A Bit of Memoir Inserted into a Bit of Fiction (don’t tell Isabel)

#56 I, Isabel Scheherazade, watch Mimi hang the clothes on the morning after the disastrous, so-called “caper.” I get a Way-Back-Seat memory that makes me smile and take heart–funny word, that: “take heart.”

Mimi’s hanging out the clothes. It’s the morning after the Court Caper (dumb word), and I watch her from my dormer window seat up in my bedroom.

Mom and I used to hang clothes together all the time. I have this sun-bright memory from a long time ago, I think even before we had the twins…


‘Bye, Mom! I’m running away now.  I have a backpack full of comics. Mom has two clothespins in her mouth and is stretching to hang my favorite “blankie” on the line. She keeps one hand on the blanket and takes the clothespins out of her mouth with the other.

Okay, Isabel, but first do a little job for me, would you? More clothespins? Under the sink in the mudroom?

I slip my pack off my shoulders and trudge into the mudroom.  I bend over and drag the clothespin bag out from under the sink.

I hand the bag to Mom. I stare at blankie. It’s drying fast, I think. I put one arm through the backpack strap.

Isabel? One more little job?  Mom shakes out one of my socks. Could you get me the little wooden drying rack? She smiles down at me from over the clothesline. Her face looks like a full moon peeking over a hill.

I drop my pack again and march back inside. I know where to find the little rack. I loved hanging my socks on it and always put it back in the mudroom closet when the socks were dry.

I daydream. Maybe I’ll cross the big road and go to the drugstore. I could sit on one of the twirling stools and spin around. I could get a sundae with no cherry and no hot fudge.

I find the little rack right where I put it the last time. I set it up in the sun next to Mom.

Just as I am about to leave, she says, One more little job? I slip my thumbs through the backpack straps, just to let her know this better be the last job. Could you hang the socks before you go? 

I shrug and say, Okay, Mom.

First, I pull the sock right side out. Then I shake it so the wrinkles smooth.  Last, I drape the sock over the wooden bar so it hangs evenly.  Mom tells me stories while we stand there working together. I am very happy that she’s doing this because I’m beginning to feel a little tired and hungry. I yawn as I curve the last sock over the rod.

Mom says, I know! How about this, Isabel? Why don’t we go inside and have a little reading time? With a snack maybe?

I think, A little reading time sounds good, but what about the drugstore? 

Mom picks up the empty basket. Better yet, she says while she takes my hand, let’s you and I go to the drug store.  We can sit at the counter while you have a sundae. No cherry? No hot fudge? 

And maybe you could read me some of these?  I pull an Unca’ Scrooge out of the backpack.

I jump out of the Way Backseat of my memory and into the Front.

I lean out my window and call down to Mimi, Need help with the socks?

She waves and nods her head.

I’ll get the rack.




Hi, Readers of WWWW: This is Isabel Scheherazade with #54 in my on-going story that I’m blogging at isabeltellsherstories.com. I’m 10, my parents got killed, my brothers and I live with my grandparents. Right before this entry, Pop and Mimi have stopped me from storming into the courthouse where The Killer is having a hearing or some such. Catch up if you’ve missed a few blog entries. But here’s what’s just happened.

#54 I, Isabel Scheherazade (who’s Dad used to quote Shakespeare when we were in tight spots) would say to The Killer: “Methinks’t thou art a general offense and every man should beat thee.” But I learn that isn’t what Pop and Mimi would say about the sleazy guy who’s ruined my life. And it isn’t Shakespeare to my ears.

Pop slaps high-fives. It’s a leftover habit from his youth. So, after The Scolding we slap five, first me and Pop and then Mimi and me, although Mimi is laughing because we don’t time it right. Slapping five isn’t her way. She gives me another hug and kisses me on the forehead.

On to The Other Topic? Pop looks at me over his glasses.

The it’s-all-okay-now feeling drains out of me. You mean what’s happening with the guy?

Mimi says, Isabel, let’s call him by his name.

What is it, anyhow?  Not that I care.

It’s Smith. Art Smith. Mr. Smith.

Okay, so, what do you know about what’s happening in the courtroom now with Mister Smith?

Pop pulls out his 2Do notebook and flips through pages to some notes. The prosecutor gave me a rundown on how it will go.

I interrupt, Olivia said that the police would have pictures of the crime scene and measurements and test results and stuff like that.

Pop looks surprised. Yup, a report like that will be given to the judge today. What else did Olivia tell you?

Well, then the prosecutors will accuse the guy, er, they’ll accuse Mr. SMITH of breaking a specific law.  She didn’t know what law. Murder One, she thought, or something like that.

Pop and Mimi look shocked when I say Murder One. 

Pop clears his throat and looks down his list. Mr. Smith will be prosecuted based on the law that says he caused a death by being criminally negligent with a motor vehicle.

TWO deaths, Pop. Morning glory muffin crumbs fly out of my mouth. I’d say he’s a CRIMINAL all right.

Well, Pop sweeps the crumbs into his hand, athis hearing, the defendant–Mr. Smith–gets to enter a plea. He gets to say whether HE thinks he’s guilty or innocent of breaking this particular law.

So, Mimi says this next part very slowly and clearly, Mr. Smith is going to enter a plea of not guilty.

I snort.

Pop shakes his head at me. And we agree. We don’t think he’s guilty of being criminally negligent either.

What?!!!  Now I know why they’ve got me pinned in here. They don’t want me jumping up. How can you two say this! He killed Mom and Dad. They’re DEAD.

Pop pulls me back down, and Mimi takes my chin in her hands and says, Isabel! STOP! LISTEN TO US!

This shuts me up. Immediately.

But not because I want to listen.

It’s because the last time anyone held my chin and told me to listen, was this summer.  And it was Mom.

-isabel scheherazade who’s remembering another Dad-Shakespeare quote: Days of absence, sad and dreary, clothed in sorrow’s dark array, days of absence, I am weary; they I love are far away. 



IMG_2685    This week’s writing challenge is about lists. I write lists, too, but none profound or epiphanic. Here are a few ~

About me~  https://wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com/tonis-page/

About being 65~ https://wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/inspired-by-dave-my-top-65-list/

About comic strips~ https://wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/fickle-winter-the-howling-of-cats-and-my-top-ten-list-2/

About lists. Seriously.~ https://wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/daily-prompt-the-satisfaction-of-a-list/


Thanks, WordPress, for inspiring me to write another.

IMG_2615What’s Really Necessary In Life

1. A blue bay to gaze on.

2. Sun.

3. The kind of day you fold up and put in your pocket so you can have it over and over again.

4. Living life simply. Simply living life.

  Toni 5/28/14

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