15 August 2014

Published August 13, 2014 by rochellewisoff

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Friday Fictioneers BookshelfFF copyright banner finalThe next photo is the PHOTO PROMPT

Let it speak to you. Does it tell you a story?

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright - Jan Wayne Fields

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 99

HOME FIRES BURNING

            “Nights are long and my bed ever so cold…”            

             She stopped writing, crumpled her letter and recalled their conversation the day before he left.

_____

            “The last time you went for six months it turned into four years.”            

            “I am needed there.”            

            “You are needed here.”            

           “Debbie, my dearest.” He placed his hands on either side of her face. “Accompany me. You will love London.”

______

             Deborah Franklin laid another sheet of parchment on the desk, dipped her quill in the inkwell and wrote.              

             “Dear Benjamin,            

              I love you so. Had it not been for my ridiculous fear of the sea…”    

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110 comments on “15 August 2014

    • Dear Björn,

      I’m glad the story came across without explanation. I do like to include history if it’s there, though.

      There is a lot going on in that photo, isn’t there? I’ll be interested to see where it leads people. My husband took the picture in an old house in a pre-revolutionary town in upstate New York.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • When they ask me in which time period I would like to live, I always say present. My pragmatic nature overshadows my romantic aspirations. How our present would be different if our past were to change…Love your historical fiction, it is always so cleverly written.

    Like

    • Dear Loré,

      I’ve been asked the same question. It’s difficult to answer for each era has it’s advantages and drawbacks. Given a choice I’d have to stay here in the 21st century for I’m totally addicted to my computer and iPhone. 😉 Although it might be nice to take a visit to another time here and there. I guess that’s why I love to write historical fiction…my own method of time travel.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      PS Indoor plumbing’s another argument for the present.

      Like

  • Rochelle, Lovely story. I looked up the history on Google and learned something. That desk is a beauty. It looks like a combination dresser and desk. Thanks to you and your husband for supplying it for the prompt this week. Well written as always. 🙂 —Susan

    Like

  • Lovely idea, and beautifully written. And that is a very lovely desk. I could do with something like that. Currently I write on my lap on the sofa.
    (BTW there is a typo in the quote from Thoreau at the top.)
    Claire

    Like

    • Dear Claire,

      I have a nice desk but nothing like that one. I’m pleased you like the story. Thank you for catching that pesky typo. At present the challenge is how to fix it in Picasa, the program I used. I’ll be working on that.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • A lovely way of posting …. letters back and forth, with unspoken words … in this case, unwritten words, leaving one curious as to possibilities.

    Very effective Rochelle – I feel I have stepped back in time. 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Alicia,

      Happy to help as I’m right beside you in that boat. I never cared about history when I was young. I suppose as we age and our remembered past is in the history books we realize that those before us were warm, breathing humans. At least that’s how I see it.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Rochelle,
    Considering Benjamin Franklin’s role overseas during that time and his other affairs there, I wonder how history would have been different if she had come with him. I just did a bit more research on Deborah. What a tragic tale. This is a beautifully crafted story.
    -David

    Like

    • Dear David,

      I’d never thought of it in that light. What would have happened had he stayed home or if she’d gone with him? Both possibilities are food for thought, aren’t they.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Regrets are the worst. I wonder how Benjamin Franklin felt when he got the news, if he wished he had more time or if he would have done the same all over again. Think how different history could have been if he had made different choices.

    Like

  • first of all, i so want a desk like that. perhaps owning one might inspire me to write more often. 🙂 and wow it’s really exciting to speculate about these possibilities, what would have happened… what would have changed. i applaud the fact that you put a great deal of heart and research on your stories.

    Like

    • Dear Anne,

      In present times where correspondence has become as instant as microwavable popcorn, it’s hard to imagine a world where one waited months for a letter, isn’t it?

      When I was a young girl I had a pen-pal in Wales. Of course it was all snail mail then. If we wrote once a month it was frequent. Now I have 100+ pen-pals around the world. And a daily Skype friend five-thousand miles away. That kind of communication was comic strip or sci-fi when I was growing up.

      At any rate, I’m happy you liked my story. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • When I taught in grade school I found and purchased a book called ***Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners. My students often groaned and were heard to exclaim, “Eeeeew!” When I read your story I was taken back to what we read and shared in my class, and I fully understand Deborah Franklin’s not wanting to cross the ocean.

    That said, you have revealed a bit of history I wasn’t taught in school. They never would teach this aspect of the Franklin’s life in class. 😉

    Thank you, once again, for enlightening me, Rochelle!

    ***http://tinyurl.com/kbr4guu (link to Amazon and the above book)

    Like

    • Dear Lynda,

      Thank you for that link. I had to go check it out of course. Yeah, I added my “eeeeeew!” at “Bugs for Dinner.”
      I’m pleased that you found my story enlightening. Every time I do the research for one of these historical flashes I learn something new.

      Thank you for the affirmations

      shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I always find your stories time well spent, Rochelle and today is no exception. I read it, felt the love and difficulties between then, then read the link before reading the story again. Those who’ve never done it can’t imagine a long distance relationship, but for those of us who have, it’s just part of life.

    Like

  • I always like it when people see the same cues as me, but arrive at totally different ends of writing spectrum. That of course is the beauty of the challenge you set. A well written story, as always. My only observation would be with the line “You are needed here”. To me, when I read this story, the emotion of that statement is very powerful, but because it stands alone, it might be overlooked by some.

    Like

    • Dear Ali,

      We live in amazing times, don’t we? Although there’s much to be said for a handwritten letter. But I’ve also been in a long distance relationship where my then boyfriend was a lousy letter writer. 😉

      Thank you for your comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • This is my first time here, and first time to participate. Your story is beautiful, and touched me….I think of all the things I haven’t done, and the people I haven’t done them with, due to my fear of flying. Thank you so much.

    Like

  • My dear Rochelle, you have unknowingly fueled an argument that rises up from time to time between Conja and myself. I’ve often called Benjamin Franklin a philanderer. She insists that since he wasn’t legally married he couldn’t truly be a philanderer. 🙂

    As to the story, I love it. Nicely handled and a great take on this week’s prompt.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Like

    • Dear Marie Gail,

      it was never my intention to cause domestic unrest. My jury’s out on Ben Franklin the philanderer, but, on the other hand, common law marriage was recognized in those days.

      At any rate I’m glad you liked my story. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • This photo took me to H.C. Andersen at first, having just visited the museum of his life, in Denmark. The desk really evokes that time period, those lofty minds. You captured all of it so perfectly in this story. The complexities of their marriage, and the man that we all came to know in history. In 99 words, you took me right in there. Wonderful!

    Like

    • Dear Dawn,

      I’m so pleased that you found so much in my tiny story. I’ve always found Benjamin Franklin fascinating. Digging into Deborah’s life was fun but dismally lacking in information.
      Hm. Hans Christian Anderson is another fascination. More grist for the mill?

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • There’s a romance to letter writing that I understand and yet don’t. Sometimes I feel my unlimited, takes two seconds, text messages are wasted because I can’t convey how I really feel. How frustrated I’d be if I only had letters! If I were Deborah, that letter could take me months to write before I was remotely satisfied with it…

    Like

    • Dear Lauren,

      Texting, though I do it often, is the bane to letter writing and, most certainly, to spelling.

      The art of letter writing seems to be dying a rapid death by technology and I’m as guilty as the next person. Email’s quick and easy. There’s something sweet and personal about reading someone’s handwriting. I think people did take more time to write letters in those days.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Dear Venus,
    I’m a big fan of Ben Franklin (he was a printer, you know). In the past, I fortunate enough to collect a few portraits of Ben. Initially, they were worth one hundred dollars a piece, but at the rate our money is devaluing they are worth far less in today’s market. Therefore, I’ve decided to trade my portait of Ben for ten Alexander Hamilitons. The former Treasurer creates more fluff in the wallet.
    respectfully yours, Walter

    Like

    • Dear Walter,

      Yes, I knew Franklin was a printer. I always liked his 5 and Dime stores, too. 😉

      Good decision to trade Ben for Alexander. Good luck with that. Are you printing them yourself?

      Shalom,

      Venus

      Like

  • Hi Rochelle, you put so much and so beautifully in 100 words. You are master in this craft. I loved your style.Now I will go to the link for more information. Thanks for it.

    Like

  • Dear Rochelle

    A lovely letter and great to learn a little of the back story. This is definitely your genre, you write so comfortably about history
    .
    I think we will have a lot of letters this week; at least we remember actually writing at a desk!!!

    Take care

    Dee

    Like

    • Dear Dee,

      I often marvel at my relatively recent romance with history. In school I didn’t see the need for it and found it dull. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that much of what is fresh in my mind is in the history books.

      I’ve really enjoyed the letters this week. I feel they’ve been among the best ones.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Hey, that’s a pretty cool story there, Cuz. I didn’t know there was a Deborah Franklin, either. Maybe I dozed off in history class …

    I’m glad to see, and you are, too, that Ben got his hair done before he posed for that half-dollar …

    Like

    • Dear Kent,

      Isn’t it interesting that you never see Ben in a powdered wig?

      No need to chide yourself. I don’t think there was much about the Mrs. F in our history classes. There certainly wasn’t all that much on the net. 😉

      Glad you liked my offering.

      Shalom,

      Cuzzin Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Emelie,

      A friend just pointed out that probably 60% of my flash fictions are historical. What can I say? I want to remind myself that historical figures were warm, breathing and emotional human beings.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • So well done, Rochelle. I’m always amazed at how you can pull so much of history into such a small space. What a fascinating history. I like the crumpling of the paper. Any writer could do that, but especially one with little education. Nice detail. I didn’t know that Ben Franklin was one of 17 children. Wow! I guess their love prevailed.

    Like

    • Dear Amy,

      Perhaps if I crumple my paper I can stuff more into the small space. 😉 Thank you for your lovely comments and compliments. Can you imagine 17 children in one house? Poor Mrs. Franklin.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • i love the first line in your story. sets the stage for the difficult situation people struggled with back in historical times. communication being really slow and travel whether on land or sea probably not the safest. how did they manage??? great story and thanks for the extra information – did not know about it.

    Like

    • Dear Sun,

      With our modern technologies such as email, cell phones and Skype it’s hard to remember that as recent as forty years ago there were no such conveniences for general use. I don’t know that I’d want to go back to those times. 😉

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle, Yes, you are a wonderful writer and so happy you are our leader! The picture of the desk, is beautiful. I have an antique desk (with the letter ‘D’ engraved on the front that has been in my dad’s family for years). We affectionately call it the ‘D desk’. My sister received a roll top desk that had been our grandfathers. It is magnificent! This has indeed been a difficult week and your historical piece is marvelous! Thank you so much! Nan 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Nan,

      We have two roll top desks that belonged to folks in my husband’s family, I cherish these antique pieces.

      Thank you for your lovely comments and affirmations. They’re part of what keeps me going with Friday Fictioneers. Thank you for being a part of it.

      shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • This is a wonderfully crafted story which provides a ‘humanising’ aspect to a famous historical name. That link makes you think a lot more when you read the story again in the context of that knowledge of their relationship. There is whole book here for anyone who wishes to attempt it.

    Like

    • Dear Subroto

      It would be an interesting novel wouldn’t it? I write these historical pieces as much for myself as anyone else. I want to be reminded that these were not two dimensional illustrations, they were living, breathing people.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Shailaja,

      Perhaps it’s because the desk is so old that we associate ancient ghosts with it. My husband tells me there’s a lot of interesting history surrounding the desk. In two weeks I hope to see it for myself. Perhaps I’ll blog about it. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I think her second letter will be better received. Your story is a reminder that sometimes we have to think about the addressee more than we do about ourselves, however much we are hurting. I have to say I don’t think her fear of the sea was terribly irrational for the times in which she lived.

    Like

  • Dear Sarah Ann,

    It’s also easy to take things wrong in a letter with absence of facial expression or voice inflection, isn’t it?

    I agree about sea travel. From things I’ve read it doesn’t sound pleasant at all.

    Thank you.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

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