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Louise steps into a bread line in the middle of a dusty Texas town, the last thing she expects to find is a filthy hobo-boy taking pity on her. But when Cliff offers her his last piece of change, a worthless wooden nickel, her life changes forever. The Depression era coin proves to be worth far more than the five cents etched beside the wooden buffalo as it becomes a symbol of faith, hope and love, weaving in and out of their lives time and time again.
Louise liked to take the wooden treasure out of its music box before bedtime. After she put her cotton nightgown on she would remove it from the bookshelf and sit on the edge of her bed. How many times had she held it between her fingers and closed her eyes, remembering the day he had placed it in her hand and closed her fingers around it? How many years had gone by now? Over half a century, yet she could still feel his strong hand close over hers. She even remembered the holes in his mittens and how dingy his face had looked, smudged with soot and dirt from the train he had stowed away on for so many nights. She had never seen a more handsome face in all her life and though she was only eleven years old, her breath had caught at the sight of him.
Louise picked up the weathered diary that sat forever beside its companion, the wooden nickel. The lace of her nightgown caught on the tattered pages as she flipped to the first page. Tears filled her eyes, smearing the words as she read her own writing.
October 1, 1933
I know I haven’t written in a long time, but I just had to write today. I was standing in a bread line today with my little sister, Ida. Pa carried us to town to buy more supplies. He had to buy some more seeds for the garden, so he dropped me and my sister off to stand in line while he went to the general store. We didn’t even know what the line was for, but like mama says, If there’s a line, get in it. So we did.
I don’t even know what all the fuss is about anyhow. I know the stock market crashed and it has to do with a lot of money. Most folks lost everything, but it seems as though we didn’t have anything to begin with. When you have nothing to lose, you come out better in the long run. That’s how I see it anyhow and that’s how Pa sees it. I was born poor and I don’t think we are any poorer than we were before Black Tuesday, just more people talk about it is all, but Pa says we have a lot more than most folks and somehow, we get by just fine.
We stood in line for half an hour maybe. I noticed these two boys behind me. They kept scuffling and the taller one kept pushing the shorter one around, but he wasn’t shorter by much. Maybe an inch or two. I gathered that they were brothers, but I’m still not sure. I had my own problems to deal with. Ida started getting real fussy and asking about Pa. She started crying and acting like a baby. Even though she’s almost seven now, she acts about half her age half the time. She kept saying she was hungry. I tried to give her my apple, but she’s so picky. Mama says we’re too poor to be picky, but Ida could care less. She’d soon enough starve. I think the boy heard us and felt sorry for us and figured we were standing in line for food.
I didn’t know what we were in line for. Like I said, if we see one, we get in it. I found out later that it was for bread, but mama makes most of our bread and even we aren’t that poor. But we must have looked like it today. I think those two boys were poorer than us and they sure looked more hungry and dirty, too. They needed a bath. I heard them talking about trains and I’m wondering if they live on them, like those hoboes Pa was talking about. Ida just kept on and on with her fit throwing and saying she was hungry when the boy tapped me on the shoulder. At first I just froze, not knowing what to do, but I’m half grown and really almost a woman. Mama was only thirteen when she married Pa and I figured I better start acting the part.
I wished Ida would just disappear into the good ole earth or something, but she didn’t. She kept on and on, pulling on my sleeve, asking for Pa like she was orphaned or something. The boy tapped me again and I turned, trying to look adult like with my head held high and my lips tight.
Alisha Paige was born and raised in Texas. She’s been making up stories all her life. In high school, her English teacher pulled her aside and told her, “Alisha, there is something special about your writing. You have a spark.“
Eager to set the spark ablaze, Alisha Paige has been following her characters wherever they take her, whether it be back to The Great Depression and World War II, to a faraway, mystical land full of fairies, witches and warlocks or a dark, sinister world where good always triumphs over evil.
When she’s not writing about ancient history, fairies, witches, werewolves or vampires, she’s spending time with her family, gardening, singing, reading, cooking, eating rich dark chocolate or drinking fine red wine.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 298
Paper Weight (lb): 12.4
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