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Hear That Whistle Blow V - Katie Learns About Death

Jackie tells of the many adventures and emotions of a little girl growing up in a large family in the fifties.

Katie has made her first best friend. Her friend and her friend's dad live with the grandparents who Katie is close with, too.

Being friends now for many months and feeling like this is like her family too it is very shocking and hard on Katie to lose one of them in a horrible accident.

She shares that experience as it felt to just a child about to turn six.


A New Life

This was such a long and beautiful street that Katie lived on. It was called Pine Street but all the pines were in the distance. Up close were beautiful flowers and flowering trees all summer.

In her yard was her first experience with sweet peas. They ran the whole length of the front fence but they were fuller on one end and Katie crawled in and mashed everything flat for a floor. She had a house of flowers and she could hide from her little brothers and well, just everyone. It was so beautiful and smelled so good. The flowering vine even kept out the rain it was so thick.

It was so big she could almost stand up and she could easily sit down with room around her. She had no toys in there because all she had were dolls and she never liked dolls. She had taken care of real babies so dolls were nothing now, but she couldn't hurt anyone's feelings. She just said thank you and no one noticed she never played with them.

Katie had a friend on each end of this street so she got to look at everyone else's pretty sweet peas and flowers too, besides the wild ones growing along the road in empty lots and the woods at the very end. She was really not supposed to go to the very end where the woods were but sometimes she just had to go look at the flowers that climbed the trees. There were pines and flowers here and they made such a pretty picture that Katie could snap it in her mind and look at it at night going to sleep, from memory.

Katie could still see her friend’s house from here near the woods, so she knew she was safe but she still only stayed a minute or so. Just long enough to soak it all in and slide her bare feet in the hot sand or pine needles. There were rocks along the road and sometimes if she was running late and had to hurry home she would stump a big toe and that really did hurt!

The flesh more than once got a big nick in it and would swell, bleed and sting horribly. Of course, she never told her mom, so she just held a cold cloth on them after she bathed, while her mom was busy with the little brothers. She always got her bath first so her long hair would dry before bedtime. It got bleached every summer playing in the sun. Her brothers had blonde hair too.

Her mom fussed because Katie always got sand and pine needles in her hair and she wanted to know how she did it, but Katie just didn't know, she didn't do it on purpose because she sure hated getting her tangles pulled out! The stumped toes always healed and she never cried about getting hurt. She was no sissy. Besides, if her mom saw them she would pour alcohol on and boy that would hurt worse than anything!


First Best Friend

At the other end of the street where the main highway was and the school bus would be stopping for them soon, Katie had a friend who lived with her grandparents. She was a little bit spoiled but Katie loved to go there. Her grandparents were very good to her and she spent nights sometimes and her friend and she would go to the basement often and sneak into the pickled cabbage or corn. It was better than dill pickles, even, of which there were plenty.

This friend and her dad lived here and her mother lived only a few miles away and had two other little girls that were her half sisters. Katie knew she shouldn’t ask nosy questions but she tried her best to understand such a strange thing. She really never did. She knew this friend’s mother had to like the other little girls the best, why else would she give her little girl away? This friend was pretty bossy sometimes, to make even Katie a little mad and her grandmother scolded her if she caught her talking mean to Katie; so maybe that was why her mommy didn't want her.

It was the only thing that made sense. She would only stay with her mom a few hours now and then so probably that was all her mother could take. She would never keep her all night. Katie went with her a couple of times. She still did not have a clue as to why this was the way it was. The mother and sisters always seemed very nice.


Death Has Such Sorrow

It was a very sad experience for Katie while she lived here and stayed with this friend. Oh, she had lots of fun and the grandmother would even dress them both in dresses that looked alike but different colors and that was really fun.

While Katie was there one day though a neighbor came over and gave these grandparents some really horrible news about their son. He would not be coming home from work, or even ever again. He had been killed at work. This friend couldn’t live with her mother and now her daddy was dead.

Katie had known death from somewhere before but was too young to really remember it. She knew it was really bad and sad and she had seen someone in a box that she didn’t really know but she didn’t want to look or even be there near death. She really liked this friend’s daddy. He was so young and handsome and always laughed and was fun when she saw him.

He teased Katie and treated her as good as his own daughter. This was special for Katie since she rarely saw her own dad with him going to work being gone all day and night. Then with him sleeping really late hours he was too tired to joke and play most times, unless it was a holiday.

She really had come to love this friend's father very much in just these few months.


Strings of the Heart

Everyone was crying and so shocked of course that one minute all was happiness and the next minute a father and son was gone from this world forever. It was an accident in the mines, something that could well have happened to Katie's own father had he not found a new job. Katie could not help but think of that.

Katie left quietly and of course no one even noticed her leaving and she was glad because she had no words to say to them. Her mom knew and liked these old people too so she would be really sad. It was such a sorrowful feeling walking home and thinking how this young daddy was just all of a sudden gone. Katie would never forget this day.

Somehow there was a chill of fear in Katie even though she knew he would never hurt her and then she couldn't help but look up to see if she just might see him, because of course he was up there somewhere now.

It reminded her of the feeling of that train whistle blowing before she moved here, a feeling that something was trying to tell her things in a future she knew she could never understand. When that whistle blew it pulled her heart in an ache and now she had that very same feeling.

© 2017 Jackie Lynnley


Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on October 21, 2017:

Thanks so much Peg. Always so good to have you drop by to read me!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 20, 2017:

Sad when a child has to face life's realities so early in their life. You did a great job expressing Katie's confusion and fear and tying in her experience from the past. Nicely done.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 17, 2017:

I know! That would have been wonderful for I just know we would have been the best of friends forever ❤️

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on September 17, 2017:

Aw, thank you Theresa. Too bad it couldn't have been a Jackie and Theresa story as kids. I bet that would have been so much fun to have lived!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 17, 2017:

Oh, me, Jackie, this is heartrending and you captured the feelings of such a young child learning and experiencing death ... you've always been such a prolific writer, but seems it's even better than before, unless it's just been too long since I've read your stories. I'm thrilled you are posting this series again!

I believe this series should be published and made into a series like The Little House on the Prairie ...it's just as good.

My favorite writers write from the heart, and that's why you are one of my favorite writers.

God bless,


Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on August 30, 2017:

Pleased to bring you some memories Shannon, especially if they made you smile!

Shannon Henry from Texas on August 30, 2017:

You made me chuckle when you mentioned pouring alcohol on a wound because that's what I do for my kids, except I use peroxide since it doesn't usually hurt. They used to hate it when they were little.

Poor Katy. It's never a good feeling to learn about death. I can remember funerals from my youth. Mostly my great-grandparents and my grandpa. I think it was at my great-grandpa's that my cousin and I tried to escape all the heaviness and went into another viewing room in the funeral home. It was empty, but the two lamps that stood at either end of the casket were still in the room. We wanted to know what it felt like to be dead so we took turning on the floor with our hands folded across our chest as if we were in a casket. It was quite an eerie feeling that I didn't like. And then one of us accidentally knocked over a lamp when we started playing tag instead. We ran to the bathroom, afraid we would get in trouble. I don't think I ever told my parents about that incident, but you just made me think of it. LOL.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on August 11, 2017:

Thanks Gypsy, meant to add another this weekend but running low on time finding photos.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on August 11, 2017:

Katie sure is growing and learning. Love to read about her. Cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on August 11, 2017:

True, Linda, but it does happen. Can't we all recall our first experience? Or do many of us block it out?

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 10, 2017:

This is a sad chapter of the story. Poor Katie. She is very young to have to deal with death.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on August 10, 2017:

Got to keep that whistle blowing Bill! Thanks for the praise and any advice welcome.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 10, 2017:

Love the reference to the train whistle at the end....very nice writing, Jackie!

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on August 09, 2017:

Dora, thank you so much. Children do face things like this in life and of course all these things much be faced and accepted. Sad but a real part of living.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 09, 2017:

Painful that Little Darling Katie is having a taste of sadness. No age is immune from the sorrows of life but in times like these friendships grow deeper and meaningful. Wishing that for Katie. Good story telling.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on August 09, 2017:

It must be a new HP thing Bill, I never know anymore when someone has left me a comment unless I sign in here. No real problem though since I do check in daily lately.

Never feel you have to read anything, some stories do not appeal to everyone and I totally understand that. I have a very hard tie with murder ones, I must admit. They really depress me. The news is so full of it already. I have to stay away from it sometimes for my sanity.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on August 09, 2017:

Thank you Ven. Life does have real issues like this and I chose not to pass over them for they make us who we are don't you think?

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on August 09, 2017:

Boy, Jackie. I've got some catching up to do. I never get notifications, so I have to check each one I'm following by going to their profile page, and I see I've missed quite a bit. I better get busy. I've missed so much.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on August 08, 2017:

Very chilling experience for Katie at such a tender age. I felt the pain reading this episode and feeling sorry for her and her dear friend.

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