Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Drip (04/25/13)
TITLE: Over the Porch Below
By Ethel C Pechman
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So, now, altogether, 14 of us resided there. There was my grandfather and three of his four sons. The fourth son was married and lived in the next neighborhood across the street. Then there was my Aunt Hattie, her husband, Paul, and their three children. And finally, there was my mother, Lillian, my father, Clarence, and my brother and I.
To my recollection, we were a contented family and lived comfortably in the house. During dinner time, the men of the house were served first, and I was served after the men were through. It was my duty to dry dishes, a chore which I liked. People were coming, going, or eating, reading the newspaper, sitting on the porch, or in the living room. Grandpa played the banjo every once in a while and he yodeled as he sang. There was always a lot of activity; everyone was friendly and enjoyed being together. Grandfather was a joy to be around. He exuded love. He enjoyed a pleasant life and was happy with the arrangement.
We lived in a bungalow type home with a sunroom and two porches, one above the other, in the back of the home. The house was painted a cream yellow above every three or four years. It had an opening under the first floor porch which I hid in when I faced some anticipated scolding.
One day I hid there after I had gone skating along a main road to a distant section of town. When I got back I wasn’t scolded, and I put my skates in that enclosed section under the porch. I waited, and waited, but there was no reprisal. It bothered me. Of course I felt guilty, and was fantasizing about how I would be chastised. No one said a word. A few days later I went to get my skates; Horrors, they were not where I had placed them. That was my punishment. My skates were gone! I didn’t dare ask where they were, and no one ventured to explain to me what had happened to them. I never did get the skates back.
We all have memories of times when we hid from our parents because we had been mischievous, but we suffered silently because we feared chastening. There were times when I had gone down the street to play with a friend; time passed; it got late and I was afraid to go home. Then a storm would develop and I would have to fearfully run home, expecting to face an angry mother. Nothing ever happened when I got home. I guess everyone was glad I was safe from the storm.
An incident occurred that I will always remember. My grandfather liked to stand on the top of the back porch steps and look about at the apartment across the street on the other corner, or at the flowers on the side of the garage, or the people walking. It was a summer’s day when grandpa stood on that porch. I had been upstairs on the other porch overhead, hiding a darling little kitten I had gotten that day. I was hiding it because grandpa laid down the law that there were to be no more cats in the house. While grandpa was standing there on the porch, he put his hand on his head. “I feel a drip on my head,” he said. “There must be a leak in the drain pipe or on the roof. It will have to be looked into.” When he said that, I ran back upstairs to see what the kitten was doing. You guessed it. I had to wipe up the spot so grandpa would feel no more drips of what he thought was water. Gradually, the kitten was introduced into the house and grandpa forgot what he had said about no more cats.
Eventually, my uncles were married, the young children grew, my grandmother died and there was no more need for both mother and Aunt Hattie to continue helping. The house was too much for Grandpa to handle, so he moved with Aunt Hattie to her own home with her family.
Grandpa never did locate the drip.
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