Monday, August 25, 2014

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

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Penny had been practicing with five other girls, hours and hours after school.  The contest is tomorrow...all the way to Jacksonville in a bus...we'll sing for a judge and everything! As she carried the slop bucket to the pig pen, Penny practiced her alto part all the way there and back. Tomorrow!


Penny was quiet after their presentation, "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes".  Her head was heavy and she put it down on a fellow alto's shoulder. I just need to close my eyes...
File:Sunset Solar Halo at Keys View of Joshua Tree National Park.jpg
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"Penny?  You feel okay?" 

Then the talk turned to the drama club and going to see the movie "Romeo and Juliet".

  A movie!  I will see Romeo and Juliet after we finish!  I can't believe Dad let me see this... On the return bus from seeing the movie, Penny stretched out on a empty seat.  Her head...the pain!  My head!  Cold and hot, she was cold and hot at the same time.  When they arrived at school where parents waited, Penny remembered nothing.


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At the hospital, her mother's face faded in and out of focus.  Mama, we did so well at the contest!....my head hurts, Mama..

The following day all the students were called to the auditorium where 
Principal Roberts announced a horrible truth.  

That Penny had died in the night, spinal meningitis.  Anyone who had been in close contact had to get examined with a prescription of antibiotic.  All the students were dismissed for the rest of the day.


My folks took me to Dr. Goodman for antibiotic, for I had been the second alto. I still see Penny's freckles, red blonde hair, and big smile as we sang that song.  She had been so thrilled when we won second place.  Sweet sweet girl, Penny, forever 13.




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The night has a thousand eyes,
And the Day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
with the dying sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of the whole life dies
When love is done.

Frances William Bourdillon




19 comments:

  1. That is awful, nothing much one can say to someone dying so young. But at least good memories are still there

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    1. The chorus teacher took the song out of the end of year concert. Every member mourned her loss.

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  2. Oh, my. How tragic. I am so sorry. I remember competing with a group of girls in a singing competition in middle school. I can still hear the song ("Psalm 119) and I smile. What a completely different response if something had happened to one of those young girls like what you experienced.

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    1. How her family continued, I don't know. Her brother was my brother's friend.

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  3. Oh. Poor Penny. And her class as well. A loss which lingers.

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    1. Altho it was in 1969, it feels so fresh.

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  4. Only thirteen and your life is supposed to be all ahead of you.

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    1. It happened so quickly, no one could believe it at first.

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  5. Oh my goodness, that is terrible! How completely sad. :(

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    1. True life trumps fiction every time.

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  6. I still think of friends who never made it out of childhood, of others who left before they got my age. I think of them and then don't quite know what to think. Provocative post, and a kindly one.

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  7. I was feeling so happy for Penny. The concert, the movie and then suddenly she was ill and died.
    It's truly awful how these things can happen so fast, out of the blue.

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    1. Death can either takes its time and the person wastes away. Or death takes the young quickly. Out of the blue.

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  8. Many thanks to all who read this post and responded. Penny was a delightful, enthusiast girl.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!