Flora’s Diary Short Story #5

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.’

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With a jumble of thoughts racing around in her head, she soon drifted off to sleep.

The next day Margie walked into the kitchen where Flora stood washing the breakfast dishes. “Mother, would you mind watching Stug this afternoon for a few hours?”

“Not at all. You know I’ll always tend to any of my grandchildren. You have something planned?”

“Donna Mae said she’d drive Virginia and I into Springdale to go see a show.”

Flora rinsed the last dish and sat it on the drying rack. “What show?”

Out of the Blue.”

TT_Out of the Blue.jpg“That’s an old one. You father and I saw that months ago.” Flora stayed in motion drying and putting away the clean dishes the entire time she chatted with her daughter. She wasn’t one to just sit and talk. She had to stay busy. There was always chores and household tasks to be done.

“I know. Edwin and I saw it in Florida when it came out. I really wanted to go see Road to Rio. But Donna’s driving, so she got to choose.”

Putting the last dry plate on the stack, Flora draped the damp flour sack dish towel over the edge of the sink. “You go have fun with your girlfriends. Your father and I will watch the boy. Besides, your vacation here is about up. Edwin will be wanting you back home soon.”

The days passed. There wasn’t time to be bored. Even though it was frigid outside, life didn’t stop. Flora and Al attended their regular church services. Grandad stopped by once a week to visit Margie and Stug while they were visiting. If neighbors weren’t stopping in to see Flora and Al, they were stopping in at the neighbors houses.

One day Edwin called from Miami to talk to Margie. “Guess Stug and I will be going home shortly,” Margie reported to her mother.

The next day, Thord, Margie’s older brother, drove in from Ft. Smith to pick up Margie and Stug and took them back home with him for a few days. Their visit didn’t last long. Margie’s husband called after she’d been at Thord’s house for a few days. “Edwin’s sending me the money go home. I’ve got to get back to Mom’s and start packing.”

Two days later Flora’s other son, Wade, picked Margie and Stug up at the bus station and drove them to their parents’ house.

On January 16th, Flora wrote in her diary:

Margie washing, ironing, packing to go home on a plane from Ft. Smith. She can take only 2 bags. Shipping the others.

The next day, Flora had something entirely different to write:

January 17th: Wade came out at noon after us to go to Ft. Smith to catch a plane for Miami Sun. Marg got the $100, but he wired not to come.

Flora didn’t mind. She enjoyed having her daughter home for a visit, and especially little Stug. But then, plans changed. Again. That night she wrote:

Edwin wrote he had a house for Margie to come on down. Iron & wash. Wash & iron. Mop. Margie tell them good by then don’t go.

The next day as she served Al his coffee in the morning, Flora peeked into the living room to make sure Margie wasn’t up yet. “I just wish he’d make up his mind,” Flora grumbled. “Come home. Don’t come home. Here’s the money. No. Don’t come home yet.”

Al merely shook his head, a bemused expression on his face. “Now, dear, don’t go getting all riled up. That’s all between Margie and Edwin. Let them figure out their own affairs. After all, we never wanted people getting all up in our business when we were newly married.”

 

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

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

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Shopping, Streetcars, and Sleuthing

Here’s a great article on some local Denton history, with good research tips interwoven.

Denton Public Library

One of my favorite places in Denton is the Mini Mall on the Square. Many times a visit evolves from a shopping trip to a trip down memory lane. A few weeks ago, as I was browsing through old books and digging through antique photographs, I came across a snapshot of a group of people in, and on, an electric streetcar. Across the side of the vehicle was written “The Denton Railroad C”.  I was pretty sure the word Company would follow the C if the photograph was larger. Despite the little hand written sign next to the photo which stated, “Denton Items”, I had my doubts about this picture. We did have a streetcar line in the city, but I knew it as the Denton Traction Company, not Railroad Company.

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Now that my curiosity was piqued, I had to purchase the photograph. Time to put the librarian research skills…

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Flora’s Diary Short Story #4

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 ‘tiny.’

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While Al braved the snow laden streets to drive to the college to keep the furnaces stoked and the students warm, Flora stayed inside and tended to the multitude of daily household tasks. She enjoyed a cup of hot coffee while she wrote out a few Christmas cards for the ladies in the women’s group at church. While a pot of chicken soup simmered on the stove, she mixed up a batch of snickerdoodles for the church social. Once the cookies were cooled and tucked away in the empty tin from cookies past, she washed the dirty dishes and tidied the kitchen. She put Al’s new socks away in his drawer and then tenderly placed her precious new diary in her nightstand drawer.

That was the last she thought of the diary for several weeks. The rest of the month was a blur as the holidays descended. Flora was all aflutter, as was most of the nation, as families came to visit, gifts were exchanged, and the community in north Arkansas tried to stay warm and keep the chickens, horses, and sows alive.

Christmas soon was over and life began to return to its even keel. Dot returned to school and her nursing program. Thord and Melba returned home to Fort Smith. Wade and Gaila stayed close to home, since Gaila was about to give birth at any time. Margie and little Stug remained with Al and Flora, visiting for a few more weeks before they had to return home to Florida.

With Margie and the two year old grandson in the house, Flora didn’t get much time to herself, other than when she turned in for the night and scribbled a few lines in her current diary. Before she knew it, she was filling out her entry for the last day of the year. Closing the book, she laid her pen down and turned to Al, lying in bed with eyes closed and mouth slack, just about to drift off in slumber. “That’s it. Last day of the year. A brand new year tomorrow.”

Al shook his head and mumbled in confusion. “Wha…? Huh? What about a new year?

“New year tomorrow. I get to start filling in my new diary. A brand new book, with blank, empty pages. Just waiting for me to fill them.”

“That’s nice, dear. Gotta sleep. Work tomorrow.” He turned away and snuggled deeper into his pillow.

Flora waved a hand in the air that he didn’t see. She grabbed the pen off the nightstand and opened the drawer to retrieve her prized new possession. She opened the brown leather journal and with neat, tidy penmanship, wrote in tiny letters under ‘The Property Of’:

Mrs. Flora Cardwell Luper
Route no two
Fayetteville Ark.

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“There. All ready to go for tomorrow,” she muttered softly to herself. With Al snoring away she knew he wouldn’t hear, and at that moment he couldn’t care less about one of her treasured daily routines.

The next morning, a busy day followed. She was excited to have something fun to write in the first pages of her new book.

January 1, 1948: Alice was home, but not James. Cold and snowing today. Al went to work. Burl stopped for Margie, Stug and I to eat N.Y. dinner with them.

As she laid the new book with its first entry back in the nightstand drawer, her mind wandered to the possibility of a new year. What will the New Year bring? Why am I even writing this all down every day? Will it even matter? Why am I recording everything that happens in my life? Will anyone even care once I’m gone? Are all my words for naught? Will anyone ever read this nonsense that I write that seems so important to me the day I record it?

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

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

 

Hundred-Year-Old Directions on How to Mail Christmas Cookies

What fun – you should see this post on ‘A Hundred Years Ago’ about mailing your Christmas cookies.

A Hundred Years Ago

Caption: Pack the cookies in a tin box lined with paraffin paper. Put the cookies in as snugly as possible with crumpled bits of paraffin paper to fill up every nook and corner and every crevice between the uneven cakes. (Source: Good Housekeeping, December, 1917)

Are you thinking about sending cookies to family members or friends this holiday season? If so, you might find this hundred-year-old advice on mailing cookies helpful.

Caption: Lay a piece of thin cardboard between each layer of cakes, and in addition put crosswise pieces of the same cardboard between the rows of cakes. In the way fine candies are packed. Over the top put a thick layer of shredded tissue paper such as is used to pack china.

Caption: Wrap the box first in corrugated pasteboard; wrap in both directions thoroughly so as to save the contents every jolt. Over this wrap heavy paper…

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Flora’s Diary Short Story #3

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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 a picture prompt, our choice of several possibilities. Reading will be quick this week, picture prompts are limited to 300 words.

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Al held the diary and gave a cursory look and nod before handing it back to Flora.

“Isn’t it grand?”

He snorted and shook his head. “Suppose so. Don’t reckon I see what’s all fired important about you writing down in a book every night before bed.”

Flora allowed a rise of indignation to surface in her voice. “Al Luper. I’ve written in my diary every day since before we were married. I thought you understood how much I enjoyed this practice.”

“Now dear, don’t get all riled up. Didn’t say I didn’t know how much it meant to you. I simply don’t understand why women feel the need to write down all these details about life.”

“Men…” Flora muttered softly.

“Women…” Al retorted but softened his response with a chuckle.

With the potential disagreement averted, Flora dished up a slice of apple pie for each of them. After dessert Al turned to his Bible to read a passage before bed. Flora penned a few lines in her current diary while Al banked the fire and they turned in for the evening.

The next morning, Flora shivered as she entered the kitchen to start their breakfast. As Al stoked the fire, she drew the kitchen curtains back and gasped. “Good thing I made a trip to town yesterday.” She surveyed the winter wonderland out back. Pristine snow covered the meadow and the pine boughs in the woods aligning the meadow dripped with the crusty weight of a heavy snowfall.

Al joined her at the sink to survey the brilliant whiteness covering every inch of their property. “It’s going to be fun getting up the hill by the college.”

“Do you have to go in? Doesn’t seem safe to drive in this.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ll take it slow. Long as there’s no ice hidden under the snow.

 

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

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

Flora’s Diary #2 (heat)

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 ‘heat.’

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“I’m sorry. I sure don’t. The hens are hardly laying now that it’s turned cold. Leo Ball bought my last dozen eggs yesterday.”

“That’s too bad. I’m short here. My usual suppliers are having the same problem. Mind if I ask what you get for a dozen?”

“Forty cents.”

Mr. Franklin nodded his head in approval. “Fair price. I’m asking forty five cents in the store. Pay my egg ladies thirty five cents. You’ve got a better deal with Leo. You ever have any extra – or extra milk, cream, or butter, come see me.”

“I surely will. Especially with work at the canneries being so sporadic. Every little bit extra helps. And once it heats back up, I’ll have eggs coming out of my ears.”

Mr. Franklin burst into laughter, his sides jiggling so bad Flora thought he’d give himself a heart attack. “Out of your ears…oh my…just the image…” The man could hardly speak for laughing so hard.

Fortunately, the other woman approached the counter with her few selections in hand, giving Flora the opportunity to ease out of the door.

 

The next morning, the first thing Flora did, after setting the percolator on the range, was to crack the kitchen door and take a peek in the yard. She turned to her husband, Al, who sat at the kitchen table putting his heavy barn boots on. “No ice. Clear as a bell. Think I’ll take the bus on into Fayetteville later this morning and pick up a few items.”

Al lifted a socked foot boasting a huge hole on the heel. “Mind picking me up a new pair of socks while you’re in town?”

“Not at all. I’ll get you a pair.” Flora didn’t add that she’d already thought about stopping by the department store to look for a new work shirt for him. If they had a nice one – at a good price – she planned on setting it aside and saving it for Christmas. Maybe she’d pick up several pairs of socks, give him the one pair, and save the others for his yuletide gift too.

Later that evening, after finishing a full plate of roasted chicken and boiled potatoes, Al leaned back in his chair and patted his extended belly. “Mighty tasty, dear. That hit the spot.”

“Why thank you.” Flora took a brown paper sack off the counter, reached inside and tossed a pair of thick, white socks in his lap. “These might hit the spot too.”

He picked up the socks and stroked the plushness between his thumb and forefinger. “Ahhhh! Nice and thick. Perfect. They keep my toes nice and toasty tomorrow. Find anything else while you were in town?”

ozark theater

The Ozark Theater, Fayetteville, Arkansas

“Bus passed by The Ozark. They’re showing Miracle on 34th Street. Thought maybe you’d want to go one night next week.”

“Sure would. Johnny at work said he and the wife had gone to see it the other night. He thought it was all right, but the Mrs. really liked it.”

Flora pulled a brown, rectangular object from the bag. “Found this too. The diary I’ve been looking for.” She stroked the leather cover lovingly before handing it to her husband to examine.

 

 

Miracle on 34th street

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

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

Using Paper to Determine Oven Temperature When Baking Cakes — A Hundred Years Ago

A hundred years ago most people had wood or coal stoves – and ovens didn’t have thermostats. Here’s advice in an old home economics textbook about how to determine whether the oven was at the correct temperature for successfully baking cakes: Baking Sponge Cakes [Cakes without Fat]: A practical test for the temperature of the […]

via Using Paper to Determine Oven Temperature When Baking Cakes — A Hundred Years Ago