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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)

TITLE: Bevy's Dream
By Mary Lou Cook


With her school books stacked beside her, Bevy stared at the small television set. She was supposed to be working on her homework but she had to watch ‘Father Knows Best’. Even though she enjoyed each program, her favorite part started at the beginning. Jim Anderson would arrive home from work, take off his jacket and put on a sweater. With a smile of love on his face he greeted his children, Betty, Bud, and Kathy.

Bevy thought Kathy looked to be the same age as her, but that was where the similarities stopped. She saw Kathy’s childhood as close to perfect, to live in a real home with devoted parents. Kathy’s father, Jim, called her Kitten and her mother, Margaret, dressed nice. While Dad went to work Mom stayed home to take care of their children. Margaret Anderson wore pearls and served home cooked meals. She’d never make her children wear thrift store clothes or hand-me downs. Bevy's childhood would never be as perfect as Kathy’s.

Bevy never knew what it was like to have a father. The men her Mom brought home never stayed around long enough. During the day her Mom worked as a beautician at Sissy’s Beauty Salon and in the evening she worked at a bar called the Ynot Lounge. Before heading to the bar she would stop by long enough to change her clothes and remind Bevy of the frozen pot pies in the fridge. Her Mom would blow her a kiss and hurry out the door, leaving behind the smell of cigarette smoke and cheap perfume.

When ‘Father Knows Best’ ended Bevy turned off the television. She did a load of laundry and packed her school lunch for tomorrow. With her school books on the kitchen table she started to work on her homework. Another evening alone was much like all her other evenings. At school there were a few friends, but to invite one of them over to share homework assignments with would never happen. No one needed to see how she lived. Her Mom alone caused her an embarrassment.

Longing for more than an absent mom and a ran-down trailer house, she soon came to realize the way out of this mess meant to get an education. It meant hard work to achieve good grades, but someday she planned to graduate from college. With a degree she’d find this great job and move on to better things. Change her name to Kathy Anderson, wear pearls, and never again eat pot pies.


After earning a college degree in journalism she found a great job with a newspaper in Austin, Texas, legally changed her name, wore pearls, and never again ate pot pies. Two years after leaving for college her Mom died in a trailer house fire. She scattered her Mom’s ashes across the Ynot Lounge gravel parking lot. Writing a book about Bevy’s troubled childhood had taken her through a healing process. She moved on to better things.

Deep in thoughts of the past she was startled when the phone rang.

“Kathy, this is Bill. How about dropping by for some supper? I’ll throw a couple of steaks on the grill. Need to talk to you about an idea of mine.”

Bill Ashton, well into his eighties, made his fortune in oil. At a young age he started out at the bottom and worked his way to the top of the business. Before the age of forty he owned an oil company. On his eightieth birthday she interviewed him for the newspaper. Over the years they still remained close.

“I thought the doctor told you no red meat.”

“Let me die a happy old man, share a couple of thick, juicy steaks with me.”

“Finish up a few things for the newspaper then I’ll drop by for supper.”

After washing the dishes they sat beside the swimming pool. “Kathy, after reading ‘Bevy’s Dream’ I figured out who she was. I grew up on my own with the same kind of momma you had. Instead of college, I attended the school of hard knocks. To get a job in the oil fields I had to lie about my age. At fifteen, because of being big for my age made it easy to pass for eighteen. I’m younger than you think. Your book gave people hope. Want to do the same thing. Will you help me write a book about Billy’s dream?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke09/10/09
The first half of this story spins nicely; you paint a clear picture of Bevy and her desire for something better.
Good writing!

The second half of the story, however falls flat. I think the gap between Bevy setting goals and reaching them is too wide, too much detail missing. It might have been better to just concentrate on Bevy and finish telling us her story rather than introduce us to someone else.
Lisa Johnson09/10/09
I, too, thought that your focus should have been saved for your MC's experience...that being said, Bill's story is one that could be/should be shared in a longer version.