This fall, we re-started a small writing class in my dining room. We’ve met for several years and bonded through focusing on the memoir. Divulging our experiences in the written word takes a certain kind of courage, but these women have stuck with it. And we have fun, besides.
On this day, four women came one by one. They all had stories to tell, especially since we suspended meeting over the summer. So I was deep in one member’s story when the second arrived, and so on.
The last to enter the house, Mary, had typed out her story, a unique experience with her grandchildren during her daughter’s hospitalization, so she shared last. By the time she came in, we were all attending to the third woman who wore an ankle cast and needed to elevate her foot. Mary had given her a ride to class.
These details come to me in retrospect, because when I walked everyone out the front door after class, a gorgeous chrysanthemum plant took up a third of my bottom step. Golden yellow, arms spread in a cheerful globe, it’ll bring me joy for weeks to come.
And how did it arrive? Surreptitiously, at the hands of my kind writing friend—Mary, who gave the injured woman a ride and walked in last.
I speculate that she often occupies last place. And I’d guess she’s comfortable there, checking things out, making people comfortable, looking for forgotten details. I have no idea how many random acts of kindness trail her but am pretty sure there’s a lot.
Outside my window as I write today, there’s a blooming circle of sunshine, just for me. What’s interesting is, a few days earlier, I noticed these glorious autumn flowers but bought a much cheaper version in the least expensive department store I could find. “This’ll do,” I thought.
But Mary’s gift reminds me I might deserve the full-blown version—the best.
Dottie Kyle’s world centers on hard work. When World War II steals her son and she loses her husband soon after the Allied victory, her job at Helene’s boarding house gives her a reason to wake up in the morning. But when her daughter in California experiences complications in her third pregnancy and needs help with the little grandchildren Dottie longs to meet, old fears of closed-in spaces hinder her from embarking on a cross-country train trip.
Meanwhile, unexpected challenges arise at work, and Dottie’s next-door widower neighbor Al’s sudden attention becomes obvious. Could he hold the clue to conquering anxieties that have her in a stranglehold?