Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 15): Knowledge

      …  Parts 14 (Words)13 (Interruptions)12 (Gifts)11 (Punishment),  10 (Warmth),   9 (Found)8 (Lost)7 (Rock)6 (Believe), 5 (Naming), 4 (Home), 3 (Trust), 2 (Hope), and 1 (Nightmares) have posted on previous Sundays…

     Not long after beginning our lessons, Mrs. H. had noted a peculiarity about me.  While Anna was quick to learn her letters and put them together as sounds, spelling out her name and mine, I was not.  One evening, wishing to hear the story of Moses leading the Children of Israel through the Red Sea, I had asked Mrs. H. if she would read it to us.  She did so with excellent cheer, pointing to each word as she spoke it.  Not long into our reading, she was suddenly called away, and had handed me the Good Book to continue looking at it.  It was wondrous in my eyes, having always been forbidden the liberty of seeing any books, and having been closely watched for any signs of excessive curiosity.  Even my embroidery was forbidden to use any lettering.  The samplers one sees in the homes of white women were forbidden to my eyes, and thus I had to make due with flower and other designs taught to me by Miss Mary.  That evening, I had eagerly grasped the chance to devour these words.


The memory of sitting there, free to drink in both the words before me and the scent of my dear Anna, brought the first joy I had ever felt:


“Shall we see what we can read now, Miss Anna?”


I’d lowered my head just a tad, and favored her with my best coquettish regard, batting my eyelids twice for effect.  It had worked.


“Are you inviting me to try reading from the Song of Songs, Miss Willow?”


She’d moved closer to me on the bed, her warmth spreading over me like the softest of comforters.  I blushed now to remember how I had quite nearly forgotten myself.


“Well, I do not know how we are to find the right place in this enormous Book, but I…”


She had taken my hand in hers.  I had then found myself lost for words, gazing at her lips, feeling the smooth paper in one hand, and the softness of her fingers in the other.


“Let us start at the Beginning, then, my dearest Willow.”


All I could do was nod.


Anna and I had made a game of it, seeing which words we could puzzle out for ourselves.  Imagine our surprise upon finding that looking back at the words to which Mrs. H. had pointed, I could recall each of them perfectly, even in other places in the good Book.  Now, that strange ability, it seemed, might come to some good use.


“Mrs. H. you must put our dear Willow here to the test, if you please.”


Anna’s voice shook me from my reverie, as I realized that the good doctor’s wife was standing in our room, somehow having managed to escape my notice.  This was very odd, for I never missed the sounds, however slight, of a person approaching my doorway.  I took it as a sign that I must be coming to feel safer in this place.  Sadly, I knew that we couldn’t stay much longer.  Each day that we passed here put us all in greater danger.


“Why of course, young Joe.  What did you have in mind?”


The doctor and his wife were always calling her Joe, now that little Tilly was here.  Perhaps preparing for the roles we must play upon departing this station.

“Well, Mrs. H., I have an inkling of an idea, but I believe that it hinges upon Miss Willow here being able to use her particular talent to recognize certain words where ever they might appear.”


We both looked at her with questions in our eyes.  Little Tilly simply smiled.  What did this young child know that we did not?



       This is the continuation scene in my historical fiction series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that this series will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools.

  Part 14 was last Sunday, and Part 16 (Power) will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.


Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this story may encourage empathy-building cooperation, and might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.  We can definitely Do Better

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.


Click here to read, if you like:

B5, La Casa De Papel/Money Heist, & Lupin & Hakan: Muhafiz/The Protector Reviews

Holistic Algebra & High School Lesson Plans,

Shira “Do Better” Destinie A. Jones, MPhil

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


28 thoughts on “Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 15): Knowledge

            1. Coolness, and no offense meant, I just wanted to be sure that this chapter was also still up to snuff, because I need to know what publishable standard looks like from your pov.

              Thank you so much, Ma’am!

              Hope you’ve been having a good weekend, btw.


              Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Petru: exactly as I did! Certain words, especially in other character sets, just jump right out. Hebrew was very easy to learn for that reason. As you point out, it just worked out that way. I had a devil of a time when I became a Hebrew School teacher, at first, because it doesn’t work that way for many/most students, but I found that colors and clay (playdough) really helped. (in fact, I managed to turn around a student that the principal had told me to basically give up on! urhg, I hate it when veteran teachers give up on kids without trying new techniques!!)

      Liked by 2 people

            1. Yeah, I’ve seen some therapists and ‘psychologists’ and even psychiatrists who definitely should not be treating patients, nor giving advice, of any kind.

              I suppose that old grad school adage of people going into counseling to figure out their own problems is true, unfortunately. The vast majority cannot handle the problems of others, especially trauma-based. But I am now pretty convinced that the entire field exists more to persuade people to cope with and accept things the way they are than to help them solve their own problems.

              Liked by 2 people

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