C 2004 By Gracie Prior
Mrs. Mable Anderson sat under a wide green and white striped umbrella that was in the midst of a cement patio. Her hair was snow white. Her dress was white lace over pink satin. Butch thought the old lady was over dressed for the occasion. She looked very nice though, much younger than ninety. The Scribblers walked baby steps down the big hill, escorted to her table by a servant. “Mrs. Anderson, I am Butch NcNeil and these are my friends who are writing a script for the Sesquicentennial.”
Mary, Terry, and Jimmy came over and shook Mrs. Anderson’s hand. Jimmy gave her a lovely bouquet of spring flowers wrapped in green paper. “These are for you, My Lady,” he said.
Mrs. Mable turned a warm smile on Jimmy. “Why how lovely they are, young man.” She waved to the servant. “Adele, please put these in water and bring them right back. We shall get them spruced up so we can all enjoy them. Now then, children, what can I do for you? Please sit down and we’ll have a chat.”
They all sat down and Mary answered, “My mother, Mrs. Donald Brewster, called to ask if we could talk to you about your experiences in Harrisburg. What was it like to see the first cars? How have things changed? Tell us little stories about the businesses that would interest the town.” Mary had her notebook ready to take notes and the others followed suit.
“The first car.” Mrs. Anderson smiled and paused. “It was such a quiet little town when I was a girl. My sister and I walked from our house at the edge of town to the general store that is right where Murdock’s is now. We saved our money for a long time and bought a little bag of peppermint candy for a few pennies. It lasted a long time. Sometimes our mother would give us a list and we took a big canvas bag and got groceries for her. We always enjoyed the walk back. Once we got home, there were chores to do. Going to the big store was like a holiday for us.
I remember Mr. Farmer, the banker, was the first person in town to get that new fangled contraption called a car. It went up and down the streets making more noise than had ever been heard in these parts before. Great puffs of smoke came out the back, and it rumbled and shook and near scared the dickens out of Sister Maude and me. But in time, more cars came and we all did finally get used to the new monsters. I never drove one myself, but little Maude was a brave girl and when she was older, she gave in and got one.”
Mrs. Mable sipped her lemonade like the ones Adele had brought them all. The flowers made the table a visual feast.
The children listened and took notes for several hours till Mrs. Maude was tired and Adele said they had to go, but could come back at any time.
* * *
Today was so cool. We met an old lady who was just amazing. She talked on and on about the old times in Harrisburg. I think she liked all of us. We’ll be going back again for more stories. We want to be sure we get all the good stuff she knows. We definitely want to work that noisy rattly car into our play. I just love that part.
Mom and Dad have been getting on my nerves lately. Even though we have the club and privacy, all I get when I go into the house is, “What did you do in your club today?” If we wanted them to know, we wouldn’t need a clubhouse. Not that we have anything to hide. We’re good as gold. It’s just - it would be nice to be treated that way. Suspicious grownups. I’ve had it up to here (note Diary Man I’m pointing to my head.) Mrs. Frumpstead brought cookies as a way to spy on us. Mary figured it out. I thought she was just being nice. Not much gets by Mary. Too bad she’s hung up on Terry. Still, I’m glad we’re all such good friends. I know she would do anything for me. She would. Butch