Thursday, May 27, 2010



C 2004 By Gracie Prior

The Scribblers had such fun walking to the pool each day. Sometimes they sang funny camp songs like ‘She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain When She Comes’, sometimes they played twenty questions, sometimes I spy, and occasionally they would talk of the club.

The sky was so blue as they entered Westlake Park and Pool. Mary checked into the girls’ side and got her suit on. She used a locker to put most of her things in. She kept her towel and suntan oil. She looked at the duck pin on her blue bathing suit and thought it looked cute. She was a little nervous about going out in her suit, but it was shirred in front and fit well. She took a deep breath and went outside. Terry and Butch were waiting on the bench. “You guys are so quick. Where’s Jimmy.”

“We threw him in the pool already,” Butch said.

“Mary’s mouth was open in astonishment for only a moment. “Oh, you,” she said.

Jimmy walked out and squinted at the sun. He was very white, so white that he almost looked ill. Mary tried not to notice. “Here you are. Let’s go put out towels down and go in.”

They all found grass by the food stand and lay their beach towels side by side in a neat row. Terry’s was next to the pool, and then Mary, Jimmy and Butch near the food stand.

“I am going to go ahead and do a few laps,” Terry said. “You comin’ Butch?”

“Sure thing,” He and Terry walked over to the deep edge and then one, two, they dove in.

Mary put on her oil. "Do you want some of this Jimmy? You might burn if you don’t.” She was truly worried about his fair skin.

“OK, but you put it on. I hate the feel of oily hands.”

Mary put a lot on his back, neck, face, and arms. “You have to do your front and legs. That’s icky.” She waited. “Go on.”

Jimmy did put it on. "I didn't think you cared," he said.

The two of them walked to the deep end. “Can you dive in, Jimmy?”

“Of course I can. What do you think I am, a sissy?” Jimmy held his hands in front of him, then took one and held his nose. Then he put them back together and sort of fell in. There was a big splash of water.

Mary laughed and clapped. “Very good form.” She dove in and swam to the shallow end. Jimmy was already there. Then they splashed and did headstands and turned somersaults and totally forgot Terry and Butch. When they went to their towels, Terry and Butch were dried off and eating candy bars.

“You didn’t wait for us,” Mary said. “How rude.”

“I’ll get you something, Mary,” Jimmy said. He walked over and got two Snickers bars.

“Jimmy, you are a true gentleman,” Mary said.

Jimmy blushed so much that he finally had a little color on him.

When Mary was in the changing room, she couldn’t help thinking what a loving person Jimmy was becoming. Or was he always that way? Oh, she still had a crush on Terry and admired Butch; he was such a guy. But Jimmy was unique in all the world.


Dear Louisa,

This was my first day at the pool. It was such fun. We all just laughed and swam and splashed. I am the luckiest girl in the world. What other girl has not one, not two, but three boyfriends? And to top it all off, I now have Bitty, my own. The boys are coming to revival. Jimmy’s mom is helping to drive. His dad is furious, but she is taking a stand and doing this for Jimmy. I’m so proud of her. Daddy is glad they are coming. We have to have Brother Mercer in our home for the week. Mommy will be so busy. I promised to help with Bitty. The boys will help, too. They just don’t know it yet. I can’t wait to see how Jimmy likes Brother Mercer and the whole revival thing. He has read John’s entire Gospel now and he said it was the best story he ever read. Brother Mercer will make it real for him. I know he will.

(See you next week.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010



C 2004 By Gracie Prior

The little spat between the Scribblers lasted about two weeks. During that time, Mary did baby sitting a lot and the others got end of the year schoolwork done. When the fight was over, it all seemed very silly. So foolish was it that none could remember how it had started. They all vowed a breakdown like that would never happen again. If anyone had a gripe, it was to be told immediately and dealt with.

The weather was getting warm and summer vacation was on all the group’s minds. Mary sat at one of the chairs at Havenword. She had a card of little yellow ducky diaper pins and was passing them out. “So these are just to announce our club, not to get new members right now. We may want to be well known so that we can get more writing jobs, like the one we got for the Sesquicentennial. So, what days do you go to the pool?”

“I thought we agreed no duckies,” Butch said.

“But these are very cute,” Mary answered. “Back to the pool, please.”

“We generally go to the pool every day in the summer. We get up early and do chores and spend the afternoon at the pool. Oh bring sun tan oil. That leaves evenings for TV and our club meetings,” Butch said.

“In case you guys care, the script is coming along great,” Jimmy said. We just have to check out a few details and then submit it to the official Sesquicentennial committee.”

“Then we’ll get called to start practice on the acting,” Terry said. “At least if our play is accepted, that is.”

“We have two days of school left. Then we start the schedule, with the pool and all?” Mary asked.

“Correct, Deary. We’ll all walk down together. It’s right by the pond where you fell in, Mary. “Oops, did you forget that?”

“I will never forget it Jimmy, because that’s when I realized what great friends I had and that my mom and dad actually liked you.”

“I have one more item on the agenda,” Butch said. “We need to clean this place up. The files have gotten messed up and the games have pieces missing. Let’s use a club day to work on the clubhouse, maybe paint it up.”

“Sure thing,” Terry agreed. “This is our Haven. We want it to stay that way and not turn into Pig Haven.”

“Any more comments before we adjourn? Anything else to do this summer?” Butch asked.

He was about to gavel the meeting to a close when Mary spoke up. “My dad is going to have a big tent revival at the fairgrounds in July. I’d love it if all you guys would come and support him.”

It got very quiet in the clubhouse. “What is a big tent revival? Is it some kind of circus?” Terry asked.

“Oh, no. It’s where a guest preacher comes and stays for about a week and gives a series of talks. It’s an old fashioned get-together. Sort of like outdoor church.”

“Then we’ll be there,” Jimmy said. The others just looked at him quizzically and back at Mary.

Mary smiled and said, “Then it’s settled.”

(Come back next week for summer fun.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010



C 2004 By Gracie Prior

It was June already and Butch’s household was in an uproar. Aunt Marabella and Cousin Connie were arriving soon to check out a new home since Uncle Herb left them. Butch’s room was turned into a very girly place. His mom had put up pink curtains and adorned the bed with a white chenille bedspread with pink roses. All Butch’s pennants were off the walls. He really didn’t care, but to be put out of his own room was a real sore point.

“Why do I have to sleep in this tiny closet?” he asked his mom. There’s hardly room to move and I might bump my head on this corner ceiling thing.”

“Butch, you know there’s no where else to put company in this house.”

“Then why did you have to invite them?” Don’t I count for anything?”

Mom briskly worked on the dishes while Butch played with his pencil at the table. His homework was overdue and he didn’t care. Let someone else get theirs in on time. He was tired of being perfect. Being good got you nowhere. Not in this family. “Well, why do they?”

“Do they what?”

“Why do they have to come here? They don’t even live in this state.”

That’s just it, Butch. There’s no one in Pennsylvania for them to stay with. Marabella has no other sisters and no brothers. Where can she go?”

“Beats me.” Butch looked at his math book and tried to concentrate. He was good at the times/distance/rate type problems and he gave them his all. Soon the paper was finished.

“I’m going to bed. I don’t want to watch TV tonight.”

* * *

Butch entered the Scribblers meeting with a red face and his hands in fists. Whenever Jimmy or Mary or Terry said anything about their new script, he just grumbled. The first draft and final chapter of the play was almost done. The group finally made a decision. That was to include all the forms of transportation they could get in the play: walkers, horse and carriage, bicycle, scooter, and small car.

“Now we will all go over the script, make corrections and suggestions and pool our ideas. I’ll do the pooling. I like to do it,” Jimmy said.

“Why does Jimmy get to do all the finished stuff?” Butch asked. “I want to put it all together.”

“Jimmy always does it,” Terry said. “Always has. Why break the record?”

“I don’t want to do it, but maybe Jimmy and Butch could do it together,” Mary suggested.

“Awe, forget it. I don’t care. You do it Jimmy.” Butch went to the lawn chair and slumped down.

The rest of the Scribblers organized the papers and gave them to Jimmy. “Let’s go guys,” Terry said. “Say are you going to join the swimming pool this year, Mary? We always get memberships and have a blast.”

“I’ll ask my mom and dad. Sounds great. Wouldn’t it be fun to keep our club going at the pool? We could wear badges or something. I know. We could use those cute blue and pink safety pins like Bitty has on her diapers.”

“I don’t see the point,” Jimmy said. “Why do we want to wear pins?”

“That way people will ask us about them and we can tell them about our club. We can be on the lookout for new members.”

“I think the pins are fine, that’s kind of kooky, but we don’t need any new members. I like things the way they are,” Butch announced from his corner. “Thought you guys were leaving.”

“We are,” Terry said.

“What’s with him?” Mary asked.

Butch knew he’d rubbed his friends the wrong way when he heard Mary ask.

“Butchie has a lot on his mind right now,” Terry defended him. “Ease up, Mary.”

“Who made you boss?” Butch asked.

“We need a break from each other,” Jimmy piped in.

When they were all gone, Butch lay down on the floor rug and cried.

(Next week: summer doings.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chapter XXIX. Tiny Treasure


C 2004 By Gracie Prior

Dear Louisa,

I saw Elizabeth today. She is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. No, really. She is pink and small, but not wrinkly. She has bluish eyes, but Mom says all babies have blue eyes. Her hair is like mine, but darker and redder. I got to hold her. She looked at me and threw her arm at my face. Mom and Dad are so happy. I guess they always wanted a big family. Well, two girls are nice. I am so tired. I’ll have to write more later. Mary.

* * *

Mary was sitting in the large green chair in the living room when the doorbell rang. She was holding Bitty so she let Mom get the door. Mom was moving slowly, but she said she felt good. After three rings, Mom opened the door and there stood Jimmy, with flowers naturally, Terry with a card and Butch with a small gift. Mrs. Brewster invited them in. “How nice to see you boys. Come right on in.”

“You can come see the baby,” Mary said. “Just don’t get too close.”

“Mary, the boys won’t hurt the baby,” Mom said. “You can look all you want.”

The boys gave Mrs. Brewster their gifts and sat down looking at Mary and Bitty. “She looks just like you, Mary,” Jimmy said as if in awe.

“Yeah, she’s very pretty. Only not as pretty as you, Mary, of course.” Terry gave Mary a side smile as if in jest, but Mary took the compliment to her heart.

"My mom says babies can’t smile. Has she smiled at you yet? If she does, it’s just gas, so don’t get too excited.” Butch reached out his hand to touch the baby’s hair and then drew it back. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a new baby up close like this.” He was acting nervous as if he wanted to get more involved, but didn’t know how.

“Mom, I think Butch wants to hold the baby. Is that O.K.?”

“No, I don’t.” Butch lied.

“That’s perfectly fine. Mary, you show him how to support the head and all.”

Butch sat on the green ribbed couch and Mary got up carefully and placed the baby in his arms. The baby raised her arms out wide and up. Then she settled down and looked at his face. Butch looked carefully at Bitty. “Mary, she smiled at me! She did. I saw it.”

“Awe Butch, that’s gas, remember?" Jimmy reached out his finger and the baby grasped it. “See that? She likes me.”

Terry didn’t want to be outdone. He started to sing Turra Lurra Lurra, the song he loved to sing to his own sister. Bitty spoke. “Snorfle, snorfle,” she said.

Mrs. Brewster came in and took Elizabeth. “Time to feed Bethie. It was so nice of you boys to come. Thank you for the gifts. And come and see her anytime. Mary’s going to be spending a lot of time with her. So please excuse her from some of the meetings for awhile.”

* * *

Dr. Quentin,

It’s so unreal. Here’s my dad who just got past a really scary coughing sickness. Now the baby comes on a trail of goodness. Mary was such a trooper in the gym show. Her reward was that she got through it without even one swat. And my tumbling is so great. I feel like the wind when I jump and turn. Things are going so well. What’s that the minister says? “Count your blessings.” Summer is coming. I have three of the best friends anyone could want. Our play is coming along great and we’ll get to act in it, too. This time is so special. Some day we’ll all scatter here and there. But right now, there is light and not darkness and I will rejoice. Terry

(Next week: what is going on in Butch's world?)