Thursday, 16 April 2020

WEP APRIL 2020 ANTIQUE VASE - DL


It's time for our bi-monthly challenge.  Here are the short guidelines for anybody who wants to join in or read talented writers' entries.


1. SUBMIT your name to the list below on the publication of your entry. Add DL after your name. (DirectLink) We will no longer add your Direct Link.
2. POST your edited entry, making sure 'WEP' is in the TITLE along with the Antique Vase badge within your entry.
3. STATE feedback preferences and word count at the end of your entry.
4. READ other entries, giving feedback if requested.
5. SHARE THE CHALLENGE on social media. Tweets are ready on the WEP blog.
PLEASE NOTE: ENTRIES CLOSE April 18 (NY Time - check WEP blog clock)
ALL GENRES WELCOME except erotica - 1,000 words maximum 

FURTHER ENQUIRIES: writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com and leave a comment or email: den.covey@gmail.com or contact Renee at yolandarenee@hotmail.com

Here is my entry:

*** there is a short description at the end of British ‘old money’ i.e. pre-dissimilation (pre-1971). ****

ANTIQUE VASE

‘Good morning, Mrs. Davis.’

‘Morning, Mrs. Powell,’ replied Hetty.

‘It’s a nice morning.’

‘Yes, it is.  I’ll soon have these weeds out!’  

Hetty sighed inwardly and turned back to her garden in the hope her nosy neighbour would take the hint and return to her own house.  No such luck.

‘Your blue vase isn’t in the window anymore.  I could have sworn I saw it in the shop window for 2/6d when I was in town the other day.’

Was that a slight sneer she heard in Mrs. Powell’s voice?  Straightening up, Hetty looked her neighbour in the eye.  

‘I’ve moved it, so it doesn’t fade with the sun.’

Mrs. Powell sniffed and shuffled away towards her own front door.

Hetty fumed over the exchange for the rest of the morning.  What business was it of that old biddy’s where her blue vase was?  She swiped away a lone tear.  It had been a tough decision to sell it to Falstaff Antiques in the nearby town but she’d needed the money to pay the coal man and the rent was due at the end of the week. Then she thought about the price old man Falstaff had paid her and what it was in the window for.  Fred wouldn’t notice it had gone.  It wasn't his fault that his work had dried up.  He was walking in to town to see a man about a job today.  Hetty only hoped he returned with good news.  Back indoors she took the bread dough, which had risen nicely, and started to knead it with a vengeance.  A nice crusty loaf with a smattering of home-made gooseberry jam would go down a treat. 

Every so often Hetty thought about her beautiful blue vase.  Every time she went in to town she looked in the antique shop, she browsed the shelves, brushing off the owner’s attempts to sell her some tatty old thing.  She never found her vase.  As the years passed there were more things she had to think about, grandchildren came along, Fred passed away and she had to build her life again.  The vase was never very far from her mind, especially at night when it appeared in her dreams.  Being a very stalwart and practical lady, she didn’t believe she actually heard the words in her dreams. 

Find me
Save me
Bring me home

In the cold light of morning as she raked the ashes out from the grate and re-laid the fire ready to light in the evening, she dismissed such stuff as nonsense.  Her mind was playing tricks on her.



**************
Buy me!
Take me!
Anna heard these two phrases in her dreams, in her every waking moment.  She couldn’t shake them out of her head.

She mentioned it to her husband who just looked at her with disdain.  ‘You’re losing the plot,’ was his response. 

She mentioned it to her best friend who looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

‘Right, really, come on, don’t be stupid.’

She stopped mentioning the voice to others but the voice didn’t stop.  As the weeks went by the thoughts became stronger.  The voice became louder.   It stopped being a whisper, a sibilant hiss permeating her brainwaves, it became urgent, pleading, imploring.

Then one day the voice stopped.  Anna missed hearing those words.  She felt guilty that she had ignored them for all these months.  She got on with her life.

Anna felt the bed shift
She felt her mind drift

Buy me
Take me
Save me

The words shouted in her mind
She desperately tried to find
She groped and searched
As the bed lurched
She gathered her energies
A tickle, a trickle, a soft breeze
Whispers of her name
Calling, again and again

Anna, Anna, Anna

She felt their souls bonding
Their hearts blending
A joyous merging
Driving Anna forward
She quivered
With unexpected emotion
She felt her mind exhibit caution
Caught it on the wind
Intangible as it slipped
Lost like a postscript
Her life passed by in snapshots
Her family caught up in the plots
It happened in milliseconds
Images sparkling like diamonds
But yet others were as dull as dishwater
Some were as light as a feather
Passing by in a blur.


There was nobody she could talk to, everybody laughed at her silly thoughts but she knew, deep down she knew, she had to find this vase.  It was imperative otherwise why would she have these dreams?

On a visit to her Great-Aunt Margaret, who sometimes went off at tangents, their conversation became a little more interesting.  Anna’s ears pricked up.

‘Of course, mother thought we didn’t know she’d sold the vase but we all knew.  It was one of those unspoken family secrets.  Even dad knew – sort of.  We were just grateful she kept us fed and warm every day.’

Great-Aunt Margaret pointed to her bookcase.  ‘Take that photo album down dear, for me please.’

Anna complied with her wishes and passed the album over, surreptitiously wiping the dust off the cover with her sleeve.

‘Pfft, a bit of dust didn’t hurt anybody.’

Her Great-aunt was still sharp with eagle eyes.  Anna smiled.

Turning the pages, she stopped at a photo.

There it was.

The blue vase.

The family heirloom as was.



In the back of her mind Anna heard the plaintive cry again.

Buy me!
Save me!

Two weeks later Anna was revisiting the quaint little market town near to where her family had lived all those years ago.  She let Ken go and sit in the café for a coffee, he would be quite happy ensconced with his Kindle, a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.

There it was.

Falstaff Antiques. 

She knew she had to go in.

She purchased the vase. 

She held it tightly to her chest, breathed a big sigh and felt/heard a responding sigh. 

The whisper came, thank you for bringing me home.

The story of the antique vase will live on in the family.  

Word count: 999

*** Pre-decimal currency (before 1971) was calculated as follows:
  • Threepence = 3d
  • Sixpence = 6d
  • Shilling = 1/-
  • 12 pennies = 1 shilling
  • 20 shillings = £1
  • 240 pennies = £1
  • Florin = 2/-
  • Half Crown = 2/6
  • Crown = 5/-
Prices would be written in pounds, shillings and pennies. For example, an item which cost 9 shillings and 4 pennies would be marked 9/4 in the shops (or could be written 9s 4d). The ‘s’ stood for the Latin word ‘solidus’ and the ‘d’ represented the Latin word ‘denarius’








24 comments:

  1. Hi Sally - a lovely gentle story ... and I'm so glad the blue vase was safely restored to the family; so often we do things thinking others won't remember ... yet they do - like the children and their father knowing that Hetty had had to sell it. So poignant and so true for some.

    Fascinating way you've brought the dream in and brought Anna into the story ... wonderful writing - thank you ... Hilary

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  2. Sally, the sacrifice of a loved object for the benefit of others, what a lovely story. I'm glad the granddaughter was able to rescue the vase. Reminds me of all the vases I've purchased and still own. Now in storage, sadly. I should be sharing them with the world!

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  3. Nice! I'm glad Hetty's family got the vase back - she was dong a good thing for her family!

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  4. Lovely. This vase is like a fragment of memory, something that belongs with the family forever. We all have such objects, sometimes tangible like a piece of porcelain, sometimes ephemeral, like a poem or a melody. It is a symbol of belonging.

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  5. I found it a gritty story about sticking to roots. Saving a family heirloom that saved the family generations ago is a wonderful idea. Thanks. Sanhita.

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  6. I am so glad that the vase's call was heard and that it is home. This is a beautiful story and thank you.

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  7. Thank you Sally for sharing this story of N heirloom. Nice touch to go from prose to poem. Have a lovely spring. Take care.

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  8. It's always touching to hear stories of family selling off heirlooms to make ends meat. It something everyone can relate to because it's either happened at some point in their family or they fear ever having to do it. Glad it had happy ending.

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  9. That was a great read. I'm glad all was made right and that all is well in the end. Thanks for sharing your work with us.

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  10. Hi Sally. A lovely story of hope and making it through hard times. I think many today will find parallels in their lives. I loved the poem and how you furthered the story through it. I'm so glad Anna was sensitive to the voice. The personification of the vase. Let's hope it symbolizes good times in the family with hardship a thing of the past.

    Thank you for taking part in ANTIQUE VASE. Your stories always have heart and soul.

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  11. Hi,
    What a beautiful journey. The vase is now back home where she belong. I like the way you combined rhythmic verse within the story. It increased the tension and the hope for a good outcome.
    Shalom aloeichem,
    Pat Garcia

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  12. This is a wonderful story! I understand why Hetty made the choice she did. As difficult as it was, keeping the family fed and cared for had to take precedence. I felt for her when the nosy neighbor got involved.

    The ending to this story was perfection. I'm glad the vase finally made it back home where it belonged.

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  13. Sally, I enjoyed the story, but I'm even more grateful for the explanation of the old money! You have no idea how often I've struggled to sort that from context in old books :D

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  14. This is a wonderful story. I'm very glad the vase came home!

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  15. I found your story so captivating, Sally. It was sad that Hetty had to sell the vase but I'm glad it managed to find its way back into the family. The poem you incorporated into the middle of the flash was beautiful and fascinating.

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  16. In your opening, you created a sense of England over the garden fence, Sally, small-town attitudes - and struggles. And you stirred my memories of our old money - thanks too for the footnote reminder.Having wondered if you were heading in an unexpected direction, but there it was 'a sibilant hiss' - I like that phrase. Fitting end - the vase back where it belonged. With a nymph or siren on it?

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    1. This clever piece with the mix of elements deserved to make the short-list in a talented field of writers. Congratulations Sally. Stay safe, sensible, and inspired.

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  17. The initial setting was so reminiscent of my grandmother's house near Liverpool. A bygone era. This was a lovely story, with the bonus of an unexpected poem in the middle!

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  19. A fascinating narrative for WEP challenge. Capturing both the past and the present of a vase, sold and rediscovered by the family. Well done.

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  20. Love the story of the families and of the vase you've so wonderfully woven here. Well done!

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  21. Poignant! Poor Hetty never did get her beloved vase back but I'm glad Anna did. I liked the way the conversation was written in a way that was relevant for the time it was set in. It's a lovely story.

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  22. I'm glad you explained the currency at the end, because I wondered what "2/6d" meant. I thought it was an odd typo. LOL.

    Good story. I remember some tv comedy back in the 80s that had an episode where a statue lured a woman into buying it. "Buy me. BUY ME." I don't remember the whole thing, just that it was funny. Anyway, that's what this made me think of first. So great work!

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  23. I'm of a vintage that didn't need the explanation re currency, the first money sums I did were £sd. Charming flash. Enjoyed reading.

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