Alice Had a Palace


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Alice Had a Palace

by Brenda Rae Schoolcraft

When I was a little girl, I would ask mom to tell me her

childhood stories, over and over again. We didn’t have a library of children books,

but I never missed a thing. The recollections of her childhood stories was all I

needed. There were so many things happening to mom at different stages of her

life, that fascinated me. As they will fascinate you. I draw events from my

mother’s life, starting in her childhood. I tell them to you, the best I remember.

You will never forget Alice. This is a promise.

This story begins, in the great depression, better known as the dirty thirties.

Alice was born in 1924, in Nova Scotia, Canada, to Irene, and William Purple. Moments after her birth, the midwife announces “The baby is dead”. Just as God reaches his hand out to take his angel back, she loses her grasp, falling back to earth.

An innocent soul, caught in the hands of fate.

Instead of fairy tale characters in another Alice story, my Alice, endures real life monsters, and a life on earth, symbolic of hell.

It hurts me to take her back to the events in this book. She is eighty, when I start to write this story.

This book, is to celebrate my mother’s life, and to give her closure. The healing of my soul, finally able to wash away the pain, of a tsunami of tears.

A story, that begged to be told, an epic, multi-generational read. From my mother’s life, to my father’s life, and my life, Brenda Rae Schoolcraft.

I show you how abuse gathers speed, and becomes a cycle, like a runaway train. Many can never get off, and it manifests itself into a demon of hurting. The children suffer needlessly, caught up in the cycle that resonates with them the rest of their lives, sometimes destroying them as adults. Turning to drugs and alcohol to suppress the hurt that seems to never go away.

Warning!!! This story, based on true life is filled with explicit sexual content, abuse, and homicidal violence. It is not for the underage reader, or the faint of heart.

You will see, and feel the truth of this tale. Timelines and circumstances leading up to major events, may have been changed. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Enjoy your ride……on the runaway train.

Alice Goes To School----

Alice didn’t sleep much all night. The ritual of the first day of school,

unfolds at her house, before bedtime. Everyone, picks out their outfit, something passed down. She has waited, in anticipation for this day. Not only was this the first day back, for the other kids, but for Alice, the first ever day of school.

What seemed like forever to her, finally, she can escape the prying eyes of her abusive mother, Irene.

She did everything her mother asked of her, with zealous enthusiasm,

to avoid the heartless punishments Irene inflicted. Alice feels small, and helpless, around her.

Her brothers ranged three, to ten years older than her. They had little time, or consideration for this last addition to their large family. Eleven,

since Pearl, died of pneumonia at the age of 10.

The only one that made time for her, was her loving father, William, and the youngest of her brothers, Earl. She was the only girl now.


The boys kept busy with each other, doing boy things, competing for their hierarchy in the family. Meek as a mouse, and the smallest of them all, Alice cowered at a raised voice, or a loud noise. Her brother Skip, nicknames her mouse.


A chilly September morning, the dew crystallized on the emerald grass blades, catches the sparkle in her eyes. With her chin resting on the windowsill her mind wonders, the excitement of the day ahead, a smile adorns her angelic face.


The simplest things make her happy. The animals. Her dad explains that they are God’s creatures. Everything he tells her about God, resonates with her. A squirrel scampering up the tree, or the chickens in the yard are the best things in her world.

William adores his little angel. She vies for his attention every second that he is around her.

Irene finds fault in everything she does. Trying to make her look bad in her father’s eyes.

William lets Irene run the household and the children are her responsibility. The boys all seemed fine, but something tells him, Alice is being mistreated.

Today, the first day of school, was going to be the best day ever.

Everyone sits down to breakfast, as usual.

“Why haven’t you touched your porridge?” barks Irene, her eyes bulge, staring Alice’s way.

The boy’s heads rise in unison, like jacks in a box.

Looking up, Alice finds her mother’s gaze, then drops her head, looking back into the white porcelain bowl.

Dragging her spoon through the thick porridge, Irene continues staring. A swirl of brown sugar sits in the centre, like the eye of a storm.


The milk pitcher makes it to Skip, who sits two deep from Alice. Both her, and Earl, will do without milk this morning.

“It would be drier, if there weren’t any,” barks Irene, her eyes following

the circular movements, of Alice’s spoon.

“Are you going to eat it or just play in it, you are not hungry!” accuses Irene.

“I was just thinking about school,” she answers, in a meek, high pitched voice.

“Never mind the porridge,” insists Irene, “your brothers are already, getting on their coats. Maybe, I should just keep you home. How would you like that?”

Earl looks back at his sister.

“C’mon Alice, we got to get going.”

A fleeting glance towards the door, like it’s at the end of a long tunnel. Her brothers are stepping out in single file.

Irene glares as little Alice, as she struggles to push in the chair, perfectly squared in front of the table. Walking towards the sink with her bowl in her hands, her feet feel as though walking on an airy cloud that might burst through any second.

At the sink, she places her bowl in, as not to make a noise. Just steps from the door, she realizes she has forgot her sweater. Turning she focuses on the sweater, as Earl stands watch, waiting.

Irene is looking the other way, as she grabs for the sweater and darts towards the door, not even looking at her mother out of the corner of her eye.

The last few steps to the door, she begins counting in her head, one, two, three, four, and out the door. The cool air hits her face. Breathing a deep sigh, she runs to Earl, and grabs his hand.


For the first day of school, Alice wears her dead sister’s dress. It comes

a little past her knees, but fit perfectly otherwise. It is white cotton. Big, bright, crimson flowers dot the white canvas of the dress, like red paint.

A wide, red, satin sash decorates the waist.

While Alice struggles with the ribbon trying to make the perfect bow in

the back, the loss of her sister weighs on her mind.

“If only you were here, Pearl, you could help me with this bow, and brush my hair, and walk with me to school. Oh how I miss you,” she whines.

Thinking about asking her mother, she changes her mind, just in case, she tells her, not to wear the dress.

Pearl had a nice collection of things for her hair, precious keepsakes, and clothes that the Jefferson’s had given William for his daughters. Irene insisted that the hand me downs were too big for Alice or not proper for her. She was too young, or too stupid.

The Jefferson’s daughter Sarah, was the same age and size as Pearl. Irene made sure that everything was given to Pearl.

Although Irene didn’t want Alice to have the hand me down toys and clothes, Pearl shared everything with her little sister.

Alice had her sights set on inheriting all the dolls and things that were Pearl’s. She would take good care of them. Pearl would want her to have them.


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Chapter 2

Alice was five and a half, when her sister Pearl died. On that fateful day,

she watched them carry her out, a white sheet covering her

stiffened body.

Before she died, the doctor had come every day for a few months to assess her condition. Irene would shoo Alice away from the room.

With her ear to the door, she heard the doctor say, “She isn’t getting any better. I don’t think she will be with us long.” A dead quiet hung in the air, Irene not answering. Scrambling away, forlorn, Alice runs down the stairs. Standing at the foot of the staircase, she watches as the doctor starts his descend with Irene close behind. The doctor nods at Alice, then pulls on his hat, and slips into his overcoat. Heading towards the door, he leaves without looking back.

Walking past Alice as though she isn’t there, Irene goes to the sink. Staring out the small window, she watches as the doctor pulls himself up in his buggy. Grabbing the reins, he urges his horse on.

A stolen moment, for Alice to go back into the room with Pearl.

Her feet are quick and light. From the top of the stairs she takes one last look, then runs down the hallway towards Pearl’s room.

Lowering herself on the side of the bed she, stares down at her sister. A quiet gasp, she holds her breath.

Pearl’s eyes are closed, her white nightgown is buttoned to her chin. Golden auburn curls, rest on the pillow.

The silkiness of her hair, caress Alice’s fingers as she stares hard into Pearl’s face.

In a breathy whisper she begs,

“Please don’t leave me alone, please.” Resting her head on Pearl’s chest, her tears cascade down her cherub cheeks. A wet stain of sorrow spreads across Pearl’s nightgown.

The door opened abruptly.

Irene’s eyes bulge in rage.

“You will get sick too, you stupid girl.”

Rushing by her mother, almost tumbling down the stairs, she continues running out the door to the chicken coop. There she lays her head on a bale of straw. Burying her face into her little hands, she cries and cries.

After they took Pearl away, Alice is scared to sleep in the room, all alone. There is no light. Darkness falls through the sheer curtains on the windows, turning the room into a tomb. Tucked in under the blanket Alice listens to the house breathing, the windows creaking, the floor boards settling.

Awakened in the middle of the night, she sits straight up, eying the silhouette of Pearl’s empty bed.

The light of the moon, casts shadows on the wall, dancing back and forth like scary creatures. The cold air breathes through the weather beaten window frame, awakening the curtains. They dance like ghosts.

Scared, she covers her head with the thin grey blanket. Her heart beats hard and fast, in her hollow chest, like bunny rabbits running in her heart.

Some nights, when the room takes on its own life, Alice steals into her parent’s room. The sounds of her mother’s snoring, a clean break to get to her dad.

Quiet, she nuzzles in next to William. Like a motionless feather, she falls asleep, her own breathing becoming one with his.

If Irene awakens, she sends her back to her room. Other times, she doesn’t notice till morning.

“You spoil her, she will be rotten,” she yells at William.

Irene realized Alice’s fears, and uses it as another way to torture her. The least little thing, she sends her to her room.

“Get to your room, and now,” she orders, in her sister superior voice that rings in her head.

Alice runs up the staircase, as fast as her little legs can carry her, and falls into a heap on her narrow cot.

It seemed that Irene‘s patience will wear thin, especially around supper time. These are the nights Alice goes to bed hungry. The sounds of the chairs around the table, hunger pains racking her belly.

If only she could have just a little? Her brother’s all could share, a bite. Curling into a fetal position, she holds her bear and rag doll close. Finally sleep takes her.

William is often late, coming home from the dairy. The table is cleared, the dishes washed, and the children in their rooms. He was oblivious to the fact that Alice didn’t have any supper most nights.

The first few days, after they took Pearl away, Alice spends as much time in her room as she can stashing things, so Irene won’t take them away. Expecting her mother any minute to do an inspection, she takes another swipe under the bed with the broom. No dust bunnies, there could be no dust bunnies.

One of Alice’s daily chores is to wash the floor in the bedroom.

The worn wooden planks, give up splinters, the way Alice’s heart is shredded by Irene’s hate.

Dragging the heavy mop, she pulls the mop behind as she makes her

way up the stairs.

When her brothers offer to take the mop upstairs, Irene intercedes and insists that she is a girl, and needs to learn to do housework.

After going over the floor three times, four times, she drags the mop back down the stairs.

Irene has a pail of cold water waiting near the broom closet. The mop has to be rinsed and rung out, and put back in the broom closet in the emptied pail.

While rinsing the mop Alice gets splinters in her fingers. The few times she complained about splinters, Irene gets a needle, burns the end of it, and digs at her little fingers, making her scream. Learning from the needle torture she now is very careful wringing out the mop, her little fingers like specks in the wide, and springy mop head.

There are two brooms in the closet. One for inside, one for outside. Both made of straw. They are bound around the top to the wooden handle with a heavy gauge wire.

Hiding the pretty dresses under her mattress, she takes time to survey

each of them. Taking into consideration, when she will be able to wear, them, she piles them neatly, counting, ten in all. Tugging the thin stuffed mattress, she stuffs the dresses in then pulls it back, smoothing the sheet over the top. Just as Alice is putting the blanket on the bed, Irene is listening at the door, then pushed the door open.

“Hi Mother, says Alice, her voice quivers, like an arrow penetrating a tree.

“I was just folding some of Pearl’s things, like you told me,” pointing to a neat pile on the small table next to the bed.

“Is this all of her things?” barks Irene, glaring at Alice, her eyes iced over.

“Yes mother, but can I keep the bear and the doll? Please mother, Pearl would want me to have them please mommy?” Lowering herself on her knees in front of Irene, she puts her little hands together as if in prayer.

“Fine, answers Irene, but if you are bad, I will give them to some kids that deserve them.”

“I will never be bad mommy,” she says, crying now.

“You are always bad, child!” shaking her finger in her face.

“Get up off the floor girl, and stop that crying, before I give you something to cry about! And get this room cleaned, and dusted. I will come back to inspect it, before you get any supper.”

Irene marches out, slamming the door behind her.

“Yes mother,” she answers, wiping at her eyes.

Getting up, she goes straight to Pearl’s bed. Grabbing up the doll and the bear, she pulls them close to her, her little face buried deep in the love of them. Looking up she whispers, “thank you Pearl, I will look after them, you will see.”

Just as Alice is setting them on the bed, Irene comes back into the room.

“There are other kids who can use these things. By the time you are big enough to wear them, the moths will have eaten them,” she hisses, as she grabs up the pile of sweaters and things.

Alice searches her face, then lowered her eyes, staring at the doll. Her mother leaves the room, pulling hard on the door handle.

Butterflies play in her stomach, a smile crosses her angelic face. She can’t believe it! All of Pearl’s very best things, were hers now. She would love and cherish them, the way she loved her sister, remembering the games they would play with Sally, the rag doll.

Alice would hide the bear from Sally and Pearl, then Pearl would have to find it. Sometimes Pearl would make Sally dance and Alice would make bear dance. They laughed and sang songs till Irene would interrupt their play with orders of do this, or do that.

A smile plays on her face, the light in her eyes dancing as she watches Sally and bear, sitting on her bed. They were her new friends now. Not alone anymore, she snuggles in close to the fuzzy bear. Rubbing his white tummy she hums a tune. Pulling Sally close, and the bear to her chest, she falls asleep.

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Chapter 3

Running to catch up to Earl, she grabs for his hand.

Her other brothers are already out of site. Earl lags behind to help his baby sister. Earl is eight, closest in age to Alice.

William went in to talk to Earl before bedtime.

“You wait for your little sister, o.k. son. Make sure she gets to school. I am counting on you.”

“Yes father, answers Earl, looking deep into his father’s caring eyes.

“How far is it to the school, Earl? she asked, looking up at her brother.

“It is a long ways, you have to walk faster, or we will never get there.”

“O.k. Earl, I will walk faster then.” Alice gets into a running walk, as fast as her little legs will go. Laughing, she gets way ahead, then sits on the side of the road waiting for him to catch up.

School is a two mile walk each way, and the Purple kids, have to

walk most days, even on the coldest days, of winter. There was the odd day,

they would get lucky, with a ride from someone, in a horse buggy. Only the fortunate have horses and buggies. The Purple family’s only transportation, shoe lace express.

“Earl, what is the teacher’s name again?” holding tight to her brother’s hand.

“Her name is Miss Ink, and she has hair the color of ink.”

“You mean her hair is black?

“Yes, it is,” he answered.

He had told her that many times, but she just wanted to hear

him say it again.

“Do you think she will like me?” she asks, in a squeaky mouse voice.

“I suppose she will. She is nicer to the girls, just don’t get caught talking, when she is giving a lesson. You could get the ruler, over your knuckles.”

Shuddering at the thought of getting her little fingers whacked, she says,

“I will never talk when she is talking, thanks for telling me. I will be the best kid, and she will never hit me with the ruler.”

Earl looks down at his little sister, in her pretty dress. Her golden hair hangs in ringlets, around her cherub face. How could anyone ever hurt her? Knowing deep in his heart, Irene hurts her often.

Alice skips along the road, ahead of Earl for a while, examining the

pretty fall wildflowers. The purple bell ones, capture her eyes. Her teacher would like a few flowers. Stopping, crouching down, Earl watches his baby sister, realizing what she is about to do.

“Oh, no, come on, we have not time for you to pick flowers. Surely, we are going to be late, then we will be in trouble.”

Getting to her feet, she walks towards her brother. Earl grabs her

hand, trying to pull her along faster.

“I can’t go fast, my feet are hurting me now, Earl,” she whines, a half cry. “My heel!”

Letting go of his hand, she pulls her white stocking foot out, red showing through the thin cotton.

“Oh no, said Earl, your foot is bleeding.”

“It hurts, a lot,” she said.

“Can I sit down, for a spell?

“Come along, we haven’t even gone half way yet. When we get to the big maple tree, it marks the half way point.”

“Oh please, I can’t put my sore foot, back in, she complained.

“Well, o.k. then,” said Earl, looking down, the long road ahead. “I will just have to piggy back you, hurry, get them off and put them in my bag.”

Peeling off the other shoe, wincing, she looks at her bloodied heel.

Bending, he pulls her up. Her legs snake around his waist and her little arms slip around his neck.

“We are going to be in trouble, for sure, we are late.” complained Earl.

Alice’s brow furrows in worry.

“Lets go faster then, Earl.”

“I can’t go any faster, I am not a horse. A giggle escapes her lips, making Earl laugh too, his legs weakening.

“I have to stop for a breather,” he says.

Helping her down, he bends over from the waist.

“Miss Ink will keep us after school if we are late.”

Starting to worry now, in her mind’s eye, she can see her mother standing in the doorway of their clapboard house.

Irene’s moods changed like the weather. Some days were sunny. Others grey and cloudy, bringing tears, like rain.

Walking as though on broken glass, afraid to move the wrong way, or say the wrong thing. A familiar sight not far from her mind, Irene standing over her, her apron pulled tight across bulging stomach, waving a thick finger in her face.

Her wide hips, and thick ankles, bear down on her, like a dark cloud.

She wears her mousy, brown hair, pulled straight back off her face, a tight bun in the back. Her dark, beady, raven eyes, sit back behind

her swollen cheeks. She had been a nicer looking woman in her day. Now, burdened with eleven children, she has no time for herself. Her girth increased with each child that came.

William is merely half of his wife. Standing five foot four, a slight build, he is dwarfed by her five foot seven, close to two hundred pounds.

Alice folds her little body, against her brother, like a jockey on a horse.

They trod along, the schoolyard coming into view.

“Thank Goodness,” says Earl. I thought we would never get here.”

The schoolhouse is red, with a steeple on the top. It had been a church at one time.

“A playground!” screams Alice, excitement in her voice.

“Yes, but not now, let’s go in,” he urges, reaching for her hand.

“The others are already inside, hurry!

Straightening her dress, she looks down at her stocking feet.

“Oh, no, I can’t go in without my shoes on. I will show the teacher, my bloodied foot, she said, then the teacher won’t be mad at us.”

“Sure, let’s just get inside,” he urged.

Holding her shoes in her hands, she walks in directly behind Earl.

Earl pushes the door open, exposing the big school room. Alice huddles in behind him, trying her best to hide.

All eyes are on Earl.

The teacher puts down her chalk, and turned around to face Earl, and what seemed to be a small person, hiding behind him. The kids all stop what they are doing, and stare their way.

“Well, well,” said Miss Ink, folding her arms in front of her. “First day of school, Earl Purple, you are late.”

The teachers sharp tongued voice, shakes Alice’s humble demeanour.

Thinking she had better put her shoes on, one of them drops to the floor. Miss Ink eyes the white shoe. Then she sees a little girl bending, putting on the shoes.

“Owww, Alice cries aloud,” as the blister, breaks open, the pain stinging her heel.

“Who is the small person, behind you, Earl Purple?”

“Oh, ma’am, this is my baby sister Alice, she is six years old.”

“Come out here, and let me have a look at you miss,” said Miss Ink, her eyes fixated on a little girl.

Stepping to the side of her brother, looking up at the teacher. Folding her little hands together, in front of her dress, she gives Miss Ink a half curtsy.

“Hello teacher,” she says faintly, my name is Alice.”

“I am not your teacher yet, miss.” A few chuckles erupt from the classroom of kids.

“You don’t look old enough to be here at school?

“Yes, Miss Ink, Earl interrupts, she is really six, she is just small for her age.”

Grabbing Alice’s arm, pulling her in front of him.

“That’s enough kids, print my name twenty times, that will keep you busy.” orders the teacher.

A drawn out moan, hangs in the air, over the classroom.

“We might just have to talk to your mother, and find out how old you are.”

“I am really six, promise,” Alice says, with a plastic smile.

“For now Earl, you find a seat in the back row, and we will talk about

your lateness later. For you miss, you sit right up here, where I can keep

an eye on you.”

Miss Ink points to the first desk at the head of the row, right in front of her.

“Yes, ma’am,” she answered, fitting her little body into the seat. Wiggling around for a minute, she tries to find the perfect posture. Then she looks up to see if Miss Ink is watching.

All heads are down as Miss Ink starts her march, up each isle, staring down at their lines, then she walks back to the front of the class. She takes her place at the front of the classroom, like a captain at the stern of his ship. Stealing another peak at the cutest little thing, with her big ringlets, and green eyes, she proceeded with the lesson at hand.

“Everyone take out a piece of paper, write your name on it, and draw a picture, while I am getting this lesson ready,” she says peering over her small spectacles. Alice steals a quick glance behind, at all the kids.

Earl had told her that all the grades from one to eight were in the same class. She noticed that as the rows went, they were taller, and older. All the kids in the same row as Alice, are more her age. She was the smallest.

The classroom is bright yellow, with green trim, on the windows.

It feels like a ray of sunshine to her, as she smiles sweetly. A boy in the back row sticks out his tongue. Alice, giggles out loud. Miss Ink turns around, looking straight the way the giggle had come.

“Miss Alice, you must not disrupt the class! Sit straight in your seat, keep your eyes on the blackboard, unless I tell you otherwise, do you understand miss?”

“Yes teacher, yes teacher.” Her eyes wide with fright, she folds her little hands together, on top of her desk.

Miss Ink’s big wooden desk interested Alice, with all the books and pens. She loved pens and and couldn’t wait for the teacher to give her some picture books to look at. Anxious to learning how to read everything, in those books.

Keeping her eyes on the blackboard, the teacher shows them, how to spell her name. Alice writes the name on her paper. The tall, thin woman walks over to her desk, looking down at her paper.

“This is good writing, someone taught you to write already?”

“Yes, my sister Pearl, did, and my aunt Rita too.”

Miss Ink’s face grew sullen, walking back to the blackboard. Pearl had been one of her favorite students, she missed her. Should she talk to Alice, about Pearl? A bright light, came on in her head. She would show Alice, Pearl’s artwork, displayed, at the back of the class. That would be the best way, to talk to her, about her dead sister.

Keeping her eyes peeled on Miss Ink, she watches as she steps from side to side, at the blackboard, her thin, birdlike ankles. She is tall, and slim, just like Earl had said. Her pitch black hair is pulled straight back off her face, in a perfect bun in the back, not one hair out of place. She wears bright red on her lips.

It made Alice remember the day, her and her mom had been at the train station, when a lady with the red lips, walked by. Irene said that she looked like a whore. Not knowing, what that was, but by the way Irene spoke, she knew, it wasn’t good.

. When it came time to have lunch, she ran outside, to join the other kids, in the playground. A few of them gather around, looking her over.

“I love your dress,” said a girl with long red braids, tied with bright blue ribbons.

“Thanks,” replied Alice, a show of pink cascading over her cheeks.

She played a game of chase, with a couple of kids near her age, asking them their names.

Miss Ink came through the schoolhouse door, looking out onto the

playground, her eyes scanning the yard, for the pretty little girl, in the

flowery dress.

There was just something about this one that made her want to love her. Watching, Alice darts here and there, like a firefly, trying to get in as much playing, as possible. A smile crosses Miss Ink’s lips.

Finding her brothers, she whispers, while looking around.

“Please, you won’t tell will you? I just have to come to school. Don’t you see? If mother finds out what the teacher said, she will keep me at home. Maybe for another whole year, then I’ll be seven, and too old to come to school.”

The boys all laughed. Looking from one to the other. They agreed on their silence. Skip nodded.

“We won’t say a thing, mouse. Will we boys?” “Oh, thank you,” she said, hugging him, a sweet smile.

“Please don’t call me mouse, around my friends.”

“Sure, fine,” he answered.

Running back to where the other girls are playing, she notices they are all eating their lunch. Her appetite hadn’t coaxed her yet.

Walking away from the girls, she runs to the swings. A few pushes and she is flying, happier than she can ever remember, her spirit free, like a bird that had been caged all its life, finally free to fly.

This was the best day ever, new friends, and a new teacher. She liked the tall, skinny lady, with the ink colored hair.

Just then, Miss Ink walks over, standing in front of Alice. A bright red apple in her hand, she smiles.

“Just thought you might like this apple, I have an extra one.”

“I see you didn’t bring a lunch Alice.”

“Really, I am not hungry teacher.”

“If you are not hungry now, you soon will be, all that playing you are


“Ah, I just forgot my lunch today,” said Alice, putting her finger up to her lips.

The hand movement tells Miss Ink, the little girl is fabricating a story.

The thinness of her arms, and legs, tell Miss Ink the story. This child is malnourished. She had seen it a lot, in her years of being a teacher, in this small community. Lots of families going hungry.

“You have this apple Alice, and I’ll get you half of my peanut butter sandwich.”

“O.k, answers Alice, her eyes dancing with excitement.

A peanut butter sandwich, was her favorite.

“With jelly too?”

“Of course, what would it be without the jelly?” A big loving smile.

The two of them shared the sandwich and Alice eats the apple, down to the core.

“Remember now, to bring your lunch tomorrow.”

“Yes teacher, I was so excited to come to school, I forgot all about a lunch.”

Really, she had watched the brown bagged lunches getting eaten up, as her brother’s picked them from the counter. They were all gone when she looked for one. Nor did she dare to complain, in case Irene kept her at home.

“I love apples, thank you teacher.” giving Miss Ink a cutie pie grin.

The first day at school, had gone by, way too fast for her liking.

“Attention class.” Miss Ink stands in front of her theatre, looking at her subjects.

“Its time to get your books together, make sure, you take your homework, we have ten minutes till the bell goes.”

At that very moment, her happiness drained through, like the pink from her cheeks, her uncertainties tumbling down on her narrow shoulders. It was all too good, too much fun, was it a dream?

It was time to go home.

Putting her reader, in her schoolbag, she looks down at her stocking feet. She would have to put her feet back in the tight shoes. The pain had subsided in her heel.

Walking to Miss Ink’s desk, Alice stares as the teacher is writing something. Miss Ink notices the white of a dress out of the corner of her eye.

“Oh, Alice, I didn’t notice you there.”

“Just wanted to say goodbye teacher,” a soft, seeking love look, in her deep green eyes, searching into Miss Ink’s dark eyes.

“We’ll see you tomorrow.”

That was all she wanted to hear, her heart swelling.

Skipping out the door of the schoolhouse, Earl is waiting for her, just outside the door.

“C’mon, we got to get going. Here, get on, we’ll try and get home on time, so mother doesn’t punish you, I mean us.” he says, looking down at his little sister.

Miss Ink showed in the doorway, just as the little girl, is getting on her brother’s back.

“Remember to wear comfortable shoes. Also, we’ll let it go this time, but we do not tolerate lateness. You could be kept after school.”

“Yes ma’am, answered Alice, waving to Miss Ink, as Earl takes off, like a donkey with his burden.

Miss Ink chuckles at the sight of Alice on Earl’s back.

“I love school, Earl,” she says, her voice celebratory.

“You will see, if you like it so much, when you get lots of homework.”

“Mom will be waiting for us, to do our chores, we don’t want to make her mad at us.” said Earl.

As Earl trod along, she goes quiet, thinking of all the new things in her life.

Anxious to learn more tomorrow, like a dry sponge, in a sea of knowledge.

Earl stopped only once, to catch a breather, his sister feeling like a heavy load of wood on his back.

Making it to the yard, Earl bends to let her down.

“Oh, just can’t do this again tomorrow, please wear shoes that fit you.”

“I don’t have any that fit perfectly, just too big, and too little.”

“Well, make a better choice, it was so hard, carrying you all the way. Good thing you are just a bit of a thing.”

“Thank you Earl, you were just like a pony.”

“Sure, lets get in now, before mom comes out, yelling, he urges.

“I’m as hungry as a bear, said Earl. “Grrrrr,” said Alice playfully, running ahead of Earl.

They go straight into the dining room, to the big table, scanning for the fresh

buns that usually greeted them before supper. There were no buns today.

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Chapter 7......Jail Time

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