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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)

TITLE: Our Stairway To Heaven
By Wendy B McLain


“Susie, come help Great Gram to her room.” Mom called from the kitchen. She was busy doing dishes and Great Gram was sitting in the rocker by the sliding glass door, seemingly gazing into the translucent early evening sky. I had just come from the den where I finished the last stroke of my paintbrush on the gift I made for Great Gram’s 105th birthday we’d be celebrating tomorrow.

“Great Gram I’m here, can I help you to your room?” I asked. She reached her thin frail arms out and waited for my embrace. I helped her up from the rocker and gently led the way —baby steps down the hall and into her room. “Would you like to sit in a chair by the window here in your room for awhile?” “No, Susie dear,” she sighed “I’m feeling a bit tired. I’ll lay down on my bed now.”

Great Gram reached over from where she laid feeling for her tattered bible that rested next to Great Grandpa’s picture on the nightstand. “Susie honey,” she feebly called, “I can’t find my bible do you know where it is?” “Here it is,” I replied. She held her shaking hands out to receive the treasure she so dearly prized as I gently placed it in her hands. She pulled it close to her chest and hugged it tight as tears began trickling down her aged cheeks.

A quizzical look came on her face, “have you seen Papa and Papa 2 roaming around? I saw them walking together earlier today. Do you know where they are?” she asked. I remember the day Great Gram told Great Grandpa, “the Lord’s always been my ‘Papa’ and then he gave me you ‘Papa 2’.

She doted over Great Grandpa. He died five years ago when he caught a bout of pneumonia. Great Gram lost her sight when she was 95 so Great Grandpa would tenderly open the pages of her well-worn bible and read to her at the end of each day. Yeah, she’s sure been smitten with her Papa and Papa 2.

“Great Gram, Papa 2’s in heaven with Papa!” I exuberantly replied. “Would you like me to read something from your bible to you tonight.” I assumed her tears were the result of recalling fond memories of Great Grandpa’s reading to her in the evening.

I remember one year he bought the most beautiful pair of bookends for Great Gram’s birthday. A golden staircase that spiraled upward toward heaven bordered with the most vibrant colored flowers and brilliant shining stones I’d ever seen. An inscription was etched into a pearl plate that read ‘Our Stairway to Heaven’.

When Great Grandpa died Great Gram brought one of those bookends to the funeral and laid it on his chest in the coffin. As tears flowed from her eyes, she softly whispered, “Until we meet again, you hold onto to the other end of 'Our Stairway To Heaven'.”

As I sat there reminiscing, I was looking right at the bookend that sat on Great Gram’s dresser. “Wait, there’s two there. How is that possible?” I thought.

I glanced over at Great Gram. Her bible was clenched to her chest and she had the most serene look on her face. “Great Gram?” I queried. There was no reply. She had climbed her side of the stairway and was home with 'Papa and Papa 2'.

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This article has been read 123 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 02/06/14
Oh what a beautiful story! I loved this!!! It truly touched my heart and soul so much. You've made me cry, but good tears!

Fabulous work with this well written tear jerker.

I hope the judges take note and it rates well!

God bless~
Norma-Anne Hough02/08/14
What a beautiful story. Told with touching emotion.

You were spot on the topic.
Well written.

Dare I ask if it is true, because as I read it I could feel your love coming through so strongly, which doesn't often happen in fiction.


Larry Whittington02/09/14
That was just enough to make a great story.

Enough description. Enough dialog. Enough action. Enough for an interesting conclusion.

May we be as ready as she seemed to be.
Colin Swann02/11/14
A deeply moving piece about loving interactions of a fine family. A good message and well written. Thanks!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/11/14
This is an interesting take on the topic. I totally enjoyed the interaction between the MC and Great Grandma. I could feel the love and the tenderness. You did a nice job of developing the characters.

Remember almost always, when someone new speaks to start a new paragraph. I also saw some spots that were missing an end quote and one quote that didn't start with a capital letter. Those are little things though that a good proofreader would help you catch.

In the message boards there is a thread called Jan's Writing Basics. You should check it out as it is great for any level of writer. Last week she talked about atmosphere and your story would be a good example of how you create an atmosphere. You were able to make me feel the love between the characters. That's a great thing to be able to do.