THE KEY a short story
Margaret sat on the wooden swing hanging from the ceiling of the wide front porch. Her aunt - well, really her step aunt - sat beside her, both of them quietly watching the end of summer evening begin to envelop the trees along the long, paved walkway, making the woodsy area just beyond the paved section grow darker and darker. The porch was attached to a rented house, a caretaker's house on the campus of a bible college in a small northern city. The old caretaker had long been replaced in this somewhat modern mid -1950's times of salaried maintenance persons. But being still very young and inexperienced, as well as uninterested in worldly matters, Margaret didn't know about all that. She only knew it was pleasant and peaceful here. Much more peaceful than being at home six states away, where there was always turmoil and scuffling, similar canned food on the table each night, embarrassing, ill-fitting hand-me-down clothes to wear to school. Margaret liked it here, even though she sometimes thought Aunt Lou wasn't too fond of her. Occasionally Aunt Lou fussed at her. Like the time she came in the bedroom when Margaret was dressing. Aunt Lou saw her wearing her trainer bra, and embarrassed Margaret by telling her it was dirty, asking in a loud voice with a mean frown on her round face why she "wore the same one every day! Didn't she ever wash it?"

Margaret felt as low as a worm, and was terrified that her cousin Paul would hear the conversation about her "bra"! She finally blurted out tearfully that it was the only bra she owned, had ever owned. And no, she didn't wash it because she didn't have another to wear while it dried. Margaret's thirteen year old mind could not yet consider that Aunt Lou didn't realize how poor her family really was. She only experienced the embarrassment and sensitivity that a very young teen, only just beginning to develop, would feel. She really didn't even need a bra, but all the other girls in her class had one.

But tonight it was pleasant. She and Aunt Lou sat swinging gently in the mild evening weather, while her cousin Suzie who was three years older, could be heard rattling dishes in the kitchen doing the shared after-dinner dishes duty. Margaret could hear twelve year old cousin Paul in the back yard with two of his friends shouting as boys do, gleefully chasing the fireflies that were beginning to light up the evening space. She felt happy and secure at this moment, and full of anticipation.

Her anticipation grew as the evening bells began to chime further up the hill at the main hall and classroom buildings of the bible college. She knew the students, clothed in their long, black, flowing robes, would momentarily be walking in a group down the hill on the winding, paved walkway, perhaps going to some evening prayer, or lecture, or recreation. Margaret, not having been raised in a church environment, didn't know and never thought to ask where they were going. She only knew they came every evening at the same time, at dusk, soon after the bells chimed.

Glancing up to the top of the hill she saw movement, and suddenly they appeared, walking briskly, waving and smiling as they passed - perhaps 15 of them - she had never counted. But that one, the one with the slightly darker complexion and the cute little glasses with gold rims, frequently stopped to chat briefly. He must have been about 21 or 22 Margaret thought, and was pleasant to Aunt Lou. He never stayed longer than one or two minutes, but it was long enough to set Margaret's young, still unbroken heart pounding, for she had a huge thirteen-year-old crush on this young seminary student. Her eyes always searched for him in the group of darkly clothed young men. Sometimes she would feel distressed when she couldn't pick him out immediately from all the others that looked exactly the same in their black robes. Then suddenly, there he would be -standing out slightly because he was the only one who wore those gold-rimmed glasses, the only one whose skin was a shade darker than her own prized suntan. Tonight she thought her heart would burst out of her chest as he separated from the others and came to the porch steps to greet her round, chubby Aunt Lou. Margaret never spoke to him, usually looking down when he approached, and was always afraid he would say something to her and she would be forced to answer, to stutter something stupid, terrified he would see how silly and dumb she really was. In the twilight, she stared at a blade of grass showing through the porch steps near his foot. She noticed his shoes were clean and polished; his voice was soothing and creamy like the way ice cream melts when it sits in the dish a few minutes. Keeping her head held down, she let her eyes wander to his hand on the porch railing, noticing his clean nails and smooth skin. She dared to let herself wonder ever so briefly what it would feel like to hold that hand in her own clammy palm, like she did once last winter with that boy Martin who lived next door to her at home when they were out riding bikes in the near dark. When they stopped, Martin had reached for her hand and she let him hold it, but then her mother had called so she'd had to go in. But Martin had never made her heart thump intensely like this young man did, never turned her to a sticky blob of jello the way she felt right now.

And then it was over! As suddenly as he had approached, he was gone. She lifted her head and watched him quickly catch up with his group and disappear around a bend in the walk. They always came back later after she went in - she wasn't allowed out alone after dark and anyway would never dream of being out on the porch alone when he came by in case she might have to speak to him. Sadly, she thought how she would not see him again until a few days later, because it was her turn for dishwashing duty next. She sighed, relaxed, and happily became herself.

Aunt Lou looked at her with a slight smile and said softly, "You like him, don't you?" Mortified that she was so transparent and suddenly feeling almost naked to the world, she politely answered, "Well sure, he's a nice person." But Aunt Lou, a perceptive lady, pushed. "You like him a little more than nice person, don't you?" In her embarrassment Margaret didn't know what to say, so she said nothing. In her silence, it seemed as if the night crickets chirped so loud her eardrums might burst, and the creaking of the porch swing thankfully drowned out the hammering of her suddenly thundering heartbeats. Aunt Lou continued, "You know he's black, don't you?" Margaret looked at Aunt Lou with astonishment! She lived in the South, and there were no black kids in her school. Racial integration had not reached there yet. She'd never had any contact with them and being born of parents raised in the North, it was never discussed in her home. There was really nothing to discuss. But her young ears had heard some wild and crazy stories from her peers, and her inquisitive mind took it all to heart, and she was sometimes afraid. The black people she'd seen in public places were much darker than this young man. He was barely brown. He was the same color as her suntanned arms. How could this be?

Her heart locked, and she felt like it closed up so tight no key would ever be able to open it again. "Such a cruel world," her little teen mind thought. "A world that dictated what a person's feelings could and could not be. A world that put love and pounding emotion in her heart, and feelings that ran through her young body and warmed it like the sun's rays on a balmy day, then snatched it all away, ripping it out like someone pulling and tearing her very flesh." Tears burned her eyes, and she ran into the darkened house, flinging herself on the bed she shared with her cousin, sobbing until her newly found, and quickly lost, love was washed clean from her soul. Some time later, she got up, wiped her tears and put on her jammies. Then, feeling suddenly much more grown up, she took her little training bra to the bathroom sink to soak it clean in warm, sudsy water.


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Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Nathaniel Hawthorne
Internet Photo

Back in January of this year I posted a birthday tribute to my Aunt Beulah. She had turned a delightful 99 years young! I remember when I was growing up she had told me once that she planned to live to 100. She almost made it. Two weeks ago, she joined the spirit world, and I have no doubt she was welcomed with total joy. If the spirits who have gone on before her love her as much as she was loved on this earth, she will be happy for eternity. This is a memorial card that was made by her granddaughter and great granddaughter, Katie and Christina. I thought it was so heartfelt and wonderful that I wanted to share. You can see by their words how much she was loved. Farewell, Aunt B. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life, and for the inspiration you perhaps never knew you gave me. I loved you soooo much, and I know you will wear your angel wings proudly.

I THANK everyone who remembered my birthday with cards, gifts, emails, wishes and thoughts. You are all so wonderful. I value you more than you can know! xoxoxo


Some time ago I took a drawing class, using pencil only, and this slightly portly gentleman was a live model. Well yes, he was portly, but my drawing makes him just look slobby! :) Both drawings are the same person and were timed drawings. Today instead of doing a new drawing, I decided to colorize an old one, so I did using Gioconda 12 soft pastel pencils (a Koh-I-Noor product). I love these pastels, which I discovered last summer, and I highly recommend them to pastel lovers who like working with the pencil type. I have always used Conte pencils, but they are hard pastels and these are so much more easy to slather on the paper and smooth out. I like to use the pencils rather than the sticks because I have much more control over detail than with the sticks.

If you get a chance to take a drawing class with a live model, I highly recommend it. You can really tell the difference in your perspective as opposed to doing a practice drawing from a picture. You can see the negatives and positives much better.

Now, I am going to do some reading on my newest book, and hopefully this evening I can find some writing time. Seeya next week. Hoping your days are GLITTERY AND MAGICAL!


I read this morning about a gentleman named Chris Gardner who changed his life from a homeless person living on the streets with a tw0-year old child to a successful multimillionaire. His secret? PASSION. Mr. Gardner says "Passion is Everything". Passion for his work is the one thing that helped him change his life. He thinks one must be borderline fanatical about what one loves in order to succeed. His advice is to "be bold enough to find the one thing that you are passionate about" and stick with it. Do it! It's Passion that separates "electrifying" from "average". Imagine where harnessing your Passion can take you. Some quotes and exerpts from AOL article by Carmine Gallo, Pleasanton, CA

I belive that! I believe if you are Passionate about what you love, you can succeed. I believe if you imagine where harnessing your Passion can take you, you can get there! I believe, as Donald Trump says, "Without Passion you have no energy, and without energy you have nothing." How true is that?

My personal Passion in life has always been drawing, painting, and writing. I have done all of these since I was about 12 years old. Unfortunately, life's rocky road took me on a path away from my Passion. I had to follow the roadsigns of necessity. Even now, necessity interrupts, but not as frequently. So I work with my Passion. I know that I will most likely never become famous for anything, and I am happy with that. This is a time of my life where I kind of like to relax and just be peaceful. Peace in spirit is all-important to me. But I will never give up my Passion completely. I will draw, I will paint, and I will write until the end. And whatever your Passion is, I hope you will keep it with you forever.
A practice work of sunflowers, oil on paper, painted with Passion
A practice pencil drawing, scribbled with Passion


I haven't forgotten about blogging. Nope! I've just been really concentrating on other things lately. Doing a lot of writing on that book. -- Working. --Taking a class. -- Reading. Thanks to Angela and Oceandreamer for the postcards. There is a mysterious box sitting on my table too, but I'm not allowed to open it just yet. I can't stand it!!!!! I'll be at Gemma's (link on sidebar) grand re-opening too. Be back soon!!
Silly Roxie and her two Bobo toys.


...and this is my favorite of all my art treasures. It's a pen & ink drawing of New York City which you will all recognize, with the very finest of detail which you may have to click and enlarge to really see. The drawing is approximately 15" x 20" and must have taken many, many hours to complete. This scanned image does not do it justice; in the real drawing you can read every bit of that signage. This one is also signed by the artist. I'm not sure when the time period is...I would have to research the plays, etc. being shown...maybe the 70's or 80's? This one, since I totally LOVE pen and ink work, is a keeper and will get framed as soon as I get a roundtuit. Have a great day...I have to run off to work now! xoxoxoxoxo


These are some delicious architectural/art illustrations I purchased at an estate sale some time ago. Unfortunately, the previous owner did not protect these prints as well as would be desired, but nevertheless, even though the paper itself has yellowed with age, the colors are bright and the artwork is delicately wonderful and undamaged. These are all Paris scenes. The artist is Barclay, or Barday, and I have researched the internet and so far cannot locate information about him/her. It does seem that these prints are actually individually described and signed by the artist. Almost illegible in a lower corner is the information that they were "Imprime en France 1942". I'm thinking they may have been sold as tourist items, since they are prints. But since they seemed to be signed by the artist, perhaps not.
Paris. St. Severin
Paris. La Saires Ceut et St. Pierre-de-Montmartre
Paris. Notre-Dame
Paris. La Tour Eiffel
Paris. La Toier de l'Horloge
Paris. de Pont-Neuf et la pointe des "V"erti-Galantin

Forgive me if anything is mispelled. I do not speak French, and in some instances I cannot be sure about the letters in the artist's delicate handwriting. I love these prints, but I also may sell them one day...not sure yet. They would probably be more treasured by someone who loves Paris and has been there, and can make a comparison between the scenes as they were in 1942 and present times. For instance Notre Dame....much bigger now no doubt.

If you know anything about these paintings or the artist, I would love to hear it. I believe they are pen and ink colored with either watercolor or ink. Enjoy!


My momie says I am for sale. Cheap! Only 25 cents, maybe even! I have been a very, very, VERY bad birdie today. I have screamed LOUD every time my momie left the room. Sometimes I run after her so fast my claws catch in the carpet and I take a tumble! I have screeched for a taxi ride from one room to another...I am too lazy to climb down my perch and walk. I have chased the poor dog and tried to bite her butt when she ran, or bite her nose if she tried to climb up on the bed. I sit on the back of my momie's chair and jump up and down, up and down and say "hello, hello, hello" 50 times in her ear to annoy her, so she will take me to my perch to pootie, because I am too lazy to walk. Or I climb into her lap and beg to be scratched, every second. No breaks! If my mommy picks up her purse I know she is leaving and I scream and scream and scream!! When my mommy left town to go on vacation, I did not speak to her for two whole days when she came back! I raised my head feathers and did a war dance every time she came near. But now I have forgiven her for leaving me, and she wants to sell me. CHEAP!!! TWENTY-FIVE CENTS!!! Oh me, oh my, I am a poor, unloved birdie! Woe is me. ;)


A waterfall in the mountains. It's hidden so you cannot see it from the bottom and you have to climb to it. It's so dry in that area, and no rain for three months, no snow capped mountains (yet) so I can only imagine this water must come from an underground stream....perhaps draining from Lake Tahoe? It just sort of pools there and goes nowhere.
The dog goes everywhere, and she loves water (a Labrador). She can climb mountains too. Her name...............Judy! Now WHY did my daughter name her dog Judy? LOL
This is Lindy, now 8 years old, leading an imaginary parade in her pj's.

Lindy's mom (driving the ATV) and her twin....yes, they ARE twins! That's the State Senator's house in the background. He lives across the street from daughter. They drove the ATV about 10 blocks to the mountain...luckily didn't get caught on the road with it. Why trailer it for 10 blocks? Well, to avoid a ticket is one good reason. "All-terrain" does NOT include public roadways. They gambled and won. No ticket today.

Lindy telling you exactly how it is! She is still learning to talk but she does carry on a conversation that mostly only she can understand. Her hand motions and facial expressions tell you how involved in the conversation she is, and how emphatic she is about the subject. She also knows sign language, which her mom taught her from a baby, knowing that it's typical that Down Syndrome children are often late talkers. Lindy's favorite word is "NO!", also typical I understand, and she can stick out that bottom lip better than Daffy Duck! When she learns normal conversation, one is going to have to have earplugs! :)

Lindy and Grandma enjoying hugs. She is a most precious child. Well, when she's in a good mood TeeeeHeeeee What is that nursery rhyme...I can't remember...but it's ends "And when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was horrid". Yep, that's Miss Lindy!

Lindy and her mom in the pool. Lindy LOVES the water and is taking swimming lessons. She is not afraid to put her head under water and holds her breath for what seems to ol' granny like FOREVER!