Joe Grant returns as cavalcadeofstars approaches its one year anniversary.
Upon Primrose Hill
As a young girl, Gwendolyn Harris survived the Blitz by huddling with the rest of the city in the famed London Underground while the station shook from the bombs that concussed just overhead street-level and one of her earliest memories was holding her doll in one hand and her mother’s hand in the other, quickly walking through the “Way Out” tunnels emerging up the stairs into a much different city that she had left and in many respects, a much different world. Like all Great Britons during that generation, she did her part for the war effort, her older siblings pulling their weight with canning and rationing and her Mum volunteering at St. Bartholomew’s and after a couple of direct bombardments, was thankfully moved to Hill End Hospital at St Albans, while her Dad sadly made the ultimate sacrifice later on in North Africa. She remembered the day her nearly inconsolable young Mum told her father was never coming home again and the way she screamed he wasn’t dead and she ran from their flat for blocks and blocks only to be shaken by the distressing sight of doll parts strewn about the end of a mews, a result from a toy factory taking a direct hit from a misdirected German bomb. The war ended, she matured, met the man of her dreams at a dance she wasn’t supposed to go to, they went together for years, married and had a baby boy but the infant developed the whooping cough, not helped by the sooty Great Smog of winter 1952 and died in the very same hospital her Mum had once worked. The devastated couple never had another child, instead opting to travel the world, but the sight of new parents wheeling their infants in carriages met her corner of the globe and as the years were taken away in graying strands of time, this sense of loss was born anew whenever she passed proud grandparents toting their prized grandchildren along the avenue. Although it annoyed her husband, it made perfect sense to Gwendolyn when she saw a company on the telly one night that would make a flawless replica doll of a child from a photo and when the bundle arrived by Special Delivery Royal Mail, an excited Gwendolyn unpacked her son’s old clothes and once again recaptured the maternal instinct robbed from her years ago and as she wheeled her pram with the rest of the proud parents and grandparents upon Primrose Hill, her world was set right once again.
“As a Pushcart Prize nominee, Joseph Grant’s short stories have been published in over 200 literary reviews such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Underground Voices, Midwest Literary Magazine, Inwood Indiana Literary Review, Hack Writers, Six Sentences, Literary Mary, NexGenPulp, Is This Reality Zine, Darkest Before Dawn, strangeroad.com, FarAway Journal, Full of Crow, Heroin Love Songs, Bewildering Stories, Writing Raw, Unheard Magazine, Absent Willow Literary Review.”
This story is formatted per Mr. Grant’s request.