4/20/14 WEWRIWA

Another sunny day in NY with birds chirping and neighbors coming out of hibernation in this quiet neighborhood. I woke up today and that’s always a plus. Welcome to my world and Weekend Warrior Writers. Know this, my friends, I appreciate your critique of my new story. Every comment is important. Thank you all.

Continuing with my WIP She Never Said Yes. 15 and a half year old Joy Davison invites eighteen year old Danny Wilson to her club dinner dance. Sounds easy, right? He accepts and she’s thrilled. Mother wants to meet this senior boy after warning her only daughter saying boy’s will expect “privileges”, never telling innocent Joy what that means. She also wants to meet this possibly depraved boy so when he comes to the door to tell Joy a secret, Mother is there. And to Joy’s surprise , when Mother and Danny shake hands, her mother holds on too long to be polite and peers into Danny’s eyes like detectives do in the movies. A sign of the 40’s with Mama Bear protecting Baby Bear. Left alone at last, Joy is anxious to find out what Danny wants to tell her.

Excerpt in eight:

He shuffled his feet the way I’d seen him do when we walked home and I guessed he was uncomfortable and why not when he’s so sure of himself in school and my home is like foreign territory.
“You want to tell me something?” fingers crossed tight under my arms praying he didn’t plan to say he didn’t want to go out with me or even worse, he had another girlfriend.
His voice kind of choked and finally he spilled the beans, “Remember I said my dad was an immigrant from Russia and did you wonder why my last name is Wilson, not too Russian?”
Breathing a sigh of relief, I thought, not the date or another girl and fingers uncrossed, I leaned toward this adorable nervous boy to listen.
“Danny,” I touched his reindeer sweater so soft his mom must have washed it a million times, “I didn’t think about it but I betcha I’d have asked you, um, soon.”
He settled back against the stiff blue silk covered sofa, more comfortable since he’d started talking: “His family arrived at Ellis Island, do you know about Ellis Island?” I nodded. “The inspector asked Grandpa his name and Grandpa spoke a garbled Russian, the story goes, and said “Wolinsky” simplified by the man in charge to Wilson.”
“Danny, the same thing happened to my father’s family and that’s how the name Davidonivich became Davison.”
His freckled face looked so serious all of a sudden especially when he said, “Let’s pinky swear not to tell anyone else” and right then we locked pinky fingers, his large, mine small and shook them, our first pact.

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30 thoughts on “4/20/14 WEWRIWA

  1. Ah yes, the Ellis Island inspectors simplifying all of the original names and the families who hid their real too-ethnic surnames, very authentic and brings us right into the time-period. And I adore the young angst and bit of uncertainty. I find myself getting caught up with these two young people.

  2. What chelle says. Immediately identified since many names were “changed” to simpler ones at Ellis. Very nice touch and very good character insights provided in this 8 sentence snippet. Well done.

  3. Hi Susan. As I wrote the beginning of the story, Ellis Island typed on to the computer by something inside me calling out that their names , where did they come from? A magical moment writers experience; the wonder of it all. Thank you..

  4. Well, I had no idea about Ellis island, so I just learned something new 🙂 I have the feeling that Danny was just looking for a reason to speak to her- I mean, why was it so important he let her know his real last name? Especially when she already knew his father was an immigrant. Then again, maybe this was important in the time period and I’m misunderstanding. Still, I’m looking forward to more, Charmaine!

  5. I enjoyed that moment, even though it must have been hard for him to reveal. I always like it when characters reveal dark info about themselves. My uncle arrived at Ellis Island in 1964 from Ireland. Nice 8!

  6. I’ve read about Ellis Island–how they changed names to make them easier to spell or say, or just because they misheard and didn’t care enough to spend time getting it right. So many of those immigrants must have been confused by the whole thing…

    They make a cute couple–paired in their awkwardness, and then by understanding. 🙂

  7. Nice flow and interaction between these two. I wonder why Danny is so nervous about the name change- must be a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment where they are? I love that they have a shared secret now.

  8. Awe, such a simpler time. It sounds like he’s hooked on her already! Nice touch–dropping a little bit of history info while establishing a reason they can relate. 🙂 Nicely done. 🙂

    • A simpler time is what it’s all about. Virginity, mom’s at home, walking a long way to school, relatives living close by. Better times? Quite possibly. She Never Said Yes is a story of simpler times grown more complicated before too long.

  9. Charmaine, I’m wondering if you are trying to write all the run-on sentences as if that’s how she’s thinking? For me it’s a bit distracting as a reader, but I think that’s what you’re doing, putting nervous girl thoughts down one right after the other, as if she wasn’t taking a mental breath.

    • Jenna, truly my fingers typed of their own volition and Danny’s big secret was revealed. How this happens is anyone’s guess. I call it magic. Then the writer decides whether to leave it in or delete. I left it in. If anyone has a thought about this, give me a shout out.
      Thanks for the comment. Starts my day on a high.

  10. That definitely happened to so many when they came through. Wonderful snippet. Such tension, and then the actual admission brought about a lovely closeness between them. Wonderful 8

      • I’m so happy my comment was able to save this scene. As the granddaughter of immigrants, I can understand where the characters are coming from. I’m also very glad I could bring joy to your day. 🙂 I’m glad my response day was delayed a few so that I could bring you joy mid-week 😀

  11. I like the honestly between the two. And so true how people were much more intolerant of ethnic origins back then. A nice realistic touch. Ellis Island and census records have a lot of name changes. My x-hubby’s dad came over on the boat as they say from Italy as a boy. The Catholic school nuns changed their last name to Rogers. The one brother kept the Rogers last name the others switched it back when they were old enough. Fascinating stuff. Great character insight Charmaine.

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