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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: The Move
By Jean C Prentice


As a young child after WW11, my father moved us to a small town in California.
We did not have any room in the car to take anything, but a few clothes and bedding, which my two younger sisters seemed to think, were their own. After several squabbles and a couple of “Mom they are taking all the room," I was told to get up on the rear shelf behind the back seat.

I was angry at this arrangement and did not hesitate to express my opinions, upon all that would listen. This resulted in a “Shut up, or you will walk." Not sure how far California was, I mumbled a thing or two under my breath. My Dad turned around and looked at me with his steel blue eyes, and at that point I did shut up.

We arrived at our destination and as a nine-year-old; I was horrified at our living condition. The house had no windows, no doors, and two steps that led to a rickety porch. When we walked indoors, the only furniture was a wood cook stove and one broken-down chair. There were no beds, so we slept on the floor, our drinking and bath water came from a ditch behind the house. With no indoor plumbing, we had an out-house that harbored lizards and leaned quite a bit to the left. My mother used army blankets to cover the windows and doors, which did not lessen the effect of my first impression.

My father took my sister and me to register for school, and thus began more embarrassment. We were to ride the school bus home and tell the driver where to let us off. When we arrived at our house, we told the driver to stop and the kids on the bus began laughing and calling our house a scraggly house. I wanted to die, or at the very least run away. The next day we walked to the neighbors' house and waited for the bus, all the while trying to think of some way to tell everyone we got off at the wrong stop the day before.

Today I can look back on this memory and realise just how rich we were. We all were healthy; we had a roof over our head, and most of all my dad survived the war. We may not have had all the niceties, but we had each other. For this I will always be grateful.

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This article has been read 271 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/03/12
This held a beautiful message about family ties and the true meaning of being "rich." It was a very good story, the only thing I spotted...and perhaps it was done intentionally...was the description of the house.
At first it "had no windows or doors" and then "the mom used old army blankets to cover the windows and doors."

But, perhaps it was meant as an "intial shock through the child's eyes" and therefore it was embellished. Other than that minor issue, it was a very touching piece. And my heart goes out to you for sharing this story.

Thank you. God Bless~
Jody Day 05/05/12
A touching story that I can identify with. The emotions are very well expressed through the child's eyes. I wondered about the no windows and doors thing too.

Nicely done and on topic. Good job.

I loved riding on the "back shelf" looking at the stars when I was a kid. Thanks for helping me remember that.
Kristine Baker05/05/12
Great story! Very visual writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/06/12
This is a lovely walk down memory lane and I am grateful that you took me with you. It's amazing how time can change the way we see things. This was a bittersweet piece that was right on topic