Friday, April 4, 20089:32-10:02More revision of my Granny B’s straw hat story.My father sent me an e-mail with lots of ideas of minor improvements that I can make in the story. I am taking those ideas and carefully combing through my story making my initial changes. Then, if I still have time, I will use ideas from the Revision Toolbox to make more changes. After having such a hard time getting started with revision with my other story, I am actually now finding that as I get used to the idea of rethinking a story and doing the revision exercises, I am beginning to like it. I look forward to discovering the story and I am anxious to see the new and improved version as it unfolds. I wonder if the same thing happens to students. I wonder if they start to like a task or skill that they once hated after they get used to doing it. That is a concept that I can use in my future classroom. . ..Anyway, back to my story. My revisions are in blue, but in green I included a sentence or two that came expressly from my father, in his own words. (I enjoyed consulting my dad on this project because he said that I captured my great grandparent’s as well as he thinks anyone could have – which I owe to my grandmother who related this story to me.) Mama put Molly’s breakfast on the table and sat with Molly as she ate her morning meal, both of them talking gaily, not mentioning another word about the hat.
Over the next few days Mama worked carefully soaking and pressing and trying to bring the new, crisp life back to the smashed straw hat. Neither Molly or her mother said a word about the hat, not even to each other. Late Saturday night, Mama hung the hat back in its original location, then affectionately kissed Molly goodnight.
Easter Sunday finally arrived. Brilliant sunlight streamed into Molly’s room through the lace covered window. She could hear her parents moving about in their bedroom next to her own. Eventually she got up and donned her new beautiful Easter dress. She combed her bobbed hair and carefully placed a bow on one side. When she walked into the kitchen both of her parents were smartly dressed in their Sunday best, ready to go to church. She joined her parents at the table. Mama served Molly and her daddy first, then made a plate for herself just before she sat down to the table. Conversation flowed freely at the kitchen table and Molly‘s mama was never at a loss for words.
Finally as they were all ready to walk out the door, Molly’s dad remembered, “I nearly forgot my hat. Excuse me while I go get it.” He walked half-hurriedly to Molly’s door, as not to make the family late. Without even stepping into her room he reached his hand around her door and carefully grasped the straw hat. As he brought the hat to his head he paused for a moment and stared at it. The hat looked almost like new, but not quite. He couldn’t quite tell what was the matter. Something about the hat just didn’t seem right.“What’s wrong with my hat?” he asked.Molly quickly inhaled and silently held her breath. “Howard, what are you talkin about?” Mama asked in a sweet southern voice.“There’s something wrong with my hat. It doesn’t look right.” “Howard, we’ll soon be late. Please put on your hat so that we can go.” Mother answered.“Pauline, look at this hat. Something’s different. I think it looks like it’s been bent and then someone tried to straighten it back out. See, look at these creases. They are flat, but they’re still there.” Daddy was getting angry. That was easy to see. Molly felt guilty. Her eyes were growing as big as half dollars watching her parents talk about the situation she knew she had caused. However, her mother remained calm and never led on that anything was the matter.“Fires alive, Pauline. I can’t wear this hat. I would rather not wear any hat than to wear a hat that looks like it was mangled and then straightened out.”“Suit yourself, Howard, but I do believe it is time for us to leave.” Mama retorted with finality.Frustrated, Daddy determined he would rather destroy the offending straw hat than leave it at home to mock him upon his return. He threw the hat on the floor, crushed it with his floor. He tried to rip it, stomp it, tear it into pieces, but he the hat would not be destroyed. He then tried to put his foot through the top of the hat, but the strong straw would not give him the satisfaction. Daddy was a man who could put the fear into most men in Houston Country and yet, here he was stymied by a simple straw hat. As the minutes passed, Mama remained calm, still standing by the door as if she they would all walk out on their way to church any minute. Molly on the other hand had to cover her mouth to refrain from laughing. Her father, in his anger, was actually quite humorous to watch. Finally, determined that nothing he could do would demolish the hat, yet still sputtering expletives out of his mouth, he opened the wood burning stove’s door and threw the hat inside. The hat quickly went up in flames and he stood back to watch in utter satisfaction. Then, he regained his composure, straightened out his suit and calmly walked over to his loving wife and daughter. With feinted chivalry, he opened the front door for them, waited for them to exit the house, then held out his arms on either side. Mama romantically slid her slender arm through one of his arms while Molly eagerly grabbed the other and they headed off to church, with Sunday-dinner afterwards. Even without the hat they still had a fine time. Granddaddy Glass played the fiddle. Mae Fannie and Mother played the organ. Everyone sang songs, danced and had a grand time.
I smile whenever I read this story. It makes me laugh. This is my favorite fun story that my Granny B tells me. I would like to actually write a few stories about this time period in her life and then couple them together with the final story (chapter) as her account of the death of her mother when she was this age. I would love to one day be able to capture this girl’s intimate closeness with her mother and then sudden loss. I think that if done right it could be quite compelling. Wish me luck. . .