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Maple Street Memories

Episode One of Tammy's short story

Maple Street Memories is a short story set in the 1960’s and will be delivered in episodes over the course of several weekly posts.

Maple Street Memories

By Tammy L. Grace

Mary placed a bundle of daisies on the coffin.  She promised the pastor she would be along soon and thanked him for speaking.  She inhaled and took in the trees surrounding the new grave that would soon hold her mother.  The damp smell of the fresh dirt brought back memories of working in the garden and planting flowers with her mother.

She placed her hand on top of the smooth wood.  “I’ll miss you, Mom.”  She swept a gloved finger under her eye and rested a hand on the neighboring headstone, tracing the name of her father, Stanley R. Williams.  He had died in 1941, one of over four hundred thousand soldiers killed in World War II.

She had been born in 1942 and had known Stanley only through photos and stories.  Now her mother would rest next to her father, a quarter century later.  She whispered, “Goodbye, Daddy,” and hurried to the church hall for the reception.

She got behind the wheel of the silver blue Oldsmobile her mother had given her when the illness had taken away her ability to drive.  She parked in the back of the church and ran as fast as her heels would allow.  Most of the guests were widows from church with a few couples sprinkled in here and there.

The women had provided all the food and Mary made sure she thanked each one of them.  She saw her older brother and sister across the room, their heads together in hushed conversation.

Mary squared her shoulders and approached the pair.  Her brother, Tom smirked.  “It’s about time.  I thought you were going to leave us here with all these people forever.”

Her sister, Susan, rolled her eyes.  “What took you so long?”

“I needed a minute to say goodbye.”

“Well, we need to get going.  We have a long trip,” said Tom.

“Let us know when you have everything figured out on selling the house,” said Susan.  “We need to catch our train.”

The two of them hurried away and gave the pastor an obligatory handshake and they were out the door.  Mary watched in stunned silence.  The pastor wandered across the room and placed his hand on her shoulder.  “Are you okay?  You look a little lost.”

She shook her head.  “I’m not sure why I’m surprised.  They hadn’t seen Mom for over a year.  They promised they would come at Christmas, but they were too busy.  She said she understood, but I know it hurt her.”

“I know how much she appreciated you, Mary.  She loved you so much and you took such good care of her.  She’s with God now and free of pain.  Try to take comfort in that.”  He patted her hand with a reassuring gesture.

She ate a bit of food from the plate one of the women brought her before she said her goodbyes and made her way back to the car.  She drove the short distance to her mother’s house where she collapsed on the couch.

She slept for several hours and woke only to relocate to her bedroom.  Her alarm rang out before five.  She went about her morning routine, smoothing her crisp apron over the signature pink dress she wore every day at The Sugar Bowl.

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