Friday Fictioneers: The Visitors

I’m just under the wire this week for Friday Fictioneers! Rochelle gave us an interesting photo prompt for this week’s 100(ish) word stories – I tried to use all or most of the items in it in one way or another. Let me know what you think, please!

006The Visitors

I was under the table coloring the funny pages that December afternoon in 1938 when Papa got the letter. “Ruth, Sol, the children! They’re all coming!”

Mama called from the kitchen. “Ruth? Coming here, finally? When?”

“The boat should dock, wait, where’s the calendar, next Tuesday! I’ll close the store, meet them, make them see sense and stay…”

I had never seen my aunt and uncle and cousins until Papa whirled them into our apartment. Aunt Ruth dived into her bags and came out with a big bundle, unwrapping it carefully.

Papa’s jaw dropped. “Ruth! Grandmama’s menorah! But…you said, just a visit…”

Aunt Ruth gave him a grim smile. “Well, we’re not going back.”

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39 responses to “Friday Fictioneers: The Visitors

  1. oh a happy story. I like this. “until Papa whirled them into our apartment” –a favorite line.

    • It’s such a very grim time in history…but some people did make it out, so I told that story instead. I’m glad you like the “whirling” line – as usual, the first draft was much longer, and I think it really fits Papa’s characterization in the longer version.

  2. Glad they made it out!! It’s going to be interesting to see how they all fit together until/if the visitors can find a place to live. I hope it all works.

    • Thanks! My prediction is a honeymoon period with Aunt Ruth’s family on their best behavior, and the various children excited to meet each other, and the narrator’s parents utterly relieved that Ruth (who is Papa’s sister) and her family are safe. Then, of course, some friction…but I think within a year or so they’ll all have found ways to adjust. All the more so once the war starts – partly because that will make jobs much easier to find – but of course they’ll have to wait for early 1942 for that safety valve. (The narrator and family live in New York.)

  3. you brought out a positive energy field around this home and family…i love the great hope your characters have. thanks for sharing. ❤

  4. It was nice to remember that some people did manage to get out beforehand. You captured that beautifully Sharon.

    • Thank you! I just wasn’t in the mood to write a tragedy, partly because I just came across a synopsis of a horrifically grim and realistic Holocaust story, and yet the old-style phone seemed to push my imagination into that time period.

  5. I hope you continue this Sharon, a great story.

    • Thanks, Gilly – I’m not sure whether I will or not. I have the mental outline of a fairly large plot, but since I’m not Jewish I don’t at all trust myself to get the details right.

  6. When writing these little stories you have to get to know the characters quickly and in depth. How else can you tell it in 100 words and convey a character like Papa’s in one whirling word.

    • That’s what I love (and hate) about the length restriction – it forces me to find the very best words to show all of you the people and situation. (Though I have to admit that “whirling” was part of the pre-first draft, one of the first phrases that popped up as I started to think out the story. But there were a lot of limp, unnecessary phrases in the earliest version, as well as bits and pieces I didn’t have room to flesh out here.)

  7. Dear Sharon,
    Sounds like a much bigger story. I’d love to see how it plays out. In any case, I’m happy the relatives made it out. Nice one this week.
    Shalom,
    Rochelle

    • Thank you, Rochelle! This really is a tiny snippet from the middle of the plot that took form as I thought about that photo – partly the backstory of Papa and Aunt Ruth, and then the family adjustments after Ruth’s family arrives in the U.S. Trouble is, coming up with plots is easy. Finding time to write them out is very very hard.

      And yes, I couldn’t stand to leave the relatives there. (To me, the Crayolas pushed the setting to the U.S., and the old phone pushed the date to the thirties, and of course the menorah demanded Jewish characters. And the faded photo suggested memories of people who haven’t been seen in person for a long time. So you gave me all the pieces right in the picture, I just arranged them a little.)

  8. I was wondering where you were…at the bottom of the list but at the top of the stories. Nice happy take on a dark time. Well done Sharon!
    Tom

    • Thank you, Tom! Partly I wanted a happy ending because the crayons seemed to call for the story to be set in the US, not Germany or eastern Europe, and partly because I didn’t think I could write anything fresh about the awfulness. Let it be an offstage menace this time.

  9. I didn’t count, and I’ll forgive any (ish)… super powerful 100 word story! I am impressed.

  10. The end really hits you. You realize how important one of these items can be, a family treasure. I really enjoyed this. Great storytelling, Sharon. – Amy

  11. Such a lot in 100 words. Great

  12. Thanks for your comment about my story and nice to meet you! I like that you used ALL the props (I didn’t)! And created a historical story. With a bittersweet ending. Ann

    • Nice to meet you, too, Ann! I don’t really know how I wound up using all the props – that’s just how the first hint of the story bobbed up to the surface of my mind 🙂 As for the ending, well, I really wasn’t in the mood for writing tragedy this week. So I didn’t.

  13. Hi Sharon,
    Good story of family love, reunion and remembrance. Ron

    • Thanks, Ron! Part of the omitted backstory is that Papa has been trying to get his sister’s family to leave Germany for four or five years, so he’s very surprised and relieved that they finally listened.

  14. More, More I want to know more. This is a wonderful start for a longer story.

  15. yes this makes me wanna know what comes next ^^ good story

    • Thank you! And you know, I don’t think I’ve ever had so many comments asking for more of a story – combined with the fact that I actually do have the outline of a novel-length plot about these people in my head, it may be time to start doing background research so that I can write the whole thing.

  16. that sounds like a great day for everyone in the house. well done.

  17. Very nice story. The inspiration creeps up on you!

  18. Very nice to see a happy end here.

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