids laughed and got loud, and the Sisters quieted them down, threatening to take them back home if they didn’t behave.

They quieted down, with chirps of laughter peeling out involuntarily.

The Bazaar was beautiful with all sorts of Fortune wheels, and piles of stuffed toys just waiting to be won. Alex watched as her friends bid on lucky numbers, and squealed with delight at each ones winnings. She loved to listen to the Brrrr sound of the spinning wheel, and made believe she put her money on a number, and secretly hoped that she would win.

The train ride back home was jubilant, and the car floor was littered with ribbons and tissue papers from bazaar prizes won and cherished.

Alex bent down to pick up the colored tissue paper, and wrapped her comb in it, tying it with a stray ribbon. She held it high on the pole, as the train chugged along, smiling with the others, as if she, too, had won a prize.


  1. How lovely... makes me all misty eyed on this misty Seattle afternoon...

  2. What a lovely gentle story. I could almost see Alex .... :)

  3. this is so damn totally sweet and touching. it makes me almost cry, the simplicity and gratitude of it.

    very very beautiful, barbara. thank you.

  4. this is such an incredible story. how lovely that she found her own way to joy.

  5. This is a lovely story, thanks for sharing it with us

  6. What a wonderful story! I love stories like this! I can picture the day :)

  7. Precious story. I love your header photos, I am a sky addict myself! Love the baby photos and kitties too! Thanks for stopping by my site!


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