Harriet woke her early next morning by impatiently hissing in her ear: “Wake up! Santa’s been! There’s presents under the tree and things in your stocking!”
Susanna scrambled out of bed, wrapped her robe around her and hurried downstairs. When she got downstairs she looked at the clock: 7.15. Not too early, if she was quiet, she wouldn’t wake anyone anyway.
The tree lights had been left on overnight, they shone on the wrapping paper and bows of the many boxes. “Open something!” Harriet was as excited as Susanna, who was trembling with anticipation.
The door opened and her parents came in. “You got down here early!” her mother said with a smile that turned to a grimace. She held her stomach as if she was in pain.
“I got here at-” Susanna looked at the clock, “7.15. Now look, it’s just 8 o’clock.” She was proud of her ability to tell the time so precisely.
“That’s not too early, honeybunch.”
“Something wrong with your mother, Susanna?”
“What did you do?”
“Nothing … yet.”
Her father was gathering up the wrapping paper. “Looks like Santa was good to you,” he commented, with a sideways glance. Susanna went along with the joke.
He found out where I had moved to. Clever, isn’t he?”
Her mother laughed, then turned to go to the kitchen. “You’ll want breakfast; I’ll go get it started.”
Susanna watched her go, saw how she was stooped over, not walking upright as she usually did. “Daddy, is Mummy all right?”
“Well, the baby is giving her a few problems. Nothing for you to worry about, if it gets any worse we’ll call the doctor.”
Or an ambulance,” Harriet whispered.
“Do you think you ought to get dressed before breakfast, honeybunch?”
“Yes, I’ll get dressed now, Daddy.”
“Do you need any help?”
“No, I can manage. I’m big enough, thank you.”
“Wear the new red velvet, Susanna.”
“For a reason.”
She wanted some of it out of the way before Buster came romping in to play.
You can read the first part of this blog's two part interview with Dorothy here: