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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Parent (11/16/06)

TITLE: A Job for Simon
By dub W


The feedback on the microphone whistled through the room. “Uh, testing, uh, will the parent or parents of Simon Rocker please come by the office before the evening is over.” Marge Steward, Principal at Elmhurst Elementary set the old microphone down on the wooden desk.

“What’s Simon done?” Phyllis Schuster, the elementary P.E. teacher leaned against the office door. “That is one strange little boy.”

Marge leaned back in her chair. “Nothing really, but I just wanted to meet these people or at least the one responsible, that is one serious child.” The parent-teacher night had started as a great success. Most of the elementary school parents showed up with sibling in tow. Toward the end of the evening Marge had managed a chance to slip into her office to get off her feet.

“Excuse me.” A voice behind the P.E. teacher squeaked though.

“Oh, excuse me,” said Phyllis, “I’m just leaving.” The P.E. teacher disappeared into the hallway.

“Yes, ma’am?” Marge wheeled back from her desk and stood up. She tried to smile warmly.

“Someone asked for Simon Rocker’s parent to come to the office. I guess that’s me.”

Marge looked over the woman before her. She can’t be over twenty years old. “You’re his parent?”

The woman blushed and tipped her chin. “I’m his guardian, his oldest sister.”

Marge motioned to a chair. “Oldest?”

“Yes, ma’am. Did you want to see me?”

“Uh, how many, uh, I mean, yes I wanted to chat with you. Uh, about Simon.” Marge eased into her desk chair. “I’m Marge Stewart, Principal here.”

“Is he in trouble?”

“Well, no, we just need to chat.”

“Good, that is I’m glad he’s not in trouble. Chat? What about?”

“Just curious, is all. Simon is very quiet; although he speaks to other children, he seems very guarded and serious. Is there something we can help with, uh Miss uh…” Marge’s short psychological training was telling her that maybe there was something of which the school should be aware.

“My name is Julie. I guess I better fill you in a little.”

Marge nervously picked up a pen.

“Here it is in a nut shell. Simon is really my half brother, but he is the youngest. So, when mom split we were kinda left alone. A lady from social services came by and said it was up to me, since I was eighteen at the time.”

“Up to you?”

“Right, I could take the kids, or put them in foster care. That decision was easy. So, I got a job in the deli section of Kroger’s; Bob, my now 20-year-old brother, started work part-time at the Hardware store.” Julie laughed, “Goodwill store is our clothing store. Between the two of us we pay the rent and support the family.”

Marge wrinkled an eye. “Not much to live on.”

“We get by. But, every member of the family has a job. Simon’s job is to go to school and not get fired, or in trouble. Same with his sisters.”

Marge’s curiosity got the best of her. “How many of you …”

Julie interrupted with a laugh, “six others besides Bob and I.” She bit a fingernail. “I get the kids up, breakfast and sack lunches. Bob drives the two oldest to high school on his way to the hardware. I take Simon and his sisters to the church and they deliver them here and pick them up after school.” Julie laughed, “I’m afraid our family is like a bus station.”

“Wow.” Marge leaned forward.

“When I get off work, I take the youngest ones to ball practice, ballet, and piano lessons – all of which our church helps pay for.” Julie figured in her head. “I think that’s about it, but you see it’s a fine balance, and Simon is just doing his job.”

“Any outside life?”

“On Wednesday nights and Sundays we ride the church bus to church. Bob takes night classes at the community college, so he only joins us sometimes.”

Marge gulped. “And how old are you?”

“I’m twenty one.”

“And you have been doing this for three years?

“Uh huh.”

“Julie, I tell you what, I wish I had more parents just like you.”

“Ma’am, I’m just a half sister helping with the kids.”

Marge stood and offered her hand to Julie, “No, honey, you’re a parent if I ever saw one.”

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This article has been read 1104 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virginia Gorg11/23/06
Nicely done - flows well, is easy to read, and has good, solid writing. Good story of true family love. Thanks.
terri tiffany11/24/06
I liked the characters - good boo hoo at the end. Good dialogue:) I wouldn't change a thing except there was one place when she was talking about Simon and it sounded like he was working...I may have read it wrong though. Good writing!
william price11/27/06
I have neices (on in-law side) in the same boat. Its a sad situation. You told the story very well. I was nodding my head in recognition the entire way. Nice take on the topic. Excellent job as always. God bless.
Shanti Singh11/27/06
I love this, especially the way it ended. Very touching. Thanks for writing it!
Jan Ackerson 11/28/06
Sounds like the sort of family that "Extreme Makeover" features. Even though Simon is not actually a character in the story, I feel as if I know him--serious little boy just "doing his job." What a sweetie!
Daniel Owino Ogweno11/28/06
Well, one doesn't have to be a parent to do what parents ought to do. This is a picture of true brotherhood. It reminds me of, "He ain't heavy, coz he's my brother". This was excellent show of responsibity for one another. Thanks for sharing it!
Joanne Sher 11/29/06
This is so compelling - and you have created some amazing charcters that I so want to know more about! Great writing.
Donna Haug11/29/06
Dub, I really enjoyed reading this story. I felt proud of little Simon and his family. Life's not easy for a lot of people, and you showed us a slice of that.
Betty Castleberry11/29/06
I like the twist on what makes a parent. You told your story well. Thumbs up.
Debbie Sickler11/29/06
I really enjoyed this story Dub. You made the sister/stand in mom very real and created a picture of their life well.

Donna Powers 11/29/06
When I got to the end of this I said "amen!". You are right about her being a parent. I also wanted to know more about Simon and his amazing family. Well done! I enjoyed reading this very much. Thanks for sharing this.
David Story11/29/06
Very nice, Dub. Thanks.
Cheri Hardaway 11/29/06

Unique take on parenting! Very creative, and sends a very encouraging message about what love can do in a family. Excellent. Blessings, Cheri
Birdie Courtright11/29/06
I loved the cohesiveness of the children all working together. It made me wonder though, how a woman who skipped out on her family managed to produce such responsible and level headed young people. Great story, very uplifting.