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*Sneak Peek* Right Where We Live

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Here's the beginning of chapter three from my new novella. It's called Betty on the Beat.




No matter how many times she was down here, the sheer grandeur of the basement level always impressed Betty. 'What other store in the world,' she wondered. 'Has forty-five-foot ceilings – in the cellar!'


The Store Chat deadline was looming, and this Wednesday afternoon saw middling crowds shopping the bargains on display. Her fingers wandered over the neatly-folded blouses and she liked how casual women's fashions had suddenly become; what was 'in' were colorful solid fabrics, cut loose but still flattering and with tasteful details, like 'U' cutouts at the neck, and drawstrings in the same fabric as accents.


A particularly handsome yellow model made her set down her pad and pencil and pick it up. 


Betty held the blouse by the shoulders and unfurled it before her. It was nice, and glancing down at the price – $3.98 – she suspected none would be left for the post-holiday sales.


Cuffless, the Store Chat editor estimated it would ride midway along her lower arm. She fiddled with the drawstrings, admiring how they ended in looped tassels, all in the same fabric.


Neatly re-folding it, she eyed the crimson version, and then the heather green example. She'd have to come back at 5 PM today, for she purposefully left her pocketbook in her desk drawer when she made her daily rounds – it was a wise precaution, as her Central West End flat had only a medium-sized closet. 


She sighed, glancing at her watch and picking up her tools of trade; at the same time, she raised her eyes to note the colorful decorations.


The holiday theme this year had been announced to staff back in September, and everyone was thrilled to learn they would be adopting one of last year's biggest Hollywood hits – Meet Me in Saint Louis. Since the story was all about one family's year of anticipation before the World's Fair, the decoration and displays this year had the old-fashioned nostalgia appeal of the early 1900s.


Down here, the ladies in the Display Department had taken skeins of ruby-red crêpe paper, cut thousands of 3-inch squares and bunched them together on the support wires of large wreaths. In bottlebrush fashion, they positively bristled with color and visual interest hanging midway up every other column. At the top of the wreaths were satin ribbon bows and a cascade of thinner ribbons, each one terminating in a pinecone and collar of pine needles.


Somehow the simple trend of this season's clothing, coupled with the homey, nostalgia-laced desire for simpler times to return, all bespoke eloquently of the Christmas-1945 mood.


That reminded her. She would have to visit the Art Department after her meeting with Voin this afternoon and come up with a second Store Chat cover for this holiday season.


The cover coming out this Friday was all right – wonderful, in fact – and featured a jolly Santa Claus atop a spinning globe. Below him, as if the Earth had rings like Saturn, the children of the world held hands and danced in jubilation. A few weeks ago, this image seemed to convey the spirit of the holiday season to Betty, but now she was not so sure. The feeling was more intimate and quiet than that. She'd have to talk to the artists and see if they could brainstorm on a new cover, which would come out the day before the store closed for the long, four-day holiday. In the store's nearly one-hundred-year history, this was going to be the first time there was no selling on Christmas Eve; that alone made 1945 one for the record books.     


"Betty! Yoohoo!"

Edited by AC Benus
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Liking that a lot AC!!  Your descriptions of things make me want to travel back in time!!

Thank you, Tim. Having the employee newsletters for this period in time (plus the 1945 Sears catalog online to look at) makes me feel closer to the mindset and goings-on of the store.   

Edited by AC Benus
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Wow!!! A finest view, when I am reading this, appeared in my mind's stage. It is nice piece of description... :)

Thank you, Emi. I'm far from finished with this piece (or on this series), so your encouragement means a lot to me :yes:

Edited by AC Benus
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Nice AC! 


I can't wait to see this evolve. It evokes enough images to make everyone hungry for the storyline.


btw have you ever thought of seeing someone re: store obsessions?   :lol:

Thanks, skinnyD! I guess I am a true writer: I get therapy by writing stuff out ;) 


I have six of these to get through, and then I hope I can leave this particular obsession behind me on the paper.


Thanks for your praise. Hungry for more is awesome feedback! 

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