Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Such a romantic time period.

Gail Chumbley

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She is bent over a small Mercury outboard, hoisting the little motor in and out of the water. Her hair is wrapped in a kerchief, much as it had been when she wired mine sweepers at the Bremerton shipyards during the war. Ailene has a cigarette in her pressed lips, Humphrey Bogart style. Her black and white knit shirt has a small pocket on the left sleeve, over her bicep, and tucked inside is a pack of cigarettes–her brand, Kent. At the end of her day on the lake, my grandmother regularly downed a couple of high balls of Canadian Club, on the rocks.

My life with my grandmother has aided tremendously with the writing of River of January.  and the sequel, The Figure Eight. She, like Helen and Chum held lifetime memberships in the “Greatest Generation,” so her attitudes, word choices, and music preferences shape my thinking while…

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