In Fat and Sassy, the Jones’ moved back to California, despite the broken axle in New Mexico, and find themselves in a new home, one that they can call their own.
Return to TUESDAY TALES for more story snippets using ‘bells’.
They got moved in and settled just in time for Mae to start to school. First grade. She was excited. She was scared. A lot had happened since the short time she’d attended kindergarten in California before. There’d been lots of moves and another baby sister added to the family.
Bea had conflicting feelings also about Mae going to school. Yes, one child was out of the house for part of the day, which should have been a source of relief. Yet, this child was the little caretaker of the younger ones, so now Bea had to keep track of the four younger children, and get the ironing done before the ladies stopped by to pick up their pressed clothes.
One night after she’d gotten all the children off the bed, Bea slipped inside beside Casey and gave him some unexpected news. “Yore gonna be a Daddy again.”
“Again! Maybe it will be another boy, then we’ll have three of each.”
Mae turned seven on November 10th. Twenty days later, on November 30th, her newest little brother, Evan Lee, entered the world. Now they were six, six Jones children, ages from newborn to seven years old.
With another little one in the family, Mae unofficially became the second mother. Bea started taking in laundry for extra money and needed more and more help with the children. Especially since as the kids got older, they were more active and not as confined to the small spaces babies occupy.
After the newest baby was born, Mae would run home after school. She’d stand over the basinet and talk to Evan Lee and make faces at him. One day she bounced in the house. She hurried over to the corner where the baby lay, talking to him and wiggling her fingers in front of his face. Turning to her mother stationed behind the ironing board, she asked, “Mama, we’re going to have a Christmas program at school this Friday. Can you come watch?”
“I can’t git to the school,” Bea replied. “Your brother is only three weeks old. Yore daddy is working. There’s no way I can walk to the school with all your brothers and sisters.”
Disappoint flashed across Mae’s face. “It’s going to be good. We’ve been practicing songs and everything. And we made chains of red and green colored paper and we get to bring them home afterwards, to decorate the house.”
“Do you have a part to say?”
“No. I don’t have any lines. The teacher wouldn’t give me anything to say. She says I don’t say all my words right. But I do get to ring some bells.”
“What does she mean that you don’t say words right?”
“She says I say warsh, but it’s really wash, that there’s no ‘r’. And she says I don’t say wabbit right.”
“I won’t be able to git to the program Ona Mae. But it looks like I’ll have to make a trip to the school when yore Daddy can drive me to have a little chat with yore teacher.”