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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: Buying a Memory
By Wanda Draus


Lillian was waiting eagerly for her daughter, Mary and her granddaughter, Sophie. It was their annul trip to the Long Grove Strawberry Festival. Every year they take the 45 minute drive to the northern suburb of Illinois, where this quaint little town built in the 1800’s has been transformed into streets of specialty shops, lunch venues and a walk down memory lane. All year long there are special events from the chocolate festival to the apple festival, from Greek days to Irish days, but the Strawberry Festival is Lillian’s favorite.

The ride to Long Grove was filled with laughter and great conversation. Sophie who just turned fifteen still loved going to Long Grove. She reminded everyone that she must go to the antique store to add to her collection of tea cups. Sophie was fascinated by yesteryear and had tea cups from all over the world, from another time and another place. She loved imagining the ladies that drank from the tea cups. Lillian, on the other hand did not have much use for antiques or all that “old stuff,” as she liked to call it. She just loved being with her girls and enjoying the day.

They had a wonderful morning shopping and headed to the Seasons of Long Grove restaurant for a bite to eat. Sophie was saving the antique store for after lunch, she wanted their stomachs full and their feet rested so she would not be rushed.

As they entered the antique store each lady went there separate way browsing through all the old things. Lillian spotted an overstuffed chair where she could sit and wait while Mary and Sophie looked for their prized possessions.

Lillian sat taking in all the mountains of old records, books, dishes and furniture from a long forgotten era, when her eyes fell upon a beautiful box. So intrigued, Lillian got up from her comfortable spot to take a closer look. The box was exquisite. It was made of white porcelain with scrolled edges and soft hues accented by yellow roses. Lillian smiled; yellow roses are her favorite flowers. She gently opened the box and music began to play. It was a familiar song, one she hadn’t heard in over fifty years.

She closed her eyes and she was nineteen again. She was at a different festival where there was music and dancing. She could still see herself sitting by the water, she and her beloved Ben, both staring at the light glistening over the water, compliments of the moon. Ben told Lillian he had something he needed to tell her. Lillian waited excitedly, she and Ben were just engaged and she knew it would be something wonderful about the wedding. She loved Ben with her whole heart and couldn’t wait to be his wife.

As they stared out into the water what Ben had to say was not what she had expected. Ben gently took her hand and told her he would be leaving for the war next week. Her heart sank; the news was everywhere that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. She never dreamed that this would have anything to do with her or Ben. The war was somewhere else, somewhere in another part of the world.

Through her tears she held close to Ben and promised to pray for God to watch over him and bring him safely home. Ben took her in his arms and they danced under the moonlight as the band played, Night and Day by Cole Porter. Neither, saying a word.

A year later Lillian got the news that Ben’s B-25 was shot down by enemy fire. Her heart broke into a million pieces and she prayed for God to give her strength, She knew Ben’s faith was even stronger than hers. Ben believed God was in control of all things and His plan and His will is what we pray for.

Lillian slowly closed the music box and proceeded to the counter. Sophie was so excited about her latest tea cup, “Gram, look at the detail on this cup and you will never guess where it came from.” Sophie looked at her grandmother and noticed that she was purchasing a beautiful box. “Why gram, I can’t believe you are buying something from an antique store, something old.” Lillian took her hand, “Yes, dear, I am. Actually, I’m buying a memory, a memory of your grandfather.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/17/08
What a sweet story! I like your characters and the relationships you've shown in your story. Touching and tender-hearted. Glad it had a happy ending, too.