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Summertime: A Sad Story

A story by Veronica M. Berrill



When I was eleven years old, my mom, dad, sister and I went to the mountains to vacation with friends and relatives. It was such great fun to play and to splash with the other kids in the swimming hole near our cottages. After a very active morning and a hearty lunch the girls sat with the women in a shady spot to work on their crocheting or embroidery. It was a lovely time as the ladies told us funny stories about their youth. We laughed a lot while we bonded in a new way with our mothers’ generation. One of the women, Marie, was married to Joe, and they had two boys. Marie was really pretty, and she told cute stories about her childhood. She was married to Joe who was gregarious and so generous that he cooked for the whole gang. We didn’t know he had dark side until the third day of our sewing circle. Marie came to the group with eyes swollen from crying. I surreptitiously glanced at her knowing not to stare as she sat, head down, totally humiliated, twisting a wet handkerchief, in place of her crocheting. Later, I pestered my mother as to what had happened. She finally sat me down, held my hand and explained that Joe had had a raging temper tantrum and forbade Marie to do any needlework. I was so puzzled, I kept asking WHY? WHY? She told me that he is so jealous of Marie that he couldn’t stand her enjoyment and intimacy with our group. He had to shame her and show her his power. I wondered why the other men didn’t tell him he shouldn’t be that way, and mom explained that no one would interfere between husband and wife. This was an eye opener for me as I had seen nothing but respect between my parents. I was startled and sad. The vacation went on – Joe cooked, kids played and we sewed every afternoon [except for Marie]. My eleven year old heart lost some innocence that summer.

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