Mae Breaks the News

“What is it?” Mama sank into her chair at the end of the table, a small, tired groan escaping her lips as she did so. The sound sent a feeling of guilt washing over Mae. Could she actually do this? She looked closer at her mother, at her shoulders rounded by tiredness, her face streaked with lines put there too soon by too many years in the sun, at her eyes with their resigned expression. Yes, she could. Otherwise she might end up just like her. read more


Greydell honked once and waved goodbye, and Mae made her way slowly toward the front steps. Before she could open the door she heard Mama call from the garden, “Well, it’s about time you decided to show up, young lady. I was expecting you home hours ago.”

Mae sighed and turned toward the garden, where her mother was bent over the row of corn with a hoe, viciously chopping out weeds and grass. “Hi, Mama. I’m sorry we were so late. It’s just been a very busy day.” read more

Mae Learns a Few Things

Just then Greydell emerged from the house and bounded down the steps. She ran around the car and jumped in. “Boy, I’m glad that’s over. Let’s get out of here.”

“Amen!” Mae agreed. read more

Mae Visits the Red Light District

June was starting out really hot this year. Mae sat fanning herself lazily with a copy of the Texarkana Gazette, waiting for Greydell to get back to the car. She propped her arm on the window frame, leaned her head on her hand, hoped nobody she knew would come by and see her here – it was so embarrassing. read more

Graduation 1940

Mae Johnson fidgeted on the hard wooden chair, trying to keep her bottom from going to sleep. Superintendent Browning droned on, his words about as distinct as the buzzing of the moths attacking the light fixture over his head. She wondered how much longer the man was going to talk, how much longer before she could get her diploma, how much longer before she could get out of Dixon’s Crossing for good. read more