Thursday, April 2, 2015

Beth - Peace and Quiet At Last #A-ZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge
April 2015
This month I will be participating in the “Blogging from A-Z Challenge

What is it?

I will be blogging everyday beginning on April First with a topic themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.   The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

My theme will be short fictional (well mostly fictional) stories about women.  Each woman’s name will begin with the appropriate letter of the alphabet for that day.
All of the women will have the common life experience of a loss of some type.
I invite you, Dear reader, to comment on how you interpret the loss.

Beth liked early, early mornings.  Even as a child she liked to get up before anyone else.
She had five siblings and she was the oldest.  She shared a room with her sisters.  There was always someone around.
Her father had a daily routine which consisted of bathroom, smoke, coffee and the morning paper. She could still recall the sounds and smells of his routine.
At 4:30, every morning,  he would get up to use the bathroom.  It was the only bathroom in the three bedroom ranch style house.
All of the bedrooms were off the single hallway.  The bathroom was the first door on the left.   Her two brothers shared a room, the first door on the right.   The girls, all four, shared a room which was at the end of the hallway.   Her parents had the largest room, the last door on the left.
She remembered how crowded it had felt, all of them residing there in that narrow hallway.
Anyway, Beth’s father wasn’t subtle or quiet about his routine.  He was that way about everything, though.  He was the head honcho of his ranch.
The first thing Beth would hear was the creak of her parent’s bedroom door opening.  It woke her each morning.  Next came the scuffing of her father’s slippered feet as he headed down the hall to the bathroom.  He would be hacking and noisily clearing his throat as he flipped open the top of his treasured engraved WWII Zippo lighter.  The metallic sound the top made when it was flipped open  was ingrained in her memory.   It usually took several flicks of the flint wheel before he could get it to light.
The odor of that first drag would waft down the hallway and slither under her door.
She would then hear the thud of the bathroom door closing.  When she thought about it now she realized that the bathroom slash library at that hour in the A.M. was probably the only time he was able to steal away for some of his own private time.
Afterwards, he would head into the kitchen to make his coffee in the Wear Ever aluminum stove top percolator.
While he waited for his brew to finish, he headed into the living room. After opening the front door, which always stuck and then squeaked when it finally gave way, he would reach out to grab the early morning edition off the front porch.
As she lay still in her bed, waiting for her turn to have the kitchen to herself, she played a game of counting down the minutes to see how long it would take before the percolator would start to bubble up into it glass top.  One thousand one, one thousand two…
After he finished his coffee and paper, he would go back to bed.
Once she heard her parent’s bedroom door close, she would get out of bed, and go into the kitchen with a copy of the latest book she was reading.
If it was summer, she would sit out on the front stoop, trying to get through the next chapter before the rest of the household started to stir.
Then came her own cycle of life, a job, marriage, and children.
That was a long time ago.  It seemed so important to her then, almost a luxury, to be able to have her own space and time to herself.
Her father had long since passed away.  Her mother spent the last days of her life in the nursing home.  Her siblings were scattered about living their own noisy or quiet lives depending on which one you were referring to.
Her three children were maneuvering  through the passages of their lives.  That of jobs and careers. Mortgages and car payments. Marriages, divorces and new loves.  Child support and visitation agreements. Babies and pre-teens.  They lamented to her about never having enough time.  She assured them that she understood.  Maybe they would visit next Sunday, they promised.
She sat at the small cafe kitchen table, sipping her tea, staring out the window, waiting to see which bird would be the first one at the feeder this morning.
It was quiet.  So sadly quiet.


  1. I can see how important it was for the dad to have that time to himself, no matter how early he had to get it. I can see how Beth would want something beyond the quiet she had and would have welcomes a visit from her children.


    1. Thank you, Betty, for the attention you gave to this piece. I do appreciate it.

  2. Very poignant story - I loved it.

  3. I'm not quite able to relate. Dad's seems a bit full of himself, doing nothing to be quiet at that hour of morning. The smoking, hacking, etc had to wake everyone in the household, then he goes back to bed. That seems unrealistic to me. Growing up in a family of 5, no one in our day had more then 1 bathroom so schedules were important and necessary. Seems he did what he wanted without regard to the rest of the family. Perhaps I like him better as time goes on. I love quiet which also probably plays into my problem with this part of the story?

    1. I am happy that you read my story. Perhaps you were able to gain another perspective of a different childhood experience?

  4. I relate to this one because my bedroom was the last one on the right down the hall of our ranch style house...although we had three bathrooms and I didn't share a bedroom. I loved the sounds of my family on the weekends when I stayed cozy in bed and they listened to the radio in the kitchen and cooked BACON!

    1. Your memories are pleasant ones. It’s nice to reminisce and recall, aren’t they?

  5. Grass is always greener, eh? That is, when she has quiet, she longs for the bustle of a crowded house.

    1. Yes, it’s true. Or be careful of what you wish for.

  6. Well done. I wonder if you wrote your stories in advance. Quite an effort.
    (I like quiet.)

    1. Thank you. I have a few stories written. I’m afraid I might have been a little too ambitious. We’ll see.