Today I am excited to share with you the work of another Indie writer, Maureen Morrissey. This tale of growing up has an energy about it and brings with it a certain amount of nostalgia. It is very rare that I will share an indie author’s work, unless I feel that it is of a high standard and would intrigue my readers. This extract from a brilliant book is very worthy of checking out, commenting about and sharing with reader friends.
Snippet from Sonder: Janie’s Story
Janie, like many city kids, quickly became a member of the neighborhood pack once she began school. In all weather on Saturdays, the children in the area burst out of their apartments as early as eight o’clock in the morning and began their street games. Janie and Greg stayed in their pyjamas to watch Rin Tin Tin or Davy and Goliath cartoons or Bozo the Clown, until their father woke up around ten and threw them out of the house.
Waving at Ben, who was not allowed to join the games and was watching out the window, Janie followed Greg to the common backyard behind the apartments, where a dozen kids were in the middle of an intense game of Ring-a-Levio.
“How do you play, Greg?” Janie asked a bit anxiously. The yelling and wrestling of the kids, mostly bigger than her, was intimidating.
Greg put a reassuring arm around her shoulders as they watched the game.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be on my side for your first game. One team is hiding and the other team is looking for them. When they find someone, they have to hold on to them and yell, ‘ringalevio one two three, one two three, one two three, ringalevio one two three.’ If they can say the whole thing without letting him get away, the one they captured goes to jail. See, jail is the old sandbox there. When they catch the whole team, they switch places. But if one of the hiders can sneak in and tag the jailed ones, they can escape and hide again. Got it?”
She did, and the game went on for over an hour until they all got tired of it. Janie had caught on quickly. Tackling one of the bigger boys, she wrapped her arms around his knee and her legs around his ankle, hanging on for dear life and screaming the entire Ringalevio call Greg had taught her while the boy, laughing so hard he almost wet his pants, tried to shake her off his leg and finally gave up, falling to the ground. Both teams cheered as she triumphantly led her captured enemy to the jail.
After the game, the whole group trouped around the neighborhood for a while, and then ran down to the Grand Central Parkway side road. At the foot of the overpass into Flushing Meadow Park, they hung around a garbage-strewn area. They took turns climbing into a tree with an old piece of plywood, precariously perched in lower branches, that served as a treehouse; and played pirates.
When the noon fire bell went off, they split up, yelling, “See you after lunch!” and ran back to their apartments. Gulping down peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese or rice and beans or Pop Tarts and milk, they were back out running the neighborhood in under an hour.
Janie loved being a big girl, and loved going to school every day. She leaped out of bed with the sun, ate her Apple Jacks or Cocoa Puffs cereal sprinkled with extra sugar, and was dressed in her light jacket, hopping up and down by the front door while Greg was still slurping the milk out of his bowl at the kitchen table.
“Come on, Greg! We’re gonna be late, hurry up!”
“We are not going to be late, Janie. Hold your horses, I’m coming.”
“Mom, can I walk by myself? Greg is taking too long!” she called.
Their mother had the window screens leaned up in the bathtub, working to remove the brown crusty filth caked on them since she had cleaned them just a month ago.
“Not until first grade, dear. You won’t be late, give Greg a few minutes.”
When he finally led her down the stairs, she zoomed around the corner and found Deidre waiting on her cement stoop. They grabbed hands and skipped ahead of the boys, singing nursery rhymes as they went. When they got to the corner of the busy 108th Street, they did not pause to look for traffic as they began to cross.
“Janie! Deidre! Stop! Stop!” Greg and Deirdre’s three brothers screamed as they raced towards the girls, who did not hear them through their singing.
Just as they stepped into the street, the boys reached them and roughly pulled them back onto the sidewalk. At that second, a large sanitation truck was backing up at the intersection to pick up the overflowing trash cans, right where Janie and Deidre had been standing.
“And this is why you won’t be allowed to walk yourself until next year!” Greg yelled into Janie’s shocked face, while Deidre’s brothers gave her a few solid smacks on the arms and bottom. The tearful, shaken Kindergarteners held their brothers’ hands for the rest of the walk.
Thank you so much for checking out Maureen’s work. Hopefully you enjoyed it as much as I did and may wish to check out her Amazon Author Page. Also, kindly drop a supportive comment if you can. Authors welcome feedback and it is lovely to get enthusiastic responses.
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