Moss Side Lane

        Yesterday, I mentioned sharing the first page of a short story I'm writing for a writing contest because sometime ago I posted a video of the movie, The Help, which is a film adapted from a novel based on a true story about a woman's close relationship with her families maid during the turbulent 1960's.

After the video, I mentioned a similar experience and the love I had for "Edna," a woman who worked for my family for two generations. Well, Sandee of Comedy Plus suggested I write about Edna and since then the idea has been tossing about in my mind.

I have often thought about writing a story online for my readers to experience the writing process, but I thought it might be boring because it's a rough draft and I will be posting a page a week, which really is not that long for a short story, but you still have to wait to see what happens next. In addition to possible changes.

So, please bare with me, especially since I might not be able to continue to post it if the contests guidelines will not accept stories that have been published, even online. But you will still have been there from the beginning of the story and once the contest is over, I will post it in it's entirety.  Sound good? Well, you guys are going to have to let me know...:)

And by the way, huge hat tip to Sandee of Comedy Plus. :) who I consider a co-author on here, although she is a silent co-author. :)

This is the first time I have ever posted a story online, especially a rough draft, so be truthful, but gentle, okay? I will post the next page next Thursday, so stay "tuned"or rather online. :)

          Story below-                                          

                                         Moss Side Lane            

I watched her walk down my grandmothers’ back porch steps carrying a metal bucket of wet draperies; a job that would have challenged a weight lifter.  Edna, my grandmother’s housekeeper/maid, watched over my uncle and mother when they were children, in addition to my mother’s three children, which included me. 

My grandmother, who my brothers and I referred to as “Nana” and Edna were around the same age, so I knew it had to be difficult for her to carry a giant bucket of wet draperies. Edna was a strong lady, but, she kept putting the bucket down to rest and wipe her hands on her apron. The same apron I watched her wipe her hands on throughout the impetus decade of my youth. 

I’m not sure why, but Edna’s hands were always wet, and she dried them constantly on a towel strapped to her apron.     
Edna, was more than a “maid” in my family, she was a part of our family, although from a young age, I sensed an invisible fence between the bonds that exist between members of what we now call, “extended family,” but, she worked for my family through the fragmented decades of the 50’s 60’s, 70’s and early eighties, during the periods of great social upheaval in the United States.   

Edna started working for my grandmother in the 1950’s, but on the day I followed her to the clothesline it was the early eighties.  In the 1950’s when Edna and my grandmother met, southerners, as well as, the rest of America was socially confused about how to act, what words to use, relationships, etc.…There was a quiet tension floating in the air, mixed with an excitement about the changes to come.

In any event, I followed Edna to the clothesline watching her hand off the bucket from one hand to the other, much like a basketball player tossing his basketball. She had two rags for both of the wires on the clothesline, the same two rags she used the last time she washed my grandmothers’ draperies in the bathtub and hung them on the clothesline to dry.

I watched her drop the bucket and pull the rags out of her apron to clean the drapes, so I walked a little faster, in an effort to reach her in time to help.  
Then, I heard my grandmother talking to me from her back porch, - My grandmother thought people could hear her under any circumstance. I mean, there could have been a circus full of roaring lions in her yard that afternoon and she would have spoken to me in the same tone of voice.

Hence, in a normal tone of voice from her back porch twenty feet from the clothesline, she said,
“Ann, what are you doing?”
“Well, Nana I’m helping Edna hang the drapes.” I said in a voice loud enough for her to hear.  

Then, Edna said, almost instantaneously,

“Ann, I don’t need any help, listen to what your grandmother said.”

Stunned by my grandmother presence, I stood there watching her watch me from the back porch, and pretended I couldn’t hear her, which wasn’t far from the truth.

Then she spoke again, “Ann, will you please come inside, I need your help in here.”

“I’m sorry, Nana, I cannot hear you,” I shouted.  

Frustrated, my grandmother walked back in the house.

Edna held back a laugh, and said,

“Ann, you better go or you’re going to get us both into trouble. Catch her before she gets inside.”

So, I said,

“Okay, Nana, I’ll be there in a minute.” (Hoping she would accept my answer and go inside, so that I could ask Edna a question.)

And, thank goodness, she did walk inside, and I was free to ask Edna why she let my grandmother speak to her in such a high-handed fashion.  

Edna, just smiled and said,
“Ann, your grandmother and I have known each other since long before you were born.” 
Which really didn't answer my question.  

I was on the opposite side of the clothesline, but Edna kept talking while the wind flapped the drapes against her face, like the sails on a sailboat.  
In fact, Edna resembled a sailor having trouble with his sails as she tried to tie the drapes to the line with wooden clothespins that must have survived the civil war.  I tried to grab the other rag and clean the other wire, but she put her hand on mine, and said,  

“Stop that, or I’m not gonna tell you a story about your grandmother.” 

I was a bit apprehensive about what Edna was going to tell me, but the intoxicating fragrances of honey suckle vines, azalea bushes, and magnolia Fiscata’s surrounding my grandmothers’ yard comforted me that afternoon when Edna began to tell the story of how she became a part of our family long ago.    

The wind was blowing hard that day, so hard that the leaves on the trees crinkled, snapped, and flew off the tree, sending a multitude of yellow, brown, red, and green colors into the sky.  The branches of my grandmothers’ large Oak tree dipped and swung in circles, like a ride at an amusement park.

Now, when I hear a strong wind it reminds of that day long ago, when my grandmother and Edna were alive and I feel as if they’re standing next to me by the clothesline when Edna spoke about the past.  

When Edna began to tell me her story, I could barely hear her because the drapes kept flying in front of her face like a kite.  In fact, I couldn't hear a word she was saying until she snapped the last clothes pin on the last drape, and it fell into place resembling curtains in a theater.

I was about to hear a story that would lay the foundation of my constitution, although, I was completely unaware of it's importance at the time.   

As Edna spoke the wind wiggled the drapes allowing her voice to take me back to a world I never knew…and to the places in my heart I will not forget.    

There is more to come next Thursday...

Note: Please keep in mind that this is a first draft, which is always subject to change. It’s part of why I wanted to take my readers who do not write through the process of writing a short story.  I hope it doesn’t turn out to bore anyone or frustrate you because it just the beginning, but I hope it will be fun.

Have a great day and thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun. :) 


Sandee said...

I love this story already. I have another blogging buddy that has a continuing story going on. I look forward to her post each week. Now I have this post to look forward to each week.

Have a fabulous day, Ann. Big hug to you and tons of scritches to Simon. ♥♥♥

Cheri said...

oh (raspberry), go easy on you, humph! Its great! I love it and am anticipating the next installment of Moss Side Lane, I have a feeling this could go on for a very long time! Really, I think it is gonna be real good! Can't wait!

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