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Story ID:9585
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Corona CA USA
Person:Chelsea Kansas Kid
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As the old hag stood on the corner at the intersection of Broadway and Main waiting for the traffic light to change to green she thought of the way things used to be.
When she met her husband at the teacher’s conference, many years ago, she had no idea she would end up this way. While discussing his children’s school problems with Joe, their father, Mary and Joe, fell in love and married.
She was his second wife and immediately the three stepchildren showed their hate for her. They made cutting remarks to her face and when their dad was around acted as if they loved her. She couldn’t possibly tell her husband this because he treated her with such kindness and love she shrugged it off. He brought her flowers everyday and often brought small gifts of jewelry, rings, necklaces, and brooches. They were madly in love.
His business was fluorishing and he hired a cook, maid, and butler to help her with the big house on the hill that he purchased for her and the three step kids.
These three kids were, now, 18, 19, and 21 years old and were still in the nest and showed no indication of striking out on their own.
Her husband loved lavish parties and often had as many as fifty couples over for buffet’s and cocktails.
Things turned sour when he had a heart attack and was hospitalized. She went to his bedside but his two boys would not let her go in to see him. In desperation, she called the police and they told the boys to let her in but it was too late. He died without her seeing him.
After the funeral, the lawyer called the family in and read the will. Joe had not changed his will after he and Mary had married and Mary was left out in the cold. The will stated the estate be divided equally among the three rotten kids and she could do nothing about it.
The three leering kids told her to pack her bag and get out. She had no money, no relatives and found that the people that always were invited to her parties wanted nothing to do with her.
When $340.00 in cash that she had in her purse and the jewelry, and the dresses she packed started to dwindle, she left the flea bag motel. She started walking the streets looking for food and shelter from the bitter cold wind. In order to keep warm she found three burlap bags and with some twine made a shawl. She was dirty, hair unkempt, under the old baseball cap and dirty from not bathing for a long time.
When Mary would meet another woman on the sidewalk the other woman would step off the sidewalk to let her go by. She looked like a witch and the kids would hound her and tease her as she hobbled by. She did not hear them she was so intently looking for a dropped French fry or piece of bread to eat.
The kids would hit her with small rocks and when she turned to face them they would run and hide. She was constantly in pain from walking on sore feet and at night, she would crawl in her hole under the bridge. She shared the shelter from the wind and rain with three big rats, two mice and a couple of black widow spiders.
She had no fear because the will to survive overcame any fear that she had. The rats, mice, and spiders were her roommates, and were willing to share the hole.
As Mary was going through a dumpster one day, she heard a rustle behind her. When she turned there was a dog that was as ragged and dirty as she was. The dog followed her from dumpster to dumpster and when Mary found some stale bread, she would share it with the dog. Mary patted the Shepherd dog on the head and from then on, they were a team. The dog kept the bad kids from harassing her for a share of her food findings.
When Mary crossed the street, she hobbled so slowly that the waiting motorists would honk and say bad things to her. They would yell “hurry up hag” and the dog would turn as if to say “leave her alone.”
When Mary crawled into her hole, she would use the newspapers she found, that day, to cover her and the dog. The rats and mice liked the papers to make nests for their new babies.
One rainy day as Mary and the dog were crossing the street an irate motorist pulled ahead and hit the dog. Mary stooped to pick the dog up and the horns started honking and the people started yelling. Some one pulled ahead and ran over the dog killing him.
Mary picked the dog up, carried him to a field, buried him under a tree in a shallow grave, and covered him with rocks. She found after all this time she could shed a few tears as she said a silent prayer over the dog. She turned and walked away with heavy heart.
Mary had lost everything, her home, her friends and the loss of the dog hit her hard. She started mumbling to her self. This, added to her shabby dress, dirty body and hair, made her a real scary looking individual.
She saw the light change at Main and Broadway and felt something warm in her cold left hand. She looked down and this child with the most beautiful eyes grasped her hand. They walked hand in hand across the street. The cars did not honk, no one yelled and slowly they walked to the opposite curb. On the other side, Mary turned and the young boy walked on down the sidewalk away from Mary. A few feet down the sidewalk he turned and waved good bye. Mary waved back and sat on the bus bench that was close by. She picked up the newspaper that had been left and saw her name in the headline. They were looking for her. She found a dime and called the number and the law office that kept track of her husbands will wanted to see her. She was asked to come to the law office and see Mr. Peabody of Peabody, Jones and Flintstein’s law firm. Mary walked the five miles and when she found the building the guard at the door would not let her in.
It was lunchtime and Peabody walked out of the building and saw Mary. He did not recognize her, he came up to her and offered her a handout. Mary refused and told him she was Mary Rothschild. The lawyer looked at this wretch with disbelief and asked her some questions about her husband and kids. She knew details that he knew that only Mary would know.
He took her into the building into his office and his receptionist almost threw up because of the bad smell that Mary threw off. He told Mary that the three kids had been in a plane wreck and were killed. She was the only living heir. He would take her to the house on the hill, and she could sleep in a clean bed to night.
When Mary was settled, and presentable she would drive up and down the street looking for that boy that helped her across the street. This happened at her lowest point and she thanked God and in her mind thought the boy was a messenger to bring her back from despair.
Mary was lucky to have felt that warm hand. There are many of us that need that warm hand to keep us from sinking too low.

11-26-99 Monte L. Manka