Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miss Appleton

Shirley Appleton woke up and stretched. Her alarm clock was chirping with the sounds of KGLD, the local golden oldies station.
It was exactly 6:00 a.m., and it was Tuesday, which meant it would be a good day.
"Rockin' robin, tweet, tweet, tweet," Shirley sang along softly as she sat up and gingerly stretched first her legs, then her neck, then her back.
She certainly couldn't bounce out of bed the way she had when she was a youngster, but she was happy to be getting up with a purpose. Tuesday and Thursday were the days she volunteered at Madison Jr. High, and the semi-weekly interaction with the staff and students kept her feeling young at heart.
Making her way to the kitchen, Shirley noted that the crack in the linoleum by the fridge had become more pronounced. Oh, well. She put the observation into the back of her mind while she stirred up a pot of oatmeal on the stove, and thought instead about what her task might be at the school that day. Sometimes she worked in the office, and that was her favorite. As she filed and sorted mail she could listen in on the conversations of the students as they wandered by or stopped in with their tardy slips.
The bookstore was another place she regularly worked, usually in the company of a student aide. The bookstore was a little less lively, and therefore not her first choice, but she did enjoy getting to know the students she worked with.
Less frequently she was asked to help individual teachers in their classrooms, usually during their prep period, putting up bulletin boards or whittling down the endless piles of papers to be graded.
A former English teacher herself, Shirley could be counted on to help in any way, and to complete her tasks with accuracy and attention to detail.
She smiled contentedly as she sprinkled a little brown sugar over the sticky mound of oatmeal in her bowl.
"Maybe a little cream today," she thought to herself. "After all, it is a Tuesday."

* * * * * *
Wyatt groaned, looking up from the cash register and out the window that separated the bookstore from the hallway beyond it.
"What?" Jenna asked, turning from the t-shirts she was straightening.
"It's Miss Appleton," Wyatt said.
"So?"
"So, we can't have any fun when she's here. 'Everything must be ship-shape,'" he mimicked.
Jenna giggled. "Poor baby, can't hang keychains from your ears or build mechanical pencil teepees today."
"Hey, I've got to pass the time somehow," he said, rolling up the sleeve of his t-shirt and examining his right bicep while he talked.
Shirley walked in just at that moment, raising an eyebrow at Wyatt.
"Good morning, young Mr. Langford," she said. "I trust your arms are in good working order today."
Not the type to be easily abashed, Wyatt responded without hesitation. "I don't know, Miss Appleton," he said. "I'm a little worried that my right bicep might be a little bigger than the left one. What do you think?" He flexed both arms for her, showing off the muscles he'd developed lifting weights for football.
Never one to be flustered herself, Shirley took her time examining the proffered muscles before responding demurely, "Dear me, I believe you may be right. Perhaps you better start writing left-handed and see if you can't correct that deficiency."
Jenna snickered and Shirley winked at her as she came around behind the counter and went to work, straightening and dusting things that were already straight and dust-free.

6 comments:

Connie (and Tony) said...

Is this a snipet from....THE BOOK? I want more!

Signe said...

Holy Smoke! I cannot believe how good this is. I agree that you need to get busy and post some more--or get the book published.

The Crider Clan said...

Wow Lecia! Great writing! I definitely want to read the rest...is it a book? I'm impressed!

Lecia said...

This is not The Book, but I got discouraged when I read through my first (finished!) rough draft of the book :( It was awful! In an effort to avoid sitting down to fix it, I started something new. Great, now I have two books to work on!

Thanks for your encouragement, it gives me the motivation to get back to work.

Connie (and Tony) said...

I was hoping you answered my question. TWO books! That's amazing! You really are such a talented writer

patti said...

Why did you stop? You left us hanging!!! Get busy girl! I want to know what comes next.
Absolutely loved it!