…finally a chance to work on this over the summer.
A Historical Fiction Novel
“As time to time it occurs, in the course of history, that an individual is driven to achieve more in one lifetime than even imagined, so it was with one woman’s journey that embodied the spirit of an entire nation.” George Larkins
The snow drifted silently, as in a dream, onto the porch steps of the Tudor style home. Its glory days had long since passed, and while some homes on the street had been abandoned, it remained stoic and well attended. Inside a small spaniel, her muzzle white with the age, stared up at the sleeping woman. It inched forward to nuzzle the old ladies palm with its wet black nose. Without opening her eyes she spoke to her longtime companion “Okay girl, let’s get a move on”. The bedside clock read 5:00 am, although, she had never used its bell, relying instead on her own internal clock. Sitting up, she placed a worn pair of slippers onto her feet. Reaching for her bathrobe, she gasped when a sudden twinge of pain in her side began and then subsided. “I guess we’re not as young as we used to be, are we sweetheart?” Her companion wagged a stubby tail as she looked toward the bedroom door. Rosie had found the little dog fourteen years before begging behind the café bar that bore her name in downtown Detroit. She was all “skin and bones” then, but with love, shelter and choice scraps brought home nightly, she had quickly recovered. Rosie made her way down the little hallway and through the living room. Its handsome crafted woodwork was a reminder of Detroit’s days as a power town of automobile manufacturing. The built in oak cabinetry of the fireplace mantle held three photographs in silver frames. A black and white wedding snapshot of she and Edwin, Her rocking their baby Joseph, and a more recent picture of her son, his wife, Abby, and her granddaughter, Grace Jack.
She passed through the kitchen and opened the side entry door for the little dog. The dog looked up at her and cocked her head to one side. “Well, are you going or not? Make up your mind” The dog reluctantly ventured out into the cold as was her routine. This was a little game they played. Turning on the tap and loading the chrome coffee maker were also part of the routine, as were the newspaper on the front porch and a hot breakfast of oatmeal, milk and pure maple syrup. Once these tasks were complete, the little dog was allowed back inside; she was given a treat and settled down at her master’s feet.
Rosie pulled on her thick wool coat, rubber boots and knitted hat. She waved goodbye to the sad face in the window and made her way to the garage. The inside lit up a workshop that would make a master mechanic take note. Rows of every imaginable tool lined the walls in a neat and ordered system. Fasteners and essential materials to keep a home and automobile in good repair stood ready for the next minor or major emergency. Against one wall was a welding unit and laying on the bench beside it a welding mask and thick leather gloves. Against the opposite wall a motorcycle perched on its stand covered by tarpaulin. The primary occupant of the building was a near mint condition 1972 red convertible Ford LTD. She had purchased the car with cash off the lot and had rigorously maintained it. As She slipped behind the wheel and inserted the key, she paused a moment to look around. Content that everything appeared in order she turned the key, and with a soothing roar the big eight cylinder motor began to warm Michigan’s frosty March morning air.
The car left the enclave of North Rosedale, a neighborhood community of home preservation supporters within the city limits, and made its way to the Polish neighborhood of Hamtramck. The big ford pulled curbside in front of a large well-lit storefront, its protective grate rolled up and wide windows revealing rows of fresh baked goods. The smell of Kowalski’s bakery enveloped Rosie as she entered like a warm blanket, breads, cakes, cinnamon rolls and assorted pastry items beckoned from the display cases. The two fat ladies, aprons dusted in flour stopped their bantering and looked up with smiles to greet her “Oh, Goood Morning! How are we today Rosella. You look beautiful today!” Rosie smiled back “Thank you, Jolanta. I’m a little tired today. I guess it’s just old age creeping up on me”. Jolata stepped lively, for a woman of her girth, from behind the counter and swept Rosie into one of the small dining chairs reserved for those patrons who found time to sit and enjoy a coffee with their pastry. “Sit, Sit, Zofia! get her order. Come, come, now. Don’t worry. We take care of everything”. Jolata returned to the back of the bakery and emerged with a warm danish and milk and sat beside Rosie. “See you just need slow down, little bit. You rest for now. Zofia and I, we load your order. I take keys”. She quickly snatched the keys and shouted something in Polish to Zofia in the back. The ladies emerged and loaded rolls and doughnuts into the trunk of the LTD. Once Rosie had rested to Jolata’s satisfaction, she was walked to her car and handed the keys. The fat ladies eyes welled with unexpected tears as she embraced Rosie in a hug that drew the breath from her. “It’s okay, it’s okay now. We see you tomorrow, same time. You take good care. If you need something at bar, you call. Zofia and me, we come help. Goodbye, goodbye now”.