The following introduction is a request from the evolved
spirit of Louisa May (Alcott) to Robert Murray.
When I prepared the story, I did extensive research. The
characters are made up and are composites of many
people. Some of them I knew during my short lifetime in
New England. I wanted to put those people into contemporary
times so I talked to and questioned new arrivals. That research
is a story unto itself. I was constantly amazed and
sometimes dismayed to find that the progress from my lifetime
to the present day was a mixed blessing for mankind. I learned
to heed the advice of others to be politically correct when
and where I originally thought it unnecessary. I really must
thank the many friends I’ve made over here. Even the ones who
were not writers helped me formulate the story.
I believe that the plots and the basic stories don’t change.
Now I use current backdrops but essentially I write about
the same things I did when in my life form. Human nature is
human nature after all.
Having written about the automobile, I still don’t have
any desire to put my taffeta covered behind into the machines
that tear over the roadways. I was terrified of runaway horses
but that doesn’t explain all my problems. I couldn’t get my
mind used to women and young ladies wearing clothing designed for men. In my story, I avoided dressing the women in men’s clothing. One of the biggest problems I had was to understand the current slang expressions. Some slang is so meaningless and yet other expressions capture the essence in a few words. I had to learn a new form of English. I think it would have been easier to learn French. At least with French, I could use my hands and arms if I couldn’t think of a word or phrase. I am not so old and staid that I didn’t enjoy the new slang. I did and at times I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face and ruined my facial powder and paint.
Father Murray, I thank you and your family for the kindness
you have shown me and for the help in getting my story to
others. I have several new stories on my desk top just waiting
for your approval. Please don’t “chicken out” on me now.
With great affection,
It was a beautiful spring day and the first day that Amy had left her heavy winter coat on the porch swing. It was her form of mild rebellion against that horrid winter. She did drive her small automobile as though she didn’t have a care in the world. In truth it was another form of rebellion. She certainly wouldn’t take out her frustration on her charges at the day care. She needed a break, she kept telling herself. She needed a break from winter, from her parents, from her nagging brother and a break from her life as she knew it.
She didn’t see the dog until it was almost too late. She swerved as the animal dashed past her right front tire. She managed to stop the racing engine while her car rested against a post box. That dog kept running down the street. At least it could have had the decency to limp a little...How could that deputy Erickson get here so fast?
“Well, Amy, you have a funny way of parking! You must know that you can’t park like that.”
I didn’t know if I should speak. So, I sat there staring straight ahead with my two hands in the correct driving position of two and ten, or was it three and nine. Eric spoke to me again.
“Are you all right, Amy? I was just following the school bus when I saw you drive up on the grass. Looked like you took sick or were out of control.”
I decided that I had best say something. I blurted out, “Dog.”
Eric looked puzzled and started to take out her ticket book. I said, “A dog ran out in front of me. I swerved to avoid hitting the animal and it ran away. It couldn’t tell you anything anyway.”
“I’ve got to give you a ticket for something.” said Eric as she wrote in her ticket book. “You’ve damaged the grass and you made a dent in the post box. That’s federal property you know. Would you rather have a ticket for careless driving or for parking on the grass?”
I don’t know if it was shock or if I was really upset but I started to cry. I just sat there and howled like I imagined a banshee would howl. One part of me was beside me listening to that awful howling and the other part of me was wondering how I could turn it off. Eric turned red in the face and tried to calm me down. “Please, Amy. It’s just my job. I’ll just write a warning ticket. Please stop crying!”
My calculating self told me to slow the crying down and not stop suddenly. I eased up on the loud howls and ended with a few sobs. I managed to say, “Thank you, Eric. I’m sorry I carried on so! Do you think I can get this machine off the grass without calling the garage?”
Eric put away the ticket book without giving Amy the warning ticket. She motioned for Amy to slide over to the passenger seat. As Amy moved over, Eric slid behind the wheel. She restarted the machine and bumped it down off the curb and grass. Eric got out of the car then told Amy, “I’ll get the parks workers to repair the grass. Vandals do lots of minor damage to post boxes, so one more scrape and dent won’t make much difference. Please pay attention to your driving.” Eric strode forcefully back to her police car. She waved to the gathering crowd and drove off.
Amy, shaking, restarted the running engine with a grinding that could be heard for blocks around. She put the car in gear and drove away at a snail’s pace. Now she wished she had worn that winter coat.
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whatsoever without written permission from Aura Publishing, except
in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews.
The Urquharts of Reddix
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