Scene 1 – Child Bride
Katie looked up from the doll cradle at her friends who were sitting playing with furniture in the doll house. There was something missing in this scene. Every home should have a man and every girl with a baby should have a husband. She turned to her friend Betty.
“Can you go over next door and ask if Tommy can come over to play?”
Matty looked up excitedly. “I’ve going over to Tommy’s place with Betty!”
Katie frowned. She knew Matty liked Tommy and was always looking for a chance to go over there to play on the trampoline with him.
“No, you stay here I need your help. Betty will go!”
Matty subsided with a pout and went back to playing with the doll house furniture.
Katie mulled over her next move. “Let’s have a pretend wedding.”
Betty paused at the door before leaving to go next door to talk with Tommy’s Mom Stella Campbell.
“Am I the bride?”
“No, I’ll be the bride and you’ll be the mother of the bride.”
Matty looked up in excitement having forgotten she was cross with Katie.
“Am I the husband?”
“No, Tommy will be the husband and you’ll be the one who holds the bride’s dress and helps her.”
Matty was satisfied. That meant they’d be hauling out Katie’s Mom’s old dresses and dressing up again.
“Who is going to dress Tommy,” Mattie added hopefully.
“He’s a man so he doesn’t have to dress up.” Katie laughed.
Stella Campbell jumped as the chimes in the hallway indicated someone was at the door. She removed her gloves and apron and brushed imaginary dust off her dress placing the feather duster temporarily on the hallway table. She was irritated someone should interrupt the cleaning she was half-heartedly engaged in and at the same time hopeful it was one of the neighbours she was friendly with. She felt like talking. Stella moved rapidly to the door as the chimes echoed again. She opened the door.
“Betty, what can I do for you? Does your Mom want to borrow something?”
Betty was all business. “Katie wants Tommy to come over to play. We are going to have a wedding and she wants Tommy to be the husband!”
Stella suppressed a laugh. She could imagine the horror on Tommy’s face if Betty told him that. Tommy was a man’s man, but he liked playing with girls if it was baseball, or football, or trampolining, or playing with their bikes or Lego set. No problem with that. This could just make her dull day brighter.
“Betty why don’t we just make this a surprise. Don’t tell Tommy what we are going over to Katy’s place for, let it be our little secret and I’ll come with you too!” Betty nodded and waited as Stella locked up and strolled down the driveway with Tommy.
Minutes later they were at the front door of Naomi Renaldo’s house. Betty opened the door and sped inside while Stella and Tommy waited to be invited in. “Knock, Knock,” said Stella.
Naomi appeared down the hallway wiping her hands.
“Hi Stel, come into the kitchen and I’ll make you a drink and cookies while we talk, I was hoping someone would drop in for a visit and some gossip. Tommy can go play with the girls if he wants to.”
Tommy sped off to Katie’s room hoping to play with her new Lego set. Stella whispered in Naomi’s ear and both women burst into laughter.
Tommy came rocketing back down the corridor.
“Mom they want to play girl’s stuff!”
“Oh, we were just going to come to Katie’s room and watch the play you guys are going to present. Sounds like a lot of fun.” Naomi gave Tommy a hug and marched him down to the play room followed by Stella still suppressing a giggle.
Katie and Matty smiled excitedly as the two women entered followed by a reluctant Tommy. They were dressed in Namoi’s old discarded dresses. Matty was holding the hem of Katie’s dress up to allow her to move around but tripping over her own dress. Betty was digging in the box of old dresses looking for one that appealed to her. She selected one and pulled it over the top of what she was wearing. She held the hems up so she could move around.
“I don’t want to play this game, where’s your Lego set?”
Tommy glanced at his Mom for support.
Stella patted her son. “Sometimes we must be nice and do what other people want to do Tommy, just join in and have some fun. It’s all pretend. Naomi and I will be part of the play too.”
Katie took over. You’ll be the man in the wedding. She then began to arrange everyone while Matty and Betty tripped over their hems getting into position, Matty trying desperately to keep Katie’s dress up off the floor.
“What do I do?” Tommy shrugged his shoulders shooting an accusing look at his Mom for not getting him out of his predicament.
Katie thought for a moment then turned to Tommy.
“Just stand there and say OK when the church man tells you to. Then you have to put something on my finger and we’re married and then you can go home if you want to.”
“Who will be the church man?” Betty looked around in surprise, they hadn’t thought about that. As the Mom of the bride she had the responsibility to see there was a church man surely? She looked hopefully at Naomi.
Naomi smiled. “I’ll be the church man for you. But where’s the ring?”
The three girls looked at each other. There could be no wedding without a ring!
Matty had an idea. “Can Tommy hand you the baby doll instead?”
“No!” Shouted Tommy! “I don’t play with dolls!
Katie glanced at Tommy concerned. “It has to be a ring!” She could see Tommy was getting angry and didn’t want to spoil their friendship.
Naomi rushed out to her husband Ricky’s workshop and returned bending a piece of copper wire into a circle. She handed it to Tommy.
“When I say do you agree to having Katie as your wife you say OK, then I’ll ask Katie and she’ll say OK, then you put this ring on her finger! After that you all come into the kitchen and we’ll have soda and cookies.”
The children nodded happily. Suddenly having a wedding was not as attractive as the alternative.
So, the wedding took place, the ring was placed on Katie’s finger, dresses were flung off hastily and the children were soon in the kitchen sitting at the deck waiting for the promised drink and cookies.
When everyone had their fill, Tommy spoke to Naomi. “Can we play Lego now?”
Stella took him by the hand. “Enough excitement for the morning Tommy. We’re going home now, I must finish cleaning and you have some chores to do for your Dad. Maybe you can come back tomorrow if that’s OK with Naomi and Katie.”
Both nodded their heads in agreement.
That evening in their final conversations before sleep Stella and her husband Cal reviewed events of the day. Cal chuckled as Stella related the morning wedding event. It was a bit of fun soon to be forgotten.
But the wedding had made a deep impression on Katie. She wore that twisted copper day and night for a few days until her Dad Ricky noticed a discolouration on her skin where the copper left its mark. He took it off despite loud wailing and tears and only relented discarding it when Katie promised not to wear it again. It found its way into her childish treasures to be taken out and examined occasionally, then stored again.
Not long after that Cal Campbell was transferred to another city having been promoted to an administrative job at company headquarters. Stella missed her friends and occasionally on vacation the families would share a cabin in the woods together. Tommy and Katie were not quite in their teen years when the families had their last camping trip together. But then Ricky was offered a better position elsewhere and the families slowly lost the connection as they made new friends in their new locations.
To be continued.
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