Saturday, August 28, 2010

Magpie tale

hosts a weekley writing challenge
using the below photo
write a vignette or poem

I am now in eighth grade,but I have walked passed her well kept house every school day since the 1st grade. I have never actually met her, but learned a lot about her by watching as I passed by her house. She often walked around her sun porch dusting aimlessly with a big feather duster, but mostly she just sat by the window staring out. I know that she liked birds from the many feeders hanging outside on her trees, and that she loved red roses...her garden trellis was covered with them, as was her garden. Her taste in music ran to the classical, often playing as I walked by. I remember one day hearing the most beautiful music coming from her open windows. For days I hummed it then discovered that it was Beethovens' Ode to Joy. And that is how I felt when I heard it.
Once,when I was in 3rd grade, she smiled at me as she caught me trying to pick a rose...she motioned with a nod that I knew meant, go ahead, take one. I smiled back at her thinking maybe we could become friends,but she never looked my way again. But I knew she was aware of me passing everyday. I knew in the way a person sometimes feels things that they can't explain.
This past winter she put tiny paper snowflakes in her windows and one night it snowed so much that I felt compelled to ask my mother if I could go and help some lady down the block by shoveling  her snow.
  I found my father's big snow shovel in the garage and headed down her way, the snow about 8 inches,the wind blowing it around in huge drifts.
As I neared her house I saw that it was completely dark and that the snow had not been walked in. I thought to ring the bell, but instead thinking I might wake her,I just went about shoveling her walk. When I finished I drew a heart in the snow with a smiling face..childish, I know, but somehow I wanted to do it.
 I never knew if she saw it, in fact, I never saw her again. Within months her garbage cans were filled to the brim with thrown out stuff. And soon there was a  FOR SALE  sign on her lawn.
On my way home from school Friday I saw a man coming out of her house with a handful of records about to throw them into the trash.
"Did she move?"I asked.
"No,she died.Want some records,kid?" the man asked shoving the record albums at me then turning around and leaving me in my emerging grief as I realized a part of my childhood had ended.
The albums slipped from my hands and fell onto the ground. I looked down and saw an album of Beethoven. I picked it up and held it tight until I got home. This lady had become part of my life,a private part that I never shared with anyone. And now she was gone,except for the record album that I held in my hand. Who was this woman who loved Ode To Joy so much but seemed to be so sad? Maybe I should have tried harder to be her friend.
And then I thought of her well kept house,her birds and the roses and the paper snowflakes and that  kind nod she gave to me.
Maybe I was one of those tiny pieces of joy in her life. 
I hope it was so.

magpie tale of fiction..and it wasn't easy coming up with something


  1. Hi Suz, so glad you dropped by or I might have missed this lovely sad and personal story. Tears in the eyes! LOL.

  2. Ah, sounds like the perfect Stephen King ending.

  3. So well done..a lovely air of mystery and saddness..snowflakes and joy!!

  4. most ecellent magpie...i think maybe perhaps she was...and i wonder how often she listened to the record...or just kept it...

  5. So sad and sweet. I was reminded, by your story, of Scout and Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird.

    You get the emotion so perfectly, and so immediately, in your stories, Suz!


  6. What a wonderful magpie. I had a lump in my throat when I realised that she had passed away.

  7. Such a beautiful but sad story. Your writing is very touching and I enjoyed the tale.

  8. But tell me...did I sound like an
    8th grader? Did I capture the voice of a child? Just curious for future writing.....a smart and loving 8th grader, of course

  9. you sure make story telling look easy. I love how rich the setting is and how this piece really hits you in the face, like you're watching this kid talking to you. awesome.

  10. This was very very lovely, conveying more than the words you put together. A thought, a look, a song that lasted a lifetime. Even if only in blogsphere...

  11. you were probably her Ode to Joy as she watched you. Lovely and sadly sweet story

  12. Oh I loved it!! I loved the feel of it... the 'specialness of the none-special' in life.

    Thank you for writing it. Now I have to go see if I can find Ode to Joy on the web....


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