Monday, July 27, 2015

Emma - Part Seven of the Red Sweater Serial

During the month of April, I participated in the A to Z blogging challenge.  A first for me, I attempted fiction for the first time.  I had such fun with it that I decided to give it another go.

This time I will be writing a serial type of story.

I took a longer than intended break from the story.  But as promised, here is part seven. 

This tale seems to have taken on a life of its own.  I wonder when I will come to the conclusion that the story should conclude?

If you want to catch up on the Red Sweater Serial, click on the tab at the top of the blog or you can click here.

Part Seven

Addie would never forget that day.  Even after all of these years, when she thought about it, her stomach clenched and her jaw tightened.
 She vividly recalled how the sticky hotness of the day felt. Sometimes, the smell of a freshly mown lawn would remind her of that long ago August afternoon, causing bitterness and anger to rise from deep down until it bubbled up into her throat.  She could almost taste the bile.
The day that Rachel found Emma’s birth certificate was one of the strongest memory jolts she had ever felt. The memory was of the day Bob told Addie about the affair.
He had called her in the middle of the day.  He sounded agitated and was clearly upset. 
“Can you send the girls over to Jane’s house when they get home from school today?”  he had asked.   “I need to talk to you.  It’s important.”
“What’s wrong?” asked Addie, feeling sick to her stomach. 
But, Addie knew what Bob was going to tell her.  She had known for months. 
When Bob got home, he went into their bedroom and threw himself onto the bed.  He put his arm up to his forehead and his body began to shake from sobs he obviously could not control. 
Even though she knew about his affair with Marge, Addie wanted the satisfaction of watching Bob struggle with a confession he was now forced to give.  
Addie's mind was whirling.  She had questions, so many questions.  At that moment, though,  she only wanted the answer to one. 
"Is it over?"  she asked. 
"She's pregnant," Bob choked out in a hoarse whisper.  
When Addie began to have suspicions of the affair, she was almost cavalier about it.  She realized afterwards, after many months of therapy, that her aloof attitude was her way of protecting her own feelings. 
But she never expected this.  She was shocked and horrified. 
"She's pregnant?"  Addie asked,  now feeling confused.  
"She's sure the baby is mine," said Bob.  "Don, well Don," he stammered.  
"What?!"  Adele shouted.  "What about Don?"  
"He had a...well, he can no longer father children." said Bob. 
Several weeks after Bob had admitted to the affair, Addie confided in her best friend Jane.
“You know that old saying that the wife is the last to know?” Addie asked Jane.
“It’s not at all true.  Wives are the first to know,"  said Addie.
"Bob treated me differently, you know," said Addie.  "It was as though he was annoyed at me all of the time.  I couldn't do anything right."  
That saying should be changed to, “Wives are the last to admit it to themselves,” said Addie. 
Now the memories of that day and the months and years to follow were coming back once again to haunt Addie.  
She had snatched the envelope with the birth certificate out of Rachel's hand.  
"Oh, I've been looking all over for that."  said Addie.  
"Whose is it?" Rachel wanted to know.  "Who is Emma?"
Addie knew that she would eventually have to face this day.  She and Bob had talked about it many times.  They were supposed to tell the girls together.  
Why had they put it off, she lamented. 
She managed to stall Rachel by saying that she wasn't feeling well.  
"Listen, honey, this has been a long emotional day for me."  Addie picked up the red sweater from the   back of her chair and wrapped it around her shoulders.  It was her favorite one of the many that Rachel had knitted for her.  
"Do you mind if we call it quits for now?"
Adele was relieved when Rachel agreed. 
"I'll call you later, Mom, to see how you're doing."

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Red Sweater Serial - Where is the rest of the Story? Who is Emma???

I received a comment on my blog yesterday regarding the Red Sweater Serial story:  “Where is rest of the story? Who is Emma????

Yes, I have been neglectful.   Excuse number one.  It’s Summer!  
Yeah, there is no excuse number 2, 3 or 4.  

But now that I have been called out, there are no more excuses.

The Red Sweater Serial continues on Monday!

One day last week we visited The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.   Since the green head flies were swarming, we decided to do the wildlife drive.  

"Wildlife Drive: An 8 mile self-guided tour of saltwater marsh, freshwater habitat, and upland forest. This area is known internationally as a birding “hotspot”. Observation towers, complete with telescopes, are located at Gull Pond and Turtle Cove.”
That is the Atlantic City Skyline in the background

Widow’s Lace

Osprey Nest

Osprey Dad(or is it Mom?) bringing home fish for dinner

I want to go back again when we can get out of the car and perhaps climb some of the towers or wander down a path or two. 

If you want to catch up on the Red Sweater Serial before Monday, click on the tab at the top of the blog or you can click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Melancholically Empty Nesting

Our Jersey shore beach vacation was pleasantly and at the moment, presently memorable.  The weather was nearly perfect all week long.   We had one day of rain.  That was Thursday.  But, by then we needed a break from the sun and surf.
We have been home only 10 days and my memories of our time together are already starting to fade.  I took over 300 photographs which are sure to serve as reminders.
(See end of post for all 300 pics)  Just kidding ;)
Even though that there were eleven of us, each distinct in our ages and stages, we blended and bonded with ease.
By day two we began to fall into a languid routine.
Derek and I were always the first two to be up and about.  We both respected our “I am not a morning person” tendencies  by a murmuring of “Good morning” while we each went about our own business.  He with his coffee and paper, me waiting for the water to boil for my tea.
One of my favorite parts of the day was sitting out on the back deck, sipping my tea.  If I sat in just the right spot and with a squint, peered between the alley way of the two houses across the way, I had a slit eye view of the ocean.
Ross would soon join me and we would have important whispered conversations.  After all there was much to discuss.  Like, for instance, the whether.  You know, whether or not we would go out for breakfast, or whether the weather was going to be nice.
After tea I took a brisk 3 mile long walk.  Bella came with me the first three days, but she hurt her foot, so I was on my own the rest of the week.  One of the days Bella was with me, Ross drove us over to the boardwalk for our walk.  He waited for us on a bench with his Kindle.  Afterwards, we treated Bella to breakfast at The Varsity Inn.
Generally, when I got back to the house after the walk,  everyone else had eaten breakfast and were bustling around getting ready to head over to the beach.  When I came into the house,  Jackson, the two year old, would greet me, “Hi Pop-pop.”  Yeah, he can’t say Grandma, so I’m Pop-pop for now.

One day, while we were on the beach, Kenny and Ty asked if I would take a walk with them.  I promised we were sure to find unique sea shells for their collection.  Well, they certainly did.
The boys found a WWII bullet shell casing.  They were excited to show their dad, who was pretty impressed with their find.

One evening I introduced the kids to the game called “Mother May I.”  Surprisingly, none of them had heard of it.   Even more of a surprise,  they actually had fun playing.   Imagine that, especially since there were no electronic devices involved.  (I may have to tirade about the subject of the aforementioned devices in another post.)

Another evening, I enticed four of the grandchildren to join me in the “story corner” of the porch.  When there was a bit of a scuffle over who would get to sit in the rocker, I responded with, “Why the story teller, of course, gets to sit in the rocker, silly children.”
While I was telling the story, I had a sudden revelation.  Bella, my eleven year old granddaughter, who is now taller than me, kept trying to interject logical thoughts into my story.   And she was always such a believer in my fairy dust.
But, I was still able to get the three boys, two seven year olds and a six year old, wide eyed and giggling.  I left them with a cliff hanger to be finished another time.
The next night, after much begging of “When can we hear the rest of the story?” I agreed to finish the tale.  Bella and Ryan were interested.  I could tell that Tyler, the six year old,  wanted to join, but his older brother, Kenny, didn’t want to.  So Ty hung back too.  Soon, though, he sheepishly came out, with his little Ty grin, and asked if I would start the story over again.  Of course I did.
After “The End”, Ryan asked if he could tell a story.
“Uh, Grandma,  I get to sit in the rocker.  I’m the story teller,” he said.
Ryan’s story was quite complex.  Bella and Ty, quickly lost interest.  But Ross and I remained attentive throughout the next 20 minutes.
I found it fascinating that as Ryan, the story teller, went along, he would adjust the plot accordingly, to fit in with what would make sense to the storyline.
The story was about a giant wave that periodically, over many years, would swallow its victims and keep them captive in its belly.
At one point he mentioned,  “The Titanic, you know Grandma, the one that got knocked over by a big wave?” was also caught in the monster wave’s stomach.
I interrupted him.  “Ryan, the Titanic collided with an iceberg.”
“Grandma,” the seven year old admonished me, “my story is fiction.”

On Thursday, the rainy day, and also traditionally macaroni day, I got to play Ma again, by making my famous meatballs and gravy.

Vacations like this one are special. Having whole days and nights with my children, gave me a glimpse into their lives that a weekly phone call or occasional visit could never do.  Rather than a Facebook blurb or a brief text,  we were able to have unhurried, extended, sometimes personal and in depth conversations.

Although, Ross and I do enjoy our laid-back, unscheduled, not having to be or do, lifestyle,  I realize, especially after such a vacation,  that I do sometimes melancholically suffer from a little bit of an empty nest