Flora’s Diary Short Story #6

Flora’s Diary is a new historical fiction short story I’m working on, set in the countryside outside Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1948. Any historical tidbits mentioned in the story are true facts, except for Mr. Franklin who is a fictional addition. The conversations that take place and Flora’s thoughts and actions are all fictional creations from this author’s brain as she tries to honor Flora and keep her memories alive. Dear Flora, please excuse me if I’ve erred in any way in this historical re-creation.

I’m proud to be part of a group of authors that write for Tuesday Tales. Every week we write story snippets to a word prompt. Once a month we have a picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘blue.’


For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.


With all the back and forth about Margie and Stugie going back to Miami, Flora tried hard to keep her mouth shut and not speak up. She didn’t really mind. She enjoyed having her daughter and grandson in the house for an extended visit.

Margie walked in the kitchen one morning and made an announcement. “We’re going home. Tomorrow.” She worked hard all day getting things ready to leave in the morning.

Until morning came and Stugie woke up sick, changing all the plans yet again. “I can’t leave today. Stugie’s sick. I’ve been up all night with him,” Margie said. “He tossed and turned and moaned all night.”

Margie was in and out of the kitchen all day, getting wash rags wet with the cold sink water and wiping the little tot’s sweaty brow. She confided to Flora on one of her trips back to the bedroom, “I’m worried, Mom. He’s not eating or taking his bottle. I can’t get his fever down.”

Later in the afternoon, Flora took over nursing duties so Margie could sneak in a short nap and rest for the next shift of taking care of her sick boy. The fever finally broke late that night. Once that threat was gone, the family felt a bit better, but Flora still worried. “He’s still not eating enough. Can’t have him losing any weight. He doesn’t have any to spare. Little tyke is skinny as a twig as it is.”

Slowly over the next few days, with his mother and grandmother’s ministrations, Stugie finally recovered and soon was rushing around the house like the busy toddler he was before the illness slowed him down.

A snowstorm blew into northwest Arkansas, but it wasn’t heavy enough to stop the world from turning. Buses still traveled, Al still drove into Fayetteville for work, and a few days later Margie and Stug boarded a bus for Fort Smith. The next day they caught a flight to Miami.

Flora settled back into her regular routine. She took her friend Jean an apron she’d sewn. She went to Jean Cox’s baby shower. She received a check in the mail – Dot’s income tax return for $5.20. She laid that on top of the icebox to save for Dot on her next trip home from school. And she kept up with her church attendance, despite the snow that still covered the countryside weeks later.

The first part of February Flora received a letter from Margie. She reported that they were paying $25 a week in rent at the new place. Margie didn’t share any further details about Edwin and what had caused the waffling of Margie’s return home. Flora wanted to know. But yet, she didn’t want to know. Maybe Al was right, maybe I need to keep my nose out of my children’s business.

Soon Valentine’s Day was looming on the horizon. One morning she told Al, “I’m off to the post office today. I’ve got a box of candy for Stug. I’ve got to send it his way.”

“What about the other grandchildren?”

“I’m baking cookies for them. Tomorrow. I’ll mail Thord’s children the cookies too. But being closer it won’t take as long to get there. Stugie’s further, so his box has to go out first.”

Al picked up his lunch pail and headed towards the door. “Need some money to mail the box?”

“No. Sold some eggs to Marnie yesterday. Got forty cents a dozen.”

The next few days sped by. With cookie baking, and painting the new kitchen cabinet that Mr. McC brought out a few weeks earlier, right as the bad weather set in, Flora didn’t have a spare moment.

Valentine’s Day dawned bright and clear. Flora was pleased to see that the snow and ice were slowly melting. She added another coat of paint to the new cabinets and then went and sorted clothes so when Al got home from work she’d be ready to head to Fayetteville.

Flora_laundromat.jpgLater that evening, as the two sat in the laundromat watching the clothes wash and dry, Flora started laughing.

Al looked around the small facility with a puzzled look on his face. “What’s so funny?”

“Well, here it is the 14th – Valentine’s Day – and you and I are sitting in the washateria. Guess this is romance once we become old and settled in our ways.”

Al chuckled and reached for her hand. “Suppose there could be worse ways to spend the evening. Long as we’re together, and still happy with each other, I’m guessing that’s what’s important.”


For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.



11 thoughts on “Flora’s Diary Short Story #6

      • Hi Donna! Flora does mention some difficult times, but mostly from illnesses. She’ll write when Al or when her Papa was sick. If she was ever aggravated with Al, I haven’t seen mention of it here.


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