Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: The Children's Home
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It seemed so long ago the memories of where they used to live—a Children’s Home on the east side of town. They were so young then—Sandra ten and Bill, only eight. Both had been abandoned by their parents and at that time, was the only place that would take them in.
It was the early 70s and many in America were in turmoil over high gas prices, the war in Viet Nam and what was then considered, high food prices. The divorce rate was high and living together was becoming more acceptable. Foster’s Children’s Home was one of the very few places where a child like Sandra and Bill could live, except of course, for the many foster care programs springing up almost everywhere.
It wasn’t long after Sandra and Bill met, when they became fast friends and were seldom lonely like so many others at the Home. As they aged, they became close and found that they had a lot in common. Both enjoyed collecting rocks and kept a diary of daily events. After high school they married and worked hard so that one day they would have a home of their own, a home of privacy and beauty.
That day had finally come and the three-bedroom, two baths, with many accessories had become a wonderful reality for two who had so little in their young lives, with longings that festered in the quiet of their souls.
As Sandra viewed the home now filled with many boxes and furniture, she was in awe with how much room they had. With their children Millie and Tod now grown and out in the world, it would be a home just for the two of them.
As she gazed into the kitchen, filled with modern appliances and everything gleaming, she recalled an incident that occurred many years ago in the kitchen of the Children’s Home. She happened one day to walk into the old, decapitated kitchen in the middle of the day and saw the cook preparing the day’s dinner.
She asked for a snack and the cook, a middle-aged woman named Connie replied, “Now Sandy, we just had lunch. You couldn’t possibly be hungry now! I’m busy preparing for dinner and I just don’t have time to fix you anything and besides, John Crawmer, the man who runs this place absolutely forbids me from doing anything like that! Now, go skedaddle!”
Sandra must have looked so very sad and hungry that shortly after Connie spoke those words she whispered, “Look, I’m going to do something I shouldn’t do and I might get in trouble if I’m caught but I’ve been where you’re at now and I’ll make this one exception. Go to the frig and bring out the cheese. It’s wrapped in aluminum on the second shelf. I’ll slice you a piece.”
Sandra brought out the cheese and Connie went to one of the kitchen’s drawers and brought out a clean, sharp knife. Carefully, she cut a nice-sized piece for the hungry girl.
She handed her the cheese and Sandra stepped back a few steps, stood at the end of the long table and with deep appreciation showing in her blue eyes, smiled and said, “Thank you, Connie!”
Years later after leaving the Home, Sandra heard similar tales from others about Connie, the cook. She never forgot the woman’s kindness and as she looked one again at her new kitchen, she knew that whoever came to this kitchen would never leave hungry or leave without knowing the story of Connie, the lovely and caring cook of The Home.
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