Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 16): Power

      …  Parts 15 (Knowledge)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…

     Anna looked at us, her mischievous smile mirroring that of little Tilly.  They looked at each other, and Anna gave a slight nod.  I was sure there had been a wink of her eye in there, too, although her head was turned away from me.


Little Tilly skipped over to the writing desk, withdrawing a particularly small but official seeming document with great care.  Then, turning to face me, she folded her body into the most graceful curtsy I had ever seen from a child so young.  I glanced in confusion at Anna, who merely lifted an eyebrow at me.  Tilly arose from her curtsy and carried the paper to me, holding it out with her head bowed, as if I were…


“No, oh, no, Tilly.  Anna -”  I shook my head as my eyes began to fill with tears.  I would not play the role of those from whom we had so lately escaped.


“Yes, Miss Willow, it must be this way.  And you must conform.”  The steady look Anna placed upon me was almost stern.


Poor Mrs. H. looked quite bewildered.


“I cannot do it.”


“You can, Miss Willow, and for all of our sake, you must succeed.”


Anna crossed the few steps separating us, which had suddenly begun to seem like a great chasm.  She took my hand in both of hers, those hazel eyes looking directly into mine.


“Willow,” she whispered, “this is our best chance to get away safely, all three of us.  Free .”


I’d begun to tremble so violently that I could hardly speak.  This was apparently what Anna had been expecting, for she nodded once again to Tilly, who turned, now facing Mrs. H., and held out the paper to her.  Mrs. H. patted the tiny hand as she took the paper and glanced at it, before looking back up.


Tilly held her hand out for the paper again, which Mrs. H. relinquished.  Again, that demure approach, deep curtsy, and the paper held up to me, with her head bowed.  Anna squeezed my hand, nodding toward Tilly.  I felt like a small child being encouraged to eat.  I reached out for the paper, hefting its weight as if it were my sewing scissors.  I looked at it, waiting for the marks on the paper to resolve themselves into words.  None did.


I looked up at Anna in despair, but she merely nodded again, this time winking her eye, at me!  What was going on, here?


I looked back at the paper, knowing that I had missed something.  It became our old game once again, as I sought for words that Mrs. H. had shown us, now not on the printed page, but on a handwritten paper.  Mrs. H. had been schooling us in reading her handwritten copy of that passage through the Sea which I loved so, and we grew to love her, for that great labor.


“My hand” was the first phrase I was able to make out.


I jumped slightly, as Mrs. H. nodded her approval.  She had drawn very near, reading the paper over my shoulder as I worked to puzzle out the handwritten words.


Anna nodded at me again, encouraging my return to our reading game.  This challenge was far greater, but I now understood how great would be our reward.  I must not fail.




I looked up in time to see a rapid look pass between the two women, no longer shocking me by it’s equality.  I was now too bound up in the task at hand.  The final word on the paper sprang out at me, setting my teeth on edge as it came clear.  The one word I would know without ever needing to be taught.  My throat caught as I read out the name of that odious Dominion.




*Readers not from DC or Virginia may not know that this Commonwealth is also known as The Old Dominion.

       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 15 (Knowledge) was last Sunday, and Part 17 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.  It is my personal contribution to Project Do Better.

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

Dear Readers, have you ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking at least for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write

-we can learn from the past via Stayed on Freedom’s Call,

          by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plan list) in the present, to

                                                                                     Do Better:  to create a kinder future



Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

( 5 month GED lesson 28 of 67 plans…),

       and Ranger M.’s Babylon 5 review posts, because story inspires learning, and historical stories inspire tool-building, right?  “Of course right!”

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

 If you have time, please let us know, here, if you do read Stayed.


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


25 thoughts on “Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 16): Power

  1. This post, and the previous chapter, should both be tagged under teaching and multiple learning styles if there is such a tag because this chapter and chapter 15 highlight or is it chapter 14, highlight the difference between teaching reading the phonetics, and teaching reading via word recognition. Phonetics never worked for me perhaps because Grandma Marie had already taught me to read and I memorized words so quickly that phonetics was torture for me.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Actually, I think it’s called “sight reading, ” oops, sorry, it’s called either sight reading or sight words, and is sometimes posited as an alternative to phonetics, sometimes vilified, and often questioned, but the fact is that it really depends on the kid: personally, I learn the way Willow does, but at least half of kids apparently learn better via phonetics, and simply cannot learn via sight reading, whereas those of us who are sight readers can also learn via phonetics. So that seems to be the reason for the preference. When I was in the classroom, I was often told by veteran teachers that showing students more than one way of solving a problem only confused them, which drove me crazy, because I personally prefer to know various ways to solve the same problem. Same issue here, but with reading instead of mathematics!

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Um, thank you, Kind Commenter, but this is not actually an article: it is part of a serial story. I’d love to hear what you like about this particular story, if you have time to share a few thoughts.

      Best regards,

      Liked by 1 person

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