Congratulations to our three winners of the #MyStory writing contest and also a big thank you to everyone who participated. Mocavo really enjoyed reading all that unique stories that were submitted and we especially loved hearing how everyone found their ancestors. Remember, all submissions will receive a week as a Mocavo Gold member for free. Those will be issued soon. The winners are posted below and will also be posted on our website.
First place and the winner of a $100 Amazon.com gift car and free year as a Mocavo Gold member is Nathan James with “Foreshortening.”
Second place and the winner of a $50 Amazon.com gift card and a 6 months as a Mocavo Gold member is Hanah Horlacher with “Mother’s Tears WWII.”
Third place and the winner of a $25 Amazon.com gift card and a month as a Mocavo Gold member is Sheryl Trudgian Jones with “A Man of Faith.”
Here is Nathan’s Story
It started with Stella Atkinson’s skirt. On the first day of school, she walked straight to the first desk in my art classroom with a two-inch black panel hanging like an afterthought at the end of her hem. I had her march right back into the corridor.
“Stella, your skirt violates dress code.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Wheatland.” Her cheeks reddened as she spoke. “I had a growth spurt over the summer. Mother did the best she could.”
“Well, why on earth didn’t she take you to Jessop’s for another?”
Stella shrank before me. When she brought her eyes back up from the ground, they didn’t go any higher than my chin. I noticed stitched-up tear on the shoulder of her white blouse.
“Daddy says people will always need food. It’s only temporary.”
I understood. Atkinson’s Grocery, southern California’s grocery franchise and Stella’s family’s business, was usually full to brimming with neighbors chatting about produce and cuts of meat. But that all changed. The aisles had grown quiet. I was convinced on my last visit that I had entered one of those “other dimensions” the pulp magazines were always writing about. Instead of people, cans of soup and cantaloupe occupied the aisles. The bins of vegetable were stacked higher than I was tall. The newspaper said that grocery stores were experiencing a surplus of goods on account of the stock market crash a few years ago. People just weren’t shopping there anymore, and the white collar business owners here in Whittier, California, began to feel the repercussions of what the newspapers call the Great Depression.
“I see. It’s fine, Stella. Go back to your desk and sketch the still-life I’ve set up.” I smoothed down my own plaid dress, folded a pleat in my favorite cotton cardigan.
Later, I broached the subject in the teacher’s salon. We discussed the little things they’ve noticed. Miss Frankenfield said she’d starting turning a blind eye to the students grabbing third and fourth servings during luncheon, and Mr. Petty told us of Norman Reilly, the student whose family pulled him from school without notice.
“It’s probably best if we relax the rules until the situation improves, Ruth,” Mrs. Grassell whispered as we walked back to class together.
Relaxing the rules proved easy as 1933 progressed. The dress code violations became too numerous to enforce, so we focused on other things: the talent of this year’s tennis team or Dorothy Gibbons’s prize science project. We let the signs of the “Great Depression” recede into the background. I thought about that on the day I taught my students about foreshortening– the illusion of objects receding from our perspective.
Dr. Steven Graves, “The Great Depression: California In the Thirties,” http://www.csun.edu/~sg4002/courses/417/readings/depression.pdf, 2015.
Read more by Nathan James on his blog www.innatejames.wordpress.com
Again, thank you to everyone for participating and congratulations to the winners.