Tag Archives: black and white

Happy World Typewriter Day!

Yes, apparently it’s a day, and it’s today! Celebrated every year on the day the typewriter was patented, I figured I would repost some of my favorite typewriter projects from the past. Many are collected into a book published by WragsInk.

Asking Permission A Bad Monday City Girl Devotion Set in Stone il_570xN.190828500 My Fellow Survivors Out of State Love 1 Out of State Love 2 Damsel in Distress Broken Heart A Western-Style Ending Reading A Coney Island of the Mind library001 lonely man001 Empty001 soup001

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In the Middle of Nowhere

The car was broken down, and while Jennie and I were sulking, Doris and Roy were sitting on a log chuckling to themselves, having a little picnic with the brown bag of goodies Doris had bought at the five and dime. She ate half the apple and then handed it over to Roy.

“I have another one if you want,” she said to me, and I just shook my head. I couldn’t understand how they were so calm. Roy’s car was busted and we hadn’t seen a car in the whole two hours since it broke down.

“Aren’t you guys worried we’re stuck here?” Jennie asked her.

“Nope,” Doris said with confidence. “Someone will come along soon, I’m sure.”

“That’s my girl!” Roy responded. “Always the optimist! Isn’t it beautiful here? I don’t miss the hustle and bustle of the city.”

I can’t believe I just heard Roy actually say that. In the fifteen years I’d known him he’d never been this relaxed. Or this happy.

“What will we do come nightfall?”

Doris smiled as she rooted through the bag to the bottom and pulled out a few pieces of penny candy and offered them around. Jennie took one and listening to her unwrap it was wearing on my nerves. “We could sleep in the car! Roy, you have blankets in the trunk, right? The ones we keep for emergency picnics?” He nodded as he pulled a toy pipe out of his pocket and started pouring bubbles into it. “Wait, you bought it?” she asked him.

“Yup.” At that he put it to his mouth and bubbles started to explode out of the plastic piece of junk.

“But it won’t come to that,” Doris added. “Someone will come.”

I couldn’t take this much longer. What would we do, huddle up in the car under a tiny blanket, shared by each couple? Doris and Roy were bananas if they thought I would get a good night of sleep in that jalopy that couldn’t even handle a simple drive to Cape May. Doris and Roy started whispering and giggling to each other in that loving way. The way they always do it.

Jennie came over and sat next to me. It wasn’t long before she started whispering to me, copying off of them.

“Aren’t they so cute?”

“Sure, sure. They’re cute, and they don’t seem to mind we might die out here.”

“Oh come on. Why don’t we whisper like that anymore?”

“Anymore?”

“Yes! We were just like them when we met.”

I thought back and had to agree, we probably were. But not as annoying. Just to shut her up and reached up and held the back of her hair a bit, pulling her in for a kiss. She smiled. I rose.

“Should I start foraging? Maybe there’s an apple tree or something nearby.”

Doris looked in my direction. “Everything will be fine, Raymond. You’ll see.”

At that I heard the backfire of a truck in the distance, and a tow truck came into view around the bend. Doris stood up and brushed some dirt and leaves off the back of her skirt and smiled at me.

Damsel in Distress

This print and many others are also now for sale on my ETSY.

A Western-Style Ending

Created with a found photograph, a Brother Charger 11 and my imagination.

This and many other prints can be purchased at my ETSY now! Come check it out!

The Lamentable Charles W. Berkhouse (A Story of Fiction)

This is the story of Charles W. Berkhouse.  If you’re looking for a happy tale, one that will make you smile at the end with a fortunate feeling in your heart, you’re in the wrong place.  This is the tragic story of a man’s miserable life, one in which the tragedy starts from the day he was born.

An orphan left on the steps of a nunnery, newborn Charles was found one fall morning wrapped in a blanket with a note pinned to the his diaper, two simple words scribbled messily “Unwanted child” on the back of a coupon for five cents off steak.  The nuns sent him to their orphanage, a bare-walled, refurbished insane asylum rented out by the church for such events.  It was fourteen years before an unwanted Charles would use a different return address, when he would leave the orphanage and get a job in an up-and-coming five and dime store in the city.

Years would pass, small promotions would come, leading him to his career as an underpaid traveling salesman for the same company he’d worked for his whole life.

As an adult, Charles eventually had it all, a wife, a child on the way, a good job, car, house with the white picket fence, everything a man in the 1940s could possibly want.  Until that fateful day when Eunice, his wife, went into labor a few weeks earlier than expected.

They lost the baby; she would have been a beautiful little girl.  They’d prematurely named her Elizabeth if she was a girl, Robert if he was a boy, Betty or Bobby.  But little Betty never had even a minute outside of the womb.  Eunice was devastated.

It wasn’t even two months later that Eunice was hit by a car, driven by another traveling salesman, a competitor of Charles.  The driver was quoted in the daily paper as saying, “I was driving my route, I sell car brakes you know, best in the business, and I don’t even know where she came from.  One minute the road was clear, the next…”

Charles was devastated.  His life insurance company wanted to investigate the accident before they paid out, but Charles quickly told them to forget about it.  He sold the house and poured himself into his job, staying in fleabag motels and dirty boarding homes on the road, never looking back.  He carried his few belongings in a small suitcase he’d bought at a garage sale, which proclaimed visits to Paris, Madrid, Rome and a few other exotic places, none of which Charles would ever see for himself.  All he would know were the small dying towns on his sales route, places long forgotten as time passed.

Every year, at some point, his route would bring him back to Middletown, New York, where both Eunice and Betty were buried.  He would stop by a florists, pick up some cheap flowers, after all, his route wasn’t what it used to be, and stop by for a quiet visit.  He wouldn’t speak or cry, he would just stand for exactly five minutes, timing it on his watch, and then move on towards his next appointment.

It wasn’t until his fifth visit that he first saw the dog, a golden blur shooting by in the corner of his eye.  He spun, looking for it, and finally saw it standing directly behind a nearby tombstone.  It panted and walked up to him slowly, trying to get Charles to pet him.  Charles, being an orphan, never had a pet, even when Eunice begged him repeatedly for a cat every time a holiday came around.  He just didn’t see the point.

And so, he reacted the way he always did when a pet wanted attention from him.  He turned and walked away.  After all, his five minutes were up, and he had to meet Mr. Moskewitz in fifteen minutes.

The next year, once again he found the dog there, begging for attention, and again Charles shunned the poor beast, leaving it whining behind him.  As he left, he saw the caretaker and felt a need to complain.

“Sir, I find it extremely distracting and inappropriate that you allow your dog to just run around willy-nilly like that.  This is a serious, somber place.  Not somewhere for a dog to playfully run around and, ahem, do his business one can only assume.”  The caretaker looked at him curiously.

“We don’t got no dogs here, buddy.  Not allowed on the premises.  Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

A year later, Charles once again found the dog near the grave, and once again ignored it.  But this time the dog walked up and started nuzzling his shin, and he kept trying to shoo it away with no luck.  Finally, he decided to look at the tag.  It had one simple letter in quotes, “E”.  He frowned and turned it over, looking for an address, but there wasn’t one.  The dog followed him out, only to get him a scolding from the caretaker, who reminded him that no dogs were allowed in the graveyard.

The following year, he expected to find the dog again, and was not disappointed when, as he approached the gravesite with his yearly small bouquet, the dog, E, once again jumped out from behind a nearby tree.  Charles walked up to it, let it sniff his hand and tried to pet it, at which E backed away from him.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a dog bone he’d bought and tried feeding it to E, who just backed away more.  He left the treat on a small tombstone and went to his meeting with Mr. Meinheim.

Another year passed, and this time he was prepared with a leash, ready to capture this animal that was surely destined to be his companion in life.  He imagined the dog going on his route with him, visiting parks and fields, playing catch, having strangers take their photograph in each town, and even though he was awkward with animals, he liked the sound of it.  It was surely a sign that the dog was there every year, and that the caretaker didn’t recognize him as a common occurrence.  As Charles walked towards the spot excitedly, playing with the end of the leash in his pocket, he realized he’d forgotten the flowers.  He walked up and started looking for E, only to realize that the dog was nowhere to be found.

Snow Days (A Story of Fiction)

Found photograph from a yard sale.

We were out so long that our socks were soaked in the cold, icy water that had once been snow.  It snuck into our boots through tiny holes in our armor, somehow penetrating the elastic of our waterproof pants, our solar gloves that warmed our hands the longer we were out there, our fleece inner linings, even my polarized sunglasses seemed to be wet straight through.  I grabbed my coveted sled, the IceBreaker 3000 and told Madison it was time to go home.  She agreed.

As we walked home, lightweight titanium sleds folded up and placed on our backs, and the sun set, the world still glowed a whitish-blue and lights from houses and porch lights stood out in a yellowish tint, unless of course they were energy-savers, pronounced by a bluish-white.  As we approached home we could see our Mommom sitting in the bay window in her favorite chair, drinking tea.

We walked in the front door and began unloading our clothing, and after a quick shedding of layers we finally entered the living room where she sat.

“Have fun, kids?”

“Uh huh,” we answered in unison.

“Come on, I have some hot chocolate for you.”

“Is it low fat?” my little sister asked.

“Of course.”

“I like mine with soy milk,” I said.

“Of course,” she responded.

We ran over and picked up our respective glasses, and she leaned forward long enough for us to grab the fleece blanket that rested on the chair behind her, to snuggle up.

“Boy how things have changed,” she said, looking up at me and removing the sunglasses from my head, placing them on a nearby table.

Madison was the first to take the bait.  “How, Mommom Betty?”

She looked out, mesmerized by the slowly falling flakes, and smiled.

It was 1923, and the first snow day we’d had in years.  I waited impatiently for mom to finish cleaning the kitchen so she could approve of my snow clothing.  Finally she came in, drying her hands on her apron.

“Okay let’s see how you’ve done,” she said with a warm smile.

I stood at attention, ready for inspection.

“No, no, no Betty.  This is no good. Come on.”

She took me upstairs to the attic, pulled open the large, seldom-used bottom drawer and started rooting through it.  She pulled out pair after pair of long johns, and put them into a pile in front of me.  Finally, after four pairs of pants and two shirts she stopped.

“Okay get those snow pants off and put these on.”

“All of them?”

“Yes.  Do that while I go look for more shirts.”

I sighed and started taking off the pants, putting on pair after pair until I felt like I was twice my original size.  I ran down to her, looking around in other drawers in her room, anxious to go out and play.

Finally, mom gave up.  “I guess that’ll have to do.  Here are gloves and a hat.  Let me help you get those snow pants back on.”

I was struggling trying to put them on over the several pairs of long johns, unsuccessfully.  The pants just wouldn’t fit.

“Stand up,” mother said, smiling.  She held onto the pants as I jumped up and down, shoving my way into them.  “Okay that should do it.  Let’s get that coat on.  And next the gloves, okay hat, and now let’s put on your hood.”

I hated the hood.  I frowned at her.

“Frown all you want, young lady, I will not have you catching your death of cold out there.  That’s how people get sick.”

She tied the hood tight, too tight, and double-knotted it so I couldn’t possibly untie it, especially considering my mittens.

“Okay now for the socks,” she said handing me two more pairs of thick, heavy socks my great-grandmother had sent me. “Now boots!” as she shoved them on over the socks.  I was finally ready.

“Okay now go have fun.”

I ran outside to the garage, where dad had left my wooden sled for me against the big wooden door.  It was hard and tiring to walk with all of those layers, but well worth it.  Soon I would be sledding with my friends at the park.  I put the sled down into the snow, the metal rails scratching against the driveway underneath the snow a bit where father had shoveled.  I tried three times before successfully clutching the frayed twine that acted as a rope handle for it, finally grabbing it between the small and giant finger my mittens changed my hand into, and I was ready.

There was nothing like that moment walking to the playground as I could see small heads popping up at the top of the hill, then disappearing down into a snowy pit, screaming in happiness all the way down.  I could hear the fun from a block away, before I could even see it, and as I got closer I walked faster, anticipating the fun.

I made it.  I walked to the top of the hill, and saw all of my friends, unrecognizable in all those layers of clothing, at the bottom, waving me down.  They were making snow angels.  I brought my sled to the edge, sat down, grabbed the wooden handles that let me steer, and slowly pushed myself off of the top of the hill.

After a little over an hour, I knew I had to head home, and started the sad walk back.  Mother wouldn’t want me gone much longer, and certainly would be cross with me if I missed lunch.

I got home, placed the sled right where father had left it, and went to the back door, where I knew I had to go to take off layer upon layer of snowy, wet clothing.

And when I finally finished, mother had a hot chocolate sitting at the table, a real one made from milk and melted chocolate, and I sipped it, feeling the warmth flow through my shivering body.

At this point, she had fallen asleep, and I sipped my soy hot chocolate, finally warming up, and I, too felt that warmth from the drink.  As I got up to play Rock Band with Madison, I noticed something Mommom’s hand, and reached out, carefully taking it.

It was a photo, wrinkled and black and white, of my Mommom all bundled up, pulling her sled in front of our house.  She looked a lot like Madison.