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Archive for the ‘#AtoZChallenge’ Category

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Patricia Driscoll

“Her granddaughter was right. Look at that! I didn’t think it would make a huge difference. I know that there can be changes in our residents. We see it often. But this change is dramatic!”

The director of the home was talking to one of her supervisors. They were both watching Mrs. Starr. She had finally been moved to a room with a window overlooking the park when such a room had become available. Her granddaughter had been asking for the move for months but Patricia Driscoll had not thought it was a huge deal and had not made it a priority even though a couple of other rooms had become available. When she had finally scheduled the move, Mrs. Starr’s granddaughter, Barbara, had been there to help with the move and help ease her grandmother into the new surroundings but it had not been necessary to worry about agitation. Mrs. Starr’s eyes had lit up when she was seated at the window, watching children in the playground. Now, a few weeks had passed and Mrs. Starr would utter a few words during the day. Some weren’t recognizable but she did smile and call for Babs. “Babs, careful or fall.” That was almost a complete sentence. Mrs. Driscoll was so impressed that she did more research and was looking into funding to get some kind of “digital windows” put into the rooms that had no view. Maybe it would make a difference to other patients, too. She was going to give it a try. She felt a little guilty for having been instrumental in depriving Mrs. Starr of the simple pleasure of watching children play. She was going to try to help others realize this change. It was worth a try.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Oxnard

It’s supposed to be a nice place. I’m sure that some parts of it are. But, (there’s always a “but” isn’t there?) I haven’t seen it. I’ll tell you about the time my daughters and I went shopping at the outlets near there and on the way back home my youngest daughter got sick. She was too sick to go on for the three hour drive home. I won’t tell you what kind of sick but needless to say, it was messy. We decided the only thing to do was to find a motel and stay for the night. So we got off of the 101 and looked for a motel. The place was really run down. I didn’t even want to be there but I couldn’t figure out how to get back to the freeway. We ended up in a Motel 6. You can’t go wrong with Motel 6. Or can you? Well, it wasn’t the best but we needed to stop and we didn’t want to end up in a worse neighborhood because as we drove on, every block was worse than the previous one. The streets were empty but it was not an empty place. You could feel the eyes looking at your nice, late model car with three females in it and the personalized plate and knowing that your gas tank was nearing empty, you knew you had to get indoors, some place, fast. So we did.

I got the girls taken care of and settled. We even put in a DVD that we had bought at the outlets and they were getting comfortable when the little one got sick again. She had a fever, I could tell although we had no thermometer with us. I called the motel office and asked about where I could get her some medicine and all they could say was that there was a Walgreens a few miles away so off I went, making sure that the girls locked the door and put the chain on right behind me. Every minute I was gone I wondered if they were safe but what were the options but to go out and get medicine, a thermometer, and any food we could use later because it wasn’t even dark yet and we would be there all night.

There was an eerie feeling to the streets and it unnerved me. Empty streets. Broken down cars. Graffiti. Luckily, the Walgreens was next to a gas station and a grocery store so I was able to take care of everything we needed and get back to that motel to my daughters. Then the noise came on with the lights. Cars revving their engines and loud rap music blasting from those same cars. Up and down the street, late into the night.

I was happy when the sun came up and my daughter’s temperature was down. We loaded up the car and headed for the freeway without wasting one moment. We were starving but we would stop for breakfast as soon as the memory of Oxnard was long behind us.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Norma

Norma was the older sister. The sensible one. The quiet one. Judy was the younger one. She was vivacious. She was beautiful. She was constantly the center of attention. Norma was six years older than Judy and had always been the one to take care of her little sister. She had been the one to teach her things. And when she and her little sister went to America, with their father, in search of jobs and a better life, it was Norma that filled the mother role for her little sister.

Judy went to high school and Norma worked wherever she could find a job during the day then rushed home to be there when Judy got home. She babysat children. She worked in agricultural fields. She nanny-ed. She took care of elderly people. She cooked for families. At home, she did the cooking and cleaning, too.

Judy was beautiful and outgoing. Norma was shy but she was also beautiful. She had red hair while Judy’s was black. She had green eyes while Judy’s were brown. She was quiet and loving and always thoughtful.

Judy was my big brother’s girlfriend and could only come over if Norma was with her so we got to know Norma and her gentle ways. We got to hear the fairy tales she told us. We got to hear her talking to our mother when she needed advice or when she just needed to talk to another adult that wasn’t her father. She had the quiet laugh and the reserved ways. I always looked forward to seeing her and was sad when she left.

I don’t know whatever happened to Norma. We lost track of the family after the accident. All we know is that a little piece of Norma died when Judy was killed in a car accident. After that, Norma and her family left town. We didn’t hear from them again, but I often wonder whatever happened to Norma.

 

Alexa

Babs

Curtis

Diane

Eve

Fran

Grandma

Harold

Iris

Julian

Kiki

Luda

Mister

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

I noticed the car before I noticed the driver. It was a Silver Mercedes C250. It drove right past me as I got stuck behind a big rig doing 45 while everyone zipped by doing 75. When I stopped at the Rest Area I noticed the Benz parked there as I slowly pulled out and back to the freeway after my stretch break. The driver was on his cell phone and I couldn’t help noticing that he looked irate. I was glad I didn’t have the pressures that business people seemed to have.

At the next area, sixty-four miles north of the previous one, there it was again. I hadn’t noticed it when it passed me this time but it was in the rest area, no driver.

As I walked toward the rest rooms, I saw the blond man I had seen behind the driver’s seat of the Mercedes. He wore a black three piece pinstripe suit and looked pretty uncomfortable in it. He did smile and nod at me as he mumbled “good day.” The was something about him. His obvious discomfort; his smile; a hesitance which made me feel that he was in no rush to get back to his car or on the road or even back to his life. That’s when I named him. He was simply Mister.

When I got back to my car, the Mercedes Benz was gone and as I drove on, I couldn’t help thinking up all sorts of scenarios about Mister’s life.

A couple of days later, it was on the news. Someone was missing and foul play was suspected. A business man who had last been seen leaving the parking lot of his office building in a silver Mercedes Benz C250. The man’s description matched Mister. The suspicious thing? His car had been found at a rest area, locked, and without its driver. A search had not turned up the driver. He had simply vanished at the rest stop.

I wondered about Mister. What had happened? Was he really missing or had he simply chosen to disappear?

I thought about Mister and kept a close ear out for news. I wanted to know what had happened to Mister and wondered if I would ever find out.

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#AtoZ — Luda

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Luda

I had been to this food distribution site a number of times. It was run by an organization that collected donations from the local events venues and from the cafeterias of local corporations and  from grocery stores. It was all good food, it just hadn’t been sold at the end of the day. It was collected by volunteers then repackaged and distributed to those who needed food. I had been to this site, an apartment complex, and had seen one woman who spoke with a very strong accent. I could not place it because I’m just not good with accents, but I guessed it might be Polish. The woman seemed kind of bossy and very aggressive. I had stayed away from her in the past.

On this particular day, it was pouring rain and the group waiting for the food distribution truck was gathered under a fairly small overhead shelter instead of out in the courtyard where they usually gathered. There were a few homeless people that had joined the group since the last time I had been there to get food. One of the men was chatting away with the woman I had thought was Polish. I overheard them talking, and because I am one of those people that joins  in conversations, I joined in theirs. The man told of having been homeless for over two years because he had been illegally evicted. The woman asked where he slept and he said wherever he could lay his head. He mentioned being hungry and she asked him if he was hungry at that moment. He answered that he was. I wished I had food in the car so I could give it to him. I usually have something in there but I had cleaned out the car so I had nothing to offer him. The Polish woman disappeared and came back a few minutes later. She lives in that building. She came out with a cup of hot soup and some bread for the man. He was so grateful and I was very thankful that she had done that. I even thanked her for doing that.

After a few minutes of talking to her, I learned that she was Russian and her name was Luda. The soup she had brought out was her very own homemade borscht and the bread that she had baked herself. She lived in that building with her six children! She grew up in a family of twelve children so she said she knew what it is like to be cold and hungry. I learned a lot about her in that short time and I was glad that I had joined the conversation. If I go back again, I will be more friendly to Luda and I will be sure to always have something I can offer to those that might be hungry. I will also remember to always give people the benefit of the doubt; things are not always what they seem, nor are people.

Alexa

Babs

Curtis

Diane

Eve

Fran

Grandma

Harold

Iris

Julian

Kiki

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Kiki

“It’s Kiki, not Kiko!”  Why can’t they get that through their heads. I always call others by their name, not by someone else’s name. How would they like it? That guy that just called me Kiko, his name is William and he is called Bill. How would he like it if I called him Bob instead of Bill? That’s what he’s doing to me. Kiko is the nickname for Frank or Francisco. Kiki, my name, is the nickname for Enrique which is Spanish for Henry. Frank and Henry are two entirely different names. So are Kiko and Kiki. I’ve told people that before but it doesn’t stick in their heads. Geesh!

I know that I just correct them politely and smile and go on and the next time I see them, they call me Kiko again. I never even told them or inferred that they could call me anything but my real name. Why are they assuming they can use the friendly and familiar Kiko? Even if it were my name, they shouldn’t assume they could call me that. Only my friends and my familia get to call me that! I guess it’s my fault because I don’t forcefully correct anyone. I just smile and gloss over it. That’s how my parents raised me but I wish they had raised me differently. I wish I could stand up to them and put my finger in their chest and tap it with every word: “MY NAME IS ENRIQUE, NOT KIKO OR FRANK OR ANYTHING ELSE. REMEMBER THAT!”

Red faced and fuming, Kiki walked off, knowing that nothing would ever change. This was who he was. He corrected people politely and they didn’t pay attention. He wondered what it would be like to be Frank. Maybe Kiko would have better luck!

 

Alexa

Babs

Curtis

Diane

Eve

Fran

Grandma

Harold

Iris

Julian

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Julian Street ran from one end of town to the other, east to west. Much of it was commercial but the part where I lived was a lot more residential. Well, I didn’t really live on Julian. I lived around the corner. It was pretty much  a quiet two lane one way street on the part where I lived but there was a gas station on the corner and another a few blocks east of me and a Safeway grocery store a block west of me. But other than that, it was all houses. Later on there were some apartments but when I lived there there weren’t any. It was quiet enough that my mother let us walk to the grocery store around the corner. We actually had to walk along Julian but it was safe back then. I’m not sure what the speed limit was then, I would guess maybe 25. Then you have to remember that there were a lot less cars back in the early 1960’s.

I mentioned that gas station a few blocks east of us? Well, it was the first time we had seen a gas station with a store inside. My dad could buy beer and wine in there and we could buy soda and ice cream and candy and sometimes, when Safeway was out of something my mom needed, we could go to the gas station to find it at the store inside. When one of my brothers or sisters was sick, with a fever and nausea, my mom would send one of us to the gas station store to buy a little bottle of Coke syrup which she used to get rid of the barfs. They used to have this deal there, too, where you could take in your own empty bottle and they would fill it with soda from the fountain and it was a lot cheaper that way. We had a big family and we really didn’t drink soda because it was too expensive but once in awhile, as a treat, we would be allowed to buy the fountain soda and have them put it in our gallon sized bottle. What came in a gallon size bottle with a narrow pour spout and a handle that we could take to fill up with soda? My dad’s wine jugs! We usually took them in with the label removed and cleaned off but once we took in an empty wine jug with the label still on it. When Ben, the old man that lived across the street came over to have a cigarette with my dad, my dad decided to play a joke on him. He got the root beer that was in the wine jug that still had the wine label on it and he poured us each a glass of soda but didn’t say anything about it being soda. When we came to drink it, Ben’s eyes just about popped out of their sockets! He thought we were all drinking wine, including my youngest sister who was only about two at that time.

I remember those days with fond memories. Julian Street is a lot different now. I know for a long while it was a pretty bad area. The whole neighborhood had gone downhill. That was about twenty years after we moved away from that area. Now I hear that it has gotten to be a pretty nice area with homes selling for a million dollars! It’s strange to think that I once lived in a million dollar home, only it wasn’t worth that when I lived there. Far from it!

One of these day I’ll go back to town and go visit Julian Street and see what it’s like. One of these days.

Alexa

Babs

Curtis

Diane

Eve

Fran

Grandma

Harold

Iris

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