Young Writers Society
LMS VI: The Halls of St. Julian's
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Mon Aug 08, 2022 4:16 am
Table of Contents
Chapter Two (Eduard #1)
Chapter Four (Eduard #2)
Chapter Six (Eduard #3)
Chapter Eight (Eduard #4)
Chapter Ten (Eduard #5)
Chapter Twelve (Eduard #6)
Chapter Fourteen (Eduard #7)
Chapter Sixteen (Eduard #8)
Chapter Eighteen (Eduard #9)
Chapter Twenty (Eduard #10)
Chapter Twenty-Two (Eduard #11)
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Fri Aug 12, 2022 9:03 pm
The Main Characters
Name: Eduard Klement
DOB: October 13, 1918
Traits (as if he were a Sims 3 character): athletic, people-pleaser, proper, workaholic, ambitious
Name: Theresa TBD
DOB: June 7, 2004
Traits (as if she were a Sims 3 character): perceptive, bookworm, coward, vehicle enthusiast, socially awkward
The Secondary Characters
Name: Edwin Wolfe
DOB: February 27, 2004
Traits: athletic, bookworm, people-pleaser, schmoozer, lazy (work-wise)
Name: Bonnie Neill
DOB: December 7, 2003
Traits: good, excitable, disciplined, artistic, genius
Name: Cameron (?) Flanagan
DOB: March 3, 1917
Traits: Mean-spirited, schmoozer, lucky, athletic, inappropriate
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Tue Aug 23, 2022 3:38 am
No names so no spoilers. :)
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Wed Aug 31, 2022 3:46 am
spoilers for the character collages above since they're the playlist covers
Artificial Flowers - Bobby Darin
Moody Blue - Elvis Presley
Auld Lang Syne - Guy Lombardo
I Fall In Love Too Easily - Chet Baker
Lonesome Tears - Buddy Holly & The Crickets
Take Your Time (Coming Home) - fun.
Everybody Loves A Clown - Gary Lewis & The Playboys
Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton
Oh Noel - idkhbtfm
Who Put The Bomp - Barry Mann
Across That Fine Line - Nation of Language
Venice Blue - Bobby Darin
The Folks Who Live On The Hill - Peggy Lee
We'll Meet Again - Vera Lynn, Sailors, Soldiers, & Airmen of Her Majesty's Forces
Angel of the Morning - Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts
Always On My Mind - Pet Shop Boys
Photograph - Ringo Starr
Goodbye Mr. Blue - Father John Misty
Operator - Jim Croce
Little Things Mean A Lot - Kitty Kallen
It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley
I Am A Poor Wayfaring Stranger - Jos Slovick
Would You Rather Be Lonely - Red Rum Club
Little White Lies - Annette Hanshaw
Dream Lover - Bobby Darin
Lost Cause - Beck
Take Good Care Of My Baby - Bobby Vee
If You Could Read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot
Your Face - Maureen McElheron
Big Time - Angel Olsen
Don't Answer Me - The Alan Parsons Project
Last Train To Clarksville - The Monkees
Chevy Thunder - Spector
Here Comes Your Man - Pixies
Country - Good Morning
Farewell Never Never Land - Tom Russell
Nobody Likes The Opening Band - idkhbtfm
There's Always Something There To Remind Me - Lou Johnson
Walk Out Backwards - Bill Anderson
I Got A Name - Jim Croce
1000 Times - Hamilton Leithauser, Rostam
Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Fade to Grey - Visage
Suspicious Minds - Fine Young Cannibals
Turn! Turn! Turn! - The Byrds
Dream of Mickey Mantle - Bleachers
America - Simon & Garfunkel
Dream A Little Dream of Me - The Mamas & The Papas
The Gambler - fun.
Danny's Song - Anne Murray
White Of An Eye - Patience
Twenty Nothing - Spector
Superstar - Carpenters
Romeo and Juliet - The Reflections
I Beg Your Pardon - Kon Kan
Cry for Me - Erich Bergen
San Francisco - Scott McKenzie
Brand New Key - Melanie
The Times They Are A-Changin' - Bob Dylan
Hemiplegia - HAERTS
In My Life - The Beatles
Martha My Dear - Slade
I'm Writing A Novel - Father John Misty
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Fri Sep 09, 2022 12:12 am
The smell of fresh potato pancakes flowed through the interior of Eduard’s old Ford Runabout. The smushed starches were en route to the Dostals’ home, to be eaten by Mr. Dostal’s motherless son and heartless nanny. Mrs. Klement watched them the entire time they cooked so they would be the perfect golden-brown color for the young boy. She was like that. Her own kids hurriedly spooned oatmeal into their mouths for breakfast while her clients ate warm, authentic meals.
“What did Mr. Dostal ask for this time?” Hedvika asked. The bags of food were on her lap. Mom had insisted Mr. Dostal’s were not put in the trunk with the other packages.
“The usual,” Eduard answered, “Potato pancakes, sweet tomato sauce, and.. co to bylo, co to bylo.. and duck.”
“Must be celebrating something if they asked mom to cook duck,” Hedvika said as she peered into the paper bag, “Maybe Mr. Dostal is remarrying?”
“I hope not, for grandma’s sake.” Grandma Schovajsa always insinuated that, when Ms. Klement remarries, she should aim for Mr. Dostal. He did meet the requirements: he was Czech and attended Church at least once a week.
Hedvika giggled. It was a sweet but refined noise, one that braved the stock market crash and dad’s death and came out alive. It could change a room full of people’s emotions in the blink of an eye. It was one of the things Eduard would miss most.
The engine sputtered as the car came to a stop behind Mr. Dostal’s Hudson Town Sedan. For a moment Eduard worried that his rusty Runabout would be swept off the ground by the slightest gust of wind. Then, he saw part of Mr. Dostal’s fender was missing, and he felt safe again. Eduard moved a lock of dark brown hair that had fallen behind his glasses lense out of his vision before stepping out of the car. There was no point in actually opening the door, seeing as there were large spaces where the windows should be, but Mr. Klement taught him to never touch a shoe to a car’s paint job. So he didn’t.
Hedvika followed her older brother as he walked up the pathway to the front door. It was a small, craftsman house, much like the others in the neighborhood. The white paint was chipping off the shingles, the wooden porch had one too many holes in it, and the flowers were long past saving. Eduard removed a crinkled sheet of paper from his front right pocket. His mom’s handwriting was scribbled all over it, listing off food items and prices. Eduard’s eyes drifted down the bottom of the paper.
He sighed as he knocked on the door. That wasn’t enough. He had told his mom that before, begged her, to take Mr. Klement’s insurance money as her own. But his father’s will was clear. The money was to go to Eduard and Hedvika’s education only, so they could afford as many opportunities as his parents provided him.
“How much is she charging him?” Hedvika asked. Eduard looked back at her. She was too mature and aware of the world for her age. A thirteen-year-old with a pretty laugh and gorgeous curls shouldn’t have to worry if mom and uncle could afford dinner.
The Klement son was about to respond when the front door swung open, revealing a disheveled Mr. Dostal on the other side.
“Dobré ráno Eduard a Hedvika,” he said with a small smile.
Hedvika glanced at her brother with a furrowed brow. Being only two when the Klements immigrated from Czechoslovakia, she had never learned their native language. People thought her lazy for not learning it but, Eduard knew, she truly struggled to grasp it.
“He said good morning,” Eduard informed his sister before turning back to the lawyer standing before him, “Here’s your delivery, Mr. Dostal.”
Mr. Dostal thanked the two Klements and transferred the bags into the soulless nanny's open arms. Lois Dostal was nowhere to be seen.
"How much do I pay?" Mr. Dostal stumbled over his words.
Eduard's eyes landed on the small charge his mother had written down. $2.35. That wasn't enough.
"Two dollars and forty-five cents," Eduard said, putting the list into his left pocket when the older man's gaze was focused on the nanny.
Mr. Dostal’s lips formed into a thin line as he fished around his wallet for spare change. One dollar, two appeared from the depths of his battered wallet. Eduard knew for a fact it was real leather. Lois boasted about it to Hedvika not long after the banks closed.
Two dollars, a quarter, two dimes, and a nickel landed in Hedvika's outstretched hand.
"The nickel's for you," Mr. Dostal said as he reached for his briefcase, "Please get treats with it."
“Thank you, Mr. Dostal.”
Mr. Dostal stepped out of his home and shut the door behind him softly. Lois must still be sleeping. Eduard missed resting during summer mornings, with the window cracked open and the sun ever so gently warming the room as you rose. That habit died with Mr. Klement and the loss of his income.
Hedvika and her brother moved to the side of the pathway as Mr. Dostal rushed past, checking his watch as he did so.
"Are you okay, Mr. Dostal?" Hedvika called out.
"I am late for work," he replied as he rounded the 1929 Hudson, "There was problem this morning."
"I'm sorry. I hope everything ends up alright."
"Me, too," Eduard tagged on.
"Thank you, children. Before I leave, how is Ms. Klement?" Mr. Dostal asked, his head the only thing visible above the top of the car.
"She's fine," Eduard stated. He stood still, his arms crossed across his chest as if challenging the older man to keep questioning. Hedvika obliviously made her way to the car.
Mr. Dostal nodded and ducked into his Hudson. Its engine jumped to life like a cat whose tail was just stepped on. It drove off down the road without a bump or sputter to be heard.
"Where to next?" Hedvika asked from her spot in the passenger seat. The bow began falling out of her hair and she quickly repositioned it. Her hair was always made to the finest detail, whether it was out of vanity or decency Eduard could never tell.
The two Klement siblings drove to the few neighbors who hired their mom. Hedvika distributed the packages while Eduard up-charged his neighbors ten cents, then fifteen cents more than the original price Mrs. Klement had set. He was determined to guarantee his mom and uncle would be financially safe when he was gone. Thankfully, Hedvika never checked the receipts.
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Thu Sep 15, 2022 7:23 pm
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Mon Sep 19, 2022 4:04 am
Week Two - 1041 Words
Eventually, the floorboards of the trunk were visible once more, and Eduard was making the all too familiar turn onto South 22nd Street. Hedvika was curled up on the passenger side of the car, her eyes fluttering in and out of sleep. She had babysat the night before for a cool twenty cents.
A constant flow of dust was swept from the road into the car’s path. Eduard bunched a handkerchief in his hand, reached around to the front of the windshield, and wiped away the grime as the car came to a stop. The dust always came back, like the birds in the springtime, and the glass would be covered again by noon.
Eduard opened the door slowly and stepped out into the open. His boots struggled to stay still on the brick road. The mortar had disappeared under a coating of slick dust. Eduard’s gaze rose to the red-bricked outsider that was the Klement’s home. In a way, he was glad to leave. One way. The boy sighed as he leaned against the car, partially to regain his footing but, mostly in a lame attempt to avoid going inside. His hand twitched as a crow landed on their mailbox, but he was not bothered enough to stop either of them.
Uncle Oskar’s Buick stood guard in the driveway, looming over Ms. Klement’s plants and the baseball resting in the grass. Its driver, the spitting image of his older brother, was visible through the cracked living room window. His eyes watched Aunt Vera as she lifted their newborn up and down and back up again. Uncle Oskar’s lips moved with silent words and his wife held her baby tightly as she stood and went in the direction of their bedroom.
Leaving his sister dozing in the car, Eduard made his way onto the porch. His hand instinctively reached for the door post.
Eduard Klement Sr. and his son Eddy Jr.
Ten whole years of Eduard Sr. and “Eddy” touching the doorpost had practically erased the engravings from the wood. It was only in the past year that hands had stopped grazing it in an effort to preserve the sacred names. Nowadays, Hedvika was the only person who dared to call her brother Eddy. He was Eduard Klement Jr., their father’s replacement.
Eduard wandered into the house. The smell of Ms. Klement’s tomato sauce drifted around the house. Uncle Oskar was buttoning his shirt in the living room. His face was poorly shaven and splotches of hair were visible along his cheeks.
Where’s your sister?
” Uncle Oskar questioned in Czech as soon as he noticed his brother’s son.
The car. She fell asleep.
I’m not surprised. She’s always been lazy.
Eduard scowled at the older man. Innumerable possible insults shifted through his mind:
Your wife only stays with you because of the baby. You’re only here because no employer wanted you in St. Louis. Your parents would be disappointed. You’re nothing like your brother.
But, Eduard bit his tongue and carried on. Arguments with Uncle Oskar never ended pleasantly.
The hallway walls were plastered with pictures of distant family members. Ms. Klement’s family was only partially represented, growing up too poor to take any decent photos. Mr. Klement’s side hoarded the majority of the space. The largest one was of Uncle Oskar and dad in front of their large childhood home in Czechoslovakia before they moved. That was 1923. Next to it was Mr. Klement’s St. Julian’s Academy graduating picture from 1912. That would be Eduard’s fate, soon enough.
For two years Eduard had attended Creighton Preparatory School. It was small, had an amazing sports program, and incredible teachers.. yet it could never be perfect, at least in the eyes of Mr. Klement. In life, Mr. Klement’s dreams for his two children, especially his son, couldn’t be realized. The sizable life insurance policy he left behind last year changed that.
How has your day been, mom?
” Eduard asked in her native language, taking his usual spot at the kitchen table. It looked out the window above the sink to the backyard. The clothes hanging on the clothesline were nearly dry.
Ms. Klement sighed. Her hands effortlessly sliced the parsley and celery sitting on her old chopping board. The wrinkles on her once beautiful face trapped the sweat in, creating a glow that the steam from the stove kept feeding.
Alright. Thank you for asking,
” she said. She shifted the vegetables into the tomato sauce carefully, “
I have an meal order for you to deliver after lunch.
Eduard wanted to groan but decided to save it for another person. Mrs. Klement was too fragile a person to handle annoyance.
” The front door opened and closed as the clock on the wall struck 11:40. Uncle Oskar’s shift was about to start.
Eduard studied his mother as she toiled away at someone else’s meals. Long ago, he had decided that the woman in his parents’ wedding photo and the woman who raised him were two very different people. One was perpetually looking ahead to the future of a happy family and a job as a typist. The other was forever wishing time would go in reverse.
It was a moment before Eduard noticed the pamphlet sitting on the table. He had left it there this morning after he weighed the pros and cons of going to St. Julian’s during breakfast. It was not like they mattered, anyways– as long as they had the money, he was going to be forced to transfer schools. Hedvika would follow in the years to come and attend St. Julian’s sister school.
The sound of two doors opening and closing vibrated through the house. Aunt Vera appeared in the kitchen first, baby Anton sniffling in her arms, and was quickly followed by her niece.
“How was your morning, Hedvika?” mom said, returning to the language she could understand.
“Great! Some of the people we dropped off food with today gave us some extra money,” she reached into her pocket and took out her share of tips. Two nickels and three pennies. She slid them to the side of the table closest to mom and leaned back in her chair, “You can have them.”
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Mon Sep 26, 2022 1:43 am
Week Three - 1018
The floor moaned as Aunt Vera pulled the highchair next to the table and set her son in it. Anton’s beady eyes explored the kitchen as if it was an alien planet. His thin hair was blond, almost white, but would be dark brown by next winter. The layette Grandma Klement had sewed for Eduard was tight around the baby’s sides.
“How was your day?” Aunt Vera asked, “Who did you see?”
She rarely traveled outside of the house anymore, except to attend Mass and see her parents. Eduard used to pity her. She was a pretty woman, rare for their neighborhood, but the Klements had worn her down. In the end, though, it was her decision to marry Uncle Oskar. No one but her could be blamed for her current life.
“Mrs. Folty–she said to say hello to you–and some other people you don’t know,” Eduard replied, “Apparently, we’re going to the Risavis after lunch.”
“That’s nice of her. Tell her I say hello, too, next time you see her.”
“Did you give her the skirt I made her daughter?”
“Yes, Aunt Vera.”
“Have you gotten the mail, yet?” Aunt Vera said in a perfect Midwestern accent, the only person in the family to have one. Her grandparents were Czech, but she had never stepped foot in their homeland.
“What?” Eduard asked. The word came out of his mouth sounding exasperated. Too many people had asked him questions today.
“Eduard, be polite!” his mom shrieked. She swatted him in the back of the head with a towel. Her son was unphased.
“I asked if you had gotten the mail yet,” Aunt Vera repeated.
He sighed before answering. His mouth curled into the type of smile that was full of dislike, but only someone close to him would recognize that. With mom’s back turned to her children, and Aunt Vera and Eduard being closer to acquaintances than friends, Eduard was free to contort his face as he pleased.
“No, Aunt Vera. No, I have not.”
“It’s been delivered.”
“The letter was supposed to arrive today.”
Aunt Vera’s lips pressed together in a thin line. She knew her place in the family. She was the aunt who everyone simultaneously felt bad for and was constantly annoyed by. Despite this, she couldn’t help but venture out of her place once in a while.
“I think you should be happy, Eduard,” she said, making direct eye contact with him as he ate, “Few people today have the opportunities that you and Hedvika have.”
Eduard shrugged. His eyes were fully focused on his sandwich.
“St. Julian’s is a wonderful school. Their academics are arguably the best in the country. Just going there will allow you to do so much.”
“So I’ve heard.”
The gears turned in Aunt Vera’s head.
“Their baseball team is amazing, too. Better than Creighton Prep’s,” she tried. Eduard had played third base on some team since he was in Kindergarten. He was always second-best. The honorable mention at the awards ceremony. The coach’s backup favorite. The smallest photo on the yearbook page, overshadowed by the captain’s.
“That means I probably won’t make the team,” he decided to answer.
“Eddy, don’t be such a spoilsport,” Hedvika said. She had been following the conversation intently. Normally, her opinions would be influenced by Eduard. Whatever he thought, she tended to believe as well. But, her love for their father was even stronger than Eduard’s and she stood firm by Mr. Klement’s side.
“I am not being a spoilsport!” Eduard exclaimed. He crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair.
“Look, Eddy,” Aunt Vera said in an attempt to sound familiar. It only increased Eduard’s annoyance. He could feel the anger rising in his stomach, “I just think you should be grateful to go to your father’s alma mater. He always dreamed that his Eddy and Hedvika would follow in his footsteps.”
“Being able to go to my dad’s school is a poor substitute for him being alive, Vera,” he spat. His mom shrieked his name again. Eduard scraped his chair along the floor and left Anton to watch the women gossip about him in the kitchen.
He briskly walked back through the hallway to the front steps. The faces behind the frames laughed at him. His father’s eyes, which had been happy moments before, taunted him from St. Julian’s front yard. He knew of his son’s reluctance to attend a school so far from home. Yet, Mr. Klement destined him to that same fate.
Eduard paused at the front steps, debating whether to sulk upstairs or face the reality he had been hiding from since pneumonia won its war over his father. He looked out the window on the front door. It was covered in grime and had been cracked several times in the decade since it had been installed. Through its yellowed glass panes, he could see the crow still resting on the mailbox.
The front door slammed open and close as Eduard crossed the house’s threshold. The stone pathway was uneven under his boots. He grabbed one of the many baseballs littering the front yard and tossed it up and down, up and down, up and down. The crow paid no attention.
His pace slowed as he neared the mailbox. He had always hated birds, with their long beaks and knife-like feet. A moment of debating resulted in the baseball and feathers soaring. The ball cut through the air inches above the top of the mailbox, but the bird moved faster. It was gone within seconds of hearing the noise.
Eduard still hesitated for a moment before opening the front of the box. There it was: a white envelope with a blue, five-cent stamp depicting Old Faithful and Yellowstone National Park. The handwriting on the outside was practically calligraphy. It was the most exquisite way Eduard Klement Jr. had ever seen his name written.
With that, Eduard shut the door to the box, ignoring the other bills and letters within it. He ripped the top of the packaging open and began reading.
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Mon Sep 26, 2022 3:17 am
alrighty, that wraps up chapter one! i think i'll post chapter one in its entirety in the publishing center sometimes after i edit it.
also, i've decided to write all of eduard's chapters first, then theresa's. since it switches povs between them (1930s to ~2019) i think it would be easier to write the chapters where the events happen and then write the chapter where someone is figuring out why (if that makes sense?). i'm sorry if that makes it more boring to read as i post it. :))
"rick roll me daddy" - Rick Astley, 2022
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Mon Oct 03, 2022 4:22 am
Week Four - Chapter 2.1 - 1030 Words
The four suitcases were hastily pulled out of the back of Uncle Oskar’s Buick. A ratty old school bag, one Eduard intended to replace as soon as he found himself some spare change, fell off of the pile and lay forgotten on the ground.
Eduard flipped a small slip of paper up and down in his right hand. Before they had left home, he had pressed a piece of paper onto the etching on the door frame. Softly, with a pencil, he had colored over the engraving to create a portable copy of his dad’s writing. He made two: one was rubbing off in the palm of his hands and the other was somewhere in the school bag.
“Eddy, we’re going to be late!” his sister yelled while holding her own small suitcase in her hands. Mom had insisted Hedvika and her come with Eduard to Massachusetts–it was an extremely important occasion, after all.
None of the Klements had traveled outside of Omaha since they immigrated from Czechoslovakia. Mr. Klement had always wanted to go West, to marvel at the Grand Canyon and ride San Francisco’s trolleys. Those dreams had long since been forgotten by his family.
Eduard smiled softly at baby Anton, barely acknowledging the child’s parents, before following Hedvika through the doors of Omaha Union Station. He knew it was selfish of him but, In a way, he was grateful to leave home, to have nine months away from Uncle Oskar’s yelling and Aunt Vera’s pushiness. Hedvika and his mother’s charms would rub off Anton and, hopefully, be enough to set him on the right path. Eduard was betting on it.
The Klements’ first stop was St. Louis. Hedvika and Eduard had pleaded with their mother to let them explore the “big city,” but she hadn’t been swayed yet. From there they would mosey their way through the Eastern United States to Boston and take a car or bus to St. Julian’s Academy an hour away.
The two Klement siblings made their way to the Main Waiting Room, completed only four years before in 1931, while their mother got in line for the ticket counter.
“Do we have enough money for the soda fountain?” Hedvika asked as soon as her brother set the bags, and himself, down on a bench.
Eduard dug around in his pockets for a moment, pretending to have fewer coins in there than he did. He pulled out a dime.
“What are you getting?” he asked.
“I’ll have that if they don’t have Hires root beer.”
Hedvika nodded and sped off into the crowd, her pigtails bobbing in the air behind her.
Eduard chuckled at the sight before opening the pamphlet that Mr. Alarie, the head of St. Julian’s, had mailed along with his acceptance letter. He began reading. Eduard had meticulously read through it several times since it arrived. Each paragraph was already familiar and each word was already memorized. Yet, he couldn’t stop thumping through it as if a grievous error he hadn’t caught before would leap off the page.
In the back of his mind, he hoped something would.
Eduard rubbed his eyes and sighed. A week of scurrying around, purchasing overly expensive books and necessities, had tired him more than delivering food to the Dostals. Eduard attributed his exhaustion to a reluctance to leave. Ms. Klement thought he had the new school jitters.
“Sorry, Eddy, but they didn’t have that root beer you like,” Hedvika said, seemingly appearing from thin air. She held a Coca-Cola bottle in each hand, one unopened and one half-empty. Soda was a rarity to the Klements–water, milk, and orange juice were usually the only liquids in their house, along with Uncle Oskar’s beer. Soda fountains were for special occasions, one of which this day was.
“That’s alright,” Eduard replied. He took the filled bottle and took a sip. The drink fizzed on his tongue, the usually sweet flavor tasting bitter as it went down, “Does this taste wrong to you?”
He shrugged, then motioned for her to sit down beside him. God, he would miss her. More than his friends, his baseball team, his school, his house–he knew he would stay up at night, missing the familiar sound of her giggle or the daily gossip she would recount from her class. He would miss watching her navigating her first year of high school and the experiences she would have that he would hear about through the grapevine. Hedvika was always there for her older brother. Now, going into his Junior year, he was being ripped away from her.
“Do you want anything from Massachusetts?” he asked as they both watched the crowd. Mrs. Klement was three spots from the front of the ticket line.
“I’m going there with you, silly.”
“I know,” Eduard shrugged. He began flipping the stenciled piece of paper in his hand again, “I’m just trying to make conversation.”
“You’re not very good at it.”
Eduard’s eyes jumped from person to person walking in from the train tracks. A well-off-looking family and their dog were checking the items they had packed as they walked to make sure they hadn’t lost anything. An older man trudged through the crowd, letting out a raspy cough every few seconds. He wore a nice suit resembling a businessman’s, but his dirty fingernails and battered travel bag said otherwise. A couple holding hands scoured the crowd for familiar faces as if they hadn’t stepped foot in Omaha for months or even years. How Eduard wished he was them, traveling into the city instead of out.
“Mom’s coming,” Hedvika exclaimed. Her Coca-Cola bottle was practically empty, the last drops sticking to the glass.
Ms. Klement walked up to her children and held out a ticket to each of them.
“Mom,” Eduard said, “first-class? We can’t afford that! These are far beyond what we should be spending for them.”
“Oh, shush, Eduard,” mom replied, “This is a special occasion. I’m allowed to splurge a little on special occasions, especially when your father would have wanted it.”
“He would have wanted us to be stable!”
“Eduard, he would have wanted us to be happy.”
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Tue Oct 04, 2022 7:08 pm
Hedvika: *does anything*
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Mon Oct 10, 2022 4:15 am
Week Five - Chapter 2.2 - 1022 Words
“Well, I can’t wait to go to… what is St. Julian’s sister school named?” Hedvika said. She was practically bouncing in her chair. Her eyes kept looking out the window and scanning the interior of the train. Her first time on a train had gone to her head.
“St. Jane Frances’,” Eduard replied. The pamphlet was out on the table in front of him. Mrs. Klement was reading the paper. The trip was reminding her of fond memories with her husband; fond memories she would rather forget.
Eduard listened as his younger sister droned on about a school she would not attend for another two years. Mr. Klement had insured his life with only enough money to send each of his children to two years of boarding school, or four years for one child. Still, those two years would most likely ensure both of their places in the top universities around the world. This fact in mind, Mrs. Klement decided to invest in both of her children.
“The name slipped my mind for a moment,” Hedvika laughed at herself, “I’ll attend St. Jane Frances’ and, hopefully, go to Radcliffe College. Then we can go to Harvard together, Eddy!”
“It’s not technically Harvard,” Eduard replied. He wanted to tack on And who said I wanted to go to Harvard, anyways?, but he knew that was his family’s end goal for him: even the dead ones’.
“Yes, it is, Eduard,” Mrs. Klement said from behind the newspaper divider, “Don’t be mean.”
The young girl rambled on. Eduard turned to the window and exhaled. Clumps of green and brown sped past, unbothered by their onlooker’s burdens. The trees could not understand his reluctance for “better opportunities,” or his desire to stay at home with his abusive uncle and dusty street. The dust was familiar; the oppurtunities were not.
Hedvika stood and asked Mrs. Klement a question that Eduard tuned out. Their mother then handed her a quarter.
“Do you want any food?” Mrs. Klement asked her only son.
“A ham sandwich, if they can make one,” Eduard said, “and a water.”
Hedvika nodded and left Mrs. Klement and Eduard in silence. Eduard’s eyes stayed glued on the passing nature. The occasional farmhouse made an appearance. Maybe if they had lived on a farm, he would have simply taken over the family business. He would have milked the cows, sowed the crops, and played baseball in the evening. If only.
The swishing of a paper and it being placed on the table partially broke Eduard out of his trance. Mrs. Klement must have gotten to the sports’ section.
“I hate to see you upset, Honey,” she said in her soothing voice. It was the voice of a woman who looked half her age, a woman who still had her husband and constant happiness. Now the latter only came sporadically.
“I’m not upset.”
Mrs. Klement sighed and folded her gloved hands. They were her mother’s gloves, “I have lived with you for sixteen entire years, Eduard. You can not fool your own mother, despite how old you may think I am.”
“I don’t think you’re old.”
“But you think I have made the wrong decision in sending you to your father’s school.”
Eduard turned to face his mother. Her eyes were hurt as if she already knew the root of her son’s problems without him telling her.
“I understand why you would send me away now,” Eduard tried to tip-toe around the topic of his father’s passing, “but I don’t think it was the right choice.”
Eduard looked at the other passengers surrounding them. They appeared infinitely more affluent then the Klements, each rock on the women’s fingers and watch on the men’s wrists supporting his assumption. Eduard lowered his voice, “Mom, how are you going to support the family? Uncle Oskar and you can hardly make enough money to pay our bills alone.”
“They are not ‘our’ bills, Eduard. They do not concern you and neither does our financial state.”
“Then why have you made Hedvika and I deliver food?” Eduard pushed, “Once I’m gone, Hedvika will have to stop since she can’t drive and she has school, which I don’t want her to miss any moment of. Aunt Vera has to care for Anton and she has enough on her plate already with Uncle Oskar. Can’t you see that this is a bad decision?”
Mrs. Klement’s mouth hung slightly agape, but not in a shocked expression. Her features softened and her hand fell off of the other.
“Eduard, dearest, it is your job to do as best as you can at St. Julian’s. Nothing else is your responsibility.”
Eduard frowned and faced the window again. For a brief moment, a farm fire was visible through the twisty trees. A man in overalls stood over the pile of junk, feeding the flames and sipping at a drink. Yet, there was no frown on the man’s face.
A clink! vibrated off the table as Hedvika set down a ham sandwich. Three slices of ham were folded perfectly in between the two slices of bread and a little container was by its side.
“I asked them for some mustard for you, but I don’t think they put enough.”
“They would lose money if they gave out too many condiments,” Mrs. Klement replied.
“How many people are ordering ham sandwiches on a train?” Hedvika mumbled, but her mother did not hear it. Hedvika set down a salad in front of Mrs. Klement and a chicken noodle soup in her own spot. She then passed out the waters.
“That man has my car!” Eduard exclaimed, vaguely pointing in the direction that he had seen the Ford Model T Runabout.
“I saw my car–well, another car like it,” Eduard mumbled. He winced at the thought of his precious car, sitting in their house’s driveway, collecting inches upon inches of dust and grime. He hadn’t been given a straight answer on whether or not Aunt Vera or Hedvika would learn how to drive his car. Eduard quietly hoped it would be his little sister, instead of his aunt.
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Mon Oct 17, 2022 3:15 am
Week Six - Chapter 3.1 - 1032 Words
They were still watching him. He knew they were all scrutinizing him from the safety of their dorm rooms, whispering about his strangely-colored suit jacket and choice of athletic shoes. Now that the protection his mother provided was gone, he had become prey for his classmates.
Eduard had said goodbye to his mother at the front gate of St. Julian’s, where Headmaster Alarie’s driver had transferred his bags from the DeSoto taxi to his own Packard convertable. Headmaster Alarie shook hands with Mrs. Klement and complimented Hedvika. The girl’s face lit up with as much joy as she could muster when the older man said how perfectly placed the bow in her hair was.
The tops of the trees swayed in the wind above them. Outside of St. Julian’s property line, marked by a cast-iron fence and gate with three golden crosses woven into it, the trees grew sporadically. Elms, oaks, and spruces mingled freely together. Inside the seemingly infinite gate, red maple trees only grew along the side of the herringboned-brick road. Their leaves were just starting to turn their namesake color.
Mrs. Klement walked away from Headmaster Alarie and placed her gloved hands on her only son’s shoulders. She gazed at him admirably for a moment, but teary eyes and a red face quickly replaced her mood. She took out an embroidered handkerchief.
Sbohem, má lásko
,” she said, “
Nezapomeň na náš
Goodbye, my love. Don’t forget us.
She buttoned the top button of his suit jacket and took a step back. Her eyes scanned him from head to toe, attempting to create a permanent picture in her mind. Eventually, Eduard would bring home a school picture for her to analyze and memorialize on the hallway wall. But, for now, a mental image would be all for her to cling to.
Tvůj otec by byl tak hrdý
Eduard winced at the mention of his father. His right hand went to his pocket where the slip of paper was. His last memento of his family.
His left hand dug into his other pocket as Mrs. Klement drew him in for another hug. His mind flashed to his tattered school bag. That would have to wait. He pulled four of the six dollar bills he had saved and slipped them into his mother’s purse. Four dollars he could use for a schoolbag and treats. Four dollars she could use to live.
Headmaster Alarie bid goodbye to Mrs. and Miss. Klement before motioning Eduard towards the car. Hedvika sprang forward to give her brother one final hug. She embraced him so securely that he was positive he would be able to feel her arms around him for days afterward.
“I love you, Eddy,” she whispered, “I’m going to miss you.”
“I am going to miss you, too,” Eduard replied, “Don’t go worrying about me, alright?”
“As long as you don’t worry about us.”
Her mouth formed into a disingenuous smile, one it had created a hundred times to people offering condolences after her father’s death. Eduard had hoped it would never grace her face again.
“Better be on our way, boy,” Headmaster Alarie set a firm hand on Eduard’s shoulder, “We would not want you to not have enough time to unpack.”
Eduard looked back at his family one final time before he entered the Packard. Mrs. Klement kissed her hand and waved as Hedvika only did the latter. Over the course of the year, he supposed, he would receive letters and the occasional phone calls from them. Those would be a sore replacement for seeing them in person.
He smiled and ducked into the convertible. The roof was down but an invisible barrier prevented him from turning around and waving. It would be too sentimental, perhaps, too upsetting for his family. So his eyes watched them in the rearview mirror as they moved farther, and farther, and farther away.
“I am sorry that they could not aid in moving you in,” Headmaster Alarie said after Eduard’s gaze drifted away from the mirror, “It is tradition for the fathers of our students to do that and I worried it would not be comfortable to break it.”
“That’s alright,” Eduard fibbed. The car was going uphill, the bumps under the tires becoming less detectable the closer to the top they went.
“Good, good. Well, I usually tell new students about our school’s history about now, but your mother told me you had been rereading the pamphlet since it arrived,” Headmaster Alarie said. Eduard nodded, too distracted from watching the scenery become more uniform to form words.
“I’ll refresh your memory. St. Julian’s Academy for Young Men was founded in 1827 by Charles Jamison, whose grandaughter founded St. Jane Frances’ about seventy-five years later. Our school is on 314 acres of land of which about ten is our Lake Flanagan and a hundred fifty is untouched forest. We offer twelve sports and six languages. Your mother told me you loved baseball, is that correct?”
“Yes, sir,” Eduard replied. The driver turned the car right up the hill, “I play third base.”
“And you take Latin?”
“Yes, but I speak both English and Czech.”
“Wonderful! Many of our students are bilingual or from other countries.” Headmaster Alarie continued, “We have two dormitories: one for the third and fourth forms, and one for the fifth and sixth forms. Breakfast starts at seven a.m., and classes start at eight and go on until three. Students are mandated to have extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs until five. Dinner is served at seven and lights out is at ten. We have mandatory five o’clock Mass on Fridays and Church services on Sunday, as well, which students are highly recommended to attend.”
“How many students attend the Sunday services?” Eduard asked.
“Around ninety percent of our student body.”
The boy nodded again as the Packard neared the top of the incline. Suddenly, two steeples were revealed from behind the hill. The closest one, situated in the distance behind Lake Flanigan, belonged to the Church. It was a stone goliath amongst the trees that surrounded it. A graveyard with identical headstones in each row sat next to it.
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Mon Oct 24, 2022 4:08 am
Week Seven - Chapter 3.2 - 1035 Words
In the distance, the second steeple was positioned on top of a large, brick building, with white wood windows and imposing front steps. It sat at the far end of a courtyard that two other brick buildings framed. Other brick buildings, sports fields, and roads were scattered around.
As if reading Eduard’s thoughts, Headmaster Alarie spoke, “The building at the very end of the round-about courtyard is our library, which was the first structure ever built on this property. The other buildings facing the courtyard are the History and Science buildings. We consider those two subjects the most important, so they are positioned in the center of campus. To the left of the library are the Math department and athletic fields. To the right are the English, Languages, Religion, and Art buildings along with a path to the Church.”
“You have a building for each subject?” Eduard asked.
“We find it to be the most practical.”
“I guess it would be.”
“It is,” the older man replied as the car took a left away from the courtyard, “Now, our commencement ceremony begins at one o’clock in the Church. That gives you about two hours to unpack your bags and move into your dormitory. All of our other fifth and sixth-form students have moved in already, so they will be available to help you if need it.”
“That’s great, thank you,” Eduard said. His hands moved in a sort of thumb war against each other, fighting in a battle to decide which one was more nervous, “What is my roommate’s name?”
Headmaster Alarie hummed and pulled a small notepad out of his coat pocket. Most of its pages were already scribbled on in loopy cursive. He set his glasses on the crook in his nose.
“George DeMund. He has been on one of our baseball teams since the first form and is from Chicago, so we thought he would be able to ease you into the school a little. You two are some of the only students here from the Midwest,” Headmaster Alarie stated, “He’s a wonderful boy, really. I do think you will become friends.”
“I’m glad,” Eduard smiled, but groaned internally. The similarities between Chicago and Omaha ended with the fact that they were both Midwestern. Only one was substantially affected by the Dust Bowl, only one cheered for a good baseball team, and only one seemed like a nice place to live.
The Packard came to a roundabout surrounded by another three brick buildings. Boys sat on the front porch scrambling to finish summer reading while some were resting next to the fountain in the area encircled by the road. All of them looked up at the sound of the engine. Headmaster Alarie stuck his arm up and waved. Most of the boys reciprocated the gesture. A feeling of warmth spread through Eduard.
The car rolled to a stop in front of the middle building, where the oldest boys were located. There was a small amount of green space in front of the dormitory with a couple of benches dotted about. Perfect for a nice fall day.
The driver exited the car first and opened Eduard’s door for him. Eduard stared up at the dormitory as he stepped out of the car. He wanted to get to know his home for the next nine months as quickly as he could. A click followed by a pop and another click came from the back of the car and the driver came scurrying to his side.
"This is where I leave you, Mr. Klement," Headmaster Alarie said from the back of the car. He had his pocket watch in his hand, his schedule scribbled on his notepad in the other, "Your room number is nine, which should be on the second floor to the right."
"Thank you, Mr. Alarie. It was nice of you to go out of your way to drive me here."
Headmaster Alarie laughed, "I did not drive here, Eduard! He did," he pointed towards the driver with his thumb. The driver was a skinny fellow, about fifty years old. His hands were calloused and his eyes were tired. He did more than just drive Headmaster Alarie around, but that was all that people paid attention to.
Eduard chuckled in response. The older man proceeded to tell him to have a good day before the driver re-entered the car. His mouth transformed into a frown before he did so, his eyes squinting in judgment. Another boy who did not deserve the opportunities he had been given.
The car sped off around the roundabout, the man in the backseat waving joyfully at his students. Eduard stood staring for a moment at the automobile. Then, he picked up his bags off the ground and turned towards the front door. His legs moved forwards as his heart tugged him back to the train station with Hedvika and Mrs. Klement.
A teacher about Uncle Oskar's age opened the door for Eduard as he tugged his luggage into the building.
"Say, I've never seen you around before," the teacher said, pushing his glasses up his nose. Eduard instinctively did the same.
"My name is Eduard. I'm new this year, Mr.--?"
"Mr. Thompson,” the teacher stuck out his hand and Eduard shook it as best he could without dropping his bags, “I teach Math but I’m also the monitor for the fifth form. You will see me around quite often.”
“I will see you soon, then,” Eduard said as he began walking towards the grand, wooden staircase, “And thank you for holding the door!”
“You are very welcome.”
Mr. Thompson walked into the doorway to the right. Eduard took a peak behind him. The archway led into a sitting room, but attached to it was a mini library and a door to his office. Several boys were laying on the couches in the other room, scanning the newspapers for short articles and sports news.
Through the left archway was a bathroom but, past that, the dormitory cafeteria. Four long tables were situated at the far side of the room with a kitchen on the other. Clinks and clangs sounded through the halls as the help cleaned up lunch.
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Mon Oct 31, 2022 3:25 am
Week Eight - Chapter 3.3 - 1073 Words
Eduard climbed the stairs, passing by some boys studying on the bench next to the stained glass window. One of them was wearing a grey suit while the other wore a black one. Both were more expensive than anything Eduard owned. Their eyes followed the stranger until he turned right at the top and disappeared.
The hallway was long and skinny to maximize the dorms’ size. Boys pushed past each other to get to their rooms, grunting curse words as they did so. They ducked into open rooms to avoid running into Eduard. Their pants were perfect white or black and their wrists were adorned with golden watches. Their hair was slicked back and their collars were pristinely done.
Eduard’s bags, naked of any stickers of faraway places, bumped against the walls.
“Room nine… mine.”
The doorknob clicked. It was a golden color and was cold to the touch. The door itself was thick, dark wood that kept the temperature from fluctuating between rooms. Eduard entered his dorm and swiftly shut the door behind him. It was rather large, with a doorway leading to a bathroom that rested between it and the neighboring room. George’s side was already hung up. Plaid, green covers rested on his bed and books were already piled on his desk, notepad ready to impress. Pennants and stray posters littered his wall.
Eduard set his bags on the floor. He unclasped the handles and began pulling out his sheets. White pieces of fabric with a beige bedspread. He had used the same sheets for four years before this; Ms. Klement had bought new ones as a surprise. Eduard put the two pillows the school provided in the cases he brought and began hanging up his wall decorations: a pennant from Creighton University, a picture of last year’s baseball team, and a picture of his parents and sister. He stuck a tack through the rubbing of the doorpost and stuck it on the wall.
Eduard Klement Sr. and his son Eddy Jr.
Eduard sighed. The other boys had their father move them in. He only had a photo and a piece of paper with a couple of words on it.
He began putting away his clothes. He set them in his drawer so that the stains or worn spots were folded under the rest of the fabric. Eduard hung his marron suit jacket on the bathroom door’s hook and set out his toiletries. Then, he moved on to stacking his books on his shelf and sorting out his pencils. Most of them would have to be sharpened–he hadn’t thought about doing that beforehand.
The doorknob clicked again. A boy with jet-black hair and dark brown eyes walked in. He wore a white t-shirt and brown pants with new athletic shoes. His face lacked any freckles. His arms were large and bruised from playing football everyday. The boy did not shut the door behind him.
“Are you George DeMund?” Eduard asked from his desk. He had one more book to place.
“The one and only,” George replied, flinging himself onto his bed, “Are you Eduard?”
“Nice to meet you, then.”
There was a moment of silence before Eduard spoke again, “I heard you played football.”
“Mhmm. Varsity since the Third Form. What do you play?”
“Third bas–well, baseball.”
George chuckled, “Oh, man, try-outs are going to be brutal for you, then.”
“What do you mean?” Eduard asked, confused. It’s not like he was the best on his team back home–there was a now-sophomore who was better than him–but he had never heard someone so sure that he would be beaten.
“We have the best third-basemen west of the Mississippi.”
“I doubt it,” Eduard said and George grinned, but not in a genuine, kind way. In an I-despise-our-third-baseman way.
George rolled over to his stomach and looked at Eduard’s assortment of memorabilia. His eyes landed on the Creighton pennant. His nose scrunched and eyebrows furrowed. An imposter.
“Is that where you want to go to college?”
“Well, I went to Creighton Prep before this,” Eduard replied, “Why wouldn’t I go to Creighton?”
George scoffed, “I don’t know.. maybe because everyone here goes to the top three Ivy Leagues or the equivalent overseas? Look around you,” he pointed at the Yale pennant above his bed, then his father’s Harvard alumni magazine on his bedstand, “this school breeds Ivy Leaguers and nothing less.”
“I would rather go to Creighton than Harvard, or Princeton, or Yale.”
“That’s just because you have some weird attachment to it. Everyone wants to go to one of those schools, whether they like it or not.”
Ironic, Eduard thought. He was too attached to his school while George was practically a talking advertisement for the Ivys. It was not like he was wrong; Eduard had seen his father’s yearbook before. Pages of Princetons and Yales with sporadic Harvards and Cambridges were under every boy’s picture. Mr. Klement’s was the only one without a recognizable university listed. Instead, “Charles University, Prague,” made him stand out like a sore thumb. He was always proud of that.
George reached for a copy of Macbeth on the floor and began searching for a page. Notes after notes were scribbled on each page.
“What class is that for?” Eduard asked. He stretched out on his bed as well, trying to get rid of the nervousness that had built up inside of him.
“World Themes in Literature. It is one of the most challenging classes on campus,” the other boy explained, “We have to have at least ten annotations per page,” he waved at a boy passing in the hallway, “and we usually write an essay every three to five chapters.”
“Svaté peklo,” Eduard mumbled. He could do it, sure, but did he want to?
The football player’s eyes squinted and his attention towards Macbeth waivered.
“What language was that?” he questioned. His curiosity was overshadowed by the suspicion that his roommate was from a country his father had so viciously fought against in the Great War.
“Czech,” Eduard said, “I lived there until I was about five. My dad actually was, I think, the first student from Czechoslovakia at St. Julian’s.” He omitted the part about Uncle Oskar attending St. Julian’s and dropping out after the Fourth Form. The part about Mr. Klement’s educational background and higher position in society causing a rift between the two brothers.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
— Pablo Neruda
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