Joan Unknown

by Sandra Davies

Having met when both were out of context, she’d embellished his pewter actuality with her golden dreams, and was too young to know how to hide her disappointment at his hard-working, every day normality.

Outnumbered by in-laws and cowed by expectation she compromised a co-existence, by which time they’d four sons (three of little consolation to her, and sadly damaged George) and three daughters who, sharp-eyed, watched and learnt and resolved to do better.

After more than thirty years together he died, judging her sufficiently competent to act as executor of his estate but undeserving of (or not welcoming) the description ‘best-beloved.’

Small, brown, grave-faced and brittle with martyred self-protection she remained in the parish for another ten years, unwillingly missing him more than she had anticipated.

Nevertheless, her will made a point of overturning his intentions, providing carefully calculated sums of money for her sons, and a pleasurable allocation of beds, bolsters, linen and pewter between Martha, Margaret and the unwed Francis, who was further rewarded with one cow and a Bullock.

She was buried as ‘relict of Robert Poole’ in February 1659.

Sandra Davies is a printmaker born in Essex and living in Teesside. She has just completed 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo but has not yet finished the novel…

*The Pygmy Giant is celebrating National Short Story Week – more tomorrow!*

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  1. #1 by Cath Barton on November 25, 2010 - 8:23 am

    Lovely debut here Sandra.

  2. #2 by dldselfnarration on November 25, 2010 - 12:55 pm

    Sandra! You’ve Encapsulated My Being
    with such rich words of perfect choice,
    that I am rendered speechless! Wonderful Tale!
    Denise

  3. #3 by Gita on November 25, 2010 - 6:40 pm

    This is a beautifully rendered, succinct portrait. I am not sure how you managed to evoke my sympathies in the very first sentence and keep them throughout by using so few words. I suspect you are a very disciplined writer. Lovely.

  4. #4 by Pamila Payne on November 25, 2010 - 7:13 pm

    Sandra, you have such a gift for peering across the years into long lost lives. It’s a lovely thing to give an unknown person their bit of story. A literary act of kindness.

  5. #5 by Bob Clay on November 25, 2010 - 8:17 pm

    Wonderfully original San. And nice to see you here, I’ve done the odd one myself here.

    Where’dya get the ideas for a story like this … it’s right off the curve.

  6. #6 by Sandra Davies on November 25, 2010 - 8:29 pm

    Thank you all – especially Cath, for your introduction and welcome, Denise for your enthusiasm, Gita and Pamila for your insight.

    And Bob, I saw you were here a long while ago – thank you for your welcome – Joan was my 8 x great grandmother and I wanted to try and put into words the feeling, the impression I had of her from her will.

  7. #7 by Michael D Brown on November 26, 2010 - 6:54 am

    I absolutely love this gem by a story writer par excellence, who has recently obtained, in addition, the sobriquet Novelist. This Thanksgiving season I have one more thing to be thankful for, and that is having come to know you.
    The tale is a delight, beautifully written, and displaying great insight into character, and being able to express it so succinctly, you should get another award. Cheers, my friend.

  8. #8 by Sandra Davies on November 26, 2010 - 8:24 am

    Bless you Michael for that glowing tribute – and congratulations for having added ‘novelist’ to your own long list of talents too – well done on the NaNoWriMo!!

  9. #9 by Mike Handley on November 26, 2010 - 4:05 pm

    While the whole is quite good, the opening sentence (pewter actuality with her golden dreams) is exquisite. If there were a prize for opening lines, this would knock all contenders in the dirt. Well done, S.

  10. #10 by Sandra Davies on November 26, 2010 - 4:43 pm

    At the risk of sounding less than discreet (again!), Mr. Handley, you’ve brought me to blush in yet another place … thank you, again.

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