… 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.
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.
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:
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
-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…),
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.
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.