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Here’s my story!
High Noon and a Generous Helping of Mashed Potatoes
By: Allison K. Garcia
I lived there after Father killed Mother. A strange place filled with strange people. And the owners were no exception. Geraldine Odd and Martha Fellows met me at the gate the first day I arrived, both dressed in black with untamed gray hair flying in the autumn breeze.
I stared at the towering building behind us. It’s tall pointed steeples intimidated. Outside it appeared so stern and cold, scary even.
Geraldine patted my shoulder. “Don’t let the building scare ya. Inside we’re all a big, happy family.”
She was right. A family of vagabonds, orphans, beggars, retired carnies, gypsies, and crazy old women. A mishmash of undesirables who loved each other because they knew what it was like to be unloved. Those people took me in. The orphan of a murdered mother and a hanged father. They accepted me as one of their own.
The memories of the place are seared onto my senses. They’ve been woven into me like a family crest.
A lumpy cot, itchy pajamas, and shoes that were always one size too small. Laughing children, the off-key piano, and mysterious creaking when no one was around. Wood oil, bleach, and fresh flowers. Smiling eyes, the tiny greenhouse in the front yard, and dusty spiderwebs in the chandelier.
The old girls hardly turned anyone away, which meant less food on everyone’s plates. But, there was one thing that never seemed to run dry: mashed potatoes.
The running joke was there was a flowing mashed potato river in the cellar. Really, I think it was one of the only foods everyone could eat, though I never got a chance to ask.
Shortly after I came of age, they closed their doors. Its cold exterior shows no signs of life, but, still, years later, whispers of old Vaudeville tunes float through the air.
Love like that leaves a mark.