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Friday, December 26, 2014
Hope your Christmas was the merriest ever
Hope you've stayed with Lyrical Pens for Mahala's publishing of Tracy's wonderful story. I loved Tracy's writing. She was always able to capture my attention with the wonderful emotion she wrote into her characters.
Now, I've waited just about too long to finish telling you my short story, "Dancing With Daddy," so I'm going to do a re-start. Part I today and Part II on Sunday. The story was published by Adams Media in CHRISTMAS THROUGH A CHILD'S EYES, an anthology of non-fiction stories published in 2008, edited by Helen Szymanski. The story was published under my maiden name: Marilyn Olsein. Here we go . . .
LIVING IN A SMALL TOWN in Texas during World War II was tough, especially at Christmas. My father, disqualified from the Armed Forces because of his age, was working in an auto factory in Michigan, trying to earn more money than farming paid.
When I remember my childhood, the phrase "dirt poor" comes to mind, but we--Mama, my brother, my two sisters, and me--always managed a wonderful Christmas. Mama's family came to our house for dinner, and Mama made pans of Swedish cardamom rolls, the sweet smell filling the whole house. Grampa would bring in a couple of chickens for Mama to roast and fry, and we'd have cornbread dressing, white and sweet potatoes, corn, and green beans that Gramma had canned. We ate, laughed, sang, and carried on all day and into the night.
Not long after that hateful war ended, Mama sat us down on the screened porch and told us we'd spend our next Christmas in Michigan. We were moving to Detroit to be with Daddy.
I was terrified. We all were--even Mama, I think. Detroit was at least a hundred thousand times bigger than Melvin, Texas.
"Mama, doesn't it snow up there . . . a lot?" Phyllis asked. At twelve, she was the oldest.
I was born in Texas, and at the age of seven, I could remember seeing snow only once--the Christmas the Army gave all my uncles holiday leave. Uncle Steve, Mama's youngest brother and my favorite, chased me down a slippery road and washed my face with a handful of cold, melting flakes.
"It's not like snow in Texas," I said. "Detroit snow is black."
"Don't tell fibs, Marilyn," Mama scolded. "Snow is white, wherever it falls."
"Maybe it's white when it first comes down in Detroit, but Daddy's letter said coal smoke from the factories makes it black," I insisted. I imagined Detroit as a city without color, all black, gray, and white.
"You'll find out soon enough," Mama said. "We'll be in Detroit for the first snowfall." She saw my face cloud up. "And crying won't change things."
I didn't want to spend Christmas in a cold, dirty city with a stranger, for that's what Daddy had become to me.
/ / / /
Please come back for Part II on Sunday . . . I've already scheduled it to run.
You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try to do the same.