The next morning I was eating breakfast with Grandma in the kitchen.  I always ate last.  Father would get up early with Mother, and she would make them breakfast so that he could get started in the fields.  Being six meant that I was still considered too small for most chores, and school didn’t start until well past mid-morning for kindergartens in the afternoon class.  Grandma ate with me, being the only other person allowed to sleep in.

            She was puttering about the kitchen, preparing our food.  Hope came in quietly just then, eyes downcast, while Gran was in the cupboards.

            “Good morning!”  I said brightly, happy to see her.  She smiled and sat down next to me.

            “Best get you some breakfast, child.”  Grandma said, getting her a plate.  “Do you good.”

            “Thank-you.”

            “My name’s Elda, but if you don’t like that, you can call me Grandma, too.”  She smiled.  “Now, what can I get you?”

            She smiled at both of us.  “I don’t need much.”

            “Oh, I’ll get you some bread, and bacon, and porridge…”  Grandma ignored her protests and began busying herself about the kitchen.      

            “Do you remember much about him?” She prodded after a moment of quiet eating.  She tried to make the question sound casual, but in doing so made it conspicuous.

            “Not really.” I answered cautiously, unsure of how much I could say.  Memories were something most of the family avoided discussing.  “He went away to school and I haven’t seen him since Christmas.  All I really have are memories of us playing and laughing, and of how nice he was.  Mother says that he seemed to love me best. 

            “Grandma, I’m finished.”  I said finally.

            “Go get washed, then.  You have school to get to, child.  Scoot!”  Grandma said, clearing my dishes and taking them to the sink.  I bounced out of my chair and rushed to do as she said, but then stopped at the doorway and looked back.

            “I’ll see you after school, Star.  Thank you for talking.”  I rushed out of the room and up the stairs before she could answer me.

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