Nonfiction from NER 39.3
How easily I can remember that small parlor with the tiny coal fireplace in England. That room, that house, seems to come in clearer and stronger every year that I grow older. The tall upright piano took up much of the room, that piano where I tried, when I was ten, to play the “Coventry Christmas Carol.” It was bitterly cold in that row house in Cambridge, England. There was no central heat in those days, and in the bedroom we had to stand in front of an electric heater to change into our pajamas.
My father was on sabbatical for the year and we had taken the enormous Queen Elizabeth ocean liner across the Atlantic in warm, easy weather. Under bright sea skies and sun, we had played shuffleboard on deck. Tea and cakes were delivered to us by a steward in a white uniform, while we lay under wool blankets on deck chairs. My father kept saying how charming and fun it was. The wind blew through his jacket sleeves, as if to lift him away. While my mother was afraid the boat would sink. For the whole trip her hands clutched the railings. Her eyes never lightened.
Phoebe Stone is a painter, poet, and author of seven novels for young adults published by Arthur A. Levine Books at Scholastic and three picture books published by Little, Brown and Co. Phoebe grew up in a family of poets and novelists and has spent most of her life painting and writing. She is presently working on a series of memoir/short stories for a book. This piece is the first from that series to appear in publication.
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