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Carol Marlene Smith

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012  7:11:00 PM

by Carol Marlene Smith

Right now you can get a FREE copy of 1964: Chasing A Dream.

This is available at Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Sony and other e book distributors. At Amazon the book is only $2.99

1964: Chasing A Dream is a coming of age novel set in the 60s and based on actual events. It is the first book in a five-book series, with Facing Reality being the second book.

If you like adventure, travel, and the sixties, give this book a free read. You might want to read Facing Reality later to see what happens to Marlee in her quest for love and see if she actually does find her dream.

And oh, if you are reading remember that this novel is written in UK/Canadian English. Some people seem to consider these spelling errors when reading that is why I am mentioning it.

Here's an excerpt:

How pathetic I must have looked. I remembered Joe alone on the bench. I hadn’t even given him time to respond. But I couldn’t slink back now, hoping for forgiveness. It was far too late for that. I hadn’t handled things well. But how did you tell your betrothed that you betrayed him? There was no easy way.

I walked aimlessly until I reached familiar streets. It felt good to walk, and it gave me something to do while I thought. But the more I thought, the more confused I became, and the more convinced than ever that I, alone, had created the whole mess and had broken three hearts. But I had done what I had to do, and from Joe’s reaction, it was over.

I looked at the ring, but it didn’t twinkle. My poor, darling Joe had given me what I’d wanted most, but I had been unfaithful. It should have been a wonderful day with Joe, announcing our engagement, meeting my future in-laws. I treasured his love now more than ever, but I wasn’t worthy of it.

I stopped at a restaurant to have a coffee and clean up. When I had drained the last of the brew, I lit a cigarette and walked to the pay phone along the inside wall by the door. I called home.

Mom was delighted to hear from me, she didn’t notice my forlorn voice. “Oh, Marlee, where are you now?”

I’m in New Orleans.”

Oh, dear. I’m glad to hear your voice though. There’s been nothing but trouble here lately.”

Why, Mom? What’s wrong?”

Your father had a mild heart attack, but he’s okay now, or so the doctors say. They just tell him to take it easy. And Grace had a miscarriage.”

Oh, my God,” I said, unable to believe that things could be worse than my own problems.

I’m not feeling too well either, you know. It’s tiresome taking care of both of them and little Tommy, too.”

I was concerned about Grace. Even though we didn’t always agree, she was my sister, and I cared about her. “Is Grace all right?” I asked.

Well, medically she is, but she’s taking it pretty hard, and she mopes around. Depression, the doctors call it. She hardly looks at little Tommy. I certainly have my hands full.”

Where’s Charlie?”

Charles is away some of the time. He got a special leave when Grace was in the hospital, but he’s gone back now. We only see him on weekends.”

Maybe I should come home,” I ventured, more convinced than ever that it was my way out of everything. Mom did sound like she needed me. God help them all if she got sick.

Oh, please, Marlee. I need your help. And it would be so good for Grace to have someone other than me to talk to.”

To fight with, don’t you mean?”

Oh, Marlee, you girls need to grow up. I didn’t mean that at all. You can help her get out of this depression. At least you could take over watching Tommy for a while. He’s so active, he needs a young person to chase him around.”

We’ll talk when I get home, Mom, sometime this week. I’ll call you on the way and let you know when I’ll be there.”

Mom seemed relieved and we said goodbye. I was doing the right thing by going home. My family needed me now, and I wouldn’t let them down. I’d let enough people down for one week.

I left the restaurant and walked to Canal Street. The late afternoon shadows stretched out slim and lazy, as a soft breeze stirred the air and wispy clouds raced across the blue, southern sky. A woman, with two small boys, walked past me. She moved quickly on such a warm evening, keeping up with the children, who frolicked on the street as cheerful and free as the wind.

I turned into the French Quarter and entered a grocery on Decatur Street. When I ordered a po’ boy sandwich, the plump, blonde asked from behind the counter, “Would you like that dressed?”

Dressed?” My puzzled look caused her to smile widely. “With mayo, lettuce and tomato?” she re-phrased.

Oh, no thanks.” I smiled. She proceeded to pack the French-style bread with cheeses, meats and vegetables. She wrapped it in a brown paper sack, and I ordered a chocolate milk to accompany it.

Leaving the store, I strolled through the Quarter. Walking aimlessly I seemed to drift, as if in a merciful Novocain of shock. So many questions hovered in my head, waiting to leap at answers that evaded them like a plague. The Quarter at night wasn’t the same without Joe’s hand holding mine. I spun around and headed back, back to the cocoon of my room. A great void had spread through my life, and I felt adrift like floating remnants after a shipwreck.





1964: Chasing A Dream

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