Friends, I want to welcome both YOU and this month’s author, Debbie Harris, to Story Chat. This month’s Story Chat is a futuristic, Twilight Zone-type family drama.
Debbie’s word this year is BOLD. Being featured on Story Chat is one of her steps towards achieving boldness. When you’re done reading her story, be sure to click on Debbie’s links to visit some of her posts.
Thanks for having me all the way from Australia Marsha. In a time when we can’t travel in person, at least we can move around the world via our blogs.Debbie
“The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree”
It felt like yesterday in her heart, but in her head, she knew it was almost fifty years ago.
The day when everything she knew about life had irrevocably changed – the fateful stormy day she’d become a new mother.
It was a day in late May, with winter setting in. The days were grey and wet, but every now and again a bright clear sunny day was a welcome relief and brightened the whole world. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been one of these bright clear days when it all happened, instead a storm was raging, roiling, thundering, lighting the sky with shards of electricity. Was it an omen – she often wondered about that.
Becoming a mother hadn’t been high on her bucket list, in fact she’d been sitting on the fence about the whole motherhood thing, but the pressure from the state officials, family, especially her husband, and her friends, had been mounting for the past few years. They’d been married for 4 years already and people were starting to ask questions, quite probing personal questions in fact – when would they be starting their family, were they trying, did they have fertility issues, were they scared?
Really, it was no-one else’s business at all – except it was.
The rules stated ‘after 5 years of marriage a baby must have been initiated by the couple, otherwise medical intervention would be implemented’ – such official, impersonal language. Typical of the state!
She’d known she was pregnant the minute it happened, and she was happy when it was confirmed by the medical team assigned to her. Her only problem throughout the whole nine months was her inability to eat apples, in any way shape or form – apple pie, apple sauce, apple cake, apple juice – apparently, she was one in a million that had this reaction. She was watched carefully as the apple symptoms were considered a throwback to earlier times and were the harbinger of some darkness.
When she finally started feeling the contractions and knew her baby had started on its journey, she and her husband battled the storm to get to the hospital in time.
The labour went well, and she was delivered of a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She and her husband felt ecstatic. They kissed the baby girl, checked out all her fingers and toes and congratulated themselves on their cleverness. They were now a ‘proper’ family.
The baby was whisked away after a few minutes, and when she questioned this, she was painstakingly ignored by all the medical staff.
Everything was rosy, until it wasn’t.
She never saw her baby girl again. She was told all sorts of things – reasons why her baby wasn’t able to be returned to her, things were said about her baby’s condition that didn’t make sense to her and they were encouraged to try again for another baby.
It was a fateful day indeed, but here she was fifty years later, ready to meet a strange woman who had made contact with her through the underground network. She was told it was highly secretive and so she hadn’t told a soul of the meeting. Her husband had passed away from a broken heart many years ago, and it was just her these days.
She was anticipating some good news, but it was a massive shock to her system when the woman walked in, smiling eyes dancing, her bright red curly hair lighting up the room. It was like looking in a mirror.
That old saying, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree flashed through her mind and was never truer than in this instance!
A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now happily spends her time reading, writing, blogging, riding her ebike, volunteering for a variety of community groups and is a proud Rotarian and enjoys a good cup of tea! Life is never dull. Debbie has recently turned 60, is a mother of 3 grown up daughters, Granny Debs to 4 grandchildren, married for 41 years, lived in Tumbarumba (NSW Australia) for 30 years and is happy to stay there for the foreseeable future.
Her full bio can be found on her blog. https://debs-world.com/about/
Debbie was also featured as a Woman of Courage on Denyse Whelan’s blog.
Note From Deb
I would like to draw you and your readers’ attention to a creative writing competition open to anyone over 17 years of age, anywhere in the world.
On the first Friday of the month is a writing challenge like no other. It’s called Furious Fiction and is a competition run by the Australian Writers’ Centre. There is prize money of A$500 but be aware, there are conditions – the story has to be 500 words or less and must use the set conditions for that month.
The competition opens at 5pm Australian time on the afternoon of the first Friday of the month and closes at midnight on Sunday night, so you essentially have the weekend to compose, draft, edit and submit your story. It’s well worth entering for many reasons and thousands regularly submit stories. You can subscribe to the Australian Writers’ Centre to get a reminder about Furious Fiction, so there’s no excuses for missing out. Here’s a link for more information: https://www.writerscentre.com.au/furious-fiction/