Monday, September 05, 2011

Laurel - The Girl Who Read Books

"Perhaps, that is the crux of the issue, maybe that is the story that needs telling, the story of she who has everything right here in her lap and still feels jilted, deprived because somehow earlier in life there was not enough."

          The second grader marched through the marble halls of the massive elementary school. On her way to the library, she was. Books made her happy. They were her refuge against the world when it was missing cosy. Cosy existed high in the elm tree in her aunt Delores' front yard. There was very little grass growing beneath the huge elm, the shade from the tree somehow kept grasses from blooming in that space in the old Flint working class neighborhood.

It was a book that she kept stored in her pocket when she climbed up to the crook in the tree level with the chimney in their frame house, the home of her mother’s brother and sister in law.

 There were two other children living in the house, Phyllis and Karen; they didn’t read much. Happy girls, social girls, they were more apt to be found with dolls, cut out paper dolls playing in the bedroom. Her aunt Delores was ever sure just how to handle Laurel. She was a quiet child, right in between her two daughters in age. The three children shared a bedroom, a bedroom the two Smith girls might have had to themselves if their cousin hadn’t arrived on the scene. They tolerated Laurel, but she seemed strange; quiet and a bit introverted.  She read books all the time, even in between chores.

Laurel was caught in the throes of Little Women or Annie York, Girl Detective. Her aunt had called the girls in to set the table, to feed the dog before Laurel had finished the chapter where she was caught in an attic, about to discover some amazing clue to solve the mystery of The Tallest Elm.

           When it was time to wash dishes after supper, Laurel might be found sitting still at her place at the table, having pulled her book out of the back pocket of her denims, reading while the adults finished their meal.  The other two girls would long ago have been excused from the table to return to their paper dolls in the bedroom. Lavishly redressing their pretty cut outs, the girls manufactured parties and adventures for their dolls, interacting in the most boisterous social manner.