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Some things are better to forget.  

Maybe you have a few things in your past that you would like to forget.  Enjoy this short story.  See you soon.  

Kevin was an adult now with children of his own.  His mother, Eve, had driven the fifty miles to be with him and his family on July fourth.  His three children, Carrie, Joyce and Eva, adored their grandmother.

Kevin found their relationship with her similar to the one he and his siblings had with her.  She made them laugh a lot.  She encouraged them to dream and dream big.

Kevin watched her with his daughters.  He thought that sometimes she forgot that she was talking with six, seven, and eight year olds.

On one of her visits Kevin overheard her giving his three daughters a motivational talk one night.

“There’s nothing you can’t do,” she told them.  “As girls you must be better than the boys.  That’s how you get the world’s respect.  You don’t ask for respect.  You take it.”

Kevin understood where his mother’s steely advice came from.  It came from times in life that he would like to forget.  One of those times will be forever etched in his brain.

He was five.  No one remembers much about being five.  He did not either.  But he remembered one thing.  It was as clear to him at forty as it was at five.

Kevin’s father had walked out on him and his siblings and his mother when Kevin was four.  There were rumors that his father was seeing a girl named Ida Wilson.  Ida was not even referred to as white trash.  She was too poor to even be considered white trash.  She was fifteen.  When people talked about her they called her “That girl.”  Her name was not worthy enough to be mentioned.

The house, calling it a house was kind, that Ida lived in was made of four large pieces of plywood that were nailed together.  The roof was also made of plywood.  The entire structure leaked when it rained.  Inside was hot when the weather was hot.  It was freezing when the weather was freezing.  It had no running water or electricity.  The house would not even qualify as a shack.

Kevin’s family, on the other hand, was considered white trash.  Many people in their town called their family that.  That was ironic when you considered that the whole town was living on the verge of collapsing.

The town was small with few opportunities to get ahead.  Factories were leaving every month.

Living in a small town everyone knew everything about everybody.  But, it did not mean that everyone would tell you what was going on behind your back.

Instead they would talk about you and what was going on behind your back amongst themselves.  Your life became their entertainment.  You were the joke of the town.  You just did not know it until the punch line came.

When Kevin’s father ran off with Ida people seemed to turn their backs on them.  People came across as if his father leaving was the rest of the family’s fault.

Kevin’s mother ignored the gossip.  She worked hard to provide for her children.  She worked as a maid.  At home she grew vegetables and raised chickens.  She made sure they were taken care of.

Kevin and his siblings thought their family was doing well.  They were eating and could buy clothes at times.  Everyone was mostly happy.

Six months after his father walked out his mother had shown him and his siblings they could survive on their own.

One afternoon, after getting home from church, Kevin was digging near the rose bushes.  When the stick he was using hit something.  Kevin used the stick to poke at it.  That is when he noticed a finger sticking up from the soil.  Not afraid, he dug in another direction.  His stick snagged a faded dirty yellow dress.

Eve had been watching from the porch.  Once she realized what was happening, she ran down to Kevin.

She had Kevin help her cover up the man’s finger and the girl’s dress.  Then she told him, “This is our secret,” she said.  “This is how we help ourselves.  Your father had money we needed to survive on.  It was not meant for him to take it with a young girl and spend it all.”

 

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