The Red Velvet Box: Favorite Parts

Here are author Christine Keleny’s favorite parts of her story.

I like this section because as grown up as Katherine likes to think she is – following the helpful hints in Ladies Home Journal – she is still a kid, so she doesn’t get on her friends case about being a slob (as an adult might do); when her friend doesn’t get the hints she throws out, Katherine just gives up.

“Geez, I thought you’d never come! We’re about to leave!” I said in a whisper.

“Sorry, I had to clean up my room before my mom would let me out of the house, and you know what a big job that is!”

I did! Tracy was a real slob. I tried to set a good example for her, using the handy organizational tips in my mother’s Ladies Home Journal for my own room, but after repeated hints and what I thought were very good suggestions for her own room, I gave up.

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I like this because of the visualization it brings up for me. I like art deco things and I can just imagine this slick, sliver “modern” train sitting in the train station, ready to “take off” on an adventure. In this case the small adventure is along the Mississippi River; a river that I love for its history and its beauty. It also talks about how the little girl in Katherine just can’t let go of the awe of what she is see and what she had seen with her father in past outings despite her sincere desire to be a woman like her mother.

When we pulled into the train station, a sleek, silver-sided train engine sat just past the train platform in front of a row of equally sleek train cars. It was the Burlington Zephyr, and just by its appearance it seemed to promise adventure of the Flash Gordon kind. I had ridden it at least five times already, and had to admit, it was kind of fun. Its best feature was a train car they called the Vista-Dome. The Vista-Dome had an upper seating area for twenty-four and was made mostly of glass. The light was great for reading, and it allowed you to see some pretty interesting sights.

The rail line we took from my hometown of LaCrosse ran along the Mississippi, so we always saw eagles, snow white cranes, and even the odd looking black cormorants. These bird sightings were lost on my mother, of course. She either dozed in her seat or read her Life Magazine. I only knew the birds because of the boat trips I used to take on the river with my Dad before my brothers were old enough to go and before I got interested in more womanly matters.

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This section is fun also because of the visualization of the scene – the dark of night, the little girl in fuzzy slippers trying to be like her favorite book heroin – Nancy Drew, – and the ghost she discovers in Grandma’s back yard!

I bolted upright in bed at the sharp crack of wood hitting wood, instantly awake. I didn’t hear another sound except my mother softly snoring next to me.

I know I heard something! I said to myself.

I looked at the door to our room and noticed a light coming from underneath. I looked over at my mother, who was still sound asleep, and I decided I’d investigate myself.

I slowly slid out of bed, slipped into my fuzzy slippers and pink flannel robe, and quietly tiptoed out of the room.

Grandma’s door was partly open and light was streaming from the room.

“Grandma,” I said, peeking around the edge of the door. The pretty globe light next to Grandma’s bed was on, but she was nowhere to be seen. Then I noticed that her cane was still resting next to her night stand. She’d gone somewhere without her cane. That wasn’t good!

Maybe she had to use the bathroom. But when I stepped up to the bathroom door, there was no light coming from underneath. I opened it just to make sure, and the room was empty. All I could see was the pale moonlight shinning off the slick, white tiles.

I stood in the hallway thinking what to do next.

“What would Nancy Drew do?” I whispered softly. “She’d look for clues!”

I decided my next logical stop was the kitchen. Maybe Grandma got hungry and wanted a late night snack. I walked down the hall to the kitchen but found the room empty. I looked around, thinking something was not right when it finally dawned on me: the kitchen was really cold. I had found my first clue! Then I noticed that the back door that led to the screen porch was wide open. I went over to shut it but was stopped dead in my tracks. There was a ghost standing in Grandma’s back yard!

Come back tomorrow for my review of The Red Velvet Box.

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