Monday, April 25, 2016

Jackie followed the elderly lady up the stairs. At the top, she turned left down a long hall.
“The best room is in the back, but you’ll have to walk much farther all the time. I’ve put you in here instead. Closer to the stairs.” Maxine opened a heavy-looking wooden door and entered. She went to open the windows.
 Jackie stepped across the threshold into another world. The room was lovely, obviously a girl’s, with white antique furnishings, and a soft pink and white hand-made quilt on the bed. There was a large fireplace with a white marble mantle and hearth. A wing chair and small round table sat by one of the two tall windows.
“This was my daughter’s room. You’ve got a view of the side and a bit of the street. Keep these curtains closed or you’ll be putting on a show for the whole town,” Max warned.  
A small, round painted metal tray on the vanity held an antique comb and brush set, several gorgeous pillboxes and a few rhinestone combs.
“Don’t mind that stuff. It belonged to my grandmother. I leave it here for decoration. Can’t really use the old brush. Bristles fall out sometimes. Like an old lady’s hair,” Max chuckled.
“The room is beautiful. And the light coming in. It’s perfect.”
“It’s kinda small, but it should do.”
Max headed for the door. “I’m going downstairs for a bit. Get yourself settled in.”
Jackie touched the antique items, running her finger over the engraved initials, AMF, on the brush. She wondered what the woman’s name had been. But there wasn’t time to waste. She unpacked her bag, putting her meager belongings in the large armoire in the corner. She rested for a moment the wing chair. Today she’d stepped into a time machine and emerged in a different era. It was strangely comforting to live in the past, since her present was fairly well a blank.
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Monday, April 18, 2016


Welcome! Thanks for coming. This week the word prompt is "push". I have another installment from "Too Late for Goodbye". 
I hope you enjoy it. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales.


The living room in the old Victorian showed remnants of splendor of days gone by, the same as it's owner, Maxine Wentworth. The mahogany paneling made the massive room shrink to a cozier, less formidable size. Max stood by the huge window.
“Gardens are better than children.”
“How so?” Jackie joined her employer.
“You can put a lot of effort in at the beginning and then walk away.”
“Most gardens need tending, like people do.”
“Look there. See? My crocuses are coming up. Soon the tulips and iris’s will follow. I planted them a long time ago and they keep blooming, no matter how much I neglect them.”
“Perennials do that.”
“The garden is a mess. Will you help me with that, too?”
“Of course.”
“Good. I’ve got a green thumb. Much better at plants than kids.”
“How many do you have?”
“Plants?” The older woman turned and cocked an eyebrow.
Jackie laughed. “No, kids.”
“Three. Two boys and a girl. They live far away. Two are abroad. One on the West coast.”
“I see.” Jackie nodded.
“I’m not complaining. We were never close. I tried, but mothering wasn’t my strong suit.”
“Really?” Jackie shifted her weight, suspecting the discussion was about to get too personal. She searched her brain for appropriate words.
“I was too pushy. Insisted they do well in school. Made them dress properly. Have good manners. I’m afraid I wasn’t much fun.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself.”
“Of course all three are highly successful now. They don’t need anything from me. Money, time or especially this house.”
“None of your kids wants this grand old place?”
Max shook her head. “They wouldn’t be caught dead living here. They hate the house and Pine Grove, too.”
“That’s a shame.”
Max wandered over to the sofa and eased herself down. “I suppose. Can’t blame them. They are big, important people now. And this town is simply the dust on their heels.”
Jackie joined Max, sitting at the opposite end.
“The place is old and broken down. But now that you’re here, that’s going to change.”
“It is?” Her eyebrows shot up.
“Oh, yes, my dear. You and I have our work cut out for us.”

Monday, April 11, 2016


Welcome! This week, we continue with "Too Late for Goodbye" as Jackie begins her new job as a companion to an elderly woman. Thanks for stopping by.


As if she had stepped back thirty, no forty years, Jackie stood in the kitchen and rested her hands on her hips.
Maxine cast a critical eye toward the young woman.
“What do you like?” Jackie opened the fridge door and bent over to peer inside. She spied a carton of eggs.  
“What do you suggest?” Maxine countered.
“How about an omelet?”
“There’s cheddar in the cheese drawer and some rye bread in the back somewhere. I like my toast buttered, not too dark. And put up water for tea.”
Jackie took out the ingredients, filled the kettle then searched for a way to light the stove.
“Starter doesn’t work. There are wooden matches on the back.”
Jackie hunted out utensils and a pan. While the food cooked, she stole a moment to sit down. Her leg ached. When she was teaching, she sat whenever she could. Hugh Crawford, the principal, would wander in and shoot her a disapproving look.  
“Would you say you’re a good cook?” Max asked, as Jackie placed a full plate on the table.
“Your letter said you can cook.”
“I can. But I’m no gourmet chef. I can follow a recipe and whip some stuff on my own.”
“The kettle is whistling.”
Jackie pushed to her feet, grimacing in pain.
“I take half a teaspoon of sugar and milk. I’ll have the Earl Grey.”

When the beverage was made and brought to the table, the younger woman returned to her seat. Her food was cold, but she ate it anyway.
“I didn’t intend to hire an invalid. What’s wrong with you?”
Fear of being fired on her first day sent a wave of panic through Jackie. “I had an accident. I’m almost all better.”
“You’d better be. There’s a lot to be done in a house this size. And climbing stairs is part of it.”
“I know.”
“Good. I’d hate to fire you so soon.”
Jackie dropped her fork on her plate.
“Besides, you make a pretty fair omelet. One of my favorites. Clean up in here then join me in the living room.”
The older woman pushed up from the table and made her way out of the kitchen. 

Jackie sat back, her gaze traveling over the old appliances, faded counter tops, and ugly linoleum flooring.
 There was even a rotary phone attached to the wall. It was the first one she’d seen. After piling the dishes in the sink, she turned on the water, and went to work.         

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Monday, April 4, 2016


This week is our picture prompt week. We had to choose among several doors. This is my choice. We return to "Too Late for Goodbye" again this week. I hope you enjoy this 300-word snippet and will return to Tuesday Tales and read all the stories. 


Jackie hesitated before knocking on the old oak door. She glanced up at the mansard roof, the graceful, peeling white shutters and the thick, detailed, white molding. The house was a mansion. She wondered about the old woman who lived there.

The young woman took a deep breath and let it out. This companion job was her last chance at independence. She had to make it work and she would, no matter how cantankerous the old lady was. Jackie would find a way to get along with her. Screwing up her courage, she knocked once, then again.

“Coming, coming! Keep your shirt on.” The hinges creaked and the heavy door swung open. Behind it stood a short, slender woman. Her gray hair was cut in a stylish, attractive do. She wore a little lipstick, black pants, a T-shirt, and a corduroy jacket.
“Jackie Tremont?”
“Yes, ma’am. That’s me.”
The older woman rested her hands on her hips and looked Jackie over.
“You’re kinda skinny, but I guess that’s to be expected. I mean after what you went through.”
“You’re Maxine Connors?”
“Call me Max. Come on in. We’ll get you settled in your room later. You’re just in time for lunch.” She stepped aside and let the young woman inside.

Jackie carried a small suitcase and wore a backpack. She put her luggage down by the door in the mahogany paneled entryway and followed Max into the kitchen.
“I understood you could cook,” she said, sitting down at the table.
“Yep. I’m not gourmet chef, but I can do a fair stew and bake a little bread.”
“That’s good.” There were two place settings. “Let’s eat.”
Jackie looked around, but didn’t see any food.  “What are we having?”
“I don’t know. What are you making?”  Maxine asked, breaking into a smile.

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