Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This scene comes right after last week’s, on Christmas 1939, as young Cinnimin Filliard starts opening her presents. Her overly indulgent father has bought her an extremely special, grownup gift meant to last her for several more years to come.
Cinni went right for her plumply-stuffed stocking and shook out the contents. Just as she’d requested, she’d gotten lots of candy, oranges, a red yo-yo, money, a few Chinese puzzles, and upscale costume jewelry.
“Care to open this?” Mr. Filliard set a long blue parcel in her lap.
Cinni peeled back the wrapping paper and beheld a box stamped with the logo for Elzinga Furs, a store she often window-shopped at in van Meter Plaza. When she pulled off the lid and layer of white tissue paper, her eyes filled with the sight of a leopard fur coat.
“My first real fur! Is this really all mine, to wear till it doesn’t fit me anymore?”
Vintage leopard fur from a 1946 Seventeen magazine, close enough to 1939 to have a similar style
Mr. Filliard made sure to get the coat in a somewhat larger size, so it’ll keep his pet child warm in the winter for as long as possible, and with enough extra material to grow into. He’s enclosed a special letter, reflecting on how much she’s growing up and inviting her to the New York World’s Fair for her birthday in August. Though Cinni knows her father’s heart was weakened by rheumatic fever in 1937, she’s in such denial about his declining health, she doesn’t realize that trip to New York is meant as a goodbye present, and that the fur coat has to be bigger than her actual size because her father won’t be there to upgrade her coat every year.
The original reason for Mr. Filliard’s declining health and eventual 1940 death was some totally ridiculous, made-up disease only a preteen with an overactive imagination could think up. When I began my radical rewrites and restructurings of these four prequel books in 2011, I started looking for a similar but real disease which could kill the victim slowly. Pretty quickly, I hit upon rheumatic fever, which was responsible for legendary comedian Lou Costello’s premature death of a weakened heart.
Tomorrow’s post will celebrate the 120th anniversary of the first public showing of movies to a paying audience. There are obviously a number of films which were made before 1895, but the difference is that they were more experimental and not meant for public consumption.
P.S.: Happy 30th anniversary to Simon and Yasmin LeBon! They’re one of my favorite famous couples, not just because they’ve been married so long and aged so well, but because they’re proof real soulmates find their way back to one another even if they’ve been apart. They initially broke up because Yasmin didn’t want to have premarital sex, but it was obviously meant to be if they got back together.