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A Friend Request…

Excerpt from “A Friend Request”, sequel novel to “Uncommon Bond”


… “I remember as a child lying in bed at night
Covers over my head, listening to them fight.
And I always wondered when I heard my name
If I was the cause or if I was to blame?”

The only real home I remember as a young child was the light green house, trimmed in white on East Carroll Street. My mom, older sister, Carla and I settled there after moving from the tiny town of Weldon to Macomb sometime during the summer of 1955 after my dad died. We lived there four years. The longest time I ever lived anywhere as a child.

My sister, Carla, nine years older than me, knew a lot more about life than I did at five or six. I would learn from her years later that our mom spent months in bed after my dad died and that we lived in several apartments before the green house on East Carroll. I don’t recall those other places we lived. I just remember the green house.

I remember the street address and phone number there—1002 East Carroll Street, Amherst 2-7222—and the front porch swing suspended on rusty chains from the ceiling where my sister and I swung on hot, muggy Midwest evenings, listening to the buzzing of the cicadas and the creaking of the swing, back and forth.

The small, five-room house had a kitchen, living room, a dining room that served as my bedroom, two other bedrooms and a bathroom. The living room had two southern facing windows that overlooked a graveled alley. My mom grew pink and purple lacy violets in clay pots on those southern windowsills. I remember those beautiful violets.

The narrow alley separated our small, single-story house from the brick, two-story directly across from us. I learned over the years the brick two-story house served as a slaughterhouse and meat market, grocery store and finally an apartment building, catering mostly to single men.

Carla and I used to scour the alley between our house and the apartment building on Saturday and Sunday mornings looking for money the drunks dropped as they exited the cabs late at night, heading home from the bars. We always managed to find something, mostly loose change, but sometimes dollar bills.

We would take our new-found wealth, walk two blocks to a little neighborhood market and spend it all on things we never had at home—Seven-Up candy bars, Topps baseball cards with gum, Hostess Cupcakes and Snowballs, giant dill pickles, slices of boiled ham, ice cream drum sticks and bottles of Dr. Pepper—depending on how much we found. We stuffed it all down on the slow walk home until we were sick some times.

We never told anyone. It was our secret. A secret between sisters.

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