Adelaide Part 3

Is this your first time reading? You’ll find links at the end for Parts 1 & 2.

Adelaide pinched herself to make sure she was awake and not dreaming. For the first time in her life, she was at the Memorial Day picnic in the park. Rusty was the reason, pure and simple.

He had knocked on the front door of Adelaide’s house. When her mother answered, he asked, “Mrs. Thornton, may Adelaide please go with us to the Memorial Day picnic?”

Adelaide held her breath, waiting for her mother’s usual, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to say no.”

Then Paul whispered in Adelaide’s ear, “She’s going to say yes this time. She likes Rusty, and Mrs. Sommers is her new best friend.”

And Paul was right as usual. Mother had said yes.

There were stares and whispers in abundance as Adelaide walked through the park with Rusty. Even more when she entered the three-legged race with Rusty, especially when they won first prize.

She distinctly heard whispers of “Crazy Addy…”

During the father and son baseball game, Adelaide sat on a patchwork quilt along with Mrs. Sommers and Rusty’s four-year-old sister, Monica.

Adelaide could not take her eyes off the game. Rusty’s team was winning, of course. It was exactly two-twenty-five in the afternoon and the game was winding down when Monica asked Adelaide to push her on the swing.

Adelaide looked at Mrs. Sommers.

Mrs. Sommers nodded. “Monica gets bored watching baseball.”

Though Adelaide would much rather have stayed and watched the game, she knew what it was like to be bored, so she took Monica’s hand and led her to an empty swing.

“Push me higher,” Monica said.

Adelaide laughed and pushed. At least from this vantage point, she could keep an eye on the game. Mason stood on the batter’s mound. There was the pitch, and Mason swung. Hard. Crack!

“Push me more,” Monica squealed.

Adelaide pushed and then an odd thing happened. Someone pushed Adelaide. She fell flat on the ground and in the very same moment, something whizzed over her head.

The crowd hushed.

Monica began to whimper.

Adelaide lay staring at the sky.

“Breathe, Addy,” Paul whispered. “Breathe!”

Adelaide pulled in a big gulp of air as Rusty’s face appeared above her.

“Adelaide, are you all right?”

Mr. Sommers knelt beside her. “Did the ball hit you?”

Adelaide shook her head. “I don’t think so. Someone pushed me down.”

Mrs. Sommers ran up and lifted Monica from the swing and hugged her. “I’m so glad you’re both okay.”

Mr. Sommers looked around. “Well, that was fortunate for you, Adelaide.” He helped her stand. “There’s no one else here though, except for you and Monica, and another little one on the far swing. Wonder who pushed you?”

Adelaide smiled. She knew who it was. “Thank you, Paul,” she whispered.

Rusty leaned close. “What’d you say?”

Adelaide shrugged. “I was just saying thank you—to whoever it was that pushed me out of the way.”

Mr. Sommers kissed Monica on the cheek. “You two must have a guardian angel.”

Rusty smiled at Adelaide. “I believe they do.”

Adelaide smiled at Rusty. In that moment, she knew he understood. Paul wasn’t just a figment of her childish imagination.

Mr. Sommers laid his arm on Adelaide’s shoulders and nodded at Rusty. “Come on, let’s go finish the game.”

Together, they walked back to the ballfield. Adelaide’s heart swelled in her chest as all the people cheered to see them unhurt.

And then something amazing happened. Mason ran up to her and said, “I’m real sorry, Addy. That was my foul ball that almost hit you.”

This was truly a day of wonders for Adelaide. She stood as tall as possible for one so petite, and looked up into Mason’s red, shame-filled face. “It’s okay, Mason. I know you didn’t do it on purpose.” She turned and looked back at the swing set. “Boy, you sure can hit, though.”

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

Adelaide – Part 2

If you haven’t read the beginning of this story and would like to, you’ll find it here> Once Upon a Time

Adelaide had to admit, her life changed on that April morning when Rusty sat beside her on the bus. Still, every morning at exactly seven-ten, she said goodbye to her mother and began the long walk down the large hill. She waited beside the mailbox. The bus was never early, and hardly ever late. At exactly seven-twenty-five, Mr. Augustus stopped to pick her up.

Five rows back on the left, she sat next to the window. She and Paul left room for Rusty. Paul liked Rusty and often whispered to Adelaide, “He’s going to be our best friend.”

The other kids on the bus still giggled and whispered. Adelaide still heard herself referred to as, “Crazy Addy.” But it didn’t break her heart the way it used to, because now she had a friend.

And one day, Rusty made a stand.

It was the last week of school, which was always sad for Adelaide. School was the only time she was allowed around other children. Her mother would not allow Adelaide to go anywhere on her own because of danger lurking … everywhere. Adelaide understood that her mother feared losing the only child left to her, so she waited and hoped that when she was old enough, things would change.

On the first day of the last week of school, the other children on the bus cheered as Rusty climbed on and walked to his seat.

Adelaide watched and wondered, why were they cheering?

Rusty mussed his hair and gave her a sideways glance, like he was embarrassed.

Paul whispered in her ear, “Ask him.”

Adelaide took a breath, but before she could ask the question, Mason, the guy sitting behind Rusty, gripped Rusty’s shoulder.

“You’re a wonder, man. Just a wonder.”

Now Adelaide wondered, more than ever. “What did you do?”

Rusty shrugged. He turned to look at her. “Nothin’ much.”

“Nothin’ much,” Mason repeated in a loud voice. “Nothin’ but won the game, that’s all!”

Adelaide turned big eyes on Rusty. “You won the game?” She had known he played baseball on the school team, but of course, she was not allowed to attend. It was far too dangerous.

Rusty shrugged again. “I just hit a homer, that’s all.”

Mason laughed. “That’s all. Hit a homer with bases loaded. Won the game.” He threw his cap down like an exclamation point at the end of his proclamation.

Adelaide had watched baseball games on television with Paul and her father, so she understood what a good thing that was.

Rusty bent to pick up Mason’s cap. He handed it over his shoulder and Mason took it. Then Rusty eyed Adelaide. “It was a great game. We’re playing again on Saturday morning. You should come.”

Everyone hushed. There was not a sound to be heard on the bus while they all waited for Adelaide’s answer.

Adelaide noticed Mr. Augustus, eyeing her in the rearview mirror.

Mason laughed again. “She can’t go. Crazy Addy can’t do anything. Her momma is too scared.”

Then everyone laughed along with Mason.

Everyone except Rusty, that is. And Mr. Augustus—he didn’t laugh.

Rusty wouldn’t look at Adelaide. He just stared at his hands and held onto his books.

Adelaide’s stomach hurt, just like in the old days, before Rusty came.

Paul whispered, “At least he’s not laughing.”

Adelaide looked out the window and watched as Mr. Augustus pulled the bus into their spot in front of school.

When everyone stood, Rusty moved into the aisle and blocked the whole back of the bus. “Come on, Adelaide. Let’s go inside.”

No one said a word. They all stood and watched, as Adelaide, followed closely by Paul and Rusty, walked to the front.

Mr. Augustus grinned and nodded.

Adelaide smiled so big, her cheeks hurt.

Rusty had just hit another home run with bases loaded.

The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard

I first met Terri Wangard almost ten years ago, on an American Christian Fiction Writers critique group for historical writers. At the time, I was writing a 1920s novel. I believe Terri was writing one of her many “war stories” (she may not care for that terminology).

Being a newcomer to the world of writers’ groups, I was sometimes overwhelmed. Terri’s chapters grounded me. I loved history and her stories celebrated it. I was also new to research. I had done some, but my work paled in the shadow of hers. I was not discouraged, however. I was encouraged and inspired to dig deeper and work harder.

Through social media, I have kept up with Terri and her publishing journey. She is still writing her wonderful historical stories, combining humor and grace with what feels like actual events—real stories—proof of a good researcher.

Her latest novel, The Storm Breaks Forth, follows the experiences of a German-American family during the first world war. Here is her back cover blurb:

World War I rages in Europe, and now the United States joins in. Peter Bloch heads to France with the Wisconsin National Guard, but his wife Maren is the one under attack. She’s German born, and anti-German hysteria is running high. Simple suggestions for coping with wartime measures lead Maren into an active role in the community, but her service doesn’t help deflect suspicion from her. Zealous patriots target her with a vengeance. Peter caught the eye of a major who seems intent on using him as a spy. He’s been fortunate to avoid injury so far, but these activities are likely to get him killed. Peter and Maren dream of the day they will be reunited, but more and more, that day appears to be a mirage.

The story is a good one, often keeping me on the edge of my chair, clicking pages. The war scenes are gritty and real enough to please my action-adventure loving hubby. The home scenes with Maren made my heart ache for her as she faces hate and discrimination.

I had expected a high level of historical accuracy and Wangard did not disappoint. She doesn’t overfill the scenes with facts and figures. She marinates them to the point where, the history is part of the entire scene, incorporating all five senses.

Some situations are reminiscent of what happened last year as our country endured a pandemic and social tensions. This may be why I identified so well with Maren. I also love strong female leads and Maren fits the bill by bouncing back each time she’s knocked down. Something else we learned last year. When tough times come, resiliency is key.

Last, but not least, faith triumphs over all the hardships presented in Wangard’s story. We all know or have known heroes who attribute their success to faith in God. Maren and Peter Bloch show that faith throughout the story and keep moving forward through times that would cripple an ordinary person.

I highly recommend The Storm Breaks Forth. History fans will love its authenticity and realism. Most readers will enjoy the story, especially the ending.

I received a copy of this book from the author with no expectation of a favorable review. The opinions are my own.

Terri Wangard’s first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions of the American Christian Fiction Writers, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

Terri Wangard Amazon Author Page

Once Upon a Time…

…four little words that deliver instant peace. Am I alone in this? Perhaps for me, they spur a pleasant, long-ago memory of being read to before sleeping.

As you can see in this photo, I’ve been reading for a long time.

This simple phrase opens a gateway into my imagination. Sleeping Beauty lies just beyond the gate, or Cinderella, Rapunzel, or Belle in Beauty and the Beast. As a child, I could easily imagine myself in one of those roles.

Once upon a time, I started a little story, having no idea where it would go. But writing it was fun and by the time I had mapped it out, the ending surprised me. I suppose that may be the reason I love to write. So, here is how it began:

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a tiny house on a large hill. Her name was Adelaide Thornton, and every weekday morning at exactly seven-ten, she said goodbye to her mother and began the long walk down the large hill. She stopped at the mailbox, where she waited until exactly seven-twenty-five, when her school bus arrived.

She greeted Mr. Augustus, who always answered, “Mornin’ Addy,” and then she made her way to the fifth row and sat in the seat on the left. This particular seat was always empty as if someone was saving it for Adelaide.

Though the bus was already filled with youngsters, no one else spoke to Adelaide, or even acknowledged her. And she was okay with that.

She scooched over, sitting close to the window, which left plenty of room for someone else to sit, but there was never anyone there. At least, no one that anyone else could see, other than Adelaide.

On this early spring morning, the bus made an unexpected stop before continuing on its way. Adelaide watched the front as a new kid climbed the steps. He seemed to be about her age, but he was taller. He had scruffy red hair and lots of freckles.

His eyes searched the bus and then, to her chagrin, stopped on the empty seat beside Adelaide. The only empty seat on the crowded bus.

As he made his way down the aisle, Adelaide noticed that no one was talking. The kids on the bus had gone completely quiet, as though they waited to see what would happen when the new boy tried to sit next to “Crazy Addy.”

The boy stopped at the fourth row and stood looking at Adelaide. “Is it all right if I sit with you?”

She heard a whooshing sound, as though everyone on the bus gasped at the same moment. And then she heard a whisper, “He’s very polite. I like him. Let him sit with us.”

All she could do was nod.                                                                              

The boy smiled and sat down.

Adelaide scrunched over, even closer to the window, so there would be room for everyone.

The other children on the bus began to titter and chat, but Adelaide knew they were watching…and waiting…and wondering. She also noticed Mr. Augustus’ eyes on her in the rearview mirror. He gave her a smile and a nod before setting off.

As the bus rolled forward, Adelaide heard, “He’s new in town. You should tell him your name and ask his name.”

She frowned at the empty spot in the middle of the seat, where someone sat. Someone no one else could see, except for Adelaide. But what he had said made sense to her. After all, the boy did seem very polite and had asked her permission to sit.

She cleared her throat.

Again, the other children hushed.

Adelaide ignored them and focused on the new kid. “I’m Adelaide Thornton. What’s your name?”

The new kid looked at her. “Nice to meet you, Adelaide. I’m Matthew Sommers, but everyone calls me Rusty.” He ruffled his dark, red hair and grinned.

Adelaide smiled back at him. Rusty was not only polite, but he was kind of funny, too. No wonder her brother liked him.

Oh yes, her brother. Adelaide was a twin. Though her brother had only lived two days on this earth, he had never left her. Some folks thought she was nuts and that’s why they called her, “Crazy Addy.” Others, mostly older folks, smiled and said she had an invisible friend. Only Adelaide knew the truth. He might be invisible, but he was not just a friend. He was her twin brother, Paul.

To be continued… Click here for PART2

Last Days – A Book Review

Nike N. Chillemi – Mystery & a Merry Heart

According to Nike’s website, her novels contain “Grace and Grit” and she likes her bad guys “really bad” and her “good guys fighting for justice against steep odds”.

I have known Nike Chillemi for some years now. We are both members of an ACFW critique loop, so I have been involved with the writing of several of her detective novels. We have both weathered a few storms in our personal lives along the way–a positive, bonding experience for sure.

This may lead some to believe my review of her latest book might be biased. But I would like to be honest about her latest work, because in my humble opinion, it’s her best yet.

Last Days – A Katerina “Kat” Andruko/Dimitri Garmonin Novel

A spry elderly woman has died mysteriously in a Florida coastal town, and the head of a clandestine organization in Washington D.C is interested in the case. All evidence, or lack thereof, points to accidental death, but Detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko has nagging doubts. She also has doubts about a mysterious phone call profiler Dimitri Garmonin, PhD, her intended, took and hid from her.

As if that wasn’t enough, Kat’s former fiancé and fellow law enforcement officer gleefully taunts her, predicting the demise of her relationship with Dimitri. Her future mother-in-law thinks she’s less than demure and not suitable marriage material for her son.

Meanwhile, all leads on the elderly woman’s death go nowhere. Old enemies at the local TV station are calling the police incompetent. They air an unfavorable segment about Dimitri. Just as Kat and Dimitri reluctantly begin to believe the death was accidental, the woman’s neighbor goes missing.

Like most good detective stories, Last Days begins with a crime that needs solving. Detective Andruko is on the case. In the beginning, all the roads lead to dead ends. Chillemi keeps the action high and the story moving forward. She also keeps a constant battle going as Kat Andruko deals with doubt and anxiety surrounding her upcoming marriage to Dimitri Garmonin.

Though the two seem perfect for each other, the future mother-in-law is not at all pleased with her son’s choice. So, our main detective, Kat Andruko, is off-kilter and questioning herself in every way. Add in a liberal dose of whodunnit, and you have a winning recipe for a riveting story.

Chillemi keeps her readers guessing till the end. Even me. I thought I’d predicted the outcome early on, but I was wrong. I love that! This was a quick, fun read. One of the things I enjoyed most was Chillemi’s inclusion of characters from her Ingles/Hughes series. The familiar “faces” made me feel at home in the story.

Keep ‘em coming, Nike!

Nike N. Chillemi has a passion for crime fiction. She writes detective stories and mysteries with a national security twist. Some have called her novels “classic whodunits,” while others think they’re “cozy thrillers,” loaded with taut suspense with a healthy dose of wry humor. She’s known for compelling main characters, zany and quirky secondary and tertiary characters, and dangerous villains. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is the founding board member of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight (formerly Grace Awards).

Find more information here: and Nike’s Amazon Author Page