After her band had finished their number Syd stepped up to the microphone.
"Thank you for coming tonight folks." Her eyes swept the crowd. "It's wonderful to be back again after so many years. Now I'd like to introduce Merry D, my daughter. She's the real star of the show."
The young girl came running out on to the stage, clutching her big guitar. Dressed in white slacks and jacket, western hat and boots, identical to her mother's outfit. She was a miniture Sidney Joyce: Same long auburn hair, sparkling blue eyes and a big ShirleyTemple smile.
The crowd clapped and cheered as she began to sing. Syd and her band stepped back and let her have the stage, as everyone watched and fell in love with the twelve year old as she sang her heart out. She was into her second song now and Syd accompanied her softly on her accordian as she sang, "South of the Border," in her clear soprano voice. Syd's eyes moved proudly between the stage and the crowd, but she still wondered had she made a mistake in coming back? She wasn't as sure now.
She smiled as old acquainatances danced by, enjoying the Saturday night barn dance. It was 1944 and the war was on. Food, gas and nylons were rationed, and Walter Winchell's radio news sent chills out to anyone old enough to understand the world's situation.
The converted hayloft in Syd's old community was crowded with the local people, young and old. Some of them were there to relax and dance, and some out of curiosity to see the big band from Chicago and the girl who had left years ago.
Syd stepped up to the mike again and announced the next song as the dancers waited espectantly on the floor.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is my favorite. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do." And mother and daughter began to sing. Their voices blending perfectly. Just then in the middle of the song, Syd stopped and stood stock still as her eyes were magnetically drawn to a lone man standing away from the crowd. He was dressed in gray. A felt hat sat rakisly almost covering one eye and a handsome suit covered his muscled frame. He was intently watching her and Merry D.
My God, it was him! Syd began to shake inside and the words to the song stuck in her throat. Perspiration soaked her white jacket and her fingers felt as if they belonged to someone else's hand as they miraculously moved. She stood on the stage, finally face to face with the man after so many years, but would he remember?
Sydney Joyce counted her money again and tucked the ten dollars back safely in her purse. The year was 1932 and she was sixteen years old and on her way to Chicago. As she sat on the hard seat on the train the nausea came again and she leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes. Alone and deeply hurt, the rumbling of the moving car lulled her momentarily and she smoothed her faded dress down over her stomach protectively, as the pain of rejection hurt again like a sudden blow.