I WRITE MEMOIRS, SHORT STORIES, ESSAYS, CHILDREN'S
STORIES AND POETRY AND HAVE PUBLISHED A BOOK OF
MEMORIES OF MY CHILDHOOD ENTITLED, 'THE GRANDMOTHER
SELECTION I HAVE INCLUDED ON THIS PAGE IS FROM THAT BOOK. TO
LEARN A BIT MORE ABOUT ME GO TO THE LINK ON MY HOME PAGE ENTITLED, PERSONAL PROFILE.
THE SELECTION YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS ONE OF A SERIES INCLUDED
IN MY BOOK OF MEMOIR SHORT STORIES. MY CHILDHOOD FRIEND AND I HAD A
CLUB--'THE EAGLES CLUB'. THE STORIES ARE ABOUT OUR GIRLHOOD DAYS IN
OREGON AND OUR ADVENTURES. MORE 'EAGLES CLUB STORIES' CAN BE FOUND ON
MY WEB PAGE:
"THE GRANDMOTHER STORIES"
When summer was over, Luana and I continued the Eagles
Club throughout the school year. Friday's were the Fitch's 'family
day', when Luana had to stay home and do things with her parents and
sister and brother. Sunday, Luana spent the entire day with church
activities, but on all the other days, after school and especially on
Saturdays, we were busy with Eagles Club activities.
The four houses on my side of the road, including ours, had one
acre lots. The back half of all four properties were undeveloped; just
fields and fruit trees. Two lots over, on the side street, was the
Bauer home. The Bauer's back yard was at the edge of my next door
neighbor's field. My grandmother used to live there, but had recently
moved away. Now our good friends, the Logan's were next door. Luana
and I claimed both lots as our own and played in the tall grass and
climbed trees in the fields for hours.
Bruce Bauer and his sister Carla were our enemies. Thinking back
now, I don't know why we didn't like them, but for several years, we
had a running feud. Luana and I didn't allow the Bauers to set foot in
'our field'. We spent a lot of time up in the trees 'spying' on Bruce
and Carla, exchanging words back and forth and occasionally even
throwing dirt clods at each other. Luana and I would hide and call
"HOOT, HOOT" back and forth while Carla and Bruce watched us from the
corner of their yard wondering what we were up to.
Carla was a tomboy and much tougher and larger than her brother.
Bruce was a pale, lanky kid, in the same grade as me, which was a year
ahead of Carla and Luana. Bruce had a short crew cut and very light
hair, so his head sort of shined and looked bald.
Frequently, Insults between the Bauers and Luana and I would fly
back and forth. Every so often my mother would hear us arguing or see
us heaving dirt clods and call Luana and I home for one of her famous
"Now girls..." she would begin. "Why can't you all just get
We could never come up with much of an answer. It usually was
something about how we thought they were dumb kids and didn't want them
coming over to our field. We didn't mean they weren't smart--Bruce was
very good in school--we just used 'dumb' as an expression. We really
couldn't think of any real reason for our feud.
"...You have to learn to get along with them." Mother would tell
us. "They are lonesome and want to play with you. It wouldn't hurt
you to include them sometimes."
"We will, mother." I said without much enthusiasm.
"Well, go back and play, and BE NICE!"
It was mid-September and we had been in school for just a week or
two. The days still felt like summer and the group of us neighborhood
children were eager to get home to play as we piled off the school bus
and scattered in several directions. The bus stop was about two blocks
away from my house. Luana and I and Bruce and Carla had to all walk
together up the same street for one of the blocks.
Luana and I were walking behind Bruce and Carla talking about what
we would do that afternoon. I was watching Bruce a few yards ahead and
noticed how much he had grown. His arms stuck out beyond the cuffs of
his last-years' long-sleeved plaid shirt. He was wearing shorts and
his skinny long legs made his already large feet look huge. It was
such a funny sight that I started to laugh and whispered to Luana and
got her laughing too.
"What's so funny?" Carla demanded as she and Bruce turned around
and glared at us.
We didn't answer, but kept laughing harder and pretended to be
whispering a secret to each other, pointing every so often towards
them. We were trying to make them mad, and it worked! Carla reached
down and picked up a handful of small rocks and hurled them in our
direction. We returned fire and the four of us started running up the
road throwing rocks back and forth, the Bauers running backwards,
facing us as they threw.
At the intersection, Luana and I went to the right while Carla and
Bruce turned around and ran straight ahead. I hung back a minute
before completely rounding the corner, but Luana kept running home.
Bending over, I picked up one last rock and aimed directly at Bruce, a
full half-block away. I knew I couldn't throw that far, but I wanted
him to know I cast the last stone.
I wound up, reeled back and let go. It seemed as if the rock was
in slow motion as it traveled toward Bruce. It kept flying farther and
farther and suddenly I heard a loud 'OOUUCCCHHHH!' as Bruce cupped the
back of his head with his hand.
I ran home as fast as I could, scared to death. My mother was
downstairs talking on the phone so I went directly up to my room. I
knew I'd have a few minutes to compose myself before she started
calling me to come down for a snack.
I flopped on my bed still shaking. How was I to know I was such a
good shot, I thought. I know mother is going to find out about this
somehow. I was really scared.
Then I heard the front doorbell ring. An icy feeling shot through
me, and my palms began to sweat even though my hands were ice cold. I
knew instantly who was at the door. I was so scared, I just rolled up
in a ball and waited. I didn't have to wait long. After a few
agonizing minutes the stair door opened and I heard my mother call out.
I slowly got up and tipped toed down the stairs, taking as long as
I thought I could get away with. I pushed open the door at the bottom
of the stairs and walked towards the living room. The butterflies were
fluttering in my stomach. My mother was sitting in her chair by the
window and Bruce was perched on a chair to her right, against the wall.
He looked pale and nervous and I could see part a large bandage on
back of his head. I noticed that his eyes were big and round and
glassy, and I knew he'd been crying.
"Sit down", my mother said and I plopped on the couch pulling my
legs under me. Her voice sounded funny, unnatural. She was trying to
sound stern, but it wasn't convincing. I quickly glanced at her and
saw an expression that surprised me. She was frowning and trying to
hold her mouth in a disapproving way, but her eyes were twinkling,
almost smiling and I knew she was trying hard not to laugh.
"Bruce has just been telling me about what happened on the way home
from school today." She said, still using that odd voice. "What do
you have to say for yourself, young lady?"
I couldn't think of what to say, so sat mutely for a few moments.
Then I said, "I didn't think I would hit him, he was so far away".
Bruce was squirming nervously, eager to leave. He hadn't said a thing
since I came into the room.
"Doreen, apologize to Bruce this instant, and I don't want to ever
hear of anything like this happening again. Do you hear me?"
"Sorry", I mumbled in his direction. Abruptly he stood up and
headed for the door, still not saying a word.
"I hope your head feels better soon, Bruce." My mother said,
getting up to let him out, giving me a look that said, Can't you say
something nice to him too before he goes. I pretended not to
understand what she meant.
I knew I'd be hearing more from my mother, so I just stayed where I
was. Mother shut the door and stood facing it for a long time. She
slowly turned around and looked at me and started to laugh. I checked
her expression and knew it was safe to laugh with her. It felt so good
to release my guilt and tension. We laughed so hard tears were rolling
down our cheeks. She sat down next to me still laughing, wiping her
eyes with the corner of her apron.
"I had an arm like that at one time too." She told me. "I could
throw hard and fast and I always struck out the boys when I pitched.
Just don't throw any more rocks. You could have put out his eye." The
last sentence was said in a serious tone, the one she used for her
'lessons', and I told her I wouldn't, just as seriously.
She hugged me and I knew she felt I had been punished enough by my
own guilt and conscience. She took my hand and pulled me up. "Come out
to the kitchen now. Let's have a piece of warm berry cobbler!"
© DOREEN BRADLEY SATTER 2003
PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL WRITING DONE BY DOREEN BRADLEY
SATTER ON THIS AND ANY OF MY OTHER PAGES IS COPYRIGHTED -- NOTHING MAY
BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT MY EXPLICIT CONSENT
IF YOU HAVE ENJOYED THIS STORY AND YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE A COPY OF
MY BOOK, "THE GRANDMOTHER STORIES"
ORDER BOOK HERE:
"THE GRANDMOTHER STORIES"
By Doreen Bradley Satter