When the Scribe was almost five and the Hippie was two, I remember taking them for car rides. We'd drive everywhere and the whole time I'd tell them stories. They couldn't run; they couldn't get away, and after a time (although it was tough at first), I think they grew to love my stories.
There was this one road where a castle sat. The Scribe would point and ask, "Mama, do you know the story about that castle?"
"Heck yeah, I do."
The truth remained, the place was a wedding reception center. I'd loved the place so much, I'd wanted to take pictures of my clothing designs there. (Remember how I used to own a sewing business, but I closed it to pursue a writing career?) Well, here are some of the sets I made around that time, hoping to have someone model them in the castle:
These little models were so sweet to work with!
Whenever a child would model, I'd pay them in clothes--I think the parents loved that.
Anyway, I called the owner of the castle, told him about my business. He said he'd charge $50.00 a person to come inside of the castle--it would cost even more to take pictures there.
I found out later, they held free tours every Wednesday night! The man must have thought I was made of gold or something. Anyway, after finding out what an intense rip-off it was, I was pretty ticked. So, when the Scribe asked if I knew the castle's background, I wanted to tell her everything about a scam artist and his tricks! I didn't tell her that, though.
Instead I made something up, something much cooler.
"Once upon a time," I said. "There was a stunning princess, and she had a stepmother!"
The Scribe gasped because she knew as well as I did, if you have a stepmother in a fairytale, that's just begging for conflict.
"The princess grew up in the castle, but her stepmother was so jealous, so evil, she put a spell around the place. It was like Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Snow White all the greats . . . even Fiona. The princess couldn't get out, unless her prince found her and saved her with true love's first kiss."
"Wow," the Scribe said and I suddenly understood why so many people keep using that storyline; kids just think it's epic.
We drove for a while longer and I thought the Scribe had completely forgotten about the castle. "So, your birthday's next week. What do you want to do? You'll be five this year. Name anything and we'll do it."
That was a bad thing to say. I didn't think an almost-five-year-old could be so creative, but she was.
"Anything?" she asked, and I'm sure my face paled.
"Ummm . . . yeah, that's what I said. Any . . . thing."
"Great," she smiled. "I want to meet the princess who lives in that castle back there."
"Seriously?" I asked.
"Yep. That would be the most amazing birthday ever!"
So much hope shone in her eyes, so much joy. I knew I couldn't afford the greedy owner's fees, but somehow I had to get my child into that place.
I called Grandma Gertie later and told her my problem. "Even if I could afford it, a princess won't be in the castle! Plus, someone's getting married there on the Scribe's birthday. It won't even work if I could scrounge up the cash."
"Sure it can," Gertie laughed. "Have you ever crashed a wedding?"
I never had, and the thought of meeting a bridezilla scared the crap out of me. But still it might be worth a shot.
"No," I said, "but that is something I want to do before I die."
"Great," Gertie said. "I'll see you then."
To be continued tomorrow . . .