Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Work of Fiction - Part Three

Note: The following is a fictional story. It does not depict my life, and any similarity to anyone either living or deceased is purely coincidental.

In case you missed previous posts,
Find Part One here 
Part Two is here

And so it began, my long journey with Priscilla.

She was punished by her father for her previous deed – that of luring a mere baby into the street. She never repeated that type of behavior again. Instead, she often came across the street to our house and she and I played in my backyard. She was kind, well-behaved and earned the respect and admiration of Mama, my grandmother, who raised me after my Mommie died.

As I became older, I was allow visits to her home and over time, became a regular presence there.

I was too young to remember many specific details of our early days together, but I do recall one seminal event – her 8th birthday party. I would have been six.

That was when Dr. Truley presented his daughter the little white cottage that became The Summer House. He commissioned it built and delivered to the mansion as Priscilla’s surprise birthday present.

I recall that late afternoon and early evening party so vividly. Lights were strung throughout the huge and ancient oak trees that shaded Truley mansion.  Tables and chairs were brought in and set up on the back lawn to accommodate the numerous invited guests; a special table was reserved for the mound of gifts brought by children and adults alike who attended the party. It was an event like no other I had ever experienced.

A bevy of maids in black dresses and white aprons served hot dogs to the children and fried catfish and hush puppies to the adults. There was grape Kool-Aid in Dixie cups and bottles of Coca-Cola in a tub of ice. A huge white cake with pink flowers and eight sparklers atop it was rolled out on a cart to the delight of the squealing children. There was peach ice cream dipped from buckets of hand-turned ice cream makers.

But most of all I remember the unveiling of the little white cottage Dr. Truley presented to Priscilla, and how she immediately christened it the Summer House. What a special and lovely thing it was, nestled among the trees, every detail attended to including red geraniums in the window box. 

All I hoped was that she would in time allow me inside her private sanctum.


Mama said in later years it was the biggest bash the town had ever seen. “And all that for a child's party,” she would exclaim in exasperation. But this was Priscilla, the only daughter of old Dr. Truley and any indulgence he showered on her was simply accepted as a privilege afforded an old man in his declining years.

And he was, after all, still recovering from his traumatic experience with Priscilla’s mother, Constance.

His first wife -- the mother of his five older sons -- died in 1940 and the grieving widower was soon ensnared by Constance Bradley, a local girl who started working at Bennett’s Drug Store dipping ice cream following her high school graduation. She was younger than his own sons and definitely not in the Truley social circle. 

She was pretty in a cheap and gaudy way; her clothes were too tight; her heels too high; her red lipstick too thick. Her stocking seams were crooked, she constantly chewed gum, smoked cigarettes and talked too much, mostly about the movies she'd seen.

Constance had been telling anyone who would listen that she planned on joining up with the Women's Army Corp soon “just to get out of this one horse town."

Fate, however, dealt her a different hand. The grieving Dr. Truley often stopped by the drugstore after seeing his last patient. His walk home took him past the drugstore and he liked to stop in to have a friendly chat with his friend, the pharmacist. They would sit at one of the back tables and to have a chat over a fountain Coke, always served by Constance.

It started, so they said, when she lingered too long at the table, making small talk with the doctor. She was seen more than once reaching over to pat his hand as she served his Coke. Leaving the table, she was reported to have brushed against him on more than one occasion.

The next thing anyone knew the two had gone off to Iuka and got married. The townspeople were shocked. A gold digger, some said. Tricked, others whispered, as they marked their calendars. It was agreed by all that the good doctor had definitely married beneath himself.


Life went on and everyone hoped that Constance would make him a good wife. Things seemed to be working out and Dr. Truley seemed his happy self once more. His happiness seemed completed when he announced to friends that he and Constance were expecting a child.

His married sons and their wives snorted with disgust. The townspeople clucked, consulted their calendars, said “I told you so” and waited.

Dr. Truley was delighted when, in 1944, Constance presented him with a beautiful girl child seven months after the marriage. He himself delivered the child and named her Priscilla, after her great-great-great-grandmother, the first woman to live at the Truley mansion.


After raising five sons, a baby daughter brought Dr. Truley much joy and happiness. Nothing was too good for his Priscilla. He often took the baby out in the stroller during the cool of the early evening, rolling her along the streets of the small town, stopping to chat with friends and receive their glowing compliments about his beautiful baby daughter.

Constance mostly kept inside the house, although she often was seen driving away in the late morning and not returning until late in the day, before her husband arrived home.

It was not long after Priscilla's birth that Constance hired a live-in housekeeper, although she was told by Constance that her primary duty was tending to the baby. Mrs. Mary Maycomb, recently widowed and sorely in need of an income, was more than happy to be engaged to raise the child.

The Truly’s longtime maid, Annie Sue, continued her duties of keeping the house sparkling clean, Delia the cook made three meals each day and old Miles the gardener toiled daily to keep the lawn manicured and the flower beds free of weeds.

Over time Constance became careless, often staggering into the house smelling of alcohol and looking disheveled long after Dr. Truly had been served his dinner. Then one day the housekeeper told one of her friends there had been an awful row, after which Constance packed her bags and drove away in a cloud of smoke. Within a few days everyone in town knew she was gone.

But not a living soul ever heard the story from Dr. Truley’s lips. He suddenly looked older and sadder, but the sight of his daughter could light up his eyes in a way nothing else could.


The child Priscilla grew strong and happy under the care of Mrs. Maycomb and Constance was soon forgotten by everyone. Her name was never again uttered in Truley Mansion. be continued.


  1. Great storytelling! Can't wait for next chapter.
    what a creative mind! Keep it going...please. sounds like a great book!!

    1. I'm sure it's going to go on for awhile, but I have now posted the last segment to appear on my blog. I am very happy you like it.

  2. Sanda, this is getting really interesting - I think you are writing a novel for us! Wonderful to see the plot unfold..

    1. OHHH, I'm not sure I have the wherewithal to stick with all the writing it takes to get to a full-fledged novel. But we'll see!

  3. Enjoyed finding out a bit more about the characters. I need that background even if some (like maybe Constance) might not play a major roll in the completed story. Of course you could surprise us and bring her back, LOL!


  4. I have my work cut out for me in developing the characters I've introduced! Got to make it all come together in a meaningful way. Got to make a chart to keep everything straight, i.e., who did what when!!


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