2021 – Three Years of Her Life – First Three Pages

1.

Center Lovell, Maine

August 1957

When grandmother called Elizabeth that hot August day, she sounded like her to the point self. “Heard you’re here for the summer before nursing school. Stop by, I’m home.”

Elizabeth was taken aback and said, “Yeah. Sure, grandma.”

But, why did grandmother want to see Elizabeth?

Five years ago, she tried to run over her.

During that summer grandmother drove 13-year-old Elizabeth to a cleaning and dishwashing job at her uncle’s lake side lodge. One morning, grandmother ragged on her again for being a lazy good for nothin’ kid—not finishing farmyard chores. Elizabeth had enough of her nit-picking and asked, “Grandma, why don’t you like me?” Grandmother face turned red. She slammed the brakes, slapped and punched her. Elizabeth jumped out of the car and ran. Grandmother floored the gas pedal and chased after her. Elizabeth made it to the lodge and collapsed, crying on the kitchen floor.

What was she in for this time?

It was a short drive from her aunt and uncle’s marina to grandmother’s farmhouse. Elizabeth stepped out of the car and looked around. At least the scent of pine trees hadn’t changed. But, it was sad to see paint peeling off the Colonial house, and the adjacent two-story henhouse. Grandmother must have fallen on hard times after she sold the beachfront resort, Sunset Inn. If grandmother’s mood had deteriorated that much, Elizabeth was in for it all over again.

She smoothed her long brown hair away from her face, set Cat-Eye sunglasses on top of her head and walked to the front door.

Grandmother—a little grayer, a little plumper—greeted her as if nothing had ever happened between them. “Now just look at you all grown up. It’s been a long time.”

No hug or handshake, grandmother turned and walked through the living room. Elizabeth followed. The dark musty room filled with overstuffed Victorian furniture and embroidered pillows was a stark contrast to the sunny day outside. A Hammond organ took up the far wall.

Good she didn’t have to sell it.  Elizabeth loved that old thing.

Grandmother’s voice trailed behind her. “I want you to know, sometimes when people get  old they do things they’re sorry for.”

Elizabeth paused mid-step. Was this an apology?  Or a justification? She cleared her throat. “Nice to see you too.”

Grandmother pulled up her flowered housedress to the knees. “Now, take a look at my legs. Tell me what you think.”

Elizabeth bent down and slid a hand over her swollen legs. The edema was obvious. “How long have they been like this?”

“A few months.” She pointed to The 1951 Family Physician book on the table.  “Says it’s the way my heart pumps.”

“Dad takes a water pill for blood pressure. Maybe you have the same thing. You really need to see a doctor.”

“I don’t want anyone to know. You find out for me. You’re going to be the nurse.”

Elizabeth scowled. So, this was what she was in for—a secretive medical consultation.  But it was a way to connect, and her grandmother certainly needed the help. She put her hand on grandmother’s shoulder. “Okay, I’ll see what I can find out.”

“Good! Now I’ve got more to say. I’ll make tea and I baked those brownies you liked so much. Don’t know if you eat em’ since you’re a model. Karl sent me the picture of you posing on a billboard.”

Elizabeth followed grandmother into the kitchen. “Really? Dad keeps you up on the news?”

“Sit down. I’ll be right back.” She turned on the stove burner under the teakettle and disappeared into a small office off the dining room.

Elizabeth fiddled with a strand of hair. What was she up too now?

Grandmother came back with a folded white lace handkerchief in her hand.

“Grandma! I remember that, it was in your jewelry box. You grabbed it from me once.”

“Now you’re older. I’m not going to be alive much longer, and I’m giving you—it’s your grandfather’s gold pocket watch. Don’t you tell the family.”  Grandmother put the watch into Elizabeth’s outstretched hand.

Elizabeth unwrapped it and put an attached note on the table. “It’s beautiful.” She ran a finger over the floral engraved case, opened the latch and stared at a sepia photo of a young woman. “Who is this?

“Humph…who knows. Your grandfather died and the hospital sent me his clothes bag, the watch was in it. Didn’t know why. I divorced him two years before.”  Grandmother picked up the note. “Look, just look what he wrote. I dedicated each solo performance to this woman. Can you imagine his last words a confession to me? So, I want you to find out who she is.”

Three Years of Her Life is a book based on real and fictional characters 

Image 4-26-21 at 1.03 PM

There are twists and turns, crises, romance (sighs) and travel in the story. This is the 2021 final version. Next phase — publishing.

“Would you ever read more than three pages?” (crosses fingers)

Update…update…

It’s was a lucky, 6/21/18 Summer Solstice day! An encouraging text message from son Ted that he read the “First Three Pages” (the old version was titled Sunset Inn- a secret keeper’s tale)), and it is a job well done. When will page four and five show up?

Ted completely understands how writing a book progresses…many drafts, new and rewritten scenes, even a new title.

Not to get over the top happy, (jumping with joy) but he also read the “About Me,” a job well done too.  (Yay, yippee!)

Your Friend, Elizabeth 

About C.E.Robinson

Christine retired as a nurse practitioner in 2013 and became a writer, copyeditor, co-author and blogger. She has been in California 30 plus years. She came from the east coast and lived in the northwest. In-between, there were moves to Europe and Asia in the 70s and 80s. She's living the good life in the SoCal sunshine with Robert and doggies, Sammy and Charley. http://cerobinsonauthor.com
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33 Responses to 2021 – Three Years of Her Life – First Three Pages

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I told you I would turn the page – I did, and I’m glad I did. Good luck with the middle.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. These are strong characters, Christine, and I definitely want to know more about them. The dialogue is almost poetic.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Now I need to know who the picture in the watch is. Very clear clean writing style in my opinion. Don’t know how many know what a “woodie” is!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Jodi says:

    Yes! Thanks for sharing more! Now I do want even more 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Jodi, Thank you! I hoped that would happen! After many beginnings, I think the three pages stays as the “hook.” Maybe I’ll post a few excerpts posted along the way to keep the interest! ☺️Christine

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, of course I’d keep reading. I need to find out what grandma has to say! And why it has to be kept a secret. Great hook, Christine. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What you’ve done with this is marvelous, Christine. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nimslake says:

    Okay, I’m hooked!! Do put more out…got to know!!
    P.S. thanks for the like on (nimslake)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Tina Frisco says:

    Very descriptive and with strong characters, Christine. I love a well-written dynamic mystery. When will you be publishing? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. C.E.Robinson says:

    Tina, Thanks so much for your read and encouraging comment on First Three Pages. I hoped it had a mystery theme, even though not the thriller type. When I started writing the story, I thought it a dark hidden mystery when on his death bed, famous grandfather said, “No one is to look into my life. That history dies with me.” My imagination took over and I went for it. The plan is to have a first draft by summer (60,000 words), then professionally edited. Structure and story flow important. Happy Writing! Christine

    Like

  10. I love the idea of this setting–a quiet world with its own secrets. Already, I see engaging characters, Christine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Jacqui, thank you so much for your visit and comment. Excited to know the characters stand out for you. The relationship with grandmother was rocky for many of Elizabeth’s younger years. The change when she gets older is a surprising, happy arc. Christine

      Like

  11. dweezer19 says:

    I love it Christine! I would efinitely read more. I adore grandmother stories. Nicely done!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. franklparker says:

    So this is a new (2020) version? Most of the comments are from 2018.
    Do you mind a small critique? First person seems out of place for this sentence: “I had not seen my grandmother since then.” I get that the preceding passage is a memory in first person but aren’t we back in the present when we come to that sentence? I suggest “Elizabeth had not seen her grandmother since then.”
    Just a personal opinion – you have said elsewhere you have worked with an editor so if (s)he did not pick jup on this it’s my bad!
    I certainly would like to read more and hope you get it published. Self-publishing is not so hard. The problem is what comes after – getting folks to buy it. You have to become an expert at marketing. I wish you luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    • C.E.Robinson says:

      Frank, thank you for reading the first three pages, and making a comment. The 2018 version was very close to the 2020 one. Instead of deleting it, I changed the content. Yes, I had the manuscript line-edited and the editor kept the tense as is. Perhaps it follows—
      It had been five years…
      The memory content next…
      I had not seen my grandmother since then. Keeping it personal to the memory. It could be written both ways, however the editor didn’t question it. And believe me, he questioned a lot. It was the best learning experience for a newbie writer like me. Worth every dollar spent. You’ll know when the book is launched. I’m following you back. It may end up self-published in the end. Stay safe in these challenging times. 📚 Christine

      Like

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