Not so… great expectations

For CCThis blog is by Nancy Jardine

Four days to go…till Christmas Day!

Anticipation is what drives a lot of people round about now if they celebrate by giving gifts to family and friends. The anticipation in our house is high already and is likely to escalate during the next few days.

The Christmas tree has been up and decorated for eight days and the piles of wrapped gifts which are appearing beneath it, on a daily basis, are looking quite decadently generous – even though we declared we weren’t going to go overboard this year with too many gifts.

The wrapping papers are bright and colourful to cheer us up and to banish the winter chills outside. Come Christmas morning, our happiest moments are when we distribute the gifts as we sit around the tree. The very act of excitedly unwrapping those items brings back so many memories for me – of mostly good times and one not so good from my past.

Earlier this week I wrote a Christmas-themed short story as my contribution to a six week long Christmas extravaganza organised via my publisher – Crooked Cat publishing. Many of our authors are contributing a fictional story; posts that are non- fiction; and poems. This FREE writing can be accesssed through our special ‘Christmas With The Crooked Cats’ Facebook group page. ( Click here if interested in reading something new https://www.facebook.com/groups/737252102990447/ )

Reading something new at Christmas stuck in my mind, so much so that I decided to make it the writing theme of my blog post here today. I wrote another short story this week as a special gift to my fellow Wranglers, to thank you for your unfailing support. The one ‘less good’ Christmas time in my past could have remained a repressed story in my memory banks, but it hasn’t. Once started though, I couldn’t stop writing. It was a trip down a particular memory lane and at over five thousand words, it’s a little long to be here on the Wranglers blog. Instead of clogging up below… I’ve posted the whole story on my own blog to share with everyone. Here’s the beginning as a teaser…

(I’m adding a URL for Kate who nated to hear what the carol sounds like:

Not so… great expectations

Friday, 23rd December, 1960

Sometimes it was really difficult to go home. Even harder than leaving to go to school in the morning.

‘Enjoy your Monday off school next week and remember what Christmas Day is all about.” Mrs Locky never wasted unnecessary breath when the class was all lined up and ready to go home.

At precisely four o’clock, on the ring of the huge brass hand bell, Wee Missy forged her way out through the throngs as she exited Broadholm Primary School Annexe where there were a couple of overspill classrooms. Her class was one of the unfortunate ones in that it was housed in a decrepit and ancient old building, the school roll being too large for all of the pupils to be housed in the new school building. However, there was nothing to be done but suffer the situation for a whole school year.

‘In the bleak mid-winter…’ The words of the Christmas Carol they’d sung that afternoon refused to go away as Wee Missy said a fast farewell to some of her classmates. She felt utterly bleak about it but she couldn’t avoid going home. Sunday was Christmas Day but she knew that it wasn’t going to be a cheerful one for her. The events of last week were going to catch up with her come Christmas Day. She stifled the tears as she waved goodbye to her best friend June.

She’d been too ashamed to share her secret with anyone but keeping silent about it was so awful as well.

‘Frosty winds made moan…’ It was far too glacial to hang about as she scurried further into her scarf and tucked down her chin, the sky a dull leaden grey that heralded more snow…

Christmas is definitely for surprises – but are they always nice ones? Click HERE if you would like to read the whole story of my ‘Not so…great expectations.’

I’ll take the opportunity now to wish you all – contributors of this blog and readers of this blog – a very happy holiday season whether you celebrate in a religious way or in a secular form.

***

Nancy Jardine writes Historical Romantic Adventures and Contemporary Mysteries for the older generations. She also writes time-travel adventure for the Young Adult market.

Find her work on:

dec promo 1

Amazon US author page ;

Barnes and Noble

Crooked Cat Bookstore

Smashwords

and other ebook outlets.

Nancy can be found at her Website; Blog: Facebook and many other social media places.

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This entry was posted in anticipation, Face your Fears, Festivals, FREE short story, gifts, Secrets, traditions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Not so… great expectations

  1. Wow, that was some story. All the while, I thought Wee Missy had done something awful like accidentally burn her library books. What a relief to know that wasn’t the case, and what an ending.

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  2. katewyland says:

    Fun story and a delightful picture of life in 1960’s Glasgow. I wasn’t familiar with the “In the bleak midwinter” carol. I’d love to hear it.
    Merry Christmas!

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  3. sstamm625 says:

    Like Abbie, I thought she’d done something with her library books. Fun story, Nancy, and a unique and interesting way to use the carol lyrics.

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  4. Mike Staton says:

    Very creative story, Nancy, with lots of suspense and tension. Couldn’t wait to find out why the girl was so upset. Yep, the ending was a surprise — but when one reflects on it the ending makes sense for someone who devours comics and books. Interestingly, when I was a kid I would go on expeditions in the house looking for where mom and dad hid our presents. Once and while my sister Jody will bring up how I’d look high and low for the unwrapped “big” gifts… and usually find them. By the way, I love tapioca.

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  5. S. J. Brown says:

    I didn’t see that coming. Great perspective on how a child sees things.

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  6. Wonderful post, Nancy! You have had such a great year and I’m thankful to have been along for the ride and watch from the sidelines. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  7. Doris says:

    Nancy, thank you for the gift of sharing yourself and your writing. What a wonderful idea. I look forward to sitting and reading when this ‘busy’ weekend ends. It will be heaven. A gift for me to me, quiet time. May you have many memories to keep you for you have given us so many. Doris

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    • Nancy Jardine says:

      I think Christmas in particular is a time for remembering old memories and for making new ones. I wish you joy in your quiet reading. We’ll have 3 extra adults and 2 large dogs staying over Christmas which will take our totals to 7 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs for around 3 days. Any reading that I do is likely to be recipes and the novel reading more like next weekend!

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  8. Reblogged this on L.LEANDER BOOKS and commented:
    Merry Christmas friends. I want to share with you a very tender story written by author Nancy Jardine. I have reblogged this post from the Writing Wranglers and Warriors site where a great group of writers post. You’ll love this tale, so grab a cup of coffee, curl up and take a few moments to read something very special!

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  9. Nancy, I don’t know where to begin. I am sitting here holding back tears for wee Missy’s outcome. You’ve written a poignant childhood story that resonates with everyone’s childhood at one time or another. Missy’s supposed bad deed created a great blindside for the end of the tale. I was totally surprised by the ending, but very happy for a little girl who knew she’d done wrong and couldn’t figure out how to make it better. On a different note, I love the song “In the Bleak Midwinter”, but my favorite rendition is that of Annie Lennox. Susan Boyle’s is equally as moving. Here is the link if you’d like to listen. http://youtu.be/1KDLvClhSQ8

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    • Nancy Jardine says:

      Thanks Linda, I like the Lennox one, too. I chose the simple Susan Boyle one for here because in school we mostly sang in class with no piano and no other accompaniment. Although i hadn’t remembered when writing the story, I now remember that in those days Primary teachers in Glasgow were all able to sing really well. I’m thinking it must have been part of their interview for accessing a college place for their teacher training! 😉 I can only sing over a shortish ‘alto’ scale- no really high notes- but this hymn is one that I can always manage.

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  10. Wranglers says:

    Nancy, thanks for the different style blog. I loved the teaser and I want to read the rest of the story. I have to get all caught up on Mike’s too. I must listen to the song now. Cher’ley

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