Saturday, April 15, 2017

Jonny and the Space Rock, a Children's Story

Jonny and the Space Rock
Debralynn Fein
            It’s our first day in our new home. The apartment is filled with boxes. The boxes are practically everywhere. In the kitchen, the boxes are almost piled to the ceiling!
            Jonny wanted to jump over some of the boxes.
            “Wee, see how high big boys can jump,” he said. “We can jump up to the sky!”
            I miss our old home.
            “Gosh,” said our Mama coming into the living room. “I have all these boxes to unpack. How am I going to get it all done? Caroline, maybe you and your brother can go outside to play?” she suggested.
            “Play?” I asked. “Play where?” I looked out the window. “All I can see are piles of dirt.”
            “Well you can take your brother outside. Let him run around a little.”
            “Yeah, I wanta play,” five- year- old Jonny said. “Let’s go Caroline, pl…ease!”
            I put my coat on.
            “Thank you Caroline. I can get some things done. Please make sure you take Jonny’s jacket with you,” she added, kissing me quickly on the cheek.
            I grab my brother’s plaid jacket lying on a box.
            “Yay, yay.”
            “Come here Jonny, and I’ll help you,” I said, bending down to hold his jacket out to him.
            Jonny stood in the room, with his shirt tails hanging out, his hair hanging over his eyes.
            “Where are we going, Caroline?” Jonny asked me.
            “I don’t know. We’re seeing what’s out there,” I said bravely, waving my free hand as we took the steps down from our new apartment hallway.
            “What are we going to see?” Jonny asked curiously.
            “I really don’t know. We’ll see when we get there,” I answered as we left the building. A small empty planter stood between the buildings.
            Then Jonny spotted something.
            “Look at this Caroline!” he said excitedly.
            I saw it too, a dark colored rock. It had holes all over it.
            “Wow,” I said. “It might be a rock from outer space! Last night, I was look out of our old window, and do you know what I saw?”
            “What?” Jonny asked.
            “I saw a light going fast across the sky. At first, I thought it was a shooting star. Maybe it wasn’t.”
            “What was it then?” Jonny asked, in wonder looking at the rock carefully.
            “Well, then I heard this sound. Boom! Like thunder.”
            “Like thunder?” Jonny asked, looking around scared.
            “It doesn’t mean it was thunder,” I replied. “And anyway you were sleeping.”
            “What could it be then?”
            “There are these things called meteors,” I answered, “and they come from out there.” I pointed to the sky.
            “A meat-eater?” Jonny asked.
            “Not a meat-eater, silly. A met-e-or.” I corrected him.
            “And this is one of them?”

            “I don’t know Jonny.” I admitted. “Maybe.”

Elizabeth's New Friend, a children's story

Elizabeth’s New Friend
Debralynn Fein
            Friday is the best day of the week. It’s Show and Tell day! Everyone in my class brings a special toy to share. I have something better though. My Grandma Isabel gave me my very own change purse. It has lots of tiny white pearly beads and it also has three big beads: a pink one, a yellow one, and a blue one. Grandma brought the purse over from Europe where she was born.
First, I sit down at the table to eat my cereal. I put my purse right next to me. I don’t want to forget it. The doorbell rings. As Mama opens the door for my big cousin, I take the napkin and rub the beads to make sure they shine.
            “See my new purse!” I say to cousin Babs who has funny brown curls and a plain black bag for her school books.
            “Oh wow, that is c...ool! And just look at you Elizabeth!  You’re dressed so grown up.
            “Why, it’s Show and Tell Day,” Mama says.
            “Oh!” Babs exclaims. “That is important. Let’s go then. You don’t want to be late for your big day.”
           Finally, we arrive at my school. Babs is the sixth- grade helper for my class. She helps us get in line.
           There’s Erica. She’s a showoff and copycat. She copies me all the time. One day, I brought the story of Leo the Late Bloomer to school. I can read it all by myself. What does Erica do? She brings in two books. She reads both by herself.  Another day, I brought a ball to school. The next day, Erica brought a bigger ball. Still another day, I brought my jump-rope. The next day, Erica brought her rainbow rope. She’s such a show-off!
           “So what do you have for Show and Tell?” Erica asks.
           “I have something great,” I answer her. “Wait till you see it!” I say as we walk down the hall with our class.
           The teacher walks into the room right after us.
           “Hi, Miss Forester,” Babs says as she gets ready to leave for her own class. My cousin comes over to my seat before she leaves the room. “Bye Lizzie, have a great Show and Tell day,” Babs says as she ruffles my hair.
           “I must take out my Show and Tell. I just have to see it. I look through my school bad, and find my lunch, my notebook and my pencil case. Oh no, where is my purse?” My new sweater has a pocket in it. I put my hand in, but all I pull out is a used tissue.
           My purse, my purse, where could it be? And it’s grandma’s special one from Europe! Could I have dropped it somewhere on the way to school? Tears fall from my eyes. Then I wipe them with the old tissue. I look all around my seat as Miss Forrester begins to call our names for the roll, but I don’t see my Show and Tell anywhere.  What am I going to do?
           “Brian Jones,” She calls.
           “Here,” He says softly.
           “Danny Dubinsky.”
           “Here,” a louder voice answers.
           “Elizabeth Kessler,” she calls.
           “,” I answer.
           “Elizabeth,” she says, coming over, “are you crying? What’s the matter?”

           “I can’t find my Show and Tell.  I’ve looked everywhere. In my schoolbag, my sweater pocket, around my seat, just ev...everywhere,” I say.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Birthday Gift

The Birthday Gift
Debralynn Fein
           It was my fortieth birthday. My mother, who had taken me out for lunch put a small gift wrapped package on my plate. We were at CafĂ© Italiano, our favorite, Mom’s and mine. The table was set beautifully with a linen tablecloth and napkins folded ever so carefully, especially for this time of day. Strangely, the table was set for three, even with just the two of us sitting there.
           “Are we expecting another guest, Mom?” I asked.
           “No,” she said smiling. “So happy to be able to celebrate your birthday with you, just the two of us.”
           I smiled at that too
           “Go on, open your present,” Mom said excitedly.
           “Don’t you think we should look at the menu first?” I asked. “I’d rather prolong the excitement.”
           “Leaving the best for last like when you and your brother were kids?” No, open it honey. I can’t wait to see your face.”
           I slowly unwrapped the small package ever so carefully so I could preserve the wrapping paper, a habit I had also acquired in childhood. Then, I opened the small jewelry box.
           “Your wedding band from Dad.” I breathed. It was a beautiful platinum ring set in diamonds in a most unusual pattern. I put the ring on my finger. “It’s beautiful Mom,” I said getting up to kiss her. My parents had been divorced and now my father had passed.
           I sat back down and distracted myself with the menu. As I did, I couldn’t help but wonder what this gift means. Is Mom throwing away her last vestige of life with Dad? Or what?”
           “Order anything you want,” Mom replied, “Let’s really celebrate.”

Monday, January 2, 2017

Wake-Up Call or the Story of the Middle Class in America
Wake-Up Call
          I didn’t know when my wake-up call was going to come. I’d been out of work for too long. Teaching was my profession, and getting a job in New Jersey is easier for a brain surgeon if a person is beyond their twenties or thirties at most. I’d done everything possible to find sub-fields related to education. I’d served as a substitute teacher, an online educator, written articles for NY Examiner, and tutored plenty.
          When was it going to change for me? I just kept hoping for an opportunity to break. I had an alliance with my children’s former high school Principal who still worked in the district. Nepotism abounded in our town. Don’t get my going about them. I’d asked just about everyone I knew who was teaching in the garden state. Nobody could help me.
          As a last ditch effort, I enroll in an online doctoral program. Hal, my husband, doesn’t even know about the amounts I take out on student loans. I figure that older people teach in colleges, so why not me? I have important insights to share. Hal doubts my success in this venture, my own therapist questions why I need the word doctor in front of my name. It certainly isn’t for any notion of grandiosity that I do this. In the courses, I am successful, at least until I got to dissertation proposal writing.
          The question abounds, when do I cut my losses? That is the wake-up call. What if Hal loses his job? My mother certainly can-not bail us out a second time. I need to take charge of this.

          Yet, as I apply to ads, I have some nibbles. A part-time adjunct opportunity opens up with Manhattanville College, a writing tutor position with Pearson. Berkeley College may be another opportunity?