Start writing here…This was a story told to me by my sister when I was a child.
Everything written here was the story she told me when I came home from school upset.
Do I believe it to be true? I don’t know.
I couldn’t stand school.
It wasn’t as much the school as it was the children in it.
I was nine years old but very short for my age, and I had a lisp, so all the kids called me baby, of course, the bullying had affected my grades, so they also called me dumb.
Every day somebody was saying something, and although I told my mother, there was nothing she could do because we were too poor for me to go to private school.
After school, I was met by my loving elder sister, Linda.
I called her my second mom because of the vast difference in age, and she cared for my siblings and myself when mom was at work.
Although she completed community college and graduated as a theater arts major, she never really did anything with her life, but boy could she tell stories.
They were full of drama and flair, she wrote humorous, whimsical poems, and she loved to sing and laugh.
In the old days, she would have been called an old maid, but I never thought that was a bad thing.
One day I came home, and she could see that I was distraught, I put my lunch box in the kitchen and plopped down on the couch. “I don’t want to go back to school,” I stated while wiping the tears away from my eyes.
I explained to her that this girl I thought was my friend, told everyone about my toe.
(my big toe was cut off in a bicycle spoke when I was five) Some kids cornered me in the bathroom, even the boys were in there wanting me to take off my shoe. After the kids saw it they started saying that I have cooties and ran away.
“Could my life get any worse?”
My sister just looked at me as if she was pondering what she was going to say to console me, but that look changed, and she slightly smiled.
She said, “you know it could be worse.”
Noticing I had a rip in the knee of my jeans, she told me to change and bring her my pants so she could sew them while I ate my lunch, and she would tell me about her childhood friend Elzbeth.
She started off by sharing how she met Elzbeth.
Linda said that this all took place after our mother’s first divorce. We had moved to a trailer park right outside of town, it wasn’t like the trailer parks you see today, each trailer was separated by green grass, a few trees, rolling hills, and dirt roads.
It was a place where people rented a trailer long enough to get on their feet then move on, she said it was a charming place in the country.
This was in Georgia in the fifties.
She said she was a curious little girl who didn’t see anything wrong with speaking her mind and asking questions.
That didn’t sit too well with our grandmother because she always said that children should be seen but not heard. Our mother, on the other hand, didn’t mind it at all.
she always said that “Brilliance comes from a lot of answered questions.”
Here is the story as told by my sister.
One day mama let me go out to play in the yard. I started to chase a butterfly and found myself past two yards near some clothesline next to the neighbor’s trailer, “and there she was.”
She was so pretty.
She had long black hair, pale skin, bright blue eyes, and a long grey dress to the floor.
She was hiding behind one of the sheets hanging on the clothesline watching me.
Well bold little me, I walked right up to her and said, “Hello,” the girl was surprised and stepping back a few feet.
“What’s your name?“-- The girl then snatched the bow off my braid, turned and ran to her trailer, stopping on the steps she turned back to take another look at me before going inside.
Well, that was very rude, my I thought, and marched back home and told mama all about it.
Mama told me that maybe she wasn’t allowed to talk to strangers but had no explanation as to why she took my bow.
A few days passed, but she couldn’t get that little girl out of my mind.
One day I playing outside with my doll having a tea party. I was all alone in my yard because there weren’t very many children to play within that park that time of year, anyway most of the kids from school lived in real houses on the other side of the creek.
I remember that mama called me in for lunch, and when I came back out, my doll was gone.
Despite mama and I looking for it, the doll was nowhere to be found.
I cried myself to sleep that night.
The next day when I went outside there, she was, my doll sitting on the chair at my tea table with the bow that little girl took from me in her hair.
Mama said that she must have found the doll and returned it to me and that I
should bring her some cookies mama just baked to say thank you. So she did.
I was practicing what I was going to say the whole walk there.
I knocked on the door and when it opened, standing there was a big tall man who said “WHAT!” everything I was going to say flew out of my brain.
A lady then brushed him aside and said: “What can we help you with dear?” I just stood there and said the only words that came to my mind were, “Mama said cookies, thanks” with a confused look, the lady took the plate, said thank you and shut the door.
Standing there on their porch, I saw the little girl in the window at the back of the trailer, she smiled ever so slightly and scratched the glass with one finger as if she was saying hello.
Well, now I was bound and determined to no longer be a stranger because I wanted to play with this little girl.
I had so many questions, and I wanted to be HER friend!
I must have gone over there every day, asking if she could come out and play, and every day her mother made excuses as to why she couldn’t.
I did find out that her name, though, and it was Elzbeth.
I think my persistence broke her mother down because one afternoon, her mother said yes, but...
There were rules. No swinging or climbing trees, no going in the stream and tying her dress up. But most of all, “there are things we mustn’t discuss.”
I didn’t understand why there were so many rules, and what Elzbeth wasn’t supposed to talk about, but I didn’t care. Just as long as I was able to make her my friend at last.
We became very close friends that Summer, every day felt like a new adventure.
At first, we could only play in Elzbeth’s yard, but eventually, she was allowed to come over to my yard, we played tea with my dolls and cards on the porch when grandpa would visit. There was always an extra plate set for her when she was over.
Elzbeth told me that her daddy wasn’t too fond of her being over so much, but she said she heard her mother say to him that it will be fine.
We talked about everything, dreams, goals, favorite bedtime stories. The only thing we never talked about was why she always wore a long dark dress.
She simply said that she couldn’t talk about it and that was that.
My favorite times were when we would lay under the trees counting the birds on the branches, we would see circus animals in the clouds, and we picked berries for our mothers.