Saturday, April 17, 2010

Only One Choice

Hey, Y'all,
Elizabeth looked into the mirror at her reflection. A serious face, full of the misery she felt inside, gazed back at her. Her chestnut hair waved about her face, and her blue eyes were red-rimmed from tears that had poured into her pillow as she thought about leaving city life behind, again.

She had lain awake several nights, sobbing her sorrows at leaving all chances of ever getting married and being stuck out in the literal wilderness, away from everyone but her immediate family. She imagined the following conversation with her younger sister, Irena.

("Why aren't you excited about moving? It seems like an adventure to me!"

"Humph! What do you know about anything, anyhow? You're just a kid, and you'll be going to school meeting other people! I'll be stuck out on the farm, working out there, just like I am here.")

She looked at her plump body and thought, "Who am I kidding, anyway? My boyfriend, A.J., left a year ago, and I haven't heard from him except for that one letter I got from him about six months ago. He told me that he was working so that he could save up enough money for us to get married. I haven't heard anything else from him. I have no way of staying here in town. I don't have a chance of doing anything except moving with the family."

Elizabeth turned away from the mirror and began packing up dishes again. The kitchen was almost finished and she had the bedrooms and the living room to finish packing up. She picked up another box and some newspapers. Even though she inwardly rebelled at the idea of leaving town for a farm way out in the sticks, she knew the only choice she had was to obey her parents and do as she was told.

She shouted at Irena to come and help her finish up the kitchen. It was 10 a.m. and there was lots left to do. It had been raining for the last couple of days, and looked so dreary outside, it absolutely fit in with her mood.

Irena came into the kitchen eating a banana popsicle that she had taken out of the icebox while Elizabeth had been staring gloomily at herself in the mirror in the hallway.

"What is wrong with you? You have been moping around for days now. What do you suppose the farm looks like? Will we have any cows, or pigs?"

"I don't know, Irena, but you need to finish up that popsicle and help me finish packing these dishes. We have to be ready to leave day after tomorrow and there is still a lot to do. Mom left orders when she went to work this morning that we were to be through with packing a couple of more rooms by the time she comes home. Now hurry up, and give me some help!"

"Ha! You're not the boss of me! I'll help when I am good and ready, and not before! You're just mad because you haven't heard from A.J. in a long time. What do you suppose has happened to him, anyway? I wonder what my new school will be like? I wonder how long it will take me to make some new friends? What do you think, Elizabeth?"

Irena chattered on, never once thinking of the heartbreak that Elizabeth was facing.

Little did they know that their mama had driven off A.J. at the bus stop one night over a year ago, telling him that he was not welcome in their home because he was a no-good drifter without a job or prospects of a job. She felt she was protecting her daughter from heartbreak at his hands. A good part of the move they were making was to get out of the city where her two daughters would be protected by distance from life in the city. She could see that Irena was growing up and would soon be interested in courting.

Elizabeth was twenty-two and what people called 'pleasingly plump' and she just called it 'fat'. She had a pleasing demeanor, and people loved her because of it. She had early on, been bent to her mother's will, and although she had inwardly rebelled at times, there was little outward evidence of it. She was eight years older than her sister, Irena. Irena was more outgoing and a bit more successful at getting her own way. And, yes, a bit spoiled as well, being the youngest sister.

When they reached the farm, a few days later, riding in the truck that delivered the furniture and goods, Elizabeth was dismayed to see that the house had four rooms and a path. That meant, of course, that there was no indoor toilet, and no running water in the house. There was a cistern with a pump when you stepped out the back door onto the porch (if it could even be called a porch).

Even though she knew Irena would help her, Elizabeth knew that the years ahead would be filled with work for her to do. With their mother working in town during the week, and only coming home on the weekends by Greyhound bus, and being brought out to the house in the truck that delivered groceries, Elizabeth knew that her choice was really no choice. The responsibilities were endless, and she accepted the choice with grace.

Hey, y'all, This is my idea of how my sister, Margaret, must have felt about coming out to New Market when we moved to the farm. It is fictional as far as telling her true feelings. I can only imagine what it must have been like for her, as the oldest daughter in the family having to move out here. Most of the things I have expressed in this characterization are true. It is only lately that I have tried to put myself into her head and think as she might have thought.

She never married, and wound up being the family caregiver. She was a sweet-natured lady, but no little plaster saint. All the kids loved her, and she loved them. She became a sub for me when I was living here and took care of my two daughters (along with my mom), when I was going to Carson-Newman-College. I owe her a debt of gratitude for the years that she spent caring for me and mine.

Well, I was going to write about Outhouses I Have Known, but I will save that for another day. Someone asked me in a comment about the price of gasoline in 1941. I believe it cost somewhere around 15 cents a gallon.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. I was sleeping soundly in bed this morning (about 4 a.m.) when I heard what sounded like banging on the door outside. I jumped up (yeah, believe it or not, at my age, I can still jump up) and ran to the back door and turned on the light....opened the door....nothing or no one there. I ran then to the front door...turned on the light...opened the door...nothing or no one there. I still don't know what it was making the noise. So I shut and locked the doors again, and decided to come on in here to my computer and do the day's posting. I figured it could have been thunder or maybe an earthquake.

Oh, well, I'm headed back to bed to try to finish out my night's sleep. It is, after all, only 5:15 in the morning. Good night, y'all. See you later. Much love to each of you, and I'll let you know when I know what the noise was all about.



Very descriptive Ruby and a pleasure to read, Hope you didn'thave an earhquake.

Take care.

Charmaine Clancy said...

That was beautiful, you obviously have a talent for writing memoir style. :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was quite a sacrifice your sister made for her family.

Not enough hours! said...

What a beautiful story. I am sorry I haven't been commenting much recently. I have you on the list of blogs I am following, but don't seem to be getting you on my google reader :-(

But that only means lots of fun catch-up in one shot for me.

~ Rayna

Mary McDonald said...

You should turn that into a novel. I would so buy it.

Serbian Mink said...

Tia G,

I hate that your mother interfered, well-intended though it may have been. In my opinion, she did Margaret a grave injustice. Did M ever learn of your mother's meddling, and if so, what was her reaction? Her trust in men never returned after her beau split without closure. Sad.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I will look forward to your post on outhouses. Having known a couple myself, I'd love to see how you turn that into another awesome post.

Linda said...

Loved the story - was totally enthralled. When do we get the second installment?

Anonymous said...

wow Grammy, this was great to read! :o) You have a talent!

Grammy said...

Hi, y'all,
Thanks for all the sweet comments on my writing ability. I eat that stuff up (just ask my kids. ha)

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

You commented on my blog recently, saying you have never written a book. Perhaps you should Ruby!

You have an outstanding way with words :)

Another most enjoyable post.

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

Ruby I love how descriptive you are, YOU should write your own memoir

Raquel Byrnes said...

That was quite a touching post. Maybe you should write in this memoir style. You spin a good yarn.

Ellie said...

I really liked it; great style! I think you should keep writing and see where it takes you! Hope it
wasn't anything more than thunder
Take Care; hope you went back to sleep!

Lisa said...

Nice story -- you made me smile at the end of the post. And oh yes - now I'm craving a banana fudgesicle. :)

Wanda said...

You definitely captured by attention with this story. You're an excellent storyteller. Hope you enjoyed a great Saturday.

Marjorie said...

Beautiful, a very lovely and descriptive story. I have been working on being able to put details into my work. I'm more of a Get-to-the-point type writer and some things get lost.

Allie said...

What a wonderful writer you are!

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

A really great story. I enjoyed my visit.

Trudy said...

That was a great story, so heartfelt!

Hope everything is ok there and that you were able to get back to sleep Ruby!

God bless your day!