|Raised on Margarine
By Laurie Graves
At Sacred Heart School,
lunch was served in the basement, in a dim cafeteria with long tables and
wooden benches, in a room that smelled like green beans and sour milk.
As nuns patrolled the lunchroom, the children either waited in line or
sat hunched over their lunches as they talked in low voices to each other.
Janine Bourque and Susan Roy were usually
first in line. Because they brought their own lunches, all they had
to do was buy milk.
"What do you have for lunch today?" Susan
asked as they sat down.
Janine opened her blue lunchbox, pulled
out her sandwich, and peeked inside. The she sighed. "Spam."
"Me, too," Susan said.
Everyday it was the same thing. Spam.
With margarine. Whenever Janine would complain, her mother would
say, "And what's wrong with Spam? It's cheap, it tastes good, and
But Janine didn't think it tasted good.
To her, it was all salt and gristle.
"Would you rather have Vienna Sausages?"
her father would ask. "Or Kippered Snacks?"
"No," Janine would answer, shuddering at
the thought of eating those stinking little hotdogs and that smelly fish.
And so Spam it was, with an occasional
peanut butter and fluff, but mostly Spam. With a shrug, both girls
took out their sandwiches and began to eat.
"We could get hot lunch," Susan said, but
then Karin Poulin sat down next to them and they looked at her tray.
"Dried fish sticks," Janine said later.
"Rubbery carrots," Susan added.
"And watery chocolate pudding." Janine
shook her head. "I guess we better stick with Spam. At least
we get chocolate chip cookies once in awhile."
Across the table from them, Linda Davidson,
the new girl in their class, sat down and opened her lunchbox. The
sandwich she took out didn't look like anything Janine had ever seen.
The bread was brown with little dark flecks,
and there was a slice of creamy, white cheese. "Not American cheese,"
Janine would say later. "That cheese had holes." Between all
of this, there was some kind of thin, reddish meat. Janine and Susan
"What's the matter?" Linda asked.
"What kind of sandwich is that?" Janine
"Pastrami and cheese on rye. Why?"
"I was just wondering," Janine answered, not having an idea what either
pastrami or rye was.
"Want a bite?" Linda smiled, holding
out the sandwich. She was not a pretty girl. Her brown hair
was too thin and straight, and she had too many freckles. But, she
had deep, blue eyes and a nice smile.
Janine shrugged. "All right."
She took a small bite, and the spices from
the meat and bread tingled her tongue in a way it had never been tingled
before. Janine reluctantly passed the sandwich back to Linda.
"Do you like it?" Linda asked.
"Yes," Janine answered, "it's good."
"How about you?" Linda asked Susan.
"Do you want a bite?"
Susan shook her head. "No, thanks."
"She's a picky eater," Janine explained
and Linda nodded. "Would you like to play with us at recess?
Debbie Blanchette plays with us too, but she's in Mother Maria's class
and can't sit with us at lunch."
Linda smiled. "Sure."
That afternoon, when Janine came home from
school, her mother was scrubbing the woodwork. "I like to do it once
a week," she would say. "I want a clean house. You never know
when Memere Bourque is going to come over."
Memere Bourque lived just next door, in
a gray ranch that was even smaller than their white one. She came
over once, sometimes twice a day. "To inspect the house," Janine's
mother said, although Memere always said it was for coffee. Whenever
Janine looked out the window and saw Memere, stout and small, coming across
the lawn, she would yell, "Memere's coming!" And Janine's mother
would rush around the house for a last minute check, to make sure it was
clean enough for Memere Bourque.
It always was, but just barely, and her
mother spent most of her days polishing, scrubbing, and dusting.
"You don't have to keep up with my mother," Janine's father would say,
stepping carefully across a newly waxed floor.
"Oh, yes, I do!" her mother would answer.
"Just think what she'd say if the house was dirty. My God, she's
clean." And that, Janine knew, was the highest compliment her mother
"Mom?" Janine called as she came into the
"What?" Her mother was scrubbing
the woodwork by the bathroom.
Janine came over to her. "The next
time you go shopping could you buy some pastrami and rye?"
"What the heck is that?" her mother asked.
"It's a kind of sandwich. Linda Davidson
had one. She let me have a bite and it was so good."
Janine jiggled up and down. "Please?" "We'll see," her mother
said. "But I bet Lemieux's Market doesn't even have that stuff.
And who is Linda Davidson?"
"She's the new kid in class. She
played with us at recess and it worked out great. Before it was Susan,
Debbie, and me and somebody always felt left out."
"Well, three is a crowd."
Janine nodded. "What are we having
for supper tonight?"
"What kind?" Janine expected the
"Noodles, Veg-All, and hamburg," her mother
"Oh," Janine answered, her suspicions confirmed.
Her mother stopped scrubbing to frown at
her. "And what's wrong with that?"
"Nothing," Janine said quickly. Her
mother was touchy about her cooking and Janine didn't want to start and
argument. As she went into her room, Janine tried to imagine what
someone who had pastrami and rye for lunch would have for supper.
"Where does this Linda Davidson live?"
her mother called from the hallway.
"I don't know," Janine answered.
"14 Roosevelt Avenue," Linda said the next
day at recess when Janine asked her. They were waiting in line to
"That's a pretty street," Janine said,
thinking of the elm trees and the large, brick houses. "Which church
do you go to, Sacred Heart or Saint Frances?"
"I don't go to either one," Linda said.
"I'm not Catholic."
"Not Catholic?" Janine heard herself say,
and Susan, who was in front of Linda, turned and stared at her. "Not
Catholic?" Janine said again. She couldn't imagine it. Everyone
she knew was Catholic.
"Nope," Linda answered, "we're Protestants.
We go to the Congregational Church."
"Well, why are you coming to school here?"
"Because Daddy thinks it's the best school
in town," Linda answered, looking from Susan to Janine. "And he should
know, he's a professor at Colby College."
"Come on, Susan!" Debbie yelled.
"It's your turn to jump."
Susan bounded away. Linda smiled
at Janine and Janine tried to smile back.
"Poor thing," Janine said to Susan as they
walked home from school. "Imagine not being Catholic."
"I can't," Susan answered, and for the
rest of the way home, they talked about Linda Davidson.
"Mom!" Janine called as she burst through
the door. Then she stopped short. Her mother and Memere Bourque
were sitting at the kitchen table. "Guess what?" Janine asked.
"What?" her mother answered.
"Linda Davidson is a Protestant!"
"Who's Linda Davidson?" Memere Bourque
asked, dipping a piece of doughnut into her coffee.
"A new kid in my class."
Memere dropped her doughnut and coffee
spattered onto the gray Formica table. "They're letting them into
Sacred Heart, now?"
Janine's mother lit a cigarette.
"Maman Bourque, it's 1965. With Pope John, things have changed."
"And why does Linda Davidson go to Sacred
Heart?" Memere asked.
"Because her father said it's the best
school in town," Janine answered. "And he should know. He's a professor
at Colby College."
"Lo," Memere sniffed, "he may be a Protestant
but at least he has good taste. Now, come here and give Memere a
kiss." She held out her arms and Janine climbed into Memere's small,
wide lap. As Memere kissed her cheeks, once, twice, three times,
making a loud smacking sound after each kiss, Janine thought about Linda
Davidson the Protestant who ate pastrami and rye sandwiches.
"She's the most interesting person I know,"
Janine said solemnly to her father as he tucked her into bed that night.
"She sounds like quite a kid," her father
agreed, stroking her check with an oil-stained finger.
"Do Protestants go to heaven or do they
wind up in Limbo, like the little pagan babies?"
"Oh, they go to heaven, too."
With a frown, Janine squirmed in bed as
her father sat down next to her. "I wonder what it's like to be a Protestant?"
Her father shook his head and took a book
from her nightstand. "I don't know. Are you ready for the next
chapter in "Peter Pan?"
"Yes," Janine answered, reluctantly turning
her thoughts from Linda Davidson to Wendy, Captain Hook, and Peter.
As the weeks went by, Linda brought different
sandwiches to school, sometimes roast beef on a bulky roll with sesame
seeds, sometimes smoked turkey with cranberry sauce, and once even something
called pate. "But I don't like pate very much," Linda said.
"My mother made it for a party and there was some left over."
Janine liked them all, even the pate, and
she stared so longingly at Linda' s sandwiches that it wasn't long before
Linda was sharing them with Janine. In return, Janine would give Linda
half of her sandwich, even though she knew it wasn't a fair trade, and
that Linda didn't even like Spam and margarine sandwiches. But Linda
would just shrug and say, "We're friends."
"Friends with a Protestant," Memere Bourque
said, shaking her head. She was in her usual seat at the head of
the table. "When I was young, I wasn't even allowed to talk to one."
"It's all right," Janine's mother said,
patting Janine on the back. "In the new church group that Father
Bolduc started, we've been going to different churches, attending their
services, and they're coming to ours. Next week, we're even going to the
"Well," Memere said, helping herself to
another cookie, "I'd be careful, Alphonsine, if I was you. The next
thing you'll know, she'll be marrying one."
"Oh, Memere!" Janine said and Memere winked
But one thing Janine's mother did not like
about her friendship with Linda Davidson was the way Janine just picked
at her food at suppertime. Janine had never really liked her mother's
cooking, but until she met Linda, she hadn't realized how good food could
be. Now, she could hardly stand to look at the slimy, canned spinach
sitting in a green mound on her plate, much less eat it. Or the canned
asparagus. The main meals were a little better, but somehow the American
chop suey was always watery and bland, and the pork chops tough and dry.
All Janine could think about, as she pushed her food into little piles,
was how good Linda's sandwiches were.
"What's the matter with you?" Janine's
mother asked one night while they were eating supper.
"I'm just not very hungry," Janine said.
"You give me too much food."
"Maybe Janine should serve herself," her
father said, "since you insist that she clean her plate."
"Maybe Janine should stop eating Linda
Davidson's fancy sandwiches." Her mother lit a cigarette and closed
the lighter with a snap. Janine just stared at her. "You didn't
think I knew, did you? Well, for one thing you' re always going on
and on about how much you like Linda's sandwiches. For another, Susan
told her mother that Linda gives you half of her sandwich and you give
her half of yours."
'That little snitch,' Janine thought.
"Now, Alphonsine," her father said, "you're
making too much of this."
"No, I'm not!" her mother said, stabbing
out her cigarette in the ashtray. "I don't care if Janine plays with a
Protestant, but I won't have her turning up her nose at my food.
I work hard to fix a good meal. It's like a slap in the face when
she just pushes it around her plate." She pointed a finger at Janine.
"And just keep in mind that Linda's father is a college professor and your
father is a mechanic."
Janine could not see what her father's
job had to do with her mother's cooking, but her mother's voice was sharp
and shrill. Janine felt her eyes sting and she looked down at her
plate as tears slid down her cheeks. "No more trading with Linda!" her
Janine's head came up with a snap.
Janine gripped the edge of the table.
"Maybe Linda's mother could teach you how to cook." The words burst
out before she could stop them and "Go to your room!" her mother shrieked.
"Thanks a lot," Janine said to Susan as
they walked to school the next day.
"For telling your mom that Linda and I
trade sandwiches. Your mom told my mom and now I can't anymore."
Susan stopped and traffic roared past them.
"Janine, I never knew your mother would do that. Honest!"
"My mother cooks such lousy meals," Janine
said bitterly as they started walking again.
"They're not that bad," Susan said.
As they turned the corner and went past
Mister Donut, they could see Linda waiting for them on the edge of the
playground. She was jumping up and down and waving to them.
"Janine!" she called. "Susan!"
Janine and Susan ran to meet her. "Guess what? Mummy said I
could have you guys over for dinner. You this Friday," she said to
Janine. "You next Friday." This was to Susan. "And Debbie
the Friday after that."
"I don't think my mom will let me go,"
Janine said in a low voice.
"Because she's mad that I like your food
better than hers."
"You could ask," Linda said, twining her
arms through theirs.
"All right," Janine said, knowing what
her mother was going to say.
"No." Janine's mother sat at the
kitchen table. Janine stood before her and she twisted the skirt
of her navy blue uniform.
Memere Bourque sat at the other end of
the table. "Why not?" she asked. "As you said, with Pope John things
have changed. You don't think they'd serve her meat, do you?
They must know that she's a Catholic."
"It's not the meat I'm worried about,"
Janine's mother snapped. "I'm afraid that if she goes over to Linda's
for supper, then she'll never eat what I cook. She's bad enough as
it is just on sandwiches. Imagine what she'd be like after a full
"But, Alphonsine," Memere said, "she eats
my cooking all the time and she still eats what you cook."
Alphonsine's head was high. "Your
cooking is not anything like Linda's mother's cooking. Don't forget,
Linda's father is a professor at Colby."
"Humph," Memere said.
"Please can I go?" Janine asked softly.
"No!" Janine's mother said.
'Yes!' Janine thought as she trudged to
her room and scuffed the shiny floor with her shoes. 'Yes!'
"You're coming?" Linda said, the next day
at school. "That's great! Maybe you can ride home on the bus
"No!" Janine said quickly. "I have
to go home first. But I'll be over later. What time do you
"Oh, around 6:30 or 7:00. But I was
hoping you could come over earlier, so we could play."
"I'll be over as soon as I can," Janine
said, even though she wasn't sure how she was going to manage it.
But on Thursday, Janine's mother said,
"Our church group is having a pot luck supper tomorrow, and your father
and I are going. I'm making a molded Jell-O with fruit cocktail in
'Ugh,' Janine thought.
"You'll have to eat with Memere Bourque,"
her mother said, giving Janine a sharp look. "That should please
you. You'll get a night off from my cooking."
Janine didn't dare say anything; she just
nodded. But she did like Memere Bourque's cooking. The food
was plain, but somehow it tasted better than her mother's.
"We'll be out late, so you'll have to spend
the night there."
"Tomorrow's Friday, isn't it?" Janine asked
"It sure is," her mother answered.
Janine looked away from her mother and
"Susan, wouldn't you like to have me over
for supper tonight?" Janine asked as they sat on the stools at Mister Donut.
On Friday mornings, their mothers gave them doughnut money and they always
left a little earlier, so they'd have plenty of time to eat their doughnuts.
"Sure, but you're going to Linda's.
"But if I wasn't, wouldn't you like to?"
"What are you planning?" Susan asked.
There was sugar around her mouth and a spot of jelly on her nose.
"I'm planning on going to Linda's house
for dinner," Janine said, "and I was wondering if you would call me at
Memere's house at five."
"Just remember what happened the last time
you tried to trick your mother. Your hair turned orange."
"Nothing is going to happen to my hair
this time," Janine said. "And besides, I'm going to trick my memere,
not my mother. Will you call?"
Susan sighed. "All right."
That afternoon, as Janine sat in her memere's
small, shining kitchen, the phone rang. Memere jumped. "Now
who could that be?"
She answered the phone and turned to Janine.
"Lo, it's Susan from just down the street," she said as though Janine didn't
know where Susan lived. "She wants to talk to you."
Janine picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Hi," Susan said, "I'm calling just like
I said I would. I hope you're happy."
Even though Memere was standing by the
stove and stirring soup, Janine knew she was listening. "Yes," Janine
said, "and thank you. I'll call you if I can't come. All right?"
"Sure," Susan said, "anything you say."
Janine hung up the phone. "Susan
would like to have me over for supper tonight."
Memere frowned. "But I was looking
forward to eating with you."
Tipping her head to one side, Janine batted
her eyes. "Please, Memere? I' ll still be spending the night
The frown on Memere's face gave way to
a smile, as Janine knew it would. "All right, you. Come give me a
kiss. Will somebody bring you home? Her house may just be down
the street, but I don't want you walking alone in the dark."
Janine kissed Memere. "Oh, yes,"
she said, even though she wasn't sure who it would be.
Janine slipped out of her memere's house.
The sun was setting and there was a low bank of clouds on the horizon.
The air was cold, and as Janine ran up the sidewalk, fall leaves swished
beneath her feet. Roosevelt Avenue was about two miles from her house,
and if Janine hurried, she could just make it there before dark.
As Janine ran up the street, past Susan's
house and around the corner, she began to feel guilty. Poor Memere
had been so easy to trick. 'I didn't tell any lies,' Janine thought
somewhat desperately. She had been careful about that. But,
she had deliberately misled Memere, and Janine was sure that must be a
sin. 'Mortal or venial?' Janine wondered. 'Big sin or small?'
And she thought about the black mark on her soul.
But even though she felt guilty, she didn't
feel guilty enough to turn around. 'Memere will never know,' Janine
'But God will,' a voice inside her said.
'Why would God care if I eat at the Davidson's?'
'He doesn't care about that,' the voice
said. 'He cares about you disobeying your mother.'
'That's what confession is for,' Janine
said crossly. 'Now be quiet!'
And the voice went away.
It was starting to get dark, and cutting
through backyards, Janine dodged swing sets, picnic tables, and dog poop.
By the time Janine reached Roosevelt Avenue, her hands were cold and she
was out of breath, but she marched up to number 14, a large brick house,
and rang the doorbell.
Linda's mother answered the door.
For a moment she just stared at Janine. "Well, my goodness," she finally
said. "We had just about given up on you. Linda's been calling your
house, but there's no answer."
"My parent's are out," Janine answered.
"I was at my memere's."
Linda's mother stepped aside. "Come
in. You look cold. Did you walk all the way?"
"Yes," Janine said and then added quickly,
"but I like to walk. I walk all the time."
Linda's mother raised an eyebrow.
Janine shifted from one foot to the other.
"Linda's sandwiches are so good. I just had to come over and see
what supper was like."
Linda's mother shook her head and laughed.
"Well, come this way. Linda's in the kitchen helping me get things
ready. I'll make some hot cocoa to warm you up."
As Janine followed Linda's mother through
the living room and into the kitchen, she could see right away that this
was not what her mother would call a "clean house." There were books
and newspapers everywhere, in bookcases, on the floor, on the coffee table.
Linda's shoes and book bag lay in a heap by the door, and Janine had to
step over them. 'Mom would have a fit if I left mine like that,'
Coffee cups and glasses, some still half-full,
sat on top of the papers, and a large black dog lay on the couch.
He thumped his tail at Janine as she went by.
The kitchen was even worse, with a sink
full of dirty dishes and pots and bowls from one end of the counter to
the other. In the middle of this mess, on a stool, stood Linda, calmly
tearing lettuce into a bowl.
"Look who's here," Linda's mother said.
"Janine!" Linda squealed, jumping from
"Sorry the place is such a mess," Linda's
mother said. "But I've been cooking all day. I write cookbooks
and I'm always testing some crazy recipe. My poor family! The
things they've had to eat." Linda and her mother laughed. "Now,
I'll make you some hot cocoa and you can help Linda with the salad."
And the next thing Janine knew, she was
standing on the stool beside Linda and chopping vegetables for the salad.
At home, Janine was never allowed to help in the kitchen. Her mother
was afraid she'd make a mess. Here it didn 't matter. Linda
dropped a whole tomato on the floor, and her mother didn't say a word.
She just stood by the stove and stirred the hot cocoa as Linda scooped
up the tomato with a paper towel.
"There," Linda's mother said, "the cocoa's
done. Would you like a mug, Linda?"
"Sure," Linda answered.
"How's the salad coming?"
Linda's mother brought them each a steaming
mug of hot cocoa. It was richer and smoother than anything Janine
had ever tasted. "It's the Dutch chocolate," Linda's mother said.
Janine just sipped it and sighed.
Dinner was even better than Janine had
imagined it would be. She hadn't really known what to expect, and
nothing in her eating experience at home could have prepared her for the
crusty French bread, still warm, a mushroom quiche, thick with cream and
cheese, a salad with a homemade vinaigrette, and for dessert chocolate
mousse and crisp butter cookies.
Janine had never had quiche or mousse or
French bread. She had never even had butter. "Would you please
pass the margarine?" she asked, reaching for a piece of bread.
"Butter," Linda corrected.
Janine blushed. "Butter," she repeated.
Linda's mother smiled at Janine.
"Butter or margarine. It doesn't matter. We knew what you meant."
But Janine knew it did matter, especially
since before tonight, she hadn't known there was anything else. Margarine
was what they ate at home, on Wonder bread, on their popcorn, on their
Spam sandwiches. Janine spread the butter thick on her bread.
'After all,' she thought. 'Who knows when I'll get butter again?'
Janine ate and ate and ate. She had
seconds on everything, even dessert.
"Someone likes your cooking," Linda's father
"Maybe I should have you over more often,"
Linda's mother said as she sipped her coffee. "You could help test
my new recipes."
"That would be wonderful!" Janine said,
knowing it would never happen. "My mother never cooks anything like
this. All we ever get is some disgusting casserole or a dried piece
of meat. I wish my mom could cook like you do."
Linda's mother and father looked at each
other. "Well," Linda's mother said, "not everybody is into cooking
the way I am. Which is probably just as well. I never seem
to get anything done around the house."
"That's all my mother ever does," Janine
said. "Clean, clean, clean."
"Speaking of cleaning," Linda's mother
said, "I've got to clean the kitchen. Do you two want to play for
a bit before it's time for Janine to go?"
Both girls nodded and Linda said, "Come
on, I'll show you my room. It's upstairs."
Janine would have had fun, if her stomach
hadn't felt so full and heavy. Linda's room had a canopy bed, a window
seat, and bookshelves crammed with books. She had Barbie, Midge,
Skipper, and Ken, and a complete kitchen set for them. As Linda and
Janine had Barbie and Skipper cook dinner, Janine's stomach felt worse
When, from the bottom of the stairs, Linda's
mother finally called them, Janine was almost relieved. Although
she loved playing with Linda, all she really felt like doing was to lie
'Why did I eat so much?' Janine thought
as she sat in the back seat with Linda. She had one hand pressed
to her head and one hand on her stomach.
"What's the matter?" Linda asked.
"I don't feel good," Janine whispered.
Pressing her warm cheek against the cool
window, she could just barely tell Linda's mother where her memere's house
was when they turned onto her street. "Thank you," Janine said weakly,
getting out of the car. "Supper was wonderful."
"You're welcome," Linda's mother said.
"Come any time."
As the car pulled out of the driveway,
Janine looked toward her memere's house, and she could see a familiar face
peering out the window. 'Well,' Janine thought, 'what am I going
to say to her?'
"Did Susan's mother drive you home?" Memere
asked as soon as Janine was in the house. "Lo, they live just down
"No," Janine said, swallowing. Her
mouth hand an odd, sour taste. "Susan' s mother didn't drive me home."
Memere put her hands on her hips.
"Well, who did then?"
Janine opened her mouth, but instead of
answering, her stomach retched and she was sick, gloriously sick, all over
her memere's shining floor.
"Mon Dieu!" Memere shrieked as vomit hit
the floor and spattered her apron, the cupboards, and the refrigerator.
With a gasp, Janine gripped the table.
Her throat burned, her eyes watered, and her nose was running.
In a flash, Memere had her out of the kitchen
and into the bathroom. Susan 's mother was forgotten. Memere
washed Janine's hands and face and helped her into her pajamas. She
tucked Janine into the bed in the spare bedroom and put a bucket by her
"Poor baby," Memere said, stroking Janine's
clammy forehead. "Call me if you need me."
Janine just nodded. She was too weak
to talk. Memere kissed her cheek and left. As Janine lay in
the dark room, she could hear the sound of running water and of her memere
scrubbing the kitchen. 'Poor Memere,' Janine thought.
Closing her eyes, Janine tried to sleep,
but couldn't. All she could hear was the sound of Memere scrubbing.
Shivering, Janine opened her eyes, climbed out of bed, and tiptoed through
the small living room into the kitchen. Memere was on her hands and
knees, washing the floor.
"Memere?" Janine called. Memere didn't
hear her. "Memere?" Janine called again, this time louder.
Memere jumped and turned her head.
"What are you doing out of bed?"
"I have to tell you something."
"Can't it wait until tomorrow?"
"No," Janine said, "it can't."
"All right, all right." Grunting,
she struggled to her feet, hobbled to the couch in the living room, and
sat down. She patted the spot beside her, and Janine snuggled against
Memere's warm side.
"Memere," Janine said in a low voice, "I've
"Aside from throwing up all over my kitchen,
what have you done?"
"I went to Linda Davidson's house for supper."
"Linda Davidson? The Protestant?
How come? Especially since your mother told you not."
"I just had to see what they ate for supper.
Linda's sandwiches are so good."
"And was supper good?"
"It was wonderful. But I ate too
much. That's why I was sick."
"And Linda's mother brought you home afterwards."
Janine nodded. "I see. It begins to make sense now. And you
tricked me into thinking you were going over to Susan's house for supper.
That wasn't very nice now, was it?"
Janine shook her head, pressed her face
against her memere's soft arm, and began to cry. "There, there.
Beau baby, don't cry. Memere's not mad at you. But what you
did was not good."
Janine gulped. "I know."
"On the other hand," Memere said, "your
mother, she is not such a good cook. She keeps a clean house.
But her cooking! Mon Dieu! Who can blame you for liking Linda's
"Are you going to tell Mummy and Daddy?"
Memere shook her head. "No, this
one is between you, me, and God." By the couch, there was a small
table with a drawer. Opening the drawer, Memere pulled out a black
case and lifted the lid. Janine saw the gleam of crystal as Memere
took out her best rosary, the one with the sterling silver cross.
"Here," Memere said, handing her the rosary,
"you go to bed and say this all the way through. And no falling asleep
until you're done!"
Janine nodded, carefully holding the rosary
in cupped hands. As she rose slowly from the couch, Memere patted
"When you're done, put the rosary on the
nightstand by the bed. I wouldn't want anything to happen to that
"Yes, Memere." Janine was taking
baby steps across the living room floor.
"And Janine?" Memere said. Janine
stopped and turned her head slightly. "Next time, don't eat so much."