Well, I did that TV show. I’m not sure what they wanted me to say – but no matter. There weren’t any prizes or nothin’. I’ve got to get on to my main task – I have to write all kinds of questions for my application. The YWCA has a program for women like me, goin’ to work for the first time. Older women, who’ve been mostly busy with their families. I don’t have to pay the fee for classes if I write this paper for the scholarship.
My full name is Marlene Bertrand Shifflett. If you pronounce my maiden name like my grandpapa and grandma, you would say -“BER-trand”. If you pronounce it like Mother used to do, you would say “ber-TRAND”. As if it mattered. I am living for now in Port Deposit, Maryland. Things aren’t like what they used to be here since the navy base moved out. I was born here, went to school here, met Big Jim here, and have lived here all my life. I like it here – that’s why I want to stay here. That’s why I need this job. Big Jim being out of work for the first time in, well, forever, it looks like it will be awhile until he will be able to get back to something with decent pay like working for the company was. So in the meantime, if we both work at something regular, we can get by and stay on here on the Eastsern Shore, and not have to pull up our roots and move the kids off to new schools and all that.
Papa’s business has closed up, well now its quite awhile, since the Walmart came in. He was ready to retire anyways, but still it has gone hard here for the small Main Street businesses that don’t feed you, preach to you, or plant you when you’re dead. He was in appliances, sold pretty much anything you could plug in. Mother’s father was a dentist, and although she never said so, I always felt she thought she had married down. Didn’t matter to her that she married well, Paps being one of the best men around. And I can tell you, not all men are like him. Don’t get me wrong, there will never be any other man for me other than Big Jim, but well, he ain’t Papa. For sure.
Being ordinary was never good enough for her.