Reluctant at first, Charlotte warms to the notion and is soon coaching the Paradise Angels. Charlotte sets out to find a way to save Suzy from Fergus and in the process comes to a difficult realization about her own painful marriage. She is a frequent conference speaker and writing instructor. She listens to many kinds of music, shamelessly confesses to enjoying American Idol, yet she has never sky-dived or eaten a scallop. Joyce lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania with her son, Adam, and their crazy cat, Mango, who likes to eat nachos.
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Delivery and Shipping. Bright's Pond. Show More. Available for immediate download. Read using our free app on your tablet or mobile! Learn More. Free Shipping. You may also like. Joyce Magnin. Add to Basket. Blame It on the Mistletoe. Deborah Raney. But reprimanding myself didn't make the tears stop or help me make sense of this. So there I sat in my hat and heavy coat—the one with the fuzzy collar—and cried like a baby.
Herman, you idiot. Now what am I going to do? I've been trying to reach you for hours. Where in the heck were you? I know something is wrong, Charlotte. Did that Herman finally haul off and hit you? I knew this day was coming. I knew—. I could hear her nervous breathing. I knew it. I just knew it, she said. And you know about my feelings, Charlotte. I did. My mother had a feeling that JFK would be assassinated, and to this day she feels guilty for not informing the Secret Service?
Right then, she made a solemn vow she would never let another feeling go by without informing the proper governmental agency or individual. I told her the story and waited for the reply I knew would come. When's the funeral? Did you use Gideon? They took good care of your father, God rest his soul.
Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise
In my mind, I could see her look to the heavens, pick up his framed image, now enshrined on the telephone table next to a perpetual electric candle and a bouquet of plastic roses, and kiss his nose. Yes, Mother. I went to Gideon, and Pastor Herkmeier from our old church is going to do the service. I'll be on the next plane, Charlotte. Don't bother coming to the airport; I know you can't drive—. Later that same day, my neighbor Midge from down the street came over with a chicken pot pie. I thought it might help take the chill off, she said. It was in a pretty white casserole dish decorated with delicate rosebuds and smelled like celery and comfort.
Midge was only a couple of years older than me but already a grandmother to three boys. She liked to wear polka dots and stripes and her blondish hair short like Doris Day's. I twisted my mouth. Sorry, Midge, I didn't have the gumption to add fruit this time. It's just red. Midge and I ate chicken pot pie and talked about Herman and insurance policies until nearly nine o'clock.
I walked her to the foyer, turned on the porch light, pulled open the door, and in tumbled my mother. Charlotte, she said after she regained her balance. I had my hand on the knocker. Didn't you hear me at the door? Took an earlier flight. She stepped into the living room while I retrieved her gray Samsonite from the front porch. My mother and I sat in the kitchen for an hour or so, nervously avoiding conversation while engaging in small talk. Don't call him a bum. And yes, I think I'll have plenty of money to live on. Maybe I'll get a job. What can you do? I told you you'd regret not finishing secretarial school.
I told you a career should come first but no, no, you were in love. She made a dismissive, wavy motion with her hand. She looked into my eyes and then reached out with her thumb and wiped a tear from my cheek. I just wanted more for you. She had loved her work and thought every woman should have a career. She had worked hard and collected nearly a dozen awards for a job well done. And that was pretty much how things went until the day of the funeral, which turned out mostly nice. Pastor Herkmeier did a fine job.
I smiled and greeted the mourners as best I could, while my mother stood by with her long fingers intertwined in front and a practiced funeral face. It was good to have Midge with me. She wore a navy dress with a white collar, white shoes with dark blue buckles, and a little sailor hat tipped to the left on her head. I never asked why she had felt the need to wear a sailor hat and only told her how glad I was that she came. I dressed in black except for secret pink undergarments with white lace edging that helped me feel a little less dismal.
My mother made certain that I carried a small flask of cooking sherry tucked inside my purse in case I felt faint. As I remember, I might have taken three or four sips. At one point, Gideon's viewing room was standing room only, jammed to the jalousies with Fuller Brush salesmen from all over the region. I had never seen so many gray suits, polished black shoes, and fedoras at one time.
My goodness, Mother said after she had shaken the hand of the thirteenth salesman, but these men all look like they popped right off some assembly line. When I was buying for Wanamaker, I met many salespeople and—. I'm sorry about Herman, Mrs. Figg, said a tall, skinny man who introduced himself as the regional sales manager. He was one of our best.
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Then he slid an orange Fuller Brush letter opener into Herman's breast pocket. He smiled at me, plopped his gray hat on his head, and hurried out into the gray day. By the time the funeral was over, Herman had been buried with twenty-nine letter openers in his pocket, his samples bag tucked at his left hand, and his gray fedora grasped neatly in his right hand.
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And there he was, Herman Quincy Figg, on his way to that final sales call in heaven. At least I hoped it was heaven. My taxi is here, she said, looking out the window. Now, you call me if you need anything. Anything at all. She stood near the front door while the driver took her bag to the cab. She looked into my face like she was drilling for oil with her eyes. Whatever happened to that feisty girl who climbed trees and could throw a baseball better than any boy?
By the way, I couldn't help but notice your dish towels could use a splash of Clorox, and don't put chicken bones in the disposal, dear. Not good for the blades. I opened the front door at around eight in the morning and in bounded the ugliest, hairiest mutt I had ever seen. He had wiry whiskers and eyebrows, and he looked for all the world like Nikita Khrushchev.
His white paws reminded me of little girl anklets. With only a gnarled thumb—about the size of a Vienna sausage—for a tail, he went straight for Herman's chair, sniffed first, and took advantage of its cushiony comfort. He sat on his haunches, with his tongue lolled out, and panted like he had won a marathon. My intruder barked once with a bark that seemed to emanate from deep within his bowels and then barrel through his stomach, up his throat, and out his snout. I stood there in a quasi state of shock with my hand still on the opened door. I thought Herman had come back to me in a dog's body but chalked it up to imagination.
How rude, I said. You can't just barge into a person's house like this and. Now go on home. The dog scooted outside, but he camped in the yard for three days. Every so often I heard one of his barks and I felt sorry for him. So after some consideration, I invited him in and gave him three shampoo baths in a galvanized bucket in the backyard in the cold. I wore one of Herman's suit jackets because I didn't want to get my own clothes wet and soiled with dog grime.
I dried him off with one of my good Egyptian cotton bath towels, which I subsequently dubbed Lucky's towel. About halfway through the drying I smiled when it occurred to me that if Herman had witnessed this he would have yelled something awful at me for sacrificing one of our good towels to the dog's cause. I named him Lucky and bought him a black collar with purple rhinestones. It had been the first real financial decision, besides choosing a solid oak casket, I had made since Herman's surprising demise.
There you go, Lucky. I clasped the collar around his skinny neck. Guess this makes it official. He licked my face. I found it easy to talk to Lucky, and I appreciated his affection, but I still felt like I was banging into walls with no direction. Kind of like a pinball but without all the bells and whistles and music and points. Lucky looked dejected at first but then he wagged his preposterously stubby tail and all was forgiven. I rifled through the small stack bound with a rubber band that held the advertisements inside an RV magazine called Road Tripper.
My eyebrows lifted. I didn't know the Parsons had a recreational vehicle, I told Lucky. I've never seen it, but Evie and Lewis do seem to be gone for long stretches several times a year. Out of curiosity, I thumbed through the periodical and stopped when I saw a small block of type with bold letters pierced by a canine incisor that read:. A small image of a light gray trailer with wide windows and awnings with hanging baskets of pink and purple trailing verbena caught my eye.
The sun setting in the distance painted ribbons of orange and lilac across a sky the color of my favorite copper-bottom frying pan. I was filled with a sudden burst of wanderlust. My heart beat as fast as the mashed potato setting on my Mixmaster. I said the word with a come-hither tone. Not that I had planned it. It just came out that way.
Imagine that, Lucky. We could move to —I took another breath and exhaled the word— Paradise. I rubbed my arms. Just the thought of living in a place called Paradise gave me goose pimples. But I closed the magazine, banded all the mail together, and dropped it on the dining room table. Charlotte Louise Figg, I said right out loud. What are you saying? You can't up and move to Paradise. What would Herman think? I made a cup of tea, sat at the dining table, and stared at the rolled-up magazine. I kept touching it and knocking it around. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and opened to the page with the beautiful little trailer and nearly swooned over the verbena.
Six weeks later Lucky and I set out for our new home. I sold my house to a nice young couple—Jorge and Olivia Gonzalez. Jorge had just gotten a job as a produce supervisor at the Save- A-Lot supermarket, and Olivia was six months pregnant with their first child. I left them the washer and dryer; all of the furniture except a Tiffany lamp, the beds, my lovely flowery sofa, and two chests of drawers; and various and sundry kitchen items like pots and pans, utensils, and my pie tins. I wanted to leave them Herman's La-Z-Boy. Jorge liked it. Look at this, Livie, he said as he settled the chair into its full reclining position.
I can rest here after work. Olivia smiled. Don't go thinking you'll be doing much resting, Jorge. She patted her bulging belly. But no dice. Lucky wouldn't have it. He snarled and grabbed Jorge's pant leg and tried to pull him off the chair. Oh, my goodness gracious. I am so sorry. I rushed over and grabbed the dog by the collar. Lucky likes the chair. No problem, Mrs. He didn't hurt me or nothin', Jorge said. I'll get a new one. I smiled and handed him a set of house keys. I'll leave the second set on the kitchen counter. And I also made a note with the names and numbers of the plumber, the electrician, the man who fixes my—um—your washer and dryer.
Trash comes on Tuesday and Friday, and the mail is delivered by noon. If the heater goes off, just call Simon. He'll come right out. The man can fix anything, even if it's not broken. Every so often the shutters on the attic window bang against the house in a high wind, so don't get frightened and. I stopped talking. It was at that moment that I saw the reality of home ownership strike terror into the hearts of the nice young couple. Their eyes bugged out like cartoon characters.
It is an old house, I said. But she's a good house. And oh, I left you a pie—blueberry. And whipped cream in the fridge. Once I had gotten the agreement of sale, my baking desires returned. And, Jorge, make sure you check the freezer gasket. It might need replacing. Olivia reached out and pulled me close for a hug. It surprised me a little. Thank you, Mrs. Good luck in Paradise, she said. I think it's wonderful, a woman your age doing such a thing. Why, thank you, young lady.
And that was when I was suddenly filled with a sense of my own mortality, of time shifting, of the world belonging to the young. It gave me a funny feeling in my gut. There had to be something more waiting for me in Paradise. There just had to be. That evening after supper—a TV dinner of Salisbury steak with French fries and a tiny peach cobbler—I called my mother. I sold the house and I'm moving to Paradise. I said the words fast because it was easier that way.
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Create a List. Summary Newly widowed Charlotte Figg purchases a double-wide trailer sight unseen and moves to the Paradise Trailer Park with her dog Lucky. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Box , Nashville, TN www. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, posted on any website, or transmitted in any form or by any means— digital, electronic, scanning, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without written permission from the publisher, except for brief quotations in printed reviews and articles.
The persons and events portrayed in this work of fiction are the creations of the author, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. ISBN pbk. Thank you to: My friend, Pam Halter, who reads every single word, even the words that never make it into the finished book. My children, Emily and Adam, who continue to understand Mama's wacky world of writing. The Crue—ever faithful, ever ready to pray, advise, and dress up in fat suits when you need them to. My editor, Barbara Scott, who continues to believe and teach.
The women in my Wednesday morning Bible study, who laugh, pray, and listen. Nancy Horvitz Rist, who taught me how to deliver a baby. All the staff and students in the Chestnutwold Elementary Before and After School program, who make me smile every day.
Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise by Joyce Magnin - FictionDB
Nick Pelka, who taught me much about firefighting. And, of course, my mother, who taught me the importance of good pie and a good dog. World's coming to an end, Charlotte.
My name is Charlotte Figg. I'm here to see Pastor Herkmeier. Thank you for doing this, Pastor, I said. No, no thank you, nothing special. Excuse me, Mrs. Did you say something? Oh, no, no—but about that samples bag. I mean, what are the odds of— I coughed. The phone rang and startled the bejeebers out of me. Hello, I said with my palm on my thumping chest. What's the matter with you? Mother, I said. I knew— Mother, I said with as much force as I could muster. I have to tell you something.
Herman is dead. Oh, dear me, Charlotte did you finally lose your mind and— Mother. Don't be ridiculous. It's a valid question, Charlotte.