A peek at the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings by Author, D.J. Houston
Family Secrets . . .
I was only just getting to know my father then. Or at least what he’d become.
He’d been away to war so long, I’d even begun to wonder if I’d only imagined the times when the uniformed man in the picture frame on Mama’s dressing table lingered next to my crib to play with me by the light of a tiny nursery lamp, tickling my toes and fingers until we laughed out loud at each other.
As the years blended one to the next, the promise of his constant presence in my life dwindled to little more than a mist of wishful thinking, if I thought of him at all.
Envelopes with foreign stamps and the feelings that broke in Mama’s voice when she read passages from his letters to Timmy and me helped keep Daddy alive for us. The scene I caught of Timmy in front of the chiffarobe, sniffling and blowing his nose on his sleeve while he tried on Daddy’s hats, made its mark, too.
But our father was home now, home to all he’d fought for. And I was letting the strength of his quiet nature spread around me like calm on a morning pond.
He reminded me of a sycamore tree with his tall, lean build and sturdy limbs. His skin was white when he rolled up his sleeves to wash his hands in the wintertime. And his hair was as shiny black as a raven’s wing, only curly . . .
He had a sort of handsome face, I thought, with a strong jaw and a high forehead like Timmy’s. His eyes were the hazel, Irish eyes my own eyes echoed. But I was just beginning to see him as something more than a stranger who’d been smart enough to marry my mother. And she said the war left him with troublesome things on his mind.
I figured he wasn’t ready for me to tell him about Mister Walling.
As for Mama, she must have been quite a catch for anyone.
She was a pretty, plump brunette with light bronze skin and dark violet eyes, who liked to wear aprons with big pockets and her shoes as seldom as possible — a rare free spirit, inclined to practice the time-honored values of her Native American mother over those of her English father.
And while I knew she would hear with her heart whatever I had to say without belittling my reality, some innate, protective instinct prevented me from giving her reason to have to mention Mister Walling, or suffer undue concerns about my comings and goings.
WW II Victory, Freedom and Apple pie. . .
My sweet, brave mother had found balance in her life and I didn’t want to upset it.
She was grateful to be home in her own big kitchen, cooking and baking . . . with all the sugar and spices and herbs she needed or wanted — away from the hard times she’d endured at the Sand & Gravel plant after Daddy went to war and the money ran low, when rationing of everything from milk to nylon stockings was in full swing and we could no longer survive on barter from our Victory Garden yield alone.
But those times were behind us now. . .
Timmy and the boys at school didn’t have to collect used paper and metal and rubber for the war production scrap piles anymore. And I didn’t have to stay with that overbearing woman who smelled like pork cracklings and made me call her “Aunt Millie,” while Mama worked long hours at the plant with too many ladies who wished their men were home.
And freedom reigned!
FATHER’S DAY TRIBUTE: C L I C K H E R E
Excerpts from the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings
Copyright©2006, 2013 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.
Historical Fiction Books – Mystery Novel - World War II Veterans – Social Commentary
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