Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More of the Skating Party

Last week in response to the Magpie Tales prompt above I wrote a couple paragraphs as a lead into what may become a short story - maybe a novella. I do have difficulty writing short but that is my goal here. So in the coming weeks I will add to my beginning.

The Skating Party

Clarice Anna Hobbes found the photograph where it should not have been. Her mother, the family story went, had snapped the picture of that ill-fated skating party with her Kodak box camera when MaMa was but seven. The camera was a gift that Christmas day from her name sake in the center. By the end of the day her great Aunt Clarice would be dead, the camera and film confiscated by the police, and the skating party relegated to whispered memory at family reunions.

How did the sepia print, in an envelope with ten others, come to be taped under her late Uncle Jacob's dresser drawer?

The tape was yellowed and cracked, the wood under the envelope a totally different color ringed by the stain of the old Scotch tape. How long had it been there? Was the dresser always Jacob's? Clarice wondered. Jacob was nine years older than her mother. Sixteen the day of the skating party. A month later he turned seventeen and immediately joined the military. As far as, Clarice knew, he had not lived in this room since. Had not used this dresser until after his retirement. Not until after her grandparents and the other two women in the picture were dead.

In those days, her mother had told her, the film was enclosed in the camera and to be developed the camera had to be sent back to Kodak.

"You're lucky, Clarice," her mother said, showing her how to load the black and white roll of film into her 7th birthday present, a Brownie camera. "My first camera, at your age, had to be sent back to the factory so the film could be taken out and developed. They sent back the camera with new film and the developed pictures.

"They took it away that day. Only I never got my first pictures back."

"Why not?" She had asked, her attention more on staring through the view finder of her new gift.

"The police got them. Actually they got the camera too. Didn't get it returned to me until your Uncle Jacob's birthday. My second set of pictures was of his party and later in his uniform before he went away."

"I'm going to take pictures of my birthday party."

At newly seven she hadn't thought to ask why the police got her mother's first photos. Photos of Jacob's birthday party in the family album showed it to be a somber affair since it fell just a few weeks after Great Aunt Clarice Anna's funeral. Where is that album, Clarice the younger wondered, as she spread the ten photos from the envelope out on the floor around her. They were not what she would have thought.

To be continued

1 comment:

  1. And the intrigue continues, drawing like a sketch on your pages, developing into a wonderful picture.


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