Tag Archives: Ann&Anna

Ann and Anna, (serial short story): Prequel Concluded

        Ann & Anna, Part  21 (River), posted last Sunday. apple_tree_flowers_and_rance_river_estuary  I have reluctantly decided that this will be the last part of our publicly published story.  I’ve been urged to finish this story as a novel, which cannot be queried if it has been published on a blog, so I must apologize, dear Readers.  I never imagined that the dream (nightmare) that started this story would lead to all of this, but now I would like to take it and develop it into a book.  I hope, once completed and published, that you will all read the remainder of this story.  While these past twenty one parts will make up the prequel to the story, I doubt that a publisher will allow them to be part of a novel, so I am closing this now, upon strong advice from several friends, to start working on the novel.  I plan to post an excerpt, each Sunday, to keep in touch with our dear Willow and Anna.

  And then…

whobyfireiwilltmpcover

Then, finally, I will get back to Who By Fire!

       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.

  Parts 21 (River)Part 20 (Into The Night) ,   19 (Peculiar Gifts)18 (Mouth of Babes)17 (Testing)16 (Power)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.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

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.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

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

   Comment: You can see how her C-PTSD is healing, in the love of this chosen/found family…

Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 21): River

        Part  20 (Into The Night), was last Sunday…

       Our ride in the carriage, that night, seated back to back as Anna and I were, was at least sure against the winter chill.  I’d laid an extra blanket over little Tilly, then snuggled back up against Anna.  At some point during our ride, she had turned to cradle me in her arms as we slept.  I awoke nuzzling the inside of her neck, and rose with a start, as I saw our Tilly observing me.  My cheeks began to burn as I wondered how long she might have been awake.

 

“It’s ok, Miss Willow.  Your servant Joe Wright is here to keep us safe, Missus.”

 

I was so relieved, I hardly knew what to say.  “Oh, Tilly, you don’t need to play our game here.  We are alone.”

 

She shook her head most insistently:  “Joe told me that we are never to end this game, Miss Willow, until we are free up North.  All the way north.”  She looked at the window, covered against the cold, and against prying eyes, and inched closer, whispering, “we never know what ears may be up against this door.”

 

“That is right.”  How long had Anna been awake?  I’d not felt her move a muscle, but she was surely listening.  How did she do that?  Just then, I recalled the question which had been burning within me as we went to sleep.

 

“Miss, sorry, Joe, you said something last night about seeing Old Mary soon.  What on this Good Lord’s earth were you talking about, pray tell?”

 

Anna flashed her most devilish grin.  It was the one that promised shocking things to come.

 

“What say both of you,” she had managed to lower her voice another octave, to sound like a young boy, if not a man, “to a spot of breakfast, before I answer that question?”

 

“I am starving!”

 

I was amazed at how quietly this child could shout.

 

“Tilly,” I teased in my finest soprano whisper, which is not an easy thing to do, “you are always starving, HoneyChild!”

 

We all fell to giggling as quietly as we had whispered, as we shared out the cornbread Mrs. H. had given us to breakfast upon.  Even cold, that aroma was enticing.  It had been all she’d had to hand, so we knew we must make do on that one meal for most of this day.

 

When we had each had three chews and a swallow of our meal, I looked up again at Anna, my head tilted insistently at her, as I waited for my reply.

 

She finally rewarded me:  “Do you remember the white men who met us where we stopped with the wagon?”

 

I nodded.

 

“They were expecting to see four of us, of course.”

Of course.  I still recalled the despair of that parting.

 

“Old Mary was meant to carry you and Little Sally, while Captain here,” she lifted her head up toward the front of the carriage, “is sturdy enough for both Miss Mary and myself.  Since it was just you, they almost took Old Mary back with them, but I told them that two horses were better than one.  That is why she is here again, tied up back as the spare.“

 

Old Mary was here!  It was a pity that I had no apples or carrots for her.  That thought brought to mind the memory of my Miss Mary, for some odd reason, singing one of our favorite songs.  I wished I could go now, down to some peaceful river, thinking about a good way, a better way than this world’s way, to pray.

 

There came a knock at the carriage door, and I realized that we had not been moving for some moments.  I wondered how I had managed not to notice.  All was silent.  Another knock came, this time in three sharp raps, followed by two light knocks.  Anna nodded, and Little Tilly cracked the door open just enough to see the pair of blue eyes looking back at us, and opened it wide enough for the doctor see in.

 

“Joe, it is here that I must leave you all.  I bid you god speed.”

 

 

I saw the barest lift of his hat just as the doctor stepped back out of view, allowing our Joe to exit the carriage.  The door had clicked shut, and we’d started up again with nary a sound.  Now, we were on our own, and our safety depended upon me.

 

I decided that this was a good time to pray.

       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.

  Parts   20 (Into The Night)19 (Peculiar Gifts)18 (Mouth of Babes)17 (Testing)16 (Power)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.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

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.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

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

   Comment: You can see how her C-PTSD is healing, in the love of this chosen/found family…

Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 20): Into The Night

        Part  19 (Peculiar Gifts), was last Sunday…

     We had tiptoed down the back stairs as quickly as we dared.  While Mrs. H. was pinning me inside of her best dress, still smelling of lavender, Anna and Tilly had packed our precious documents.  That I had passed Anna’s test seemed nothing short of a miracle, now that we must speed away so suddenly.  I cursed my capricious memory, as capable of holding me in an iron grip while the smell of blood washed over me as it was of delivering those words which would safeguard our freedom.

 

The carriage stood waiting in the courtyard, the door open and barely visible in the darkness.  The doctor himself held the reins of the two horses while little Tilly hid nearly under my skirts as our Joe ushered us in and closed the door behind us.  She handed me the sheaf of documents, neatly bound in a leather pouch.  My heart raced as I began to taste bile.  Now I became grateful for that lavender, perfuming our cramped space.  All had passed so quickly and in such silence that I’d not had time to consider the consequences, should I fail.  I felt my gloved fingers begin to sweat where they made contact with the leather.  Wonderful little Tilly came to my rescue yet again, holding up my satchel to store away our papers.

 

Still lost in my thoughts, Anna leaned into my shoulder, whispering in my ear.

 

“We have saddle bags, if you wish to keep your old sewing basket.”

 

I nearly dropped the satchel.  I clutched it to my bosom after catching it just as my hands let it slip.

 

“I thought that might bring you back to us.  I saved it, after you left it in the wagon, in case you should need anything, except those scissors, of course.”

 

Her smile, even in the darkness of that carriage, carried to me.  I could barely see her, but I could hear that devilish grin in her voice, and the lifted brow.  I began to relax, breathing as deeply as my bodice would allow while the lavender worked its soothing balm upon me.  I was glad that Mrs. H.’s dress was too large for me, as it gave me more room to breathe.  How fortunate we were to have sheltered in the home of gentry, accustomed to changing various times even on a normal day.  No working family, colored or white, would have had the means to accomplish this ruse.  Then a problem occurred to me.  I turned to whisper:

 

“But Anna, I’m sorry, Joe.  How is it that you found my basket?  I thought I had dropped it along the way when I fell from Old Mary.”

 

“Oh, no.  I put it in my saddle bag when you first mounted her.”

 

“But then…”

 

“The bulge in your saddle bag?  Only an extra blanket.”

 

Her voice had risen an octave at those last words.  What a marvelous singing voice she must have, if I ever got a chance to hear it.  We were not allowed to sing whilst in the doctor’s home, lest the neighbors hear.  Thinking of Doctor H., I wondered how he would explain this outing.  He must have invented a patient to see as a pretext.  I could only suppose, as we were not to know any more than strictly essential for our flight.  Which reminded me:

 

“I hope Old Mary is happy, where ever she is.  I was truly sorry to have put her, and all of you, in danger.”

 

“Hush, now.  We have spoken about this.  Besides, you’ll see her again, soon.”

 

I turned to look at her, but she had turned her back to mine, as if to go to sleep.  Little Tilly took that moment to stretch out on the opposite seat, and all was silence.  The rest of my questions would just have to wait.

       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.

  Parts  19 (Peculiar Gifts)18 (Mouth of Babes)17 (Testing)16 (Power)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, 

and Part 21 will post next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

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.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

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

Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 19): Peculiar Gifts

      …  Parts 18 (Mouth of Babes)17 (Testing)16 (Power)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…

     As I marveled at the wisdom of this young child, I just caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  Anna had given Tilly the slightest of nods.  I turned to her, little Tilly still in my arms, and raised an eyebrow.

 

She rewarded me with her most mischievous smile.  So, then.  Not only from the mouths of babes.  My tears ended, I couldn’t help but return her smile.  My breast filled with hope, until stayed by my bodice.

 

“You see, my dear Miss Willow, we can indeed accomplish this task which is set before us.”

 

Anna’s confidence was as bracing as a cup of tea on a cold day.  Tilly seconded that thought, nodding her head so vigorously that I had to put her down.  Anna drew near, pulling us both into an embrace that no family had ever bested.

 

“Well, my dears.”

 

I looked up with a start.  It was Mrs. H.  She stood in the doorway holding a bundle of clothing.  The doctor, however, was no longer in the room.  Just how long, exactly, had I been unawares?  Had I fainted?

 

“While the doctor is seeing to the carriage, I have brought you such apparel as our Joe  Wright here has requested.”  She nodded to Anna, then turned to me.  “We always have diverse disguises on hand that will do for young Joe and Tilly, but nothing for this Peculiar ruse of yours.  I only keep one change of fine dress and stays, Willow, for special occasions.”

 

That word.  Does she disapprove?  Tilly ran over to take the bundle from her.  Mrs. H. continued across the room, stopping before a large chest.  When she opened it, a scent of lavender escaped, perfuming the room.  She pulled out a dress such as the mistress of a plantation would wear.  I gasped, finally understanding the extent of her hospitality.  Just then, a familiar sound caught my ear, somewhere outside.  I looked to the window, but all was darkness, and quiet.

 

“Did you hear me, Willow?”

 

I looked back, embarrassed to have missed what she was saying.  Little Tilly, already beginning to play her role, responded for me:

 

“If you please, Missus, my mistress is very devout, and was saying a prayer just as you spoke.”

 

She bowed her head and dropped into that perfect curtsy as she finished, drawing a scowl from Mrs. H.  I almost thought I heard the child let escape half of a giggle.

 

“Willow, I fear that this dress will go a little long on you, but we’ve no time to alter it.”

 

That dress, I knew, would not suffice on special occasions in Virginia.  But for travel, it would do.

 

“Mrs. H. this is the loveli-”

 

“You need not flatter me, young Willow.  I am no Virginia Lady.  Now, let us be about our task quickly, for I hear them in the courtyard now.”

       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 18 (Mouth of Babes) was last Sunday, and then, Part 20 (Into The Night)  posted.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

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.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Narrative and Prose Nonfiction,     

or Holistic High School Lessons,

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

Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 18): Mouth of Babes

      …  Parts 17 (Testing)16 (Power)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…

 

Part 18: From The Mouths of Babes

 

     I began to tremble, that old stench returning.  As I looked about the room, I saw not the faces of my sweet Anna, nor the doctor and his wife, but that of little Tilly: in chains.

 

     We were back in the Slave Gaol where my friends had been punished.  The odors of sweat mingled with blood, dirt, and fear, as the Senator ordered me held and made to watch.  Each slice of that leather whistling through the air brought fresh emissions of noxious gasses, the air befouled with the contents of their bowels, and mine.

     The blood of both friends, whipped one after the other, smeared my face so thickly that my tears ran puddles of blood to the slop covered floor.  My shrieks for mercy joined those of Little Sal, bound beside me, to watch, and to learn.

 

     No mercy came, only more blood.  The smell of iron rose up so sharply that I could taste the rust.  Then, the Senator drew near with a smile that turned my stomach.

 

“You shall have a double length bath, now, before I come to see you, My Ann.”

 

     He’d nodded to his head overseer, turning on his heel to leave as I began to wretch.

 

     A touch upon my cheek, tender as that of a Grandmother, brought me back to the room.  The velvet hand of Little Tilly was warm as she stretched up to hold my face, like dear Anna had done so many times before.

 

“Miss Willow.”

 

     That whisper broke through the tears racing down my face.  I bent down to pick her up, and she touched her tiny face to my ear.

 

“Be strong, and of good courage, for the Lord is with us.”

 

       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 17 (Testing) was last Sunday, and Part 19 (Peculiar Gifts) will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

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.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Narrative and Prose Nonfiction,     

or Holistic High School Lessons,

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

Ann and Anna, Part 17, and Passing…

         In my serial Ann & Anna,  Parts 17,  reprinted below, and in part 16 (Power), as well as the foreshadowing in earlier parts, which post on  Sundays, the theme of Passing, as in Black folks passing for White, comes to the forefront of the story.  A reader asked me about this topic, and I thought it might be interesting  for other readers, as well:

 

      ”   Can Willow pass?

Well, she certainly does not believe so, but Anna, and little Tilly, clearly think that she can.

Remember, passing is more than about just how light your skin is (and how ‘kinky’ your hair is, which is always how Mexicans can tell I’m Black…)

Passing is an interesting and delicate thing: it really depends on the eye of the beholder.

I, personally, cannot pass at all in most of DC, MD, NY/NJ, and certainly not in any of VA.

But, here in California, people (especially Jewish people and the occasional Mexican) are constantly shocked to find out that I am Black. Not so for Puerto Ricans, however.

Likewise, on the census records for my 5xs gr. grandfather Miles Manzilla, Sr: he goes from MU to W, over the course of about 4 or 5 censuses in OH.

And Sally Hemings, interestingly enough, is actually listed as W on the last census I saw for her!! I was shocked, and still wonder if I saw that wrong, but since Madison, her son, described her as “an Octoroon” (which Annette Gordon Reed points out was technically incorrect, but visually the way people described one so light skinned, back then, before the term “High Yellow” became impolite, I suppose), it makes sense.
Also, in the Federal City, constables were empowered to decide whether a person was considered to be Colored for the curfew and other Black Code related issues.

So, what I meant to say was that yes, given the right conditions and the right persons around her, Willow *can* pass, if she has enough audacity to make it work.
This reminds me of the celebrated court case in (SC??) which a man was accused of passing, and it dragged on until a prominent (White) man simply marched himself up to the docket, shook the defendant’s hand, and walked back out of the court room. The case was dismissed at that point, since no self-respecting White man would ever shake hands in public with a Negro. That settled the man’s status as being White.

Likewise, there is a story of two enslaved women escaping up the river from New Orleans, with one posing as the other’s Body Servant (aka Lady’s maid).   dalmany_28slave_belonging_to_mr._dalman29_met_dp357008

Which brings me to Body Servants: they were the personal valet or maid of a usually rather wealthy slave owner, who could afford to have a slave for no other purpose than to attend to his/her own needs constantly. Their status was well above that of field hands, house slaves, or even cooks.

Having a personal maid on attendance at all times, rather than shared from other duties, would mark Willow as a wealthy lady, and make it much more difficult to question her status, as would having that maid be dark-skinned enough to contrast with Willow’s light skin. Besides the skin color issue, there is Tilly’s acting ability: she knows how to make Willow look like a stern lady accustomed to command, and that is what it takes to pull off this charade, upon which three or more lives will now depend. “Joe,” of course is the final feather in Willow’s cap, at this point, as a driver completes the picture of a Southern Belle at whom no one will even cast a questioning glance.

If our Willow can play her part, that is…

 

     Just as I cleared my throat of that last word, Mrs. H. tilted her head, as if waiting to speak.  She’d not had a moment since entering the room to make known the reason for her presence.  We had just dined, and she normally busied herself downstairs at this time.  She wore an expression of worry upon her face that augured nothing good.

“That is an excellent reading, Willow, in so short a time of study.”

Her words were kind, but her voice was uncertain.  She looked at Anna with expectancy.

Anna merely smiled, and nodded again toward Tilly.  The child inched closer to me, looked up with a wicked grin, and proclaimed:

 

“I am to be your Body Servant, Miss Willow.”

 

“Certainly not!”

 

Mrs. H. finally understood.

 

“It is the best, indeed the only, way for us to proceed, Mrs. H.”  Anna lifted her head, her eyes level with those of the doctor’s wife.

 

My mouth must surely have fallen open, for never had I seen a Negro, slave or free, openly contradict a white person!  As the two women looked sternly at one another, the doctor strode into the room.

“I fear Anna is correct.  It must be so, for they must leave us.  Tonight.”    

       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 16 (Power) was last Sunday, and Part 18 will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

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.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Narrative and Prose Nonfiction,     

or Holistic High School Lessons,

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

Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 17): Testing

      …  Parts 16 (Power)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…

     Just as I cleared my throat of that last word, Mrs. H. tilted her head, as if waiting to speak.  She’d not had a moment since entering the room to make known the reason for her presence.  We had just dined, and she normally busied herself downstairs at this time.  She wore an expression of worry upon her face that augured nothing good.

“That is an excellent reading, Willow, in so short a time of study.”

Her words were kind, but her voice was uncertain.  She looked at Anna with expectancy.

Anna merely smiled, and nodded again toward Tilly.  The child inched closer to me, looked up with a wicked grin, and proclaimed:

 

“I am to be your Body Servant, Miss Willow.”

 

“Certainly not!”

 

Mrs. H. finally understood.

 

“It is the best, indeed the only, way for us to proceed, Mrs. H.”  Anna lifted her head, her eyes level with those of the doctor’s wife.

 

My mouth must surely have fallen open, for never had I seen a Negro, slave or free, openly contradict a white person!  As the two women looked sternly at one another, the doctor strode into the room.

“I fear Anna is correct.  It must be so, for they must leave us.  Tonight.”    

       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 16 (Power) was last Sunday, and Part 18 (Mouth of Babes) will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

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.

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Narrative and Prose Nonfiction,     

or Holistic High School Lessons,

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

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.

 

“Servant!”

 

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.

 

 “Virginia.”*

 

*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.

Shira

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

 

Peace    

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
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
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.

Shira 

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

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.

Shira

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.

A book review I just have to post: Why is this not immediately obvious?

     Ok, Jill, you win: another rant, this time from some notes I just found while looking for some old poetry that I archived.  This book review is sadly still relevant, in terms of our society needing to talk to each other, and have empathy for one another:

 Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and DeprivationPoverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation by Amartya Sen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, a book for which I was sure that I’d written a review, probably because I cited it so often during my PhD work which eventually became my MPhil thesis.

I found these notes from 2008, and am posting them with just a tiny bit of clean up:

As I look back over Senn’s 1981 ‘Poverty and Famines’ after yet another argument, back in 2008, with my nice Thai office mate on why America is not in fact the Land of Opportunity if you start off poor, I see again what hit me when I first arrived at the University of Bath.

Middle class people really don’t get it. My office mate keeps saying ‘just work hard and you’ll get a job’ but can’t fathom the lack of opportunities for people who have no connections and no home or family on which to fall back.

Senn likewise documents the lack of resources and opportunities that play in with the system of entitlements in famines to ensure that the wealthy and middle classes tend not to suffer much, but the poor suffer by falling further into destitution or even starving to death. This is something I found myself thinking as I read ‘well, duh’ -it’s obvious to someone who lives among poor people because it’s all around the poor and the working classes. But to someone living in a house the next block over, with an office or a shop to tend to daily, it may not be so obvious. Just like an academic presenting ‘findings’ showing that the poor in England (lone mothers in that seminar) were better off if they had both a job and child care support. Well, duh. Why is this not immediately obvious to begin with? Because people with connections can’t imagine not having them. Or something. I’m not sure. It looks clear to me that people who’ve never missed a meal (as my older Chinese former roommate pointed out about the younger students, saying “they can’t understand because they haven’t suffered”), like my office mate, can’t understand the difficulties of people who weren’t blessed with such luck.

Let’s make more luck for all of us, together.

View all my reviews  

   We now return you to your Sunday story of two, sorry, now three, very young women escaping bondage through Maryland:

…  Parts 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…

Part 14: Words

     Anna looked back at me, shaking her head ever so slightly.  Now was not the time for questions.  Apparently the state of things was more delicate than I had surmised.

“Well, no decisions should be made on an empty stomach.  Young Tilly has helped me to prepare dinner, and there is to be pie afterward.  Then, and not a moment before, we will find some manner of resolving this situation.”

The doctor’s wife had spoken, and not an objection was there to be heard.  The doctor placed the sheaf of papers upon the writing desk by the bedside, nodded at both of us, and left the room, his wife having already gone down to see to dinner.  The smell of pie was now being joined by that of what seemed to be a collection of roasted vegetable smells, as though it were Sunday after church.

The three of us shared a basin to wash up and dress for dinner, only just sitting in a row on the bed by the time the doctor’s wife arrived carrying a larger tray than usual.  Anna and Tilly helped her arrange our place settings, while I made sure that all remained in equilibrium, seated as we were upon the bedside.

“I must return and dine downstairs with my husband, in case any curious neighbors look in, but I shall come back up shortly to collect the dishes.  I do wish you all a good meal.”

We each nodded our thanks, and she gave a gracious nod in return before closing the door behind her.  I looked at Anna, nodding toward little Tilly’s plate.  Anna turned to the child, encouraging her to eat, but the little girl shook her head.

“Grace.”

By all the heavens.  At last!  I was overjoyed to finally be able to say grace without seeming to be a troublesome patient.  Anna smiled, and all three of us bowed our heads.  Tilly looked up at me, and I decided to give some small thanks to the good Lord for getting us here safely.  Then, our hearts more at ease, we ate with less worry.  It was still plain that each of us feared this new development, but things suddenly seemed just a little bit better.

After clearing about half her plate, seeming to be absorbed in her thoughts as she ate, Anna looked up at me.

“Miss Willow?”

“Yes, Miss Anna?”

“How do you feel about your reading, now?”

My heart sank.  I had been sure that this question would come soon, and equally sure that I would not be up to the challenge which the question was meant to represent.

During the time I spent convalescing at the home of Dr. H., we were not idle.  The doctor’s wife spent every spare moment, it seemed, showing me a new eye chart, with diverse characters of the alphabet.

This served two purposes.  First, in checking my vision after each meal, we could all see the progress of my recovery.  Second, and most urgently, Anna and I were learning our letters.  We would need to know how to read if we were to make sure our escape, for many papers and postings made mention of our evasion, and according to a certain Mr. Bacon, knowledge was power.

Little did we know how soon the need for such power would arrive.

 

       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 13 was last Sunday, and Part 15 will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Shira

Action Prompts:

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

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

Dear Readers, 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 Stayed on Freedom’s Call for free,

        by Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans offline) in the present, to

                     We can  Do Better:  Project Do Better proposes a path to create a kinder future

 

Peace    

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

the year, 2021 CE = year 12021 HE

( 5 month GED lesson 22 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
(free: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
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.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.

Shira 

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