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A 23rd Century Girl in the 20th century -- Chapter 1
Submitted by Starla Anne on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 21:53
A 23th Century Girl
in the 20th Century
By Starla Anne Lowry
(A sequel to "Adventures of Lizzie Jane" and
"Return to Gorilla Island/Escape from Gorilla Island")
“Aunt Maudie, I hope you don’t mind being a temporary guardian for the kids,” said Lizzie Jane. She came down to help Aunt Maudie prepare breakfast for the children that had been rescued from the prehistoric island. Lizzie Jane still planned to adopt them when she became 18 years of age. It wouldn’t be much longer.
“At first, I thought it might be a headache, but the children are well behaved,” replied Maudie.
“I think Jake and I have found a house, so we will be moving out soon. I will be at home when the kids are, but I might ask you to take care of little Jack.”
“Jack is not a problem. I found some little trucks for him to play with and he plays in the dirt until his nap,”
“I think I hear the other ones coming,” said Lizzie Jane as she looked toward the stairway.
With the mouth-watering smell of Aunt Maudie’s cooking, it wasn’t very long until most of the children came wandering into the kitchen. Lizzie Jane noticed that Linda was missing, so she started to Linda’s room to wake the lazy girl.
Just before she opened the door, Lizzie Jane could hear sobbing. Realizing what that meant, she slowly opened the door and eased in. Linda was sitting on the bed looking out the window.
“It’s your mother, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” admitted Linda as she looked up with tearful eyes. “I long for her so much. Why did she have to expire? Why?”
“I don’t know, hon. My mother died when I was your age and I couldn’t understand it, either. I know it is tough, but your mother would want you to carry on your life.”
“But, I do not have any friends. I planned to be gone for a short period of time,” said Linda, referring to her trip back into the prehistoric past through a time machine. “Now, I am not even in my own time line. I am in the same time line as you.”
“Honey, the 1950’s are not that bad. I know to you it may seem like ancient days to you, but I think you will adjust. If I knew how, I would send you back –but we don’t have time machines yet.”
Linda buried her head in Lizzie Jane’s bosom, trying to hold back tears, but not very successful.
“Dry those blue eyes and let’s go eat breakfast. Today I am going to carry you and the others who are old enough to school and enroll you. You may find it a lot different than what you were used to in your world, but I will explain things to the teacher and she will help you. She knows about my journey, so she will believe about what happened to you. One thing you need to learn is our history. I am guessing a lot of that wasn’t taught where you went.”
Linda replied with a smile, “No, it was not. You even talk different."
Pausing and confused for a moment, Linda asked "You said you were going to carry us to school. How are you going to carry all of us? Can we not walk or ride in a vehicle?"
"Ah -- I will carry you in the truck. Some will have to ride in the back, though," answered Lizzie Jane.
Thinking for a moment, Linda said, "I think I understand -- you are going to transport us."
"Well -- yes," said Lizzie Jane. Attempting to change the subject and because of her concern, Lizzie Jane asked, “How are the other children taking the loss of their family?”
“At night, I hear them crying. Little Jack calls out for his mother in his sleep.”
Packing the children’s lunches, Lizzie Jane stacked them in the old pickup and drove them to the one-room school for the first time. Linda had a couple of egg sandwiches and the younger children had mostly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They also carried little pint jars of milk.
“Sally, I want you to meet my new family,” said Lizzie Jane as the schoolteacher sat at her desk. Looking up, she saw Lizzie Jane and the children.
“My goodness. Where did these come from?”
“Remember Dr. Brown telling you about my visit to the past and the island?”
“Yes, but that is supposed to be a secret. Do these children know?”
“It may surprise you, but they came from that island, too – through the fog just like I did,” explained Lizzie Jane. “They know that it is to be kept secret, but I don’t know what they will tell. Shirley here is 6 years old. Kinda young, I guess, but you like to start young.”
“Yes, I do,” said Sally. She took each one by the hand led them to their seats. Linda was last.
“Now, Linda is special,” said Lizzie Jane. “ She comes from a couple of hundred years in the future and is really my great, great, great granddaughter. Also, she was the one who rescued the children when they were attacked by savages.’
“Her education is probably far more advanced than ours, but I thought she needed to learn our history. She may never get back home, so Jake and I are planning to adopt her as our special daughter. Of course, we plan to adopt the others, too – but I think they are from somewhere in our century.”
“Oh, she may be a big help to me in understanding some things and be a great help in teaching the other children – just as you did,” said Sally. “Now that you are married, you are still planning on college, aren’t you?”
“I don’t know – I have these children as my responsibility…”
“We will see what can be worked out,” winked Sally.
“Well, I need to go. Jake has found us a house and…”
“That is okay. I will talk to you later,” said Sally.
Lizzie Jane walked out and closed the door thinking ‘the children will be in good hands. Sally will take good care of them’.
“Children, we have some new students,” said Sally as she began speaking to the class. “I expect all of you to make them feel comfortable and Linda will be helping me a lot. She knows a lot of things I don’t know, so I will be learning, too. How about that?”
”Yaaaa,” yelled the children.
As lunchtime grew closer, Sally called Linda to the side. “Do you want to tell me what the world is like where you lived?”
“Where to begin? First, the same as I told Lizzie Jane – you talk funny. English has changed. I don’t understand some of the words, but I understand enough so that I can comprehend.”
Sally smiled. “Language does change. We don’t talk the same as our ancestors did two hundred years ago, either.”
“Also, we have flying transit vehicles. I only read about automobiles. I have never seen that type vehicle. Lizzie Jane cooks food. What we eat is already prepared. We learned about your televisions. Our entertainment is produced by holograms. There are many things different.”
“That’s okay. I don’t expect to learn it all at one time anyway,” said Sally. “May I test you and see what you already know? Like I told Lizzie Jane, I believe you may be smart enough to help me and, from what you told me, I don’t doubt that you would not do better. I don’t even understand time travel.”
“You do not know about space-time continuum?
I never heard of space-time.ah...well, whatever you called it.”
Linda giggled and said,” Yes, you may test. Knowledge is important and my abilities need to be known.”
“I heard that giggle,” teased Sally.
“You and Lizzie Jane are similar – your strange expressions – for example, the use of the word ‘like’ in your vocabulary.”
“Just wait. You will be talking southern like all the rest of us’ns,” teased Sally.
“Us’ns – now, that is amusing,” answered Linda with another giggle. “I am listening and practicing. I will learn. I will develop your accent, too.”
Sally gave Linda the test – one that became more difficult as the student progressed. Sally was surprised at Linda’s knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology and advanced mathematics. When the time came, she was sure there would not be any problem in Linda’s application to a college. There wasn’t any doubt that Linda could assist in teaching other children, as Lizzie Jane had.
It was a warm spring day so the children ate their lunches under the warm sun. Linda, sitting by herself, opened her lunch and had just taken a bite when a young man about 12 years old walked up.
“Can I sit down?” he asked.
“Yes, you may,” answered Linda very politely, emphasizing the word, ‘may’. She could not understand why everyone seemed to use incorrect English.
“Okay, my name is Steve.”
“I am Linda.”
“Where are you from, Linda? I ain’t seen you around here much.”
“Well, I am not from this area,” said Linda. “I arrived from a long distance.”
He continued, “You are cute. You talk like you are from England or somewhere. I like to listen to you.”
“Well, people say I will begin speaking your language after I have resided here for a time.” When she thought about ‘time’, it reminded her of being in the wrong time line.
“Shucks, you will be an American in no time. Can I call on you?” asked Steve.
“Call on me? Well, the residence that I occupy does not have ah – ah -- a telephone”. Linda almost forgot what those ancient instruments were.
“No, I don’t mean a phone. Can I call on you?”
Linda looked puzzled. She did not understand the expression.
Steve seemed to get the message. “Shucks, can I come see you?”
“You see me now,” answered Linda. She thought about the word, shucks. From what she had learned that was something you did to a vegetable known as corn. She had been trying all morning to learn the expressions used in this society, but this time she was really confused.
“Listen, I like you. I think you are cute and I want to come to your house to see you,” said Steve after he recovered from her statement.
What a strange request, thought Linda. Why would he ask about traveling to see her when he could see her now? However, to stop the question and to keep from appearing to be less intelligent, she answered in a way she had heard the other children answer, “Sure—why not?” She would have to ask Lizzie Jane what this meant later.
Lizzie Jane smiled when she Linda told her the conversation. “What he meant was that he likes you and desire to become better acquainted – like a boy/girl relationship. It other words, be his girl friend like your mother was to your daddy the first time.”
“I don’t want to enter into matrimony,” stated Linda.
“You don’t have to get married – not until you are ready and find the right man,” said Lizzie Jane. “Just be friends with him – maybe go out together and let him buy you a hamburger or milk shake.”
“Oh, I know what a hamburger tastes like. We got some out of the garbage cans, but what is a milkshake?”
“Girl, you have got a lot to learn about the 1950’s,” smiled Lizzie Jane again. “Just try to fit in the best you can and you will find out.”
“I am already learning this new language and have starting using it – the parts I have learned, that is,” stated Linda.
“When is he coming over?” asked Lizzie Jane.
“I don’t know,” said Linda.
“You did tell him it was okay, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but I was just replying as I have heard the other children,”
“Well, he might just be over tonight. We might need to set an extra place at the table,” said Lizzie Jane. “I will tell Aunt Maudie. Oh yes, before I forget -- we will be moving out soon to our own place soon. Thought you might want to know. Jake has us a house on his daddy’s farm and we will be a farm family. You might just find that interesting.”
Lizzie Jane’s prediction was correct about Steve. That evening, about suppertime, Steve was knocking on the door. Lizzie Jane peeped out the window and saw him first.
“Now you be nice to him,” Lizzie Jane said to Linda.
“I will – the best I can,” replied Linda.
She opened the door and Steve handed her some flowers. Linda did not know whether to eat them there or later. Lizzie Jane was watching from the other room and seem to realize Linda’s confusion.
“I will take those for you and put them in a vase,” offered Lizzie Jane.
“Thank you,” said Linda, thankful that Lizzie Jane was there to get her off the hook.
“You kids have a seat and I will bring some iced tea and be right back,” volunteered Lizzie Jane.
Linda sat in an armchair, leaving the couch for Steve. As Lizzie Jane was bringing the tea, she assessed the situation and called out, “Linda, come and help me if Steve can spare you a moment.”
“Oh sure,” said Steve, still confused. “Go ahead.”
Lizzie Jane motioned Linda into the kitchen. “Girl,” she said. “You need to sit on the couch beside Steve and close to him. That is what boys expect. Now, if he tries to kiss you or something, you can politely tell him, ‘No, not now’, and I think he will understand that you are not ready for that type of relationship yet.”
Linda looked a little surprised and then said, “Well, if that is what is proper.”
“It is proper.”
Linda walked in with two glasses of tea, set them on the coffee table, and sat down near Steve. Words between the two youngsters were scarce for a few minutes until Lizzie Jane came to the door and stated, “Supper is ready, kids. Let’s eat.”
Uncle Jed and Aunt Maudie were already at the table. Jake let Linda sit first and took a chair next to her. Looking at the food, he said, “Looks mighty good.”
Linda had never seen an Alabama country boy eat, so she watched him fill his plate with mashed potatoes, fried okra, and pinto beans. He reached for some ham, a slice of cornbread and began to eat – fast.
Linda was astonished. Lizzie Jane got her attention, smiled and nodded that it was okay. Linda began to take small bites and experienced the taste of some food she had never eaten before. At first, she did not know how to react, but decided that she was going to like Aunt Maudie's cooking, so she continue to slowly eat, very ladylike, which was the only way she knew to be.
After supper, the young couple sat on the porch in a swing, finally getting a conversation started -- as usual, talking about the weather. They discussed school and some of the other children until Steve stated, “Linda, I think you are about the prettiest girl I ever met.”
“You are nice, too,” answered Linda.
Steve suddenly reached over and kissed Linda lightly. Linda’s hand went to her lips touching them with the first two fingers of her left hand.
“I hope that was okay,” apologized Steve.
“A boy had never done that before,” stated Linda.
"Oh, I am so sorry," apologized Steve.
Linda smiled and replied,"I kinda liked it"," using a phrase she learned from the other children.
Lizzie Jane had been watching the entire thing peeping though a crack in the shades.
“Well, my little great, great, great granddaughter has got her first kiss”, she said to herself. “I think she is going to find the 1950’s very interesting and enjoyable -- and beginning to sound like a country girl."
She smiled and walked back to an easy chair and sat down. Yes, everything was going to be okay.
--To Be Continued
All persons are fictitious and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, except historical figures are coincidental.
Copyright 2008 by Starla Anne Lowry