Monday, September 30, 2013

Home Again (7)

   Aunt Rose didn't move and Syd could see it wasn't any use. She had apparently died in her sleep, but with a smile on her face and in her elegant nightgown. Syd painfully arranged the covers and lace sheet around her aunt and sat with her daughter clutched in her lap. She sat in shock for a long time and the little girl quietly hugged her mother. This lovely woman whom she had grown to love like her own mother, was gone.  A vast emptness crept into Syneys heart.
   After a while, she bundled Merry D against the cold winter and went next door to her neighbor, Mrs. Larsen. 
   "Sydney, your aunt had heart trouble! She didn't want to worry you dear," Mrs. Larsen said. When you have time, read her bible. Then the minister was called and arrangements were made. The days flew by with many tears shed, as everyone had loved Aunt Rose.
   Along with Syd's sadness, and underlying fear had began to plague her thoughts. Where would she go now? She was alone and had a child to care for. The huge city loomed dark and threatening without her dear aunt to protect them.
   After all the friends had gone home and the small house quieted down, Sydney put her daughter to bed and then sat alone. She sighed deeply as she drank a cup of tea.  After a few minutes she tiptoed into her aunts' bedroom, smoothed the bedspread and sat down on her soft bed. Her lilac scent still hung in the air. In her grief and lonliness, Syd reached for Rose's heavy bible lying on the table next to her bed and she reverently clasped it to her heart. Wiping a tear aside she opened it and began to page throught the delicate sheets recalling the favorite verses they had shared. As she was putting it down later, she found an envelope taped to the inside  cover with her name written on it. She opened it curiously, then sat thunderstruck as she read: To my neice, Sydney Joyce. In the event of my death, I lovingly give you and yours my home, my business and whatecver savings I have, to do with as you see favorable. Sydney sat astonished. A miracle had happened. There was a way for them now and with that she straightened her shoulders. She was twenty two years old with a business to run, a house to take care of and a child to raise.
   The time and the years seemed to fly for Syd and Merry D now. And after struggling through sadness and finally finding a routine, their life settled into a nice safe time again.
   Her seamtress business grew and they became financecially secure now. After the evening chores were done Syd and Merry D would press their ears to the radio to learn new music and songs.  Along with the waltzes, two-steps and polkas from Syd's childhood memories, they began to sing together, then entertain in clubs and halls. Syd's accordian music swelled with a beat and Merry D's plump fingers grew nimble with and practice as she played her red guitar. 
   Syd thought of her lost love sometimes.  Somday, I will bo back though, she was thinking as she cleaned house, I need to know.  Maybe, just maybe--

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Home again (6)

   "But mama, I want a daddy!" her little voice pleaded. "Can't we find him and tell him to come home?"
   "We'll see, Merry D," her mother said glancing away from Aunt Rose's questioning look.
   "I'm not ready yet!" she told her Aunt later that evening as they sat together. "Maybe sometime--."
   "Why don't you write to him Syd. Tell him about Merry D. He has a right to know he has a daughter. Don't you ever wonder if he came back?"
   "Of course, I've thought of him," Syd said sadly, smoothing her waved hair that had sprung out into loose curls again.  "Ma said she had heard that he lives in the Dakotas somewhere."
   Syd missed her piano. Her fingers ached to play again, but now her dream was to buy a accordion. She had painstakenly saved up money over the years and one day she set out to shop.  She had studied the ads and knew what she wanted. And inside the music store she stood and looked around in awe. She finally decided on a shiny red and white one.  Inlaid with pearl and it was beautiful. It took her breath away as she held it and ran her fingers over the keys and heard the sweet sounds.
   "Now I want another instument for my daughter," she said smiling at the clerk, "and it needs to be red too."  Syd found what she had in mind and proudly paid for her purchases, then splurged on a taxi to get her purchases home.
   Her heart busrst with pride as she helped Merry D open her present.  And as she laid the shiny new guitar in her lap, Merry D shrieked, excitedly, "Oh mama, is this really for me?"
   "Yes, my darling," Syd announced proudly.  "And I'll teach you to play it and we'll have great fun together." And soon the little pink house was alive with music to go along with their songs.
   "Mama, come and see Auntie." Merry D 's six year old voice came from Roses's room one morning as Syd was cooking breakfast.  The rich aroma of bacon, eggs and coffee wafted through the house.
  "Merry D, tell Auntie breakfast is ready and then come down sweetie."
   "But mama, Auntie won't wake up," Merry D's small voice came back plaintively.
   Syd had dished up their plates and poured a cup of coffee for herself.  She sat down to wait for them, leasurely enjoying the few momments.
   Aunt Rose is getting a little slower, she reminded herself patiently. and she has looked tired lately too. Suddenly alarmed she stood up.
   "Mama," the child's voice came again.  "Auntie is still asleep. She won't open her eyes and talk to me."  Merry D's voice floated down from the hallway again.  Then she said softly, " I think she's gone to heaven." 
   Syd dropped her cup on the table and flew upstairs to her Aunt's room.
   "Aunt Rose, Auntie.  Oh no!"
   Syd rubbed her hands and shook her gently, but Rose didn't move.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Home Again (5)

   Sydney Joyce and her Aunt Rose sat in worried silence.
   "Here it is again," Syd wailed.  Her face was white and her eyes wide.
   "Sweetie, what does it feel like, is it a pain?" 
   "It doesn't hurt," Syd replied tearfully.  "It kind of feels like a butterfly in there."
   "Oh my dear," Aunt Rose said sitting back on her heels and hugging her, "that's the baby moving and telling you its okay."
   From then on the flutters became stronger and grew into out-right kicking.  Aunt Rose's
neighbor, Mrs. Larsen knew about these things and came over regularly and felt her stomach and clucked along with her aunt.
   The fall turned into winter. Now it was December and the ladies were sittng sipping tea and stitching baby kimonos.  Syd's back ached and she felt restless. She stood up to stretch and a sudden pain caused her to frown. She took several steps and then looked down in horror as a stain began wetting her dress and stockings.
   "Oh, look what I've done," she  wailed as a puddle began to darken the flowered living room carpet.
   "Sweetie, that's all right." Aunt Rose said softly, trying to control her sudden alarm. She knew it was time!
    "Let's go into your room and you can lie down."  And Rose helped her undress saying, "now just rest and I'll go get Mrs. Larsen. I'll be gone only five minutes."
   "I'm so scared," Syd cried clutching her stomach again as a new pain set in.  Her face was stark white, her eyes terror strickened.
   The two older ladies boiled water and found clean old sheets. They wiped Syd's tears and held her hand way into the night as the young girl struggled to bring a new life into the world. Finally, after hours of pain and exhaustion, her daughter was born amid cries of joy and relief.
   It was December 12, 1932.
   "I'll name her Merry Delores because its soon Christmas," Syd replied as she held the tiny bundle in her arms and looked her over with pride and wonder. After reassuring herself that the baby was perfect, she fell sound asleep. 
   That first year flew by and Little Merry D grew from a tiny infant into a chubby inquisitive little Miss and her great aunt and her mother doted on her every whim.
   Aunt Rose loved having a family and their business flourished as they worked long days and well into the nights sewing dresses and gown for the elite of Chicago. As Merry D grew, her pure sweet voice joined Syd's as they sang together, learning the current songs they heard coming over the radio.  Their soprano voices were beautiful together.  One Sunday as they were sitting down having tea after church, Merry D piped up in her small voice.
   "Mama, is my daddy in heaven?" 
   Sydney jumped up from the table and exclaimed, "Oh no, your daddy went away a long time ago"