A Small Suitcase And A Book

She was barely sixteen and leaving home all alone for the first time.  We had two bad seasons in a row on the farm.  The weather was bad, a drought one year and flooding the next.  Daddy always said God willing and the creek don’t overflow.  Well, the creek overflowed and flooded the crops.  Carol had a lot of inner strength and courage in deciding that she was going to the beach to find a summer job and to work after school the next winter.

All she had was a small suitcase and her favorite book.  She would take the train to town and live with our Aunt Irene.  Carol had outgrown the farm and had ambitions of her own on how she wanted to live her life.  She also knew that Daddy needed help paying the bills accumulating from two devastating seasons.  She sat quietly by the tracks reading her book.  She had butterflies in her stomach as this was a big step for her.  She was a young adult going to live in a grownup world yet in truth she wasn’t afraid.  She had twenty dollars in her purse and a job waiting.

She stood up brushing off her dress, picked up her suitcase and walked toward the gate to wait for boarding.  She wouldn’t let us wait with her for the train.

In the distance, she could hear the train whistle blowing and feel the rumbling in the tracks.  She stood up brushing off her dress, picked up her suitcase and walked toward the gate to wait for boarding.  She wouldn’t let us wait with her for the train.  She said her goodbyes that morning to the family and Daddy drove her to the train station.  Carol and Daddy had a special bond.  Even at an early age she did Daddy’s books and kept a budget for the farm.  They said their farewells knowing that she would see Daddy often as he worked as a cabinet maker on weekends and winters for my Uncle Grant in Myrtle Beach to help pay bills and put food on the table.

The ride to Myrtle Beach was slow and the train stopped several times.  While she was excited to leave the farm to make her mark in the world she still felt a little sadness.  She knew the rest of the family was in for hard times.  It was predicted to be a cold winter this year which was just more bad news.  It always made her sad when she saw Daddy worrying.  He would walk the perimeter of the farm and ponder the options often with me and my dog in tow.  I knew not to talk but you didn’t have to talk to know what Daddy was thinking.  His silences were powerful.

Point Of View

It was a frightening time in my life.  Filled with uncertainty and fear.  I could feel the burdens that my Daddy was carrying on his shoulders.  He was unusually quiet and the supper table that once was the social part of our life was quiet and the food a little scarcer.

I longed for my sister and her new world.  I cherished her letters as they gave me hope.  I was proud of her going out into the world with only twenty dollars in her purse, a small suitcase and a book, with her head held high.


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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  1. Larry, so beautiful this story. Thank you so much! I am trying to spend more time in the reading part and slow down the writing. This is most difficult when you have so many ideas… it’s all about discipline, your sister here has Brought this to my mind and I thank you for sharing her spirit. Was she older I take it?
    I am curious to your sisters favorite book?
    Have a great day too Larry! Thank you once again.

  2. Very poignant, Larry! Your sister was most courageous to venture into the unknown. As always, your amazing prose brings us right there as if we were with your sister and then you. Your story keeps the journey alive. Thank you for this!💖