Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WWII money, a young girl, and her story



Today we see calls for flash fiction or flash memoir - This could be either, I suppose. It is less than 400 words. Virginia Walsh is a writer but doesn't submit her work for publishing. She wrote this story in a class at Writers Circle around the Table. I asked if I could post it here for my readers. I think you will enjoy it. 


The First Paycheck
By Virginia Walsh

Kate stared at the envelope, turning it over and over in her hands and reading the red imprinted words in the upper left corner, Ripley’s Drugstore, 2341 Fourteenth Street, Detroit, Michigan. In the right lower corner was written the amount enclosed in the small, two by three inch envelope used for dispensing pills for the customers. Wow! So much money, she thought. She could not have known then she would be eighty-one before she could let the envelope go.

A few months into World War Two, with working papers in hand, she applied at the corner drugstore for a job.

“Come in next Monday,” Mr. Ripley said. She was ecstatic—helping the war effort and earning money as well.

Kate felt so grown up, earning a paycheck that would be her own. It offered independence as well as self-responsibility. However, before Monday, Kate had come down with measles. Kids had measles, for goodness sake, not a young adult lady. A low blow to her inflated ego, indeed.

Her dad talked to Mr. Ripley who said, “Tell her to come in when she’s well.”

While still holding the envelope, thoughts as fast as a March wind blew through her mind. What to buy first. A new pair of shoes, a coffee table for her mother, that new yellow sweater she saw in a downtown store? 

I should send my brother five dollars, she thought. He was stationed in San Diego waiting to ship out, and someone had stolen his wallet. Hastily tucking the envelope into the pocket of her white uniform, she slipped off the stool to wait on a customer.

In the end, she put down a deposit on layaway to hold a coffee table. She bought the sweater and sent her brother five dollars. Money well spent by her definition.

Seventy-seven years later the last thing she glimpsed as she let the browned fragile two by three envelope slip from her hand into the abyss of yesteryear was Mr. Ripley’s handwritten number, $10.25.

Virginia Walsh lives in Hayesville, NC and is a native of north Georgia. She lived and raised her family in Michigan. She is a wonderful cook and her church is always confident that she will bring food when and where it is needed. Please leave your comments about her story.

6 comments:

Vivian Reeser said...

I loved this short story, as it brought back memories of my own young life. I also love the author; my cousin Ginny!

Glenda Beall said...

I love your cousin, Ginny, as well. She came into my life when it was dark and scary and Ginny helped me find the light again.

Anonymous said...



I so enjoyed reading this lovely story, and what a wonderful surprise to see the photo of Ginny, a face I quickly recognized from our few times together. A story beautifully written.

Thanks for sharing it, Glenda.
Linda Clarke

Desdamonasez said...

Oh Ginny, what a wonderful story, I love it! This is something else we have in common, I love to write but I'm not good at it. This is precious! Sally L.

gay moring said...

What a nice story, and well written. I'm so glad you shared Ginny's work. I'm not surprised that she is a good writer since she seems to do everything well.

Glenda Beall said...

Many thanks to you all for your nice comments on this story. I hope this will inspire Ginny to write more. She writes fiction and memoir and is such a joy when she is in one of my classes.