Sometimes it is nice to have lighter reading for summertime!
I’ve had some “heavy” things on my mind, but was drawn to share about the story of the sunflower I wrote for a children’s activity book created by my dear friend Summer. Her name fits!!
This story was written a few years ago, but I have not shared it here. I wrote it thinking about immigrant children, something on many of our minds these days as their sad stories are often shared in the news.
My grandparents were immigrant children, and I think about what it would have been like for them, forming those strange English words on their tongues and struggling to fit in.
I don’t often write fiction, but I had fun with this story, written for children:
A short story by Grace Wulff
Sophie kicked the rock, hard, with her foot, as she made her way home from school.
“Ouch!” That hurt. A tear escaped. Her throat hurt but she did not want to cry. Head down, she kicked another pebble on the sidewalk.
It was so hard. School. This new country. A new language. How she longed to hear the melodic sounds of her own mother tongue. Her head hurt from listening. Listening so hard, and often not understanding.
Sometimes the kids laughed. Her grade 5 teacher, Mrs. Barrows was kind, but hard to understand too. Would she ever get it right?
She missed her Oma’s cooking. Dear Oma, her grandmother, who had died just before they moved to Canada. She missed the smells of her kitchen, the smells of grandma who wrapped her up in her love and seemed to make everything all right.
She sniffed, wiping another tear away. And then she looked up. She was passing a garden. It wasn’t the tidiest garden, but it was lined with the biggest, brightest sunflowers. They bowed down to her, waving their arms in the wind.
She looked again, flowers just like at home. Her old home, that is. She plopped down on the grass beside the flowers and just sat. The bees were busy. She imagined they were gathering pollen for honey. She loved honey on her bread. A bird buzzed by, and didn’t even seem to notice her. It too was gathering food. The flowers… they seemed to smile at her with their sunshiny faces.
A door slammed. Sophie jumped, feeling guilty for sitting on someone’s grass. “Hi little girl” the friendly woman said. Her gray hair was tied up in a bun, but wisps escaped framing her soft face. She had wrinkle lines, just like her Oma’s. “Would you like some of my sunflowers?”
Sophie really didn’t understand all the words, but she heard the kind voice. Snip, snip. “Here, they are for you!” the lady said. Sophie smiled. The flowers were just like sunshine. “Thank you” she said slowly, practicing the foreign words still strange to her tongue.
“You are new here, aren’t you?”
the lady asked. “ Perhaps you and your mom can come for tea some day. And cookies!”
Cookies was something she understood. She nodded, and smiled, just a little. “Thank you” she said again. “I will tell my mama.” And carrying sunshine, and feeling so much lighter, she made her way home. Perhaps Canada would not be so bad, after all.
taken on my morning walk, July 30 2019