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what we saw in the shed
by rc dewinter
- Artist Notes
- © 2011 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved
Teddy and I were curious children, as most are. One of the mysteries of our childhood was an old shed on the border of the back yard. Papa had strictly forbidden us to enter it. In fact, there was a stout lock across the hasp. When we asked why, he said, “Because it’s not a safe place for children,” and that was the end of it.
Of course this served to do nothing but inflame our curiosity as to what dangerous, forbidden things might be kept there, but lurk and skulk about as we might, we never saw anyone entering or leaving the shed. Our man of all work, Tom, was the only one who had a key, as far as we knew; Papa never seemed to go near the place, and certainly Mama and Auntie Rose wouldn’t have spent any time in such a place. The windows, dusty and festooned with a tracery of cobwebs, were too high off the ground for us to peer through, and though old, the boards were sturdy; there were no gaps in the sides.
One spring day we spied Tom heading out to the shed with a small box. Concealed behind a lilac bush, we watched as he unlocked the door and went inside. Unaware of our presence, he didn’t bother to pull the door shut behind him.
“Now’s our chance,” Teddy whispered excitedly. “Let’s go peek while Tom’s busy.” “If we’re caught Papa will be angry,” I whispered back. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” replied Teddy, quoting one of Auntie’s favorite maxims.
We crept out from behind the lilacs. I was terrified that Tom might emerge at any moment, but whatever he was doing was taking a lot of time. We reached the door and heard Tom muttering to himself; we cautiously peered in. Alas, we saw nothing but scraps of wood, sawdust, rusty old tools and battered, discarded furnishings. “Bah humbug!” cried Teddy. Knowing Tom must’ve heard, we dashed back to our hiding place, threw ourselves on the ground and exploded into gales of laughter. So much for that mystery. ~ from the diary of Ellen Fall (1889-1965)
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