Scene: Beloit, Wisconsin

Beloit, Wisconsin wasn’t a big city, and it wasn’t small. The yards were large and with the arrival of summer, children gathered at dusk from the neighborhood and played ball or hide-and-seek between the houses. Parents sat on porches, the fathers reading the daily paper and the mothers knitting or darning socks.

That September, I was eight years old. Babe Ruth led the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series and the United States had just joined the Great War and everyone was feverish over helping the troops. There was a parade nearly every weekend, right down the center of Main Street. Children dressed in their best whites, linked arms, carried American flags and sang songs.

Tramp, tramp, tramp the boys are marching.
I spy Kaiser at the door.
And we’ll get a lemon pie and we’ll squash it in his eye
And there won’t be any Kaiser anymore.

On Sunday, Momma dressed me in my best clothes: knickers, a collared shirt and a tie with shoes that sparkled when the morning sun hit them. We’d walk to church down Main Street where the branches met in the middle over the sidewalks. After service we sat down in the formal dining room to towers of food, which Sarah had taken hours to bake. I usually ate so much I could barely breathe.

When church services were cancelled because so many people were sick, Father sweet-talked Momma into hopping in the motor car and going fishing in the country. Father took me and the twins down to the river and we fished. We didn’t catch but a few small ones we had to throw back, but we laughed and laughed, and the twins didn’t tease me at all. Since Edwin didn’t take to fishing much, he sat on the blanket and read a book.

Momma wore her hair down and it sparkled in the sun like the pretty black necklace Father gave for her birthday that summer.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dayner
    Jan 14, 2010 @ 22:36:57

    You are such a visual writer. I can picture to scene and the era. Good job, I can’t wait to read more. When are we starting the critique group?

    “Tramp, tramp, tramp the boys are marching.
    I spy Kaiser at the door.
    And we’ll get a lemon pie and we’ll squash it in his eye
    And there won’t be any Kaiser anymore.”

    Did you make this up or is it an actual song?


    • kathanink
      Jan 15, 2010 @ 17:38:56

      Thanks, D! I wanted to draft up something for you guys to look at (about the group) and got delayed this week. I’ll get on that next week.

      And yes, that’s a real song from the era that the children used to sing during WWI. I peppered my story with some real history to try to make it more “real.” I’m still stuck as to whether or not it will categorized as mainstream or historical fiction…


  2. Natasha
    Jan 14, 2010 @ 12:38:07

    Wow, what a good job of capturing another era! I could see it so clearly.


    • kathanink
      Jan 14, 2010 @ 15:28:42

      Really? Yeah! I’m happy (since this is my novel). I think I have some parts that are really nice, this might be one of them. But what worries me is the story arc, etc.


  3. darksculptures
    Jan 14, 2010 @ 12:25:59

    Sorry I forgot to click the box at the bottom again.. ignore this message, it’s just so I can get the comments sent to my email. LOL


  4. darksculptures
    Jan 14, 2010 @ 12:24:23

    Oh this is lovely Kathan. Filled with the honesty of life. Also written well.

    Is this from Under the Bended Tree?


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