Silver Rain

Silver Rain by Lois Peterson Read Free Book Online

Book: Silver Rain by Lois Peterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lois Peterson
Tags: JUV000000, book
watched her mother pack. But she refused to help. And Mother had another think coming if she expected Elsie to speak to her for the rest of the evening, even though she was dying to tell her about the Eaton’s catalog project, and the collage, and the fight she had with Scoop.
    They were supposed to be best friends. But he wasn’t talking to her, and she hadn’t even grown nubs yet. What would it be like when she did? She wanted to talk to her mother about that too.
    Elsie ate her supper slowly, feeling Mother’s gaze on her. By the time she was done, she had decided the only thing to do was to be a good loser like Father had taught her to be. If she could be a good loser when he left, she could be one when Mother went away to visit a sick friend. “We did loads of things with the Eaton’s catalog today.” Elsie watched her mother’s face brighten now she was talking to her again. “We furnished our dream bedrooms, and we made a collage too.”
    â€œDream bedrooms, my eye,” Nan muttered from her chair behind them. But no one answered her.
    Later, Elsie won three games of checkers with Uncle Dannell while Mother washed the dishes. As she helped him put the little black and white pieces back in their box, Uncle Dannell said, “So, it’ll just be you and your Nan for a while. Can I leave Dog Bob in your care?”
    â€œWhat do you mean?” Elsie closed the box and held it against her chest. “Where will you be?”
    Her uncle glanced over at Mother, who was hanging the damp dishcloth on the string overhead.
    She turned sideways to look at Elsie, her hands still in the air, with clothespins between her fingers. “Didn’t I mention it earlier? Your uncle has work.” Mother picked up the laundry basket and hugged it to her chest. “In the cranberry fields at Richmond.”
    â€œA supervisory position.” Uncle Dannell puffed out his chest and flicked his suspenders with a loud snap. Nan took the basket from Mother without saying a word and disappeared into the bedroom.
    Elsie felt her chest fill up with heat. “You’re going to New Westminster?” she yelled at her mother. “ And Uncle Dannell is going to Richmond?” She tugged her hat down hard on her head, watching Mother take off her apron and fold it into a tiny square.
    â€œYou got it, baby girl,” said Uncle Dannell.
    Elsie didn’t like his smarmy voice. Or being called baby girl. It was even worse than being called Little Bit. “Don’t call me that. How many times do I have to tell you? Anyway. We don’t have any money. How are you going to get there?”
    Uncle Dannell looked at Mother. Mother looked at the floor and quietly said, “I pawned my brooch for my fare.” She unfolded her apron again and smoothed it against her stomach. “Uncle Dannell will hitchhike. Don’t worry…” She must have seen Elsie’s eyes fill with tears at the thought of the last piece of jewelry from Father’s shop being in the pawnshop for anyone to buy. “We’ll get it back when Uncle Dannell has his first paycheck,” she said.
    Elsie rushed into the bedroom, where she found Nan sitting on the bed with her hands folded in her lap. Nan doing nothing!
    Dog Bob was slumped on the floor beside her. He blinked up at Elsie.
    â€œEveryone’s going, Nan,” Elsie cried. “I don’t want them to go.” She gulped and felt the tears flood her eyes.
    â€œNor me, my child.” Nan ran her hand down Elsie’s cheek, then pulled her into her wide lap. “Nor me.” It had been a long time since Elsie had sat there. Nan’s chin came down on the top of Elsie’s head and her voice rumbled through her skull. “But we all have to find a way to do the best we can. These are hard times, child, and everyone should do their bit. Your mother says her friend is well situated, so she’ll have good food

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