This is a two-part novel about Ivy, an impoverished girl whose mother is single. Ivy has two sisters. Because of her background, the only home her mother could rent is out of town. Without a vehicle, her mother desperately seeks help from their neighbor, Mr. Farewell, when Ivy's sisters become ill. It is a heartwarming story filled with adventure and suspense.
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Chapter 1Ivy twirled in her tutu in front of a large audience whose attention was primarily on her. And when she did her grand jeté, applause filled the room.
Summer holidays had arrived and boredom and restlessness caused a sombre little girl. Living out in the country, her only entertainment was at most the television. First thing in the morning was her best time of the day - when she got to watch Little Rascals. It was Tuesday, two weeks into the summer of 1971. A flood of fragrance from baked bannock inundated the house, caught Ivy's attention, and enticed her into the kitchen. Her mother was placing another batch into the oven. Ivy hollered out in a tone that implied a cerebral question about to be asked. Her mother, now closing the oven door, retorted what in Cree then English, in a tone that sounded skeptical. The bare-bridged part of her nose wrinkled and her eyebrows squinted when she turned to acknowledge Ivy. The puzzled look in her face suggested she might very well be unable to answer the question. She was after all eruditely unknowledgeable due to low education. Ivy, now standing at the counter, eyeing the steamy hot bannock that lay separately spread over the counter top, continued in a more pleading tone.
"Could I have a bannock?"
"Otin," her mother permitted, with a sigh of relief in her voice as her shoulders dropped.
Ivy tossed the scalding hot biscuit like she was playing hot potato before passing it to the table. A knife and butter dish, already set, patiently awaited it. Ivy meticulously sliced her bannock in half then spread butter. The steaming hot bannock melted it. And cold jam from the refrigerator completed it. "Mmmm," she sounded as she smacked her lips while spreading it thickly. The table was left in a confusion of crumbs. A jam jar sat open. Ivy never even looked back at the filthy mess when she left. She assumed that it was her mother's role to clean up behind her. She took the bannock out with her and sat clumsily down on the step.
It was a glorious day, no breeze to be felt. The rising sun from the east beamed its warm rays, feeding the earth with its energy to every living thing.
Ivy sat for some time before the warmth of the sun began to fill her with serenity. And every savoured bite melted in her mouth as she enjoyed the jam-covered bannock. It was then that she faded off as she absorbed herself into a dream-like state as a spectacular ballerina.
Lidia's face replaced Ivy's teacher's when Lidia blustered out her name and startled her. She jolted back, looked up, and saw Lidia slouched over her and eyeing her bannock.
"WHAT?" she bellowed back angrily at the uncouth tone that interrupted her while she was in the midst of her fantasy.
"Mom made bannock?" Lidia, smiling, questioned Ivy. She was now excited about having a bannock herself. A filling one at that, with its ingredients of flour weighed down by water and lard. She continued walking without consideration toward Ivy, nearly bumping Ivy's bannock out of her hand when she nudged her.
Lidia acted insensitively toward Ivy, not only by her caustic comments, but also by her subtle physical actions, like the close brushes against Ivy. What hurt Ivy the most were the times Lidia was obviously insinuating that Ivy was adopted. She would point out the traits that distinguished Ivy from the family - such as the freckles and light skin that were as much considered non-aboriginal features by many natives as blue eyes and blond hair. It didn't matter whether a person had a direct linkage to a known aboriginal ancestry. Although Ivy actually did look like her mother, Ivy never saw that. Rather she saw the distinguishing differences that Lidia focused on, and that hurt. It was especially hurtful to a girl like Ivy who was raised Métis, trapped in an ugly dispute of white and black where neither society could accept the other. So when Lidia walked by brushing her closely, she felt even more displaced. It triggered something inside: a stabbing pain, an overwhelming emotion that devoured her as she recalled a very painful past experience. It was an incident that occurred at the settlement where her grandparents resided.
She vividly recollected that day as though it were just yesterday…
An aspiring author, S.L.S. Oborowsky is a Medical Transcriptionist trained in creating legal documentation for physicians. She is a Métis who lived on the settlement until 4 years of age. Her first language was Cree. A sequel is in the works.