WeWriWa—Served a proper feast

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

This year’s Thanksgiving excerpts come from Chapter 4, “Thanksgiving 1959,” of Little Ragdoll. Set from 1959–74, it takes protagonist Adicia Troy from age five to twenty. Here, Adicia and her four closest sisters have gone to dinner at the Bowery Mission with their surrogate mother Sarah, a live-in nanny and maid whom their black-hearted blood mother barely pays.

                       

The scents of delicious food are overwhelming when they enter the dining hall. Adicia eagerly rushes over to a table with five available chairs and place settings, making sure it’s near the end of the table so they have space for Justine’s stroller.

“Do you mind that you never eat kosher meat, Sarah?” Emeline asks as they’re being served.

“You eat what you can when you don’t have money. Besides, I wasn’t from a religious family. Most German Jews weren’t religious. My family wasn’t anti-religious, but we weren’t Orthodox either.”

“Judaism has different denominations like Christianity? I haven’t read many books on world religions. I don’t even know what denomination my family’s supposed to be, just that we were baptized some type of Protestant.”

The ten lines end here. A few more follow.

“I don’t know either,” Lucine says. “Why did our parents bother having us baptized if we only go to church on major holidays?”

“There are four major branches of Judaism,” Sarah says. “Then there are many different communities in the Orthodox world, and small branches like Karaites. We can look for a good book about it next time we go to the library.”

Adicia practically inhales the feast set before her. Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, yams, vegetables, pumpkin, pecan, and apple pie, applesauce, and piping-hot rolls. The volunteers and mission workers are very special for buying, preparing, and serving all this food to so many people, and then cleaning up it all up.

The Bowery Mission, Copyright Beyond My Ken

WeWriWa—“School isn’t a fashion show”

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. This is the last week I’ll be sharing from my recent release Little Ragdoll, which is currently available on Kindle, Kobo, and Nook and soon to be in print. I’m skipping a little ahead to close out on a hopeful note.

After the Troy sisters have been reminded that they’re at Woolworth’s to buy school supplies, not to argue with mean girls, they continue with their errand. They don’t have much money to spend, but at least Woolworth’s prices are generally very cheap anyway.

***

“It’s not fair,” Adicia complains as they wander into the next aisle. “All the other girls get new clothes for school. My clothes are twelve years old.”

“Those girls won’t look twice at their new clothes in six months,” Emeline predicts. “They’ll throw them away, or give them to charity if they have any sense, when a newer fashion comes along. They don’t care about getting clothes that last for a long time.”

“School isn’t a fashion show,” Lucine says. “You can wear the most expensive, newest clothes in the world, but it won’t matter if you’re not using your brain.”

***

Next week will be a quick visit to my hiatused 1980s historical Justine Grown Up (starring Adicia’s baby sister), in honor of the special holiday which falls on August tenth. (You’ll also get to see the lovely framed poster I sleep underneath.) The week afterwards, you’ll get to meet my brave Marines from my WIP!

As soon as I finally get a new computer, I’ll be able to do more visits on Sundays. My computer has been slowly dying for months now, and the death rattle coming from the left fan isn’t getting any better, though having a fan right behind the machine helps.

WeWriWa—Mean Girls at Woolworth’s

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’ve been sharing from the opening chapter of my recent release Little Ragdoll, a Bildungsroman (growing-up story) spanning 1959-74.

Five of the Troy sisters have gone to an uptown Woolworth’s with their surrogate mother, and have found a number of girls from their own neighborhood who also wanted to go uptown. They haven’t had anything nice to say about the girls or their family. One of them has just said 5-year-old Adicia looks like a dirty, ugly, torn-apart Raggedy Ann.

***

Adicia hides behind Emeline, too shy and scared to say anything.

“Do you have a boyfriend yet, Lucine?” Helen Johnstone asks. “All the boys are fighting over me and competing to ask me to the dances.  I guess nice boys prefer girls who wear new clothes and don’t live in tenements.  Imagine that.”

“Unlike you, I have more interest in school than getting a date,” Lucine says. “I want a real diploma, not my Mrs. degree.”

“Why do you and your raggedy sisters have such stupid old lady names?” Sharon George asks.

***

A largely unspoken irony of the names insult is that all the girls making fun of the Troy sisters have names which are now largely considered dated and middle-aged, no longer popular or fresh-sounding. (Nothing against those names or people with them, but you can’t deny a name like Barbara or Linda doesn’t exactly conjure up images of a young girl anymore!)

WeWriWa—Mean Girls at Woolworth’s

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m still sharing from my recent release Little Ragdoll, a Bildungsroman (growing-up story) spanning 1959-74.

Five of the six Troy sisters have gone uptown to Woolworth’s with their surrogate mother for back to school shopping, but they’ve run into a number of the snooty girls from school. These girls live in the gentrified northern area of the Lower East Side, which was less than ten years away from breaking away into the East Village. The Troys themselves live just inside the future East Village’s borders, but they’re definitely not gentrified or financially successful.

Not only do the girls have to deal with taunts about how poor they are, but they also have to endure the shame of having a father who didn’t serve in World War II.

This has been slightly edited to fit eight lines.

***

“Does that Kraut think she’s fooling anyone?” Linda Jones asks. “Just call her what she is, a slave who works for peanuts.  Maid and nanny, my eye.  I bet your dad the Kraut-lover hired her.  He shoulda been thrown in prison for sitting out the war, while all the rest of our dads served our country and did the right thing.”

“My father’s not some draft-dodger,” Lucine snaps. “He showed up when he was drafted, but he failed his medical tests. It’s not our fault he was 4-F.”

***

4-F was considered the most shameful, embarrassing draft deferment during World War II. Many 4-Fs tried to appeal it and be reconsidered, or applied to other branches in the hopes they’d be accepted there instead. Mr. Troy didn’t attempt to fight it and just went back to the box-making factory.

WeWriWa—Mean Girls at Woolworth’s

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. For a little while, I’ll continue to share from Little Ragdoll, the book I just released on June 20th.
Little Ragdoll Cover

Five-year-old Adicia has just arrived at the Upper West Side Woolworth’s with her four closest sisters and their surrogate mother, but their excitement at going uptown is short-lived. A number of her older sisters’ classmates are also there, girls who live in the gentrified portion of the Lower East Side which is destined to break off into the East Village. These girls aren’t shy about mocking the Troys, even in front of their mothers.

***

“If it isn’t the raggedy Troy girls,” Jeanie Mraz says snidely. “I see your unpaid nanny came instead of your real mother.  I suppose your mother knew she’d get kicked out if she came here drunk or smelling of drugs.”

“Our mother works, unlike yours,” Lucine says. “It must be too hard for you to understand that some women work and don’t have the luxury of spending the day at home.”

“Your mother doesn’t even have a real job, like a nurse or secretary.  She doesn’t do important work.  What’s her record for holding a job, a month, two months?”

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